"If you want to see why democracy doesn’t work, talk just five minutes to the average person.” – Winston Churchill
The question in the header was posed in a recent (Oct. 1) issue of The Washington Spectator, by Lou Dubose. Technically, if the nation wasn’t populated by so many dumb shits, this campaign ought to be essentially over with Obama leading by 65%-35% in the polls and NO ‘undecideds’. The reason it’s close, indeed some of the polls yesterday including NY Times-CBS, showed Romney ahead 49%-47%, is because so many people who cast votes don’t know their asses from holes in the ground. They don’t follow politics or issues carefully day to day, and their ultimate votes often rest on whether they feel they can ‘have a beer’ with a candidate’ or whether he looks cool, or whatever. All of this is BULL shit!
I think Dubose has one of the best takes (ibid.):
“A divided popular vote in this election is a symptom of a system in crisis. An informed electorate in a functioning democracy would turn its back on Romney. The Republican made his fortune as a predator, buying and flipping companies in the United States. Now he keeps much of it beyond the reach of the federal agency that pays for national defense, Medicaid, food safety, college grants, not to mention the salary, transportation and security for the president.”
So what gives? Let’s first acknowledge a media Echo chamber that's not in the interest of having informed citizens. FAUX NEWS for example, feeds its viewers more lies per second than Hitler’s own radio stations used to do in the Leni Reifenstahl propaganda era of the Third Reich. Those who make FAUX News a viewing habit will therefore emerge as stupid and ignorant. This was proven in 2004 after numerous surveys found that the largest proportion of people who believed the nonsense that “Saddam launched the 9/11 attacks” – were tagged as FAUXites. This is fucking sickening.
Most of these are also the same dopes that listen daily to Rush Limbaugh and his bunkum. We can estimate then, that at least 20% of the electorate in the Repuke-Romney column are hard core, hard Right fools for whom the siren sounds of Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly and Company trump sense, reason and integrity. These are also people for whom whatever Romney or Ryan say, so long as it delves with the Reich Echo chamber, makes them ideal candidates.
There is another segment that I call hard core bigots that likely intersects the set above. I estimate based on assorted surveys, maybe a 12% intersection of sets. The point is the bigots may or may not tune in to FAUX or Limbaugh. No, they just hate that black man in office and are convinced they want no such person flying in Air Force One or sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom or sitting in the Oval Office. They are sensible in one respect, in that they know blatant racism would be spotted in a New York minute, so they disguise it and instead of using "N------r" use "Socialist", "Communist", "Lazy" or some other replacement euphemism. But they need to know we are onto them, also that asshole that took a shot at Obama's Denver Campaign headquarters yesterday afternoon.
Let’s allow that perhaps up to 22% of the electorate in the alleged “99%” are claimed by the two previous groups, that still leaves at least 77% to account for. I write off 15% of these immediately as diehard, DNA-Republicans whose families –parents likely were, and who see no reason to change. They aren’t necessarily bigots or hard rightists, they’re just Republicans by heritage, nature and inclination.
That then leaves 62% to account for, who putatively ought not be for Romney at all. That means at the very least, Obama ought to retain a steady 62%-38% over Romney through the election cycle come hell or high water, bad debates or no (since as Chris Hayes has pointed out debate performance at the end of the day – especially as posed by the FERC- has nada to do with governance). Since current polls show only 47% Obama backing consistently, then what gives with the other 15%?
These are the “low information” voters, who barely follow any politics, unless it’s perhaps a nationally televised debate, and then form superficial opinions based almost solely on the optics. Since the “optics” are often subjective and media-driven, i.e. by the Corporate Media Wurlitzer, this is not a good thing. It means the opinions formed in the wake, based on impressions derived from the optics, aren’t authentic. They are merely regurgitations of the talking heads.
A good example of media “optics distortion” occurred after the VP debate, with assorted pundits bitching, moaning and pissing about Biden’s “smiling, smirking, laughing” or “interrupting”. Never mind that had he sat there stone- faced these same assholes would have let loose on how “robotic” or “unemotional” or “like Obama” he was! Bill Maher last night perhaps put it best when he remarked: “C’mon! You bitched about Obama being ‘peevish’ and now whine about Biden smiling? What the fuck?”
Indeed. But this again exposes the media double standard which plays into the dereliction of low information voters, who if they had studied enough and learned the facts, wouldn’t be so easily swayed.
Note that in watching the debate, a low info voter will - because of his/her superficial familiarity with key facts- likely be unable to keep pace with the answers or mentally check the veracity, say by quickly mentally referencing a source they themselves read. Thus, the low-infos will be more focused on behavior, outward demeanor and style than substance. Case in point this Denver Post letter from an "Elizabeth Hecker" appearing in today's paper (op-ed page):
"Thursday night’s debate was a dud. It was like some high school classrooms. The teacher (the debate moderator) was out to prove she could control the students (the candidates). The class clown (Vice President Joe Biden) was out to detract from any learning going on in the room. The serious student (Paul Ryan) tried to stick to the topic, but was cut short by the moderator. The net result was no serious learning took place."
Note she describes it as a "dud". In fact, her rejection is a condemnation of her own 'dud-ness' in not being able to follow or check the facts issued on each side. Since she couldn't do that, she was left with only transitory visuals (i.e. of Joe Biden laughing in response to Ryan's dreck or mocking the responses in other ways as they ought to have been, to convey OUTRAGE) so dismissed Biden as a "class clown". In fact, SHE is the clown for failing to perceive Biden was the serious one and Ryan the pretender. The fact she could remotely regard Ryan as a "serious student" shows a person not only detached from reality but woefully unqualified to even go near a ballot box for this election.
An intriguing aspect of this is that the consumer mindset and temperament so prevalent in this country, could play a role in fueling an "infantilist ethos", according to Benjamin R. Barber in his 'CONSUMED: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults and Swallow Citizens Whole' (W.W. Norton, 2007). The basic idea is that a segment of the populace is continually converted into overgrown, unthinking "infants" by the consumption ethos which drives their need for a new ipad over their mastery of the nation's political tenor. Don't buy it? Take a gander at the behavior of people in assorted big box stores this next 'Black Friday'. See how they run others down in the aisles to get that new DVD player, or HDTV? Case closed!
The final tragedy, when this election season is finally over, is that those of us who've worked diligently to learn what’s going on and do so day to day- to cast an informed vote - may have our votes trumped by a pack of imbeciles who can’t even name their two state Senators, or two of the Bill of Rights.
No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, that's fuckin sad! I just don't want to hear anyone say in the aftermath: "We get the government we deserve". Nope! Many of us surely don't. We sometimes get the government only the dimwits and last minute undecideds deserve- but which we get saddled with as well. Look, for example, at the year 2000, and how many dopes went for Gee Dumbya Bush - when his record in Tex-ASS had been there for all to see! (Of course, we also need to bear in mind the 153,000+ black voters disenfranchised in FLA, and for more on that see Chapter One of Greg Palast's, 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy').