David Rodeback's Blog

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Wednesday, October 6, 2004
Kerry/Edwards Should Worry About This Undecided Voter

No, I don't mean I am an undecided voter - though I might be, if the Democrats had nominated someone with a brain, a spine, and a healthy comprehension of the war on Islamo-Fascist terror, like Zell Miller.

I sometimes wonder about the undecided voters to whom the media and the campaigns pander. I wonder how anyone with any principles and any awareness of the world could be undecided in the current pre-election climate, when the choices - at least in the presidential race - are so clear-cut.

Lately, though, I've been running into a certain sort of undecided voter who is far from the milquetoast, vacuous creature I usually envision when I hear the words undecided and voter juxtaposed. This voter is fairly intelligent and shows at least a moderate level of awareness of the world and its challenges. This voter tends to be female, but could be male.

But here's the interesting part: This voter is not vacillating between George W. Bush and John Kerry. She (because I have to pick a pronoun) already hates the incumbent and probably wouldn't vote for him if you put a gun to her head. She thinks the current administration is a bunch of cynical, corrupt liars, especially about Iraq. (I'm not sure that's a rational position, but that's another story.) What she's undecided about would scare me to death, if I had a personal interest in the future of the Democratic Party.

Despite her hatred of President Bush and her excessive susceptibility to the spin of the Big Media Acronyms, she is not certain that she can bring herself to vote for John Kerry. She doesn't think he's presidential material, and she's disgusted that the Democratic Party couldn't come up with a more credible candidate, with a respectable record and some firm personal convictions beyond the basic conviction that he deserves to be president. Her choice is between voting for John Kerry and not voting at all - or voting for a third-party candidate, which amounts to the same thing.

Here's the dilemma, if you're one of the hundreds of people trying to make decisions for the Kerry campaign. Bashing President Bush isn't going to sway her; she already hates him. Persuading her to believe in John Kerry as a firm, visionary, truth-telling leader is next to impossible, because the accumulated evidence is so overwhelming to the contrary. The only real solution would be to change the candidate. It's too late to do that for real, and I don't think a last-minute political and character conversion would be convincing, even if it were genuine. But it might be interesting to watch the attempt.

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