Thursday, October 26, 2006

In Praise Of The Undecided Voter

Political junkies like myself often speak disparagingly of the undecideds. Don't you know? Haven't you thought about this? What are you, some kind of limpet who doesn't pay attention to these important events?

Well, they don't pay attention all year. They bring up children, coach Little League, run businesses, care for sick relatives, volunteer at charities. Which are the things that really make the world go on.

Ask the question another way: Is it possible to cram for an exam and still get a good grade?

Yes, it is true that such folk are more prone to being influenced by stray events and have less defense against untruth in campaigning. On the other hand, they don't hold the grudges that the wonks do, and don't get distracted by the political gamesmanship as much. If the undecideds didn't decide every election, it would be we fanatics who decided them. Maybe not such a good idea.


bs king said...

The guy who wrote the first ammendment proposed that the undecided voter actually didn't have a right to vote, because he/she could be swayed by pandering and empty promises and would never remember to hold politicians accountable to them.

You already knew that though. You lent me the book I read that in.

Anyway, it sounds like you're torn between that idea and the whole "no man who aspires to be king should reasonably be allowed to rule" theory. Nobody who actually wants to vote should be able to. I'll have to think on this.

Anonymous said...

There was a science-fiction short story I read one time, where the plot was that the US no longer elected a president by national elections. Some federal organization figured out who the "most average" person was, by narrowing it down into state, county, city, neighborhood, person. Then that person was given a truth serum, and asked questions about what they wanted. That person's answers were compared to the candidate's platforms, and whoever's platform was closest to the "average" platform, won.

Confused yet? Anyway, I would hate to see that happen. The "average" person would be, for the most part, undecided.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

There is a short story called "The Lottery" in which one person is chosen to vote, and all the other votes are extrapolated from his or hers. I recall reading it in high school but haven't bothered to look it up since.

The Senate Site said...

Good thoughts. Nice blog.

Anonymous said...

AVI - Shirley Jackson's The Lottery is definitely worth re-reading. Although the veiled point of the story is a bit more about societal scape-goating and blindly following the pack than the principle of voting per se.