Election 2012, the Lack of New Ideas, and Undecided Voters

The 2012 campaign started in 2008. Arguably, it became a personal battle between Obama and anyone else around the time Mitch McConnell argued that defeating the President was more important than governance. Since then, they’ve armed their tanks with fear of isms: communism, socialism, welfarism, marxism. Undecided voters have been stuck in the middle or out on the edges; we can’t decide.

The new way forward, says the red team, is lower taxes, less regulation, and a respect for the Constitution. The details of this vision have been obscured by the fears and supplemented by a fist against the chest declaring an elevated inner Americanism than the blue team. Create jobs. Cut red tape. Lower taxes. America!

The blue team doesn’t use isms. They pick more positive terms: hope, forward, progress, and change. The details of their visions are backward looking; fear of the President of yesterday, the policies of the past, and the perpetuation of class-warfare. Protect minorities. Support women. Give us our fair share. America!

The decision we are told to make is to choose a red America or a blue one. Two America’s that put forward presidential candidates that don’t even talk about a Patriot Act that has restricted the freedoms we trumpet across the world for over a decade. Two teams that talk about foreign policy in terms of who is more dedicated to our trillion dollar a year operations in the face of $16 trillion dollar debt. Two partisans who have treated debate moderators in a way that would make grandma cringe.  Two candidates that have appealed to independents by telling them how scary the other guy is.

Neither candidate has suggested a real idea to solve the problems like Wall Street. Maybe a super-short term tax to penalize the split-second traders who treat the market like a poker table instead of the investment center it was meant to be? Neither has suggested a real plan to democratize the world in a more peaceful manner, like building schools and infrastructure instead of dropping bombs and billions. Neither has suggested that drug education may be more effective than a drug war. Whatever the solution to our problems, where are the real ideas?

As the partisan consultants and candidates search for that last minute talking point, pollsters and pundits brand the undecided voter as a low-information voter. Perhaps many undecided voters are just waiting for a last minute idea.