Presidential candidates strive to attract your support
The Democrats are working hard to attract your attention for the 2020 presidential race. 20 candidates took the stage this past week, with none radically different from each other, to hopefully highlight the respective nuances each brings to the race. The sound bites (only seconds in length) that each managed to provide was a tease for more to come in the many subsequent debates.
Meanwhile, Trump has been campaigning, via his rallies, throughout his tenure in the White House and promises to ramp up the rhetoric to attract more attention. Never mind that former Massachusetts Governor, Bill Weld, is also vying for political notice as he runs a primary campaign against the president.
What will attract your vote?
What decision points will you use to sort out the many messages, the wheat from the chaff, to help you settle on a chosen candidate? There is much to consider.
A preliminary concern is the many audiences that candidates attract. We’re not all the same and, as David Brooks tells us in The New York Times (Dems, Please Don’t Drive Me Away), the 20 Democratic candidates are missing a large swath of voters. He says:
According to a recent Gallup poll, 35 percent of Americans call themselves conservative, 35 percent call themselves moderate and 26 percent call themselves liberal. The candidates at the debates this week fall mostly within the 26 percent.
Adding to the concern, PennState University Libraries informs us that low voter turnout for presidential elections is common. The 2016 election, for example, brought out only 58.1% of the eligible voters. Presidential election turnouts seem to be dropping. The study informs us that 2012 brought out only 58.6% while 2008 enticed 61.6% of the eligible voters to cast a ballot. Are presidential elections losing their attraction?
Five factors used to attract your support
Many factors need to be considered when selecting a presidential candidate, especially for primary elections. While this is hardly an exhaustive list, one might consider: Electability, Policies, Presentation, Resume, and Charisma. As a test, you might match your preferred candidate against each and see how they might attract a winning run.
Electability is akin to picking a racehorse. When betting at the track, comparisons of speed, endurance, and experience matter a lot. It’s one against the others. Likewise, when considering a presidential candidate, we compare the candidates to see how they match up against others. Which one will match well against Trump?
Candidate policies tell us a lot about their focus, priorities, and creativity, both on the domestic as well as the world stage. Which policies (principles and strategies) do you favor or reject?
Presentation is what the debates and Trump rallies is all about. Substance can be set aside for emotional appeal and persuasiveness. What attracts you in the moment and what will endure the tests of office? Does the candidate touch your heart or attract a visceral response that translates into support and a vote?
A candidate’s history and experience — the Resume — is brought out to prove a candidate’s fitness for the job. Is it complete? Does it compare with what the demands will be? Does it compare well with your expectations?
Charisma is a common commodity among candidates at this stage in their political life. It speaks of influence and a following. Charisma is that factor that is at work off the stage, in the back rooms, that will influence others to follow or contribute or to serve. It’s likability at work.
Elections numbers that matter
Let’s go back to the low voter turnout concern. Now that you’ve hopefully picked a winning candidate, are you going to vote? If you plan to vote, will you vote for a candidate from a dominant political party (mainly Democrat or Republican)? And, if you will, are you living in a state that will reward your vote with Electoral College representation? In other words, will your vote matter?
Consider some more numbers: Because of the winner-takes-all aspect used before the Electoral College kicks in (it’s not part of the Electoral College), about 46% of the votes cast are not represented. Remember, only a percentage of eligible voters barely north of the 50% mark cast a ballot. We then throw away 46% of them. It means viable ballots for our next president will be cast by around 28% of the eligible voters. And, if the election is close as it was in 2016, the ballots actually cast for the president will be around 14% of the eligible voters. Will your vote be included in this percentage?
Equal Voice Voting makes every vote matter
Equal Voice Voting (EVV) ensures that every vote always matters. Further, it ensures that every state is always heard. While we may struggle to attract citizens to register to vote and then struggle to capture their votes, shouldn’t we value those votes that are cast? By adopting EVV we can, in a one-step process, almost double voter representation in our presidential elections. And, in doing so, we just might attract more voters to participate in the process.
We can have a presidential election process of which we can be proud if we use EVV. Our presidential election will be more inclusive and popular. It will mean that our candidate considerations for such factors as electability, policies, presentation, resume, and charisma (and more) will make a difference.