Monday, September 15, 2008

Our Electorate

From what I hear about our electorate, I am unlike most of the electorate. I watch politics outside of the election cycle from multiple sources. I do this not because I am a junkie. Rather, I do this because I want to be informed about those who have potential power over my life and the lives of my family. It does not make me an expert, but I hope it makes me more credible than most.

The candidates are not consistent in their position messages. This appears intentional because of our electorate's behavior (not comprehensive):

  1. Most of the electorate does not pay attention to politics until 60-90 days before the election, which itself may be driven more by increased coverage than actual interest. These voters are at an informational disadvantage and are consequently more susceptible to manipulation, particularly by the media on which campaigns rely. I have seen this way too much and it saddens me because we the people are hurt. Imagine a business where 80% of the officers only pay attention to what the employees are doing 4-6 weeks out of the year. That is our country.

  2. Most of the electorate are loyal to a party brand, half of which are because of party identity instead of actual policies. They will support that party even if the policy proposals are contrary to their personal values.

  3. Some voters use selective listening. They latch onto what they want to hear over everything that is being said. Because of this tendency, scatter-shot policy positions (flip-flops) can work to some degree.

  4. The electorate is limited to a two party system -- either-or. I will expand on this in another post.

Our electorate has changed a lot over our countries history. Much of it for the better; some of it not so much.

IcQ Questions:

  1. What are some other characteristics of our electorate?
  2. If these are the characterics of our electorate, does it make sense that campaigns do what they do? What are the consequences, potential or actual, to the quality of government we will have?
  3. How can we as an electorate mitigate the adverse consequences?

I'd like to hear your ideas.

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