Letter from the Editor 

I've been reading recently about "low-information voters." These are people who, for the most part, don't read newspapers, political websites, or opinion magazines to learn candidates' voting records or political positions. They don't pay much attention to politics at all, which in theory makes them susceptible to whatever information is put under their nose — whether it's from a talk-radio host, a preacher, a co-worker, a random e-mail rumor, a bumper sticker, or a catchy slogan on a T-shirt.

These are not discerning voters. Another name for them would be "dumbasses." I say this without fear of retribution, knowing that low-information voters, i.e., dumbasses, don't read this column. (I can't wait for someone to write me and say, "That's CRAP, buddy. I'm a dumbass, and I read your column.")

But I digress. For years, low-information voters have been seen as easy targets, a group that can be manipulated at will by a clever politician. Nuance and policy positions are for pointy-headed liberal losers. All you need is a simplistic slogan: "Mission accomplished!" "We can't cut and run." "He's a flip-flopper." "Jews hate Jesus." You get the idea.

Similarly, complex policy issues are distilled into easy to digest messages: "He'll raise your taxes." "She has San Francisco values." "He'll take away your guns." "Drill here, drill now."

Nationally, we're seeing a major push for low-information voters by the McCain campaign, which seeks to paint Barack Obama as a vapid celeb. "Hot chicks love Obama" is a tag-line at the end of one of McCain's latest ads. (Frankly, I think conceding the hot-chick vote is a bad idea for McCain. I mean, what's the corollary? "Ugly schlubs love McCain"?)

The point is, the campaign seems to think there are lots of fools in America who will decide their presidential vote based on their resentment of uppity celebrities. ("Uppity" being the operative word here.)

Locally, 9th District candidate Nikki Tinker did her best to get out low-information voters — people she perceived would be receptive to messages that painted her opponent as the wrong race and wrong religion. Unfortunately for her — and fortunately for Memphis — there were way fewer dumbasses hereabouts than she was hoping for.

Bruce VanWyngarden

brucev@memphisflyer.com

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

News Blog

Hurricane 901

Music Blog

Listen Up: Nathan McHenry

News Blog

Rate Changes to Come for Metered Parking Downtown

Intermission Impossible

The Winners for the 2017 High School Musical Theatre Awards

Hungry Memphis

Ghost River's Grindhouse Headed to a Can Near You

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

The Lovers

Music Blog

The Restoration of John Gary Williams

News Blog

MLGW and UPS Receive Sustainability Award

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Bruce VanWyngarden

Readers also liked…

  • Zooey and Bowie

    Time moves in one direction, memory in another. — William Gibson

    This week, an old friend sent me a photo of myself, circa 1978. In the picture, I was thin, long-haired, and standing barefoot on the porch of an old farmhouse where we lived, just outside of Columbia, Missouri. It was a shock to see it. I don't remember my friends and I taking many photographs, and I didn't remember this moment ...

    • Jan 14, 2016
  • Detention Deficit

    Exactly seven years ago this week, I wrote a column decrying a proposal by city engineers to turn the Overton Park Greensward into an 18-foot-deep "detention basin" designed to stop flooding in Midtown. The engineers claimed we'd hardly notice the football-field-sized bowl. "Except," I wrote then, "when it rains hard, at which time, users of Overton Park would probably notice a large, 18-foot-deep lake in the Greensward. Or afterward, a large, muddy, trash-filled depression."

    • Mar 10, 2016
  • Vendor in the Grass

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks. — William Shakespeare

    Is there such a thing as "bad activism"? I'm asking because I'm seeing a lot of criticism of the folks who are protesting the Memphis Zoo's encroachment onto the Greensward at Overton Park.

    • Mar 31, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation