Most voters don’t know the stakes of the election. That will change

Most voters don’t know the stakes of the election. That will change

For those who follow politics on a daily basis it can be absolutely maddening trying to comprehend why current polling suggests the public is essentially evenly split on the question of reelecting Donald Trump. This is particularly irksome given that Trump now routinely continues to excavate stunningly new depths of depravity in his speech and behavior that, as in 2016, should easily disqualify any other candidate from consideration.

But rather than wallowing in despair and exasperation at this seemingly sclerotic state of public opinion, it is useful—even essential—to keep something in mind: Right now, very few voters are paying attention. Not only are they not paying attention to political news, they aren’t paying attention to much news at all.

The folks who habitually click on The New York Times to see the morning’s headlines are outliers. The folks that log onto deeply political sites like Daily Kos—or conversely, the Daily Wire—are extreme outliers. Most people in this country and elsewhere now receive their information by glancing at their phones and picking up a headline or two from their home screens—notifications that only appear thanks to an algorithmic function of their past search history and interests. They may not know who the speaker of the House of Representatives is, or even who controls the House. They may not know where Ukraine is. They probably don’t know the name of their congressperson. But they may know when it’s the best time to plant tulips. 

As explained by Matt Robison, writing for Washington Monthly, “Absorbing a lot of politics is not a reflection of intelligence or virtue but rather a reflection of priorities.” It just so happens that the priorities of anyone reading this right now are probably wrapped up in the nation’s politics. But those are not the priorities held by the vast majority of Americans. Whether they should or should not be is beside the point: the fact is, they aren’t, at least until an election is looming in their faces.

Powered by WPeMatico

Comments are closed.