Tuesday, March 20, 2012

More voter irrationality

The American Enterprise Institute held a forum on the 2012 election earlier today. Skip to the 59:30 mark and note Henry Olsen's comments about what Mitt Romney should do to improve his standing with rural voters. They are essentially three-fold: campaign more with his wife (who "humanizes" him), speak more slowly and learn more about sports, which Olsen notes that President Obama excels at. 

There seem to be two possibilities here. One is that Olsen, who studies political trends for a living, is flat wrong and that voter attitudes towards Romney have nothing at all to do with how human he appears or his knowledge of sports. The other possibility, which doesn't seem entirely far-fetched, is that such voters actually make decisions about which candidate to support based on such factors despite the fact that they have absolutely no bearing on one's competence to be president. Such calculations, in turn, help determine the next occupant of the White House and thus the kind of policies that will govern our lives.

How utterly bizarre. Why should we entrust such a system with any more power than is absolutely necessary?

Update: Also see this article from The New York Times, which appears to support Olsen's hypothesis. 

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