bookbanner
CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

THE LOW INFORMATION CONTENT

"Bear with me a moment, this is going somewhere."

A great deal has been said about "low information" voters; those who know little about politics or world events and care even less.  These are the sort of voters who in 2008 were mocked in videos showing people interviewed clueless about Obama's positions on issues and even who was in charge of congress.
The latest political theory is that the low info voter is the big moving bloc that decides elections now rather than independents.  Since independents are heavily tilted away from Democrats right now you don't hear much about them any more.  Mostly its "moderates" that republicans are told they have to win, since they already have won independents.
In the past it was basically a divide between about 30% who'd vote for each party and the middle 40% had to be won over to find victory in an  election.  That middle 40% were generally more independent voters, holding no strong allegiance to either party.  These days, it appears that this isn't so much accurate any more.  Romney won independents by a fairly large margin in 2012 and yet still didn't win election.
In the past, Democrats have had a fair section of America as supporters who didn't vote.  This would be college students, inner city folks, and so on.  People who saw the Democrats as the solution to their problems or to hold political positions they found appealing, but thought voting was pointless or too much work.
What appears to be happening to me is that President Obama has figured out how to reach that non voting bloc.  He's continuously campaigning, but not in the usual sense.  The 2012 campaign by the Democrats was awful, it didn't appeal to anyone who normally would vote except the most rabid supporters who already were voting.  It wasn't meant to - in fact it was insulting and condescending toward normal voters.  The purpose of the campaign was to get people who ordinarily don't vote but are Democrats to get out there and hit the polls.
Now there's a lot of anecdotal evidence from various inner city polling precincts that they didn't really show up that much, but enough are said to have to turn the tide.  What I think actually happens went like this: Democrats relied on "get it close enough to cheat the win" for a while now, and President Obama found a way to make it work. 
From the Washington governor Election in 2004 to Al Franken's win in 2008, the win wasn't by the popular vote but by getting the popular vote close enough to find enough ballots to get a win for the Democrat.  It was so blatant in those elections that even supporters were leery of the events.  It is proved now that enough felons were allowed to vote illegally for Franken that they made up the margin of victory for him over Coleman.
With the outreach to the low info voter, President Obama has found the key to get it close enough.  Close enough that the precincts that voted in Ohio for Obama by 99% of the votes (a margin laughable to anyone with any sense) and for the over 150 counties with more people registered to vote than actual voters living in them to push the Democrat over to the win.
In other words, the low info voters gave the Democrats the victory by keeping the margin close enough.
But what drives these low info voters, why are they so reliably leftist.  Where did they come from?  Is this a new phenomenon?
In fact, they've always been with us, and might even make up the largest number of voters.  The voter for whom politics is meaningless and elections are boring is not new.  They've always been around and always have been an impact on society.
What's changed is what the low info voter is being educated and shaped by.
The primary source of information and understanding of the world for the low info voter is popular culture.  Television, music, movies, etc are what drive these people's comprehension of the world around them.  They wouldn't agree to this basic fact, but lacking study and deeper education, personal investigation into events and thoughts, that's all you're left with.  And popular culture can be very powerful in shaping thoughts and understanding.
Because the message in the media of music, television, and movies (and in the past radio and magazines, as well as some books) is delivered in the form of entertainment, it tends to slip past the guard of someone not trained or naturally inclined to be skeptical or analytical. You watch Jon Stewart and laugh without wondering why he's saying this and how true it is. 
For example in the past, images of patriotism, loyalty, hard work, good vs evil, respect for elders and authority, and the failure of crime all had a strong influence on people's understanding of the world.  They might still do evil deeds, but they felt that it was only going to work so long and they would generally know what they did was wrong.
Today, images of mocking authority, questioning parents, personal achievement and pleasure, rejecting absolutes, glorifying crime and greed, and the principle that the most important thing in the world is what benefits you are more dominant.  We're told not to do what is right, but follow our dreams.  We're told not to respect authority but demand respect for yourself.  We're told not of good and evil but of multiculturalism and tolerance.
When a song glorifies pleasure and personal thrill of romance as the highest goal in life, or tells of how you are the best and most important glittering jewel of reality, that sinks in past rational thought.  You might argue people don't listen to or think about the words, but that only proves my point: its not reaching them through their minds.  They remember and sing along and that influences their presumptions and beliefs about reality.
When films portrayed America as a strong positive force, family as a basic good and place of comfort and safety, authority as sometimes flawed but reliable and trustworthy, and truth and goodness as absolute standards, that has an impact on people's presumption as well.
So instead of building a society which embraces concepts of respect, goodness, hard work, personal responsibility, and love of country, we're building a society of dependence on government, personal pleasure and comfort, distrust of authority and the past, and rejection of family.  And the result is an inevitable erosion of a worldview that built the country.
Instead of wondering how I'm going to solve a problem or seeing it as an opportunity to achieve greatness, people see a problem as something other people caused and the government can solve.  Instead of seeing tradition and authority as something to respect and learn from, they see authority and tradition as untrustworthy, out of touch, old, stupid, and that it should be disregarded.
So when the Democrat convention says there's a war on women and Republicans just want to keep you down, people nod without even thinking why.  And when the GOP convention celebrates personal achievement, responsibility, and conquering hardship, that seems weird, scary, alien, and wrong to the low info sort.
Now these sort of people are always going to be with us.  Politics is upsetting and weird and hard to understand.  Easier to just believe what they're told by someone they find fun and trustworthy.  The shift happened in culture and worldview, not at the top in politics.  It was by taking over entertainment, education, and culture that the left managed this, not by passing laws.
And when you manage to achieve that, then you have a population that will more readily support the big government solution to problems without even questioning what that means to liberty, their pocketbook, and the future.  That's why people are so shocked about Obamacare.  They really honestly thought it was just going to be "now I get healthcare without paying, those rich people will be stuck for it" and honestly believed it would all work out great.
So when they sign up and see what its going to cost them, they are shocked and angry.
And folks who saw this coming and said all along what it was going to be like, well they didn't trust us because were were too old and white and sounded uncomfortable to them.  And besides Jon Stewart said that it was stupid to oppose free health care, and he's funny.

3 Comments:

Blogger mushroom said...

I think that is an excellent analysis. Popular culture is all some people know. They think they are geeks because they can get an app on their smartphone or because they watch "Big Bang Theory".

9:16 PM, November 19, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two comedy shows Colbert and Stewart are, by my observation of dumb people encountered in everyday life, hugely influential. The power of ridicule from a charismatic comedian that can carry some inferred substance with their yuk yuk, really does lead the simple and the gullible.

What to do about it? Limited government, you know, like maybe constitutionally, and keep the power in the hands of the individual, even the stupid ones.

God help us.

5:33 AM, November 20, 2013  
Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

Clearly government is not where we must look for the answers.

7:36 AM, November 20, 2013  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home