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Monday, September 29, 2008

A Political Perspective: Single-Issue Voters

Hello Bloggers – I’m honored that Papamoka and the team have asked me to join as a contributor to this, one of my favorite blogs. My name is Michael Boh and I recently started my own blog Our Rants and Raves with a small group of friends interested in progressive voices and speaking truth to power. It is a pleasure to join this blog and its readership, to expand the reach, and hopefully the depth, of our discussions.

My first post on this venerable blog will be a discussion about single-issue voters. It’s an issue that truly gets under my skin. We all know them. We sit at dinner parties and listen to them go on and on about the one issue they care about. It’s often taxes (money), abortion (enforced morality), the Middle East (Jewish and born-again Christians), social security (the elderly), and the latest, single-sex marriage (the closed minded).

I don’t wish to debate each issue on this blog, only the fact that single-issue voters base their voting decisions on that one issue. Some might call them passionate. I often call them narrow-minded and unbalanced. It’s a shame, but single-issue voters and so-called “independents” are the swing vote in pretty much every election. Studies seem to suggest that single-issue voters wait to make their final decision based on who addresses their issue most favorably prior to Election Day. Who knows about independents – it’s still a mystery. Single-issue voters are the ones targeted most by the candidates and special interest groups. They receive a lot of attention. They respond well to negative ads. It’s kind of creepy.

So, I would like to appeal to the single-issue voters out there. You need to open up to more issues. You need to vote based on multiple, important critical issues. If you love this country like you say, then you need to do your homework. As I tell my own single-issue friends, we have so many problems in this country that nobody has the luxury of voting based on a single issue. If you do, then I believe you are ignoring the other problems that are threatening our future. As voters, we must all take responsibility for the future of the whole nation, not just part of it.

For those who feel that voting based on a single issue is about the future of the nation, I would argue that you are kidding yourself. There are always multiple factors. Those of you who only consider lower taxes when trying to understand the economy should consider the cost of borrowing from our children as a price we cannot afford to pay. “Borrow and spend” is worse than “tax and spend” any day. Oh yes, and for those who actually believe McCain’s promise to cut enough spending, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. You need to learn more about economic issues, and how tax policy is only one tool in a government’s economic strategy.

In the end I’ve discovered that most single-issue voters don’t like debating their favorite issues. They seem to use them more as a crutch – a sort of personal voter cheat sheet. It’s what helps them decide who’s right and who’s wrong. They tend to be very black and white - no greys.

Defense is a great example. Whenever I try to make a case that American voters seem myopic about defense spending, and how we need to cut spending and share our role as the world’s police force, my single-issue voting friends simply say that it’s impossible. Nothing’s impossible if you try hard enough. We need to open our eyes on this and other issues. Let’s throw away our blinders. There are billions of dollars available to us if we could only change our single-issue, military-industrial mindset.

I think I’ve “blogged” enough on this one. I hope our single-issue friends see the light and tear up their cheat sheets before the election, for the good of our nation. Feel free to comment and I'll try to respond. Of course, you're welcome anytime over at my blog. Commenting on Papamoka from the Left Coast, thank you all for listening.

A Political Perspective - Michael Boh
from Our Rants and Raves

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Blogger Papamoka said...

Great article Michael. And we welcome all of the readers from the Left Coast. I've often pondered the single issue voters and I think you touched a nerve here with this post.

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