There have been times when I voted for a political candidate. I looked at the candidates and thought Jimmy Carter was ahead of Gerald Ford, so I voted for him. I voted for Senator Tim Johnson because he was head and shoulders above his opponent. I wasn’t alone in voting for Carter in 76 – nor against him in ‘80. Tim Johnson wound up with a brain bleed, surgery, and finished his term in the senate voting straight party line. I can’t say that my idea of voting for the best candidate worked out well. We don’t really elect morons – using the term in its classical sense:
“Moron” was coined in 1910 by psychologist Henry H. Goddard from the Ancient Greek word μωρός (moros), which meant “dull” and used to describe a person with a mental age in adulthood of between 7 and 10 on the Binet scale. It was once applied to people with an IQ of 51–70, being superior in one degree to “imbecile” (IQ of 26–50) and superior in two degrees to “idiot” (IQ of 0–25).”Wikipedia
Jimmy Carter was an Annapolis graduate and a nuclear engineer. Tim Johnson was a law school grad. Heck, even Joe Biden graduated from law school – though his record of plagiarism could have contributed to his success.
I have cast my ballot for both dims and repugnants who went on to make me question my judgement.
In https://pprg.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/10-The-psychology-of-voting.pdf Jon Krosnick writes on “The psychology of Voting.” He states “Usually, a person affiliates with a party because that party shares his or her preferences on the handful of policy issues that he or she cares most deeply about. So voting based on party is an easy way to vote for the candidate who will push government to do what you want it to do most.” Okay, I understand that one – since neither party wants to do what I want, it’s a bit of a stretch. In general, I find successful politicians easy to like – curmudgeons don’t get votes.
Krosnick’s “good news” statement is “Another popular assumption among political observers is that most Americans are pretty cynical about politicians and expect the worst from them. But instead, political psychologists have found that when Americans begin to learn about a new politician, they approach him or her optimistically, hoping for a “white knight” to appear who will be competent, trustworthy, and effective. That means that new politicians coming onto the national scene for the first time aren’t fighting quite the uphill battle many observers think they will.” Okay, that explains how the new guy gets elected president?
“Another interesting finding from political psychological research is that people don’t treat good and bad information about a candidate equally. If a little creature is to survive in the forest, it must optimistically look everywhere and anywhere for food, but it must also be hyper vigilant for any signs of danger, so it can make a quick escape when necessary. In a similar way, voters are especially attuned to unfavorable information about political candidates. Learning one bad thing about a candidate does much more damage to the candidate’s image than learning one good thing helps. So it is no surprise that we see so much negative advertising: a dollar spent criticizing your opponent will help you more than a dollar spent spreading the word of your good qualities.” This makes sense – yet I can’t understand why both major parties insist on nominating vile candidates. We’ve moved a long way from the slogan “I Like Ike.” Still, there is something to the old California slogan, “If it’s Brown, flush it” that was used against two governors.
It’s a damned poor ballot that doesn’t give the option “none of the above.”