Suppose we start with a hypothetical blank-slate voter and ask: Where do we get the ideas that impel us to vote for one person over another?
Here’s a start on answering that question with an acronym called CRIIPPPP: My aim is to gather here all the possible sources of information/feeling/inclination toward or away from a candidate.
As you read, you might consider past votes you’ve cast, and how much that vote depended on Character, Party, Influentials, Promises, etc.
It might be interesting to score yourself 1-5 on these factors, with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest, to see which sources tend to most influence your voting.
Here we go. Consider how much your vote is based on
Character–all our impressions of the candidate that pertain to personal moral and ethical substance. What do we find admirable or shameful in the person?
Record: Everything that we can learn from past voting record and/or record in private business, etc. What mark has this person made in the world, so far as we can tell? Are these votes a reliable indicator of what might follow? Is there one vote, or one failure to vote, that we consider disqualifying?
Influentials: People, groups, institutions that sway us one way or the other. A trusted friend, a veteran voter, endorsements of unions, etc.
Intelligence: How smart do we think this hopeful is? And how much does our judgment of her intellect matter?
Party: Our loyalty to or distrust of a political party or faction; our sense that this person’s membership in a party gives us some reliable blueprint, however sketchy, of what she will do in office. As I’ve noted before, Party used to matter much more to me than it does now, but things change.
Promises: Everything the candidate claims he or she will do if elected. Our sense of how sincere these promises are, whether they are really pandering, etc.
Possibilities: Related to the above, how Possible is it that the candidate can actually accomplish what she claims to want? Example: If X says he’ll nationalize the oil companies, how likely is it he can really muster the votes to do it? If a candidate we like seems to have zero Possibility of accomplishing anything, do we really want to vote for him? Seems this would be esp. important for a Single Issue Voter cf. guns, abortion, etc.
Propaganda: Here I’m talking about propaganda running both ways, for your side and against your side. To take an example from the current campaign, I’m sure that x number of voters right now believe that Obama is a Muslim and that McCain wants a shooting war in Iraq for the next 100 years. Both notions are false, but the propaganda is out there.
I’ll return to this, filling in other factors as I think of them.
In fact, now that I think of it, what about Fear? I don’t think I’ve ever based much of a vote on Fear, but many people say they’re afraid of this or that candidate or party. I guess that has to go in….Maybe it’s CRIFIPPP, to preserve the ‘nym.
And what about Hate? Maybe I’m being too sunny here…wouldn’t be the first time. Guess that would be CRIFIHPPP….Hmm. Of course, many people probably disguise their Hate as something more noble. Ignorance? Another “I”? I think I’ll let that be subsumed under Propaganda, since the ignorant are more likely to fall prey to it.
I’ll take another swing at this soon.