Sunday, October 5, 2008

Single Issue Voters

I've met or known many people who state they would or would not vote for a certain candidate or political party simply because of a single reason. Usually it's a very emotional issue and I'm sure you can think of a few on your own. But people feel so strongly about something--or are made to feel strongly about something--that they won't consider the whole package. They don't think about everything that comes with the candidate or party. Weighing the pros and cons is not something they're interested in. In reflecting on this I think this is an effective way to carve up the electorate into manageable chunks. I see two benefits, not for the people but for those who seek office. One is that chunks of voters can be relied on to vote a certain way simply by reminding them of that single issue, reducing the number of voters to target using other topics. The second effect is that it eliminates discussion and discourse. There's nothing to talk about because a candidate or party stands a certain way on that single issue.

It's not that this practice is something new. I'm just curious what it would take to get a single issue voter to recognize they are being manipulated in this fashion. And if they saw that, would it make a difference?

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