Of wings and moderates

The voters whose beliefs lie further to the right, the louder and more insistent are they. The voters whose beliefs lie further to the left, the more disappointed and reticent they are. This has several implications:

1. Romney haa had to jump around, flip-flop, etch his sketch and waffle in order to placate his wing. Meanwhile, Obama has been able to create his image as he likes, with less vocal criticism.

2. Obama may have misled his further left supporters four years ago, making broad promises for big change, I admit. Those are the people who turned out and gave him such a handy victory. Obama rallied a coalition of particular issue voters back then – gay rights, environmentalists, and a few others – and they were expecting big things.

3. Romney’s wing is mad about his religion, and whether he will be true to the more staunchly conservative things he’s said, or the more moderate ones on issues such as abortion, gay rights, and bailouts. Obama’s wing is wishing for stronger stands on the environment, climate change, transparency in government, and civil rights.

4. Many voters on their more extreme wings will be disappointed. We will hear more from the loud right than the left. Romney has nearly betrayed his wing. Obama has come closer to neglecting his.

5. The question remains about voter turnout. Does the quiet left still turn out? Does the frustrated right do the same? Obama should be more worried about his base showing up than Romney, because the right tends to be more passionate, and this can be gauged by the noise level.

6. Common sense and moderation favor the President. By this, I mean that the issues about which the right wing is so loud – fear of the deficit, fear about entitlement programs (which they lump together), fear of America’s international image, abortion, abortion and abortion – are the kid whose audience is limited. The issues for the left wing – the environment, civil rights, punishing corporate crimes, and the 99% – should find more fertile soil, nearly by definition.

7. Overall, I am buying the Electoral College prediction more than the momentum prediction. I do think some voters from both wings will turn out, and Obama will have the edge. There

Now neither Romney nor Obama will go out on any limb. They are doing their best to utter things that secure votes and be safe. Both wings are left to either be frustrated or pitch in for the lesser of evils. The campaign officials paint pictures during the primary; closer to the election, they must use photos and facts. It’s tougher to take pot shots on the national stage this close to the election.

Now, I am looking at David Brooks’ latest column, attempting to describe moderates. These are the remaining voters, most likely to be undecided. Moderates are certainly not void of principles, nor do they simply split the difference. They are simply less bound to absolutes; they are able to see gray where the wings see black and white. The wings deduct their ideas: conclusions come first, and points to back them up second. Moderates use induction: they observe the facts and ideas, and find principles from there.

That makes all the difference.

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About Jim

I've been leading outdoor environmental education in the YMCA since the 1970s. I love teaching nature, history, current events, being a dad, fixing stuff, groups, and general thinking.
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2 Responses to Of wings and moderates

  1. JP says:

    You make some good points, though I disagree that it is the moderates who are the remaining undecided voters. I fail to see how anyone can be undecided if they have consumed any media at all in the last six months or year. The only true undecideds are those few out there who have willfully (and that may not be a bad thing) tuned it all out and now will look at what is going on and make up their minds at the last minute. Because to be undecided between the two candidates has to mean, it seems, that you really don’t know yourself or what you believe. That you don’t know if you believe we are all in this together or if we all stand alone. That you don’t know if you believe we should all play by the same set of rules or whether you believe the wealthiest among us should get special privileges and breaks because they really are better than the rest of us. That you don’t know if you believe it is a good thing that Obama has restored respect for America the past four years. That you don’t know if you believe it is good that we have clean water to drink, safe food to eat, healthy air to breathe, or whether instead you believe that none of those things matter when compared to a corporation’s right to make a profit. Voters aren’t undecided because they are moderate. They can only be undecided because they haven’t paid any attention or spent any time thinking about the issues.

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