The Myth of the Well-Informed Electorate

No one is supposed to cast doubt on the wisdom of the American voter. To do so is to be accused of elitism, or some other equally odious quality. We are constantly assured that the overwhelming majority of voters are well informed and make their decisions based on sound knowledge.

There’s an academic term for that—baloney.

Now by saying this, I’ve opened myself up for criticism. Who do I think I am passing judgment on the electorate? What proof do I offer? Well, look who’s president right now. What had he ever done to earn the position? Key legislation? Executive experience? No. Many voted for him because they were upset over what Bush had done. They never bothered to find out what Obama believed, or what policies he would promote. They wanted “hope.” They wanted “change.” They got the latter for sure. The first is still an illusion.

More evidence? Bill Clinton served two terms in spite of all the scandals percolating around him. Even when caught lying to a grand jury, 67% of the electorate didn’t want him removed from office.

Every four years, as if on schedule, no matter what the real issues, Democrats will trot out their magic formula: tell people the Republicans are going to take away Social Security and Medicare. They’re going to kick the helpless out in the streets. They’re plotting to starve all the old people. It’s become routine.

It nearly always works. That’s why they keep using the tactic. You would think that after a while, the falseness of the charge would be so evident that it would fall flat. But our “educated” electorate panics every time.

We’re seeing the same approach now with the debt ceiling/national debt talks. Democrats have done nothing at all to resolve the situation; Republicans have offered concrete plans for dealing with it. Yet some polls show that voters will blame Republicans if the government has to cut back on expenditures due to this debt problem. Never mind that fully 1/3 of that debt has accumulated in the first two and one-half years of Obama’s administration, and that he has shown no sign of wanting to slow down his spending spree. He’s now talking about another stimulus—you know, because the first one wasn’t large enough to do the job.

How many voters will fall for it this time? There’s this mantra out there in the political world that says everyone’s vote is really important:

I’m going to break from this political correctness. In my view, “Phil” shouldn’t vote. And to all you “Phils” out there, please do your country a service and stay home on election night. We’ll make wiser choices without you.