Undecided voters aren't stupid after all.
October 24, 2000 11:40 PM   Subscribe

Undecided voters aren't stupid after all. They're just waiting to see which candidate will best achieve their goal of governmental gridlock, which will be determined primarily by how control of Congress shakes out.
posted by kindall (7 comments total)
No, they're stupid.
posted by quirked at 7:32 AM on October 25, 2000

Mr. Kaus may have been able to work himself into a pseudo-liberal, philisophical tornado, speculating about all the various outcomes of the election; but i serious doubt the average shmuck who hasn't made up his mind yet has considered what effect different congresses will have on different presidents.

anyone who hasn't decided which candidate from THE SAME DAMN PARTY they're voting for either isn't paying attention or is just plain dumb.

posted by Niccola Six at 7:52 AM on October 25, 2000

"Undecided" voters aren't. They're either uninterested or untruthful (at least when it comes to talking to pollers).
posted by grimmelm at 9:28 AM on October 25, 2000

Yeah, when it comes to talking to pollsters, all bets are off. I believe polling is destructive to democracy, so if I was asked by a pollster who I supported I'd probably give a different answer to each pollster who asked me.

On the other hand, I sympathize with undecideds to a great extent. I mean, you have Gore the privileged establishment liar; you have Bush the privileged establishment moron; you have Nader, the unelectable anti-corporate liberal fruitcake; you have Buchanan, the I-hope-to-God-he's-unelectable religious conservative fruitcake; you have Browne, the Libertarian, whose main selling point is that he's moderate for a libertarian. That means he's less of a fruitcake than some libertarians, and I do have a lot of libertarian leanings, but he's still more of a wasted vote than Nader in a swing state. It goes downhill from there (I don't even know who the fringe parties are running this year).

As a last resort, of course, I could just not vote. I'm not entirely sure that's any worse than voting for any of the actual candidates, but it rubs me the wrong way to just give up.

Keeping the President and Congress in gridlock to prevent either of them from screwing things up any worse strikes me as as noble a goal as any other poltical goal. In fact, if there was a guaranteed way to keep the Republicans preoccupied with Clinton's weenie for another four years, and the Democrats preoccupied with defending Clinton from the Republicans, and the press preoccupied with covering it all, I'd probably be all for that.
posted by kindall at 11:17 AM on October 25, 2000

If anything, gridlock is an extremely un-noble goal; it's libertarianism without the courage of its convictions.

Gridlock is a fundamentally conservative approach to government, it's a sort of anti-government campaign through back-door means. Lots of Republicans loved the budget shutdown when Clinton and Gingrich got into a staring contest because it meant the government was doing absolutely nothing, which was their ideal state of affairs.

There's a definite ideological tilt to having a government that's unable to do anything, and that tilt plays into the hands of the people who don't want it to do anything.
posted by grimmelm at 5:57 PM on October 25, 2000

Noble and politics are mutually exclusive. If gridlock is fundamentally conservative, then perpetual motion machines are inherently liberal. The gridlock is born of honest disagreement. I believe most people distrust both ideologies equally, and vote for gridlock every chance they get. Most of us here are pretty passionate, and find such voting hard to fathom.
posted by thirteen at 6:21 PM on October 25, 2000

Actually, I think it takes over-intellectualization of the sort we get here to vote consciously for gridlock. Not that many voters want gridlock qua gridlock; it just happens.

Quite likely this is so because the US has a system that encourages gridlock (in the name of "checks and balances"), probably because the US is actually pretty closely split, and possibly because political systems in general naturally tend towards the sort of exact splits that induce gridlock.

If people want gridlock, where are the politicians pandering to that demand?
posted by grimmelm at 7:20 PM on October 25, 2000

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