Imagine that you walk into a restaurant and there are only two choices on the menu. Both choices have their positives and negatives. A select echelon of individuals examines the entirety of both choices and makes a holistic decision, while the majority focuses on one particular trait and lets it trump all of the others. It sounds like a rather limited and foolish way to choose a meal, doesn't it?
Well, think again. This is exactly how we decide every four years who will become the President. We are presented with two choices, and often, we choose the employ the cliché “the lesser of two evils.”
We tend to think to ourselves: Both choices are not ideal, but hey, at least this one will not hurt me as much as the other. Every November, we as Americans make a decision like the majority described above. We focus so much on one particular trait/issue/policy and what a candidate says he/she will do concerning it, and we let that guide our polling decision.
This is a major problem. Too many voters are focused on just one issue; once they find a candidate that says what they want to hear about the issue, everything else gets tuned out.
There are many hot issues during election season: jobs/strength of economy, abortion, taxes, budget plans, foreign policy, gun control, immigration, health care, same sex marriage, etc. It is virtually impossible for a voter to find a candidate that speaks favorably enough on all of these issues to win the voter’s vote. And instead of weighing the positive and negatives of each candidate, many voters choose one issue and pick the candidate who speaks to it in line with the voter’s desires.
When this occurs, voters often make choices that are detrimental to their overall well-being, even though they secured their sought-after issue, because they stop thinking about everything else.
For example, let’s say that a voter is a staunch advocate of immigration reform and does not want the immigrat population in America to keep growing. This voter wants to see a president who will support Arizona’s hotly-debated immigration policy and incorporate it into the national platform. This voter looks at both choices and determines that Candidate A has overtly stated he/she would do this, while Candidate B has not. Because this issue is so important to the voter, the voter chooses to vote for Candidate A.
Meanwhile, the voter is a 50-year-old supporter of Social Security/Medicare and makes less than $250,000 per year. Unbeknownst to the voter, Candidate A wants to eventually eliminate Social Security/Medicare and wants to increase taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year by 4%.
By voting for Candidate A, the voter is actively supporting a candidate who would hurt the voter’s overall well-being without ever realizing it. If the voter had surveyed the candidates holistically, it would be a no-brainer to give up the immigration reform in favor of getting Social Security/Medicare and lower taxes.
Before you go to the polls this November, be sure to do your research and consider each and every issue. It doesn’t make sense to absolutely have to have that new cell phone with the cool LED that is going to cost you $200 to switch, and another $35 a month for a new data plan, when you can keep the phone you have (that functions well without issue), spend nothing, and knock out some of your student loans. If it is worth it to you and you have done your due diligence, by all means, switch away. But if you have not, a rash and truly uninformed decision only leads to unhappy results.