An Appeal to the Undecided

I’m crafting an appeal here to people who, I admit, I do not understand—the most important people in the nation, for the next week or so.

I refer to the “undecided.”

I find you darkly mysterious, Mr. and Mrs. Undecided Voter. I’ve never been “undecided” on an important political question for more than, say, half an hour, for as long as I can remember. I have more trouble picking a burger meal deal at a fast food counter, than I do choosing the candidate I’m going to vote for in an election. The various burgers all appeal to some degree, after all, and none of them are poisonous.

So elections are easy for me. I know which issues I consider important. I know what I want done about those issues, and I see stark differences between the political parties’ agendas—differences which effectively eliminate one choice from the outset, as far as I’m concerned. 

But you don’t, or else you’d be “decided.”

So I’ll spare you my wisdom on the issues and the parties. Frankly, if you’re just getting interested now, you really don’t have enough time left, between reading this article and casting your vote, to give the issues their due consideration, unless you already have a well-defined belief system to which you can apply them.

And, again, if you had that, you’d be “decided.”

Should you choose between personalities, then? My understanding is that many “undecideds” do exactly that. Unfortunately, with these “meal deals,” you can’t say “I want this candidate, but hold that particular personality trait, please” the way you can say “hold the mayo.” You can’t request “extra integrity” or “more tact,” the way you might ask the burger jockey to “double the onions.” But there’s a much larger problem with choosing between the personalities of the candidates.

What you’re seeing are not really the personalities of the candidates at all. The personalities you perceive, are public images which have been carefully crafted by experts to appeal to you. Then, they’ve been savagely attacked by other experts hoping to repel you instead. Finally they’re thrown into a media grinder further distorting those images by sensationalizing them, for ratings or for “clicks.”

Your impression of a candidate is made up partly of what his campaign wants you to think about him, partly of what his opponent would like you to think of him, and partly of whatever the media thought might draw your attention. How much any of those factors actually resemble reality, is anybody’s guess.

So don’t guess. Forget personalities.

Instead, I encourage you, Undecided Voter, to believe the worst about the candidates. Consider any ambitious politician to be a threat to your freedom and prosperity.

Now, consider the media that will be informing you about him once he’s in office.

Surely you’ve formed an impression of the media; you can’t avoid it, no matter how you might want to (and that, oh Undecided One, I do understand). Think over what you’ve seen during this campaign season.

We have one candidate who is scrutinized, investigated, confronted, criticized, and held accountable; one whose every flaw the media (including Big Social Media) examines, whose every word they parse and fact-check enthusiastically. The media has proven its diligence in reporting any wrongdoing or potential wrongdoing by this candidate.

We have another candidate whose scandals the media reports grudgingly (if they must), even when the clickbait potential is enormous; who’s allowed to go into seclusion without being hounded; who has a well-deserved career-long reputation for gaffes, but doesn’t seem to inspire any late-night comedy routines.

In other words, if one of these candidates is reelected, the media will continue to do its job and work overtime, seeking out problems and airing them, and encouraging the public to demand accountability. The other candidate, if elected, can reasonably expect a friendly media (again, including Big Tech) to permit him a great deal more privacy.

We’ve already seen the media, which is supposed to keep him accountable, sweep potential scandals affecting his campaign under the rug.

So, all other things being equal I encourage you to vote for the candidate against whom the press will act as a watchdog over the one for whom it will be a lapdog.

Your freedom and prosperity will be that much safer, then, and you’ll have bought yourself some time to start looking over the issues themselves before next time. 

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