Don’t Tell Me All That Talk Makes Voters Change Their Minds

I find it hard to believe that voters change their minds because of the blather they read or hear on radio or TV. I have to admit that my wife , Sandra, and I switched our allegiance from Clinton to Obama. But it wasn’t because of Obama’s silver tongue or the pundits’ compelling logic. We switched because Clinton’s pandering and trash talk turned us off. (No, we never once considered voting for McCain or any of his ilk.)

My daughter, Grace, is a rabid Clinton fan. Steam comes from her ears when she complains about the injustices that have been inflicted on poor Hillary. I don’t think for one second that she will change her mind because of something Obama says — or Keith Olberman, or Chris Matthews, or Wolfe Blitzer, or….

When I present crystal-clear arguments in favor of Obama, my friend Jan Hollingsworth, who is normally an extremely intelligent journalist, responds by calling him “an empty suit.” Nothing I say could persuade her to vote for the senator from Illinois.

So if I can’t win over Grace or Jan, do you think some dopey television commercial can do the trick? Dream on!

To me, the millions spent on political advertising are wasted. You would have to be pretty weak minded to be swayed by the specious logic and cheap melodrama in those commercials. The advertising money would have been much better spent if they had donated it to the Burmese (sorry, I can’t remember what they call Burma these days) tsunami victims or the earthquake victims in China.

And those endless speeches and interviews, making the same accusations and the same appeals day after day after day, might make the candidates feel better, but I am sure they do nothing to convert anyone. As the old folks used to say, the candidates “are preaching to the choir.”

My mind boggles at the possibility that some earnest Democrat might be swayed by something McCain says. He is as animated as a department store mannequin and as eloquent as the message that came with our answering machine. But even if he were a masterful orator, and even if he had something of substance to say, no one who wasn’t already in his camp would be susceptible to his appeal.

The vast majority of voters make up their minds early — and for reasons not even they can identify with certainty. From then on they only hear what they want to hear. And the only reaction they have to those who attack their favorite candidate is to dislike the attackers.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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