Now, the question for this blog is whether backfire creates more of a problem for representative democracy or participatory democracy. Mr. Milbank suggests that many voters view democracy as a team sport--they want their team to win regardless of the facts. This is different from buying a refrigerator. If Mr. Milbank is correct, perhaps people will not think that they want the health reform to succeed or fail because they are democrats or republicans, they just want America to have the best health plan. That would mean that putting the health care plans up for referendum would do better than letting the representatives hash it out. Although backfire was a problem for both self-identified liberals and conservatives, the conservatives had more problems adjusting their beliefs after a correction.
For future Thoughtful Thursdays:
Brendan Nyhan, "When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political Misperceptions" June 2010 issue of Journal of Political Behavior