By Mike Thayer
This year's mid-term election is said to be a moratorium on the Obama agenda. The so-called experts and politicos are predicting a GOP takeover of the U.S. Senate and the pick up of more Republican seats in the House because people are going to vote in protest of Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.
I say that's horse manure.
People may indeed cast protest votes in November, but that's superficial.
REALITY: The number of voters that cast votes based on emotion, outnumber the voters who cast their votes based in reason, logic and common sense.
That reality dates back prior to the Reagan years. Reagan won in two landslides not because most people were exercising logic and reason, but because Reagan was talented enough to appeal to most everybody's emotional state. He didn't win because he had great ideas and a track record of success, he won because he made a majority of Americans feel good about their situation.
It's all about the ability to appeal to emotions. The activist majorities of both parties vote Republican or Democratic based in loyalty, not facts, logic, or reason. It's true, otherwise attack ads wouldn't work. It's all about the emotion.
Recent Presidential Election History
Reagan beat Carter so badly in 1980 not because of the misery index, but because Reagan's emotional appeal trumped Carter's. Nobody can argue that Carter wasn't a well-intended guy, but most Americans embraced Reagan's vision of a shiny city on a hill. It wasn't about the facts of the day, it was about how one man made people feel good and how one man frustrated so many.
George H.W. Bush won against Michael Dukakis in 1988 because America still wanted to ride the wave of the Reagan years. Bush 41 wasn't the most charismatic guy, but neither was Dukakis. Look at the political ads of that day, most all were emotionally based, not fact based. The Willie Horton ad tops the list. Bush 'out- emotioned' Dukakis.
Bill Clinton beat George H.W. Bush because of better emotional appeal. Take a step back and really think about that. If you review the economic numbers and current events of the day, they weren't that bad and not nearly as dark as Clinton successfully painted them to be. Incumbent George H.W. Bush should not have lost to a then-governor of a small state in Bill Clinton. But politically speaking, Clinton knew how to say, "I love you" better than Bush did. Logic and reason didn't win the day, no, based on emotional appeal, Clinton became president.
Despite Clinton adminstration scandal and shenanigans in the headlines during the '96 election season, Clinton beat Dole and won a second term because of better emotional appeal. There is a reason why history notes Clinton as a great politician and Bob Dole displayed little to no charisma in trying to compete against Bill's ability. It didn't hurt that the economy was growing, but in an emotionally based tangible, realize that people 'felt good' about the GOP takeover of the U.S. House in 1994 to keep the Clinton administration in check. You would think a cheater would be tossed out of office, but no, emotions went into the voting booth.
George W. Bush beat Al Gore - who was virtually an incumbent - because of a more tolerable emotional appeal. Yes, really. There is absolutely no logical reason behind Gore's loss in 2000. The economy was still seemingly humming along, the dot-com bubble hadn't burst yet. This election shouldn't have even been close. Gore wasn't charming, in fact, he was emotionally unappealing to enough folks to pave the way for a Bush presidency.
George W. Bush beat John Kerry in 2004 because of better emotional appeal. Let's face it, John Kerry just comes off as an elitist, arrogant, snob. Laid back beat uppity. The emotions, tied to Bush's leadership regarding 911, also fueled enough votes to give him a second term.
In 2008, up-and-comer Barack Obama beat consensus front-runner and supposed shoo-in Hillary Clinton in the primary because of a better ability to appeal to people's emotions. He flat out better manipulated Democratic party feelings than Hillary did. Obama then went on to beat John McCain in the Presidential election, with the emotional tag line of "Hope and Change." McCain only came as close as he did because of the emotional spike Sarah Palin provided to the party faithful. There was no logic in that election and sadly, far too many people still don't see that.
Obama beat Mitt Romney in 2012, because of a better emotional appeal. Obama's charisma was better than Romney's, who came off as stiff to many. But there's no logic in that. The economy was sour (still is), national debt was skyrocketing (still is), the signs of failed foreign policy were starting to show (prevalent now), the incidences of Obama administration cronyism were on display. Logically, Mitt Romney should have won that election, but like all recent elections preceding this one, emotions went into the voting booth. And wouldn't you know it, a bunch of voter's remorse stories are out there about how people wish they would have voted for Romney, and not Obama. Gosh, remorse, an emotional expression of guilt!
Emotion, not even party-line, belongs in a voting booth
Emotions aren't restricted to presidential elections either. They are prevalent in mid-term, state, county/city, special and school board elections as well. Some people vote 'against' rather than 'for'. That's emotional. Certain activists vote straight ticket under the guise of ideology rather than candidate qualifications, facts and reason. That's voting based in emotion. With that in mind, think now about Washington dysfunction.... Others vote with party in mind even in elections that are supposedly non-partisan. Some people vote motivated by loyalty rather than common sense. Again, that's emotionally based voting, just look at the illogical result of that..... discontent with the Johnson County board of supervisors, the Iowa City council and the ICCSD school board. There are those that vote based on how a candidate or issue makes them feel, rather than substance, record and/or results. OK, we're human, we're emotional. That's why most voters vote as they do. Sad, but true, because we're all capable of great logic, too few however, actually exercise it.
So when somebody tries to tell you that the election of Republican Joni Ernst to the U.S. Senate would mean the end of the Department of Education and Medicare, know that the person making such bogus claims is trying to play with your emotions. There's no logic or fact-based reasoning behind their argument. Throw the common sense card in their face.
Emotion-based voting has gotten this country into the mess it's currently in. Toss emotions out of the voting booth, they don't belong there. Faith in a party is fine, ideology is needed, but even that has emotional ties. Don't think party, don't think commercials, don't think about what your neighbor or relative said about the election when you go in the booth. Hopefully you've done your homework, toss the emotional nonsense aside, use logic, facts, reason and common sense when casting your OH-so-important vote. It's your obligation to be well-informed. It's your duty to be logical about it. Are you?