I’ve about had it with American voters who will vote on emotion instead of reason. The final unlikely straw for me wasn’t a statement by a Clinton supporter now voting for McCain. It came when I saw the head of a Muslim group describe a two hour meeting that began with 50 people leaning towards Obama and ending with all but five saying they’d vote for McCain. Why? Because they felt Obama wasn’t paying enough attention to them.
Among a large segment of voters American politics isn’t as partisan as many seem to think it is, it’s personality driven. We’d be better off if it was party driven. Then we’d be assured that voters elected the party that most closely represented their views and values.
Instead Americans vote for personalities. They vote for a superficially perceived self-interest. There’s no critical thinking ability test voters have to pass before they register to vote and officially join the body politic.
The typical American is a propagandist’s delight, gullible and easily persuaded by mass marketing techniques.
If these Muslims were politically savvy and thought rationally about which party would respect their religion, would they vote for McCain and Palin, who may or may not believe that when the end of time comes Muslims will be left behind?
If these Muslims thought with their heads instead of their wounded hearts they would realize that anything Obama says about them will be fodder for the right wing zealots eager to emphasize his middle name, and drive a few more on the lunatic bigotry fringe to make time on election day to vote. Read related article: “Why Are Muslims Alienated from America’s Political Parties?”
Somehow it has become a badge honor to wear a big “Non-partisan” pin. instead of one that says you’re a proud Republican or Democrat. It’s supposed to show how objective you are. It’s a sign of rugged individualism. It shows how you think for yourself.
You don’t have to identify yourself as a Democrat or Republican, and even if you do, you don’t have to be 100% proud of your party. You don’t have to be dogmatic and support your party right or wrong.
Sensible voters ought to endeavor to see the big picture and support the party which best represents them.
For those who don’t want to analyze party positions, a reasonably good measure would be to look at the delegates at the Republican convention or the Democrat convention and decide which group most closely fits who they are.
This country has come a long way since George Washington became our first president with no party, John Adams was elected as a Federalist, and Thomas Jefferson was elected as a Democratic-Republican (history lesson, this was before the two split into separate parties).
Many historians say that it wasn’t until 1840 that there was a significant difference between the major parties:
The election of 1840 heralded the birth of the first true political parties in the United States. Both parties under the existing two-party system operated under slightly different constitutional interpretations; in this case, the Whigs were the liberals while the Democrats were the conservatives. Both parties were also gaining the fixtures of a true national political party:
* they appealed to voters from all sections of the country
* they began holding primary elections to decide on one candidate to represent their party in the presidential election
* they began using party platforms as a succinct way to express their philosophies and stances on a variety of issues
* they made use of the spoils system (created by Jefferson and made permanent by Jackson) as a way of rewarding party loyalty
* they attempted to appeal to the widest section of the electorate possible and therefore avoided radical stances on most issues.
Gone were the days of disorganized factions that were only loosely allied with one another. Party bosses began keeping an iron hold on their politicians. Most importantly of all, however: in the age of Jacksonian Democracy, political parties lost the anti-democratic taint associated with them in the past and were consequently accepted as a necessary part of the burgeoning American political experiment. (Reference)
In the good old days before radio, television and the Internet most Americans learned about the candidates and their party positions from reading newspapers and no doubt discussed their leanings with friends. Very few ever had a chance to see the candidates in person. A good argument can be made that the voters who read the papers, political cartoons not withstanding, decided which candidate to support were less swayed by emotion than they are today.
If you want to work for a campaign today, instead of political science, your best choice of college major would be advertising or marketing because that’s what politics has become all about. Just ask Karl Rove.1.