10.16.2006

What kind of voter are you?

Historically, people vote using one of two different ideologies. People are either values/issues voters, those who vote for people who believe in the same values as they do. Or they vote from an "approval" standpoint.

This is not to say that issues voters don't sometimes turn into approval voters, but by and large, those who are adamant about their values/issues being represented in an elected official can't stomach the idea of casting a 'dis-approval" vote for their incumbent, by voting for the other guy.

This is particularly interesting here in Utah, as well as other areas of the country, where the values-based candidate has spoken loud and clear since about 1994. Specifically in Utah, the "values-based" voting machine has meant for decades now that you vote party-line Republican, regardless of past performance. Period.

I believe this very policy, whether unspoken or not, has led us as a nation to the point we are today. The Republican party has set itself apart for a long time as the "traditional family values" party, at times donning the vest of Christianity, Evangelism, etc. This has worked well, because the party "values" mandate that you should "vote for those who believe as you do" has appealed to many people for a long time. they want our nation to be the world leader in moral conservatism. If we don't do it, who will? And if we don't do it, just how low will the world sink as a result of our abdication of these Christian values?

Up til now they have had to bear almost no accountability for actions taken, because they have worn this vest as an overriding set of standards. They pin their values on the vest like souvenir Olympics pins. It's highly advertised, and loudly touted. No values-based voters have been interested in voting (approving/disapproving) based on results achieved, but rather, they have toed the party line, because they are told that the values-based politician is who we should have in office, not the other guy - at all costs. They'll protect our national society from beginning the slide down that old, slippery slope of moral decay.

But now, the cost is getting pretty high - literally and figuratively. The party that has put itself in office on the ruse that they are the ones in the race (no pun intended) who have the high morals, values, etc, has failed to provide results that benefit anyone in any real purport. The result of this has been that the political party in power has failed to realize that there are consequences for poor performance.

Think about it this way: if you were the board of directors for any mid- to large-sized multi-national corporation, would you hire ANYONE who currently has authority to speak for the actions of government today? Anyone? I wouldn't. Not even a little bit, and here's why. To a very large extent, this country's affairs are a business. Sure there are policies based in moral judgments, etc, but on the whole, this country is probably one of the biggest corporations on earth. As a member of the board of directors, you VOTE on the performance of those who have accountability to perform certain actions in the corporation's name. As a board of directors, you are an "approval" voter, a "results" voter. You don't care what the CEO says he will do, says he likes, says the corporation SHOULD do - you vote on what he does and how well he does it.

If you are person who is religious here in Utah, you are, by percentages, LDS, and you have been taught about the unrighteous dominion of those who perceive they have a little authority. So the questions here are several:

1. Do the values-based voters now have a leg to stand on with regard to having put the Republican Party in power?
2. Will the previously values-based voters now be able to conscious an approval-based vote this time around? Many I know will indeed do just that. Will enough though?
3. Will it be enough to sway the power in DC back into a balanced situation?
4. And, more philosophically, should strict values-based voting be as heavily marked as it has been in the past?
5. And here's the kicker - does a vote for a democrat mean you cast your vote for Satan and his minions?

I don't think that philosophy has served us well. We are a split land on most moral issues because of the way these issues are handled, and there doesn't seem to be a good way to reconcile what is going on right now on most of those issues. They have taken energy and oxygen out of Washington, on a world-wide stage. The values voters feel that THEIR version of a particular value or moral stance should be thrust upon as all, for our own good. The result will soon be a puritan society with no color or variance whatsoever. But we'll all be saved. Does anyone really think that's a good idea?

None of these people would not make it in the MAILROOM of my fictitious corporation. They should all be forced to work at Walmart.

2 comments:

Reach Upward said...

While the GOP has long talked the conservative values talk, it has actually delivered very little to on these issues over the years. There have been a few important victories, but the GOP's biggest argument, as you note, is that they are holding the line. Conservative values voters have stuck with the GOP because the Dems appear to be largely going the other way on their hot button issues.

I doubt you will see a lot of these folks jump up and vote Democratic this year. However, I do think you will see a fair number of them that will simply sit this one out. A smaller number will vote for third party candidates. For these two groups, the GOP has burned its bridges with them. They are disenchanted with the GOP, but they can't see themselves voting Democratic either.

Since these people's votes would have leaned Republican, their failure to vote or their vote for a third party is by default a vote for a Democrat. But to them it won't matter, because they don't see much difference between the GOP and the Dems.

Socially conservative values voters are pretty strong on the issues that motivate them, but they are ambivalent on other issues. Hence, in Utah you have a socially conservative leadership that is fiscally liberal. But the Democrats also have a core group that votes Democratic regardless of effectivity because they represent (effectively or not) the values they espouse. There is another group that doesn't hew strongly one way or the other.

Considering myself to lean conservative, I am approaching this election with a very open mind. I am looking at all of the candidates in each race to see which one will best represent my concerns. There is no perfect match in even a single race, but that's the nature of representative government. I'm guessing that many of my votes will go to candidates that will not win their races. I may not be going with the winning team, but I will feel better about myself.

That One Guy said...

Good thoughts... I would think the abstinence from voting would be as close as some can stomach to casting a vote for "the other guy", as you note.