HolyCoast: People Who Don't Pay Attention Have Way Too Much Power in Our Elections

Thursday, May 24, 2012

People Who Don't Pay Attention Have Way Too Much Power in Our Elections

It's too bad we can't require some sort of test on current events and political news before we hand someone a ballot, because far too many voters cast their ballots having paid little or no attention to what's going on. Jim Geraghty has a piece on how quickly the mainstream media ignores a story once facts come out that contradicts their narrative (he calls is "strategic amnesia"), and includes these two paragraphs about low information voters:
Facts and issues pop up, and then evaporate into the media ether before we can grab them. I’m sure most folks in mainstream media institutions roll their eyes when Rush Limbaugh or others call them the “drive-by” media, but it’s easy to get the sense that articles are written, talking points are issued, and speeches are given just to get certain words in a headline – say, “MASSACRE” and “ROMNEY’S FAITH” — hoping the proper subconscious impression will be left with the low-information voters.

Ah, those low-information voters, the oblivious kings of our political system. They’re the remaining demographic in this close election, and so we’re destined to endure six months of everyone in the political world desperately attempting to persuade people who don’t pay attention to the news, politics, or government, who are astoundingly uninformed about news, politics, and government, who really don’t care about news, politics, or government, and who will have as much say about who the next president is as you or I.
Each side will try and appeal to these voters because their votes count as much as ours, and that's a shame. I've often heard pundits bemoan the fact that even in high profile presidential elections, barely half of registered voters bother to show up (and that's an even smaller percentage of the total adults). That's okay with me. I'd rather have people who are engaged in the process and know what's going on casting ballots, rather than encouraging these low information voters to show up. But every election you hear stories of people from nursing homes who don't even know who they are, or drunks off the street being bused to polling places or being given absentee ballots that are probably filled out by someone else.

And while all this is going on Democrats oppose voter ID because it will make it tougher for them to stuff the ballot box.  It's a broken system.

No comments: