Bill Maher, as charming as he is handsome, had some choice words about the undecided voter on a recent episode of Real Time:
And that, in a nutshell, is America’s celebrated, undecided voter: put on a pedestal by the media as if they were Hamlet in a think-tank, searching out every last bit of information, high-minded arbiters pouring over policy positions and matching them against their own philosophies. Please, they mostly fall into a category political scientists call ‘low information voters,’ otherwise known as ‘dipsh*ts.’
I don’t disagree with what Maher said, however, I question how we came to the point where only disphits haven’t made up their mind about an election that just held conventions two weeks ago. There has not even been a single debate, yet Obama is expected to jump out to a lead tomorrow in Iowa thanks to early voting. I’m not sure what Iowa’s obsession is with being first, but I’m guessing its just excited to be in the news for things other than…I can’t even remember anything else Iowa has been in the news for, ever. I think they grow a lot of corn and AC Slater went to college there on a wrestling scholarship.
The problem with characterizing undecided voters as “low information” is it creates the impression that the people whose minds are made up are high information voters – when the fact is they are highly indoctrinated. They turn to MSNBC or Fox News and are told how to think. They were going to vote for or against Obama regardless of whether the GOP nominated a resurrected Abraham Lincoln or the Dominos Noid – and if you don’t believe me, I defy anyone to find a person who is more like the Dominos Noid than Herman Cain.
The other side isn’t any better. Abraham Lincoln could rise from the ashes, or the film stock of the new movie Lincoln, kill a vampire or zombie as he is apparently apt to do, and give the greatest debate of his life. Yet the next day, MSNBC would be tearing him apart for being out of touch with the zombie community, and dread-locked baristas would be screaming that everyone voting for resurrected Lincoln was a racist because its clear from his beard that he hates black people.
No one listens to the candidates anymore, they just wait until they are told by the media what to think. MSNBC and Fox give the so called “high information” early voters a lot to think but no information. An MSNBC voter knows that taxes are way too low for the rich, and the Fox voter knows that taxes are too high for job creators. Yet, if you asked either what the marginal tax rate was, or at what income level it began, none of them would have a clue. Moreover, they wouldn’t even know that it only affects income above the threshold level. All they really know is that they’re right and the other team is either racist or lazy.
You either believe in global warming and hate business, or you don’t believe in global warming and you’re an idiot. But the truth is that whether or not global warming exists isn’t an issue that matters politically. What matters is if humans are causing it, if we can stop causing it, what the costs of stopping it are, and how those costs compare to the costs of preparing for it. But the media doesn’t tell us any of that. Instead we point fingers and yell at people on the opposing teams. They’re trying to turn this into the Crypts vs. the Bloods – creating sworn enemies who only know who they hate because of the color they’re wearing.
Romney of course hates the poor and loves the rich, and Obama is the reverse. But yet, Romney is for means testing social security and medicare (which would end benefits to the wealthy) while Obama is for keeping the status quo. Given that these entitlements actually make up the bulk of the US budget, its hard to really judge who would transfer for money from the rich to the poor. We just don’t have the numbers.
Perhaps we’ll get some of those numbers, concrete plans, or just a tiny bit more insight in the debates. My guess is we won’t. But given that the vast majority of voters know nothing of substance about either candidate’s platform, perhaps we should come up with a new term for undecided voters instead of dipshits. Maybe they’re just hoping that things will change and the candidates and the media that covers them will start speaking in facts instead of rhetoric. Let’s call those undecided voters the voters of hope and change.