Politics


Political pundits and voters don't understand how people vote

10 min read
People voting for moderate candidates to appease swing voters

We start to see all these so-called political experts writing articles or speaking on TV about things they know nothing about during another seemingly never-ending election cycle. Most of it is very troubling because it's not even remotely accurate.

Most people think Donald Trump winning was a referendum on Barack Obama's presidency. It was not. They didn't feel it was too much progress that they needed to regress. They thought it wasn't enough progress. There are other angles at play. Hillary Clinton and the federal government are deeply unpopular. Trump wasn't a politician and told people what they wanted to hear, and they believed it. Many people in coal country did not like the Obama era coal policies. Some thought it was too much progress, but that's the 38% to 40% will talk about soon. Those people also voted for Mitt Romney and John McCain. My favorite argument was it was a backlash from white voters for having the first black president. But the Obama Trump white voter was who put Obama in the White House. So it was a backlash against themselves? Does anyone think before they come up with this nonsense? But it was the swing voters that decided the election, and they obviously aren't moderate if they voted for Obama, Bernie Sanders in the primary, and then Trump.

The worst thing I always see during elections are people basing their vote on who they think is most electable. Why in the world would you vote for the person you think other people you don't even know would vote for instead of voting for the candidate you actually want? That doesn't even make any sense. It's not how you vote. And who you think is electable isn't. That's how Trump partially got elected. It's like we learned nothing from 2016. People thought Clinton was the most electable, and Trump was the least. But Sanders was the most electable. Still, some people didn't vote for him in the primaries because they thought his ideas weren't doable, and nobody would vote for a socialist. How do you know people won't vote for him? Because the media tells you that?

The data tells another story. Right before the nomination was clinched, Clinton was only leading by 3% over Trump, what she ended up winning by. In contrast, Sanders was up by over double digits. I believe it was about 16%. That's a stark difference. Biden is currently polling at an 8% advantage. Let's see which number is larger? It's about the candidate who represents the most change. It always was and always will be.

Yes, it didn't help the primary was rigged for Clinton and then Biden. I don't want to cover this too much, but the DNC forbid credible candidates from running against Clinton in 2016. That's how Sanders ended up in the race. In 2020, it was going to come down to Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. Sanders would have won because non-white voters don't like Buttigieg. The DNC saw this and started sowing doubt into voters' minds. Sanders was within 10% of Biden in South Carolina, but Jim Clyburn made his impassioned endorsement, robocalled many states, and did a media blitz. Biden got his big win in South Carolina, and then the DNC shoved out Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar before Super Tuesday and had them endorse Biden in Texas. All disgusting.

But any candidate can win and eventually push through their agenda if they have the support of the people. But that will only happen if you know, you actually vote for them. It's not up to a voter to decide what is doable and what isn't. That's not how you voter either. It's up to the candidate to figure out how to accomplish it and compromise when necessary. It's stupid to think only a moderate can win. We've had those for decades, and people are angry and desperate from their policies. It reached the tipping point with Obama, and now it's doubtful moderates can win the presidency again. More of the same helps no one. Although it's a slow trickle, you are starting to see the less moderate candidates winning in state and local races.

After Sanders trounced everyone on the Nevada Caucus, there was still a guest commentator on MSNBC saying Joe Biden was the most electable, and he gives the democrats the best chance of beating Trump in states like Pennsylvania. It's like what are you even basing that on at this point? Biden got crushed in two states and then barely came in a distant second in Nevada. This is Biden's third time running for president and three states in, he's never won a state. That doesn't sound like someone people want to be president. It sounds like someone nobody wants to be president. He mentioned voters in swing states, like Pennsylvania, prefer Biden. Pennsylvania's voters aren't that much different than other states. If those states preferred another candidate over Biden, so will Pennsylvania. And why would electing the candidate most like the candidate who just lost to Trump give you the best chance of beating him? How does that logic even work?

Now that he's the nominee and even before he was all I ever heard was, he's not my first choice. They why vote for him? Why not vote for your first choice? They'll likely respond with because I think he gives us the best chance to win. Okay, but if he's nobody's first choice, I don't see why he would give you the best chance to win. I know they're doing it because they think other people would more likely vote for him. But if we put everyone in a room and asked them to raise their hand if he was honestly their first choice, nobody would. Everyone in the room would now realize they are voting for someone perceived to be the favorite by most people, yet in reality, is the favorite of no one.

That's the problem with Democratic voters in a nutshell. They care too much about what other people think. Is this candidate electable? Are the too far left? Will they appear to a Midwest voter? Is this doable? Will they vote for a socialist? Do you think any Republican voter when they voted for Trump said is this doable? Is he too far right? Will people on the coasts vote for him? They didn't care. They voted for who they wanted.

