Editorialist: News media rarely cover local politics thoroughly, and local political business is usually conducted secretively. These factors each tend to isolate local politicians from their electorates. This has the effect of reducing the chance that any particular act of resident participation will elicit a positive official response, which in turn discourages resident participation in local politics.
Which one of the following is most strongly supported by the editorialist’s statements?
Particular acts of resident participation would be likely to elicit a positive response from local politicians if those politicians were less isolated from their electorate.
Local political business should be conducted less secretively because this would avoid discouraging resident participation in local politics.
The most important factor influencing a resident’s decision as to whether to participate in local politics is the chance that the participation will elicit a positive official response.
More-frequent thorough coverage of local politics would reduce at least one source of discouragement from resident participation in local politics.
If resident participation in local politics were not discouraged, this would cause local politicians to be less isolated from their electorate.
You might be able to spot the assumption here. It’s a gap in the last sentence, at the very end. At the comma. Can you spot the leap in logic?
The leap in logic is “if we have a lower chance of a positive official response, we’re less likely to participate.”
Is that true? I mean, maybe it is. But on the LSAT we need to make our arguments explicit. This argument just assumed that we’re less likely to participate when there’s a lower chance of a “positive official response.” What does that even mean? What if we got a positive unofficial response? Wouldn’t that work too? Why do we need a “Positive official response”?
This is a Must Be True question, so we accept everything above and pick something that’s been justified by those statements. Here, I think the correct answer will be the necessary assumption I’ve already been talking about above. If we’re to buy the conclusion “less likely to participate” then it MUST be true that we’re less likely to participate when there’s a lower chance of an official response.
A. This answer is wrong because there’s a difference between “likely” and “more likely.” This answer says it’s “likely” that there would be a positive response, which means more than 50%. That’s just not justified by the facts—the facts said “more likely,” which might be an increased chance from 1% to 2%, but still “unlikely”—so this is out.
B. No, the problem here is “should.” The argument said nothing about what “should” be the case—only what is.
C. Nah. We don’t know what other factors might be at play.
D. Well, sure. This isn’t what I predicted, but this is a necessary step in the argument. The argument started with “news rarely covers local politics thoroughly… which has the effect of isolating” (which in turn, discourages residents from participating). So this answer must be true. More thorough coverage, less discouragement from participating. This is the answer.
E. This answer confuses cause for effect so it’s out.
The answer is D because, even though it didn’t match my prediction, I can see that it must be true if everything in the argument is true.
Ready for more?