An Information Cascade That May Prove Unsuccessful

The CNN article “Another Big Test For New Gun Laws In Senate” is not directly related to information cascades in anyway, but as I read the article I drew my own inferences. The article discusses all the new gun control measures that are currently being discussed in the Senate. There was a renewed national interest in gun control after the events that took place in Newtown, Connecticut after a lone gunman murdered over two dozen school children and school teachers. In the days since one of the darkest in U.S. history more than 90% of the nations population supported stricter firearm legislation, whether it be expanded background checks, or limiting magazine capacity. The U.S. being a democratic nation, shouldn’t the support of 90% of the nation alone be enough to create an information cascade that would result in these tougher laws? Shouldn’t state representatives be influenced by the other states that already began cracking down on firearms legislation? 

In this case, the answer seems to be no. The Senate would need 60 votes to pass new legislation under the filibuster threshold. 60 votes per law, but the overall “gun control package,” which is a package of all the individual laws being discussed only received 68 votes to bring it to the senate floor. This means that if it received 9 less votes, no gun control would be discussed period. If the Senate barely even showed enough joint interest to ever discuss new legislation, what are the odds that they get 60 votes to pass a single law. Slim if you ask me. 

Being that the senate is a democratic majority, who are traditionally tougher on gun legislation than republicans, the chances of success of our nations information cascade in achieving the passage of gun control legislation (90% of U.S. Citizens pro gun control) seems to be bleak. Which raises the question, if an information cascade of this magnitude in a democratic country can’t achieve desired results, what can?

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1 thought on “An Information Cascade That May Prove Unsuccessful”

  1. Regardless of the issue, public opinion is an incredibly fickle and uninformed thing, which is far too easily manipulated. In many ways, I’m glad that even if 90% of the country supports one thing or another (and I doubt 90% of Americans can agree on much at all), it is still a deliberate process for action to be taken by a legislative body. In many ways, our seemingly slow and deliberate legislative process allows the information cascades of public opinion to “dry out” or “run off”, hopefully exposing what the true representation of the public believes.

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