The notion that you can win votes from the other party with a centrist candidate is laughable. I like to say, in the current voting climate, about 40% will always vote democratic, and around 40% will always vote Republican, which leaves you with 20% that decides most elections in most states. My dad's brother, a staunch Republican, apparently did not vote for Trump in 2016. He chose not to vote. And even though he doesn't like Trump, when my dad asked him who would you vote for Biden or Trump, he said, "That's a tough one, probably Trump." It's so ingrained in most people's mind to hate the other party they won't switch their vote even if they don't like their party's candidate. People who are loyal to one party never vote for the other party no matter what, period. However, a lot of Republicans seemed to like Buttigieg. I doubt they would have voted for him. Don't believe me?

Let's look at the California Governor's race over the last few years. You can look at most races at most levels in most states and draw the same results. California is known as a pretty liberal or progressive state. Or whatever stupid label you want to give it. But it's not in most respects. In the 2006 Governor's race, Arnold Schwarzenegger received 56% of the vote, and his Democratic Challenger received 39%. Keep an eye on that 39%. In 2010, Jerry Brown Received 54% of the vote, and his Republican challenger received 41%. Don't those numbers look familiar but in reverse? In 2014 Brown did slightly better at 60% but notice that his challenger still received 40% of the vote.

In 2018, Gavin Newsom did slightly better with 62% of the vote, but his challenger still received 38% of the vote. That 38% is close to that 39% from 12 years ago. All we did was move that 20% of the vote from one party to the other. Everything else is the same. The same 20% decides elections because 40% on both sides cancel each other out repeatedly. If you look at almost every single election in America over the last few decades, you'll see nearly every race is 60% - 40%, 55% - 45%, 52% - 48%, or some variation. Candidates rarely get over 60%. Even someone as popular as Bernie Sanders only received 67% of the vote in Vermont's 2018 reelection. The odd thing is it's been like this in California since 1934, except for 1946, when both parties nominated Earl Warren. That's a long time. While it's recently been worse, it's pretty much always been this way. It'll continue to be this way until we get rid of the two-party system. Elections are decided by the swing voter who makes up 20% of the electorate, and they mostly aren't moderate.

My parents are the quintessential swing voters. My dad would consider myself a moderate, but he doesn't vote like that. They voted for Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, and Barack Obama. I once told someone that. Their response was: "Nadar and Perot, they're polar opposites." While technically not true, in theory, he was right. But he failed to see what linked them together. It was change, something different. That's the reason you have the same voter voting for Obama, Sanders, and Trump. And even far-right and far-left candidates overlap on certain things. It was also a third-party candidate in my dad's case. The United States is the only major democracy without a third major party. Some countries have over a dozen. We have two. And that's why the parties are now moving more to the right or left. Because it's easier to do that then to start a third party here, and that's sad if you think about it. We have hundreds of breakfast cereals, but we only have two political parties. It's insane. It's even more insane when you realize French President Emmanuel Macron literally made a new party in a few months while running to become president, and he won the presidency and seats with it.

That's really who a swing voter is. They aren't moderate as pundits like to say. They typically hate politics and political parties. They only want somebody to do something. They don't care who. If one party doesn't get it done, they'll throw them out and put the other party back in. If they can't do it, they'll go back to the other party. But most people view them as moderate because that's the only reason they can come up with them flip-flopping.

The sad part is most voters all want the same thing. They differ on how to get there. It's been ingrained to hate the other party so much, which is by design. It's to the benefit of the rich and powerful to keep us bickering over guns and abortion rights. This distracts us from uniting over significant issues. We are only now starting to come together on health care.

People are largely ignorant and oblivious when it comes to issues. If they don't even understand how people vote in elections or basic information in general, it's unlikely they can comprehend more complicated matters. A woman in Iowa voted for Buttigieg in the primary and didn't know he was gay. She wanted to change her vote afterward, which of course she can't do. I can't even comprehend how she didn't know that. I talked to a woman who voted for Obama and then Trump. And she felt she needed to explain her vote. Never a good sign. I don't recall all of it, but one thing that struck me is I said I voted for Sanders and was disappointed he didn't win. She said, "Well, he's an independent. They don't normally win." I was like I know, he was running for the democratic nominee and almost won. She didn't seem to know that, which is hard to believe. I asked why she voted for Trump, and one of the reasons was he says whatever is on his mind. I wanted to say that is what a child does. They don't realize or care there are consequences to what they say, and they don't bother to state facts and evidence to support their position. I told her to listen to anything that he says, and you can tell he's dumb. She didn't respond to that, but I can tell she felt stupid. I mentioned his lying and how it was dangerous, and she actually said, "You don't think other people lie?" Huh? What kind of argument is that? "I know people lie. Nobody is perfect. But if you blatantly lie that much, especially as a presidential candidate, that is a significant problem because people will believe them.

I really want people to vote. One of the reasons we have such terrible candidates is because not enough people vote and run for office. But if you don't know what you are talking about and you make no effort to find out if you are correct, do everyone a favor and don't vote.