X

Political Parties Act Like Schools of Fish

Vocal minorities can temporarily sway the masses
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 19, 2011 1:23 PM CST

(Newser) – Wondering about the future of the Tea Party, or what affect the Occupy Movement might have on Democrats? Try asking a bunch of fish. Scientists have found that in a school of fish, a "vocal minority"—that is, a group determined to swim in a certain direction—can entice a less-committed majority to follow. But when uncommitted fish are introduced, they tend to follow the majority.

story continues below

So what does this mean for politics? When die-hard liberals made the Dems veer left in the 1970s, the nation's wealth of moderates pulled things back to the center. More recently, a loud minority like the Tea Party was able to score plenty of seats in the 2010 election. But many of those seats may be up for grabs in the next election, with voters generally preferring "simple compromise" over "ideological purity," writes Jeffrey Kluger in Time. Indeed, "the modern history of both major political parties does show some distinctly fish-like behavior." (Read more political party stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X