Friday, June 22, 2012

Anatomy of Apathy

This week, we discussed Joe Heck's social media town hall and what was revealed about Heck's priorities and Congress' agenda. It was really insightful in highlighting what's really at stake in this election.

Yet sadly, some Nevadans don't want to see anything of value in participating in this election. Last night, someone forwarded me Jane Ann Morrison's column in yesterday's R-J. It's simultaneously saddening and infuriating... But not because of Morrison. Rather, she was trying to debunk claims made by someone writing her to justify his rejection of voting.

Basically, this guy is unemployed and underwater on his home, and he wants to blame "all politicians" for it. And because Congress can't do anything, that means it's pointless to vote for anyone.

This guy can't be any further from the truth... But he certainly does look to be running into the scenario Salon's Steve Kornacki described.

The Romney campaign, as I've been writing, is banking on the tendency of economically anxious swing voters to turn on the guy in charge and latch on to the opposition candidate as a vehicle for their frustrations. This is why Romney is not exactly straining himself to spell out detailed policy positions and proposals. The idea is to avoid being identified with controversial and potentially divisive views and to focus on stoking the outrage of swing voters over how rotten Obama's economy is. If they want to blame Obama, the thinking goes, these voters will find a way to rationalize it and support Romney; no coherent policy blueprint needed.

Except there's a twist, one that Kornacki seems to have missed. Americans are becoming increasingly frustrated with the failure of Congress to agree to anything to help boost the economy. And as Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital comes into clearer view, he's not being viewed as the "economic messiah" many pundits assumed he would. However, some voters are responding to this with "angry apathy" as they wonder how anything can ever be done.

Certainly, we've seen plenty to the contrary as Nevada Democrats are getting excited about reelecting Obama and Republicans are getting excited about... Umm, Ron Paul. However, stuck in the middle are some voters that aren't paying too much attention to what's happening, except they figure they don't like it and there's no point in participating.

Long story short: They're angry. They're scared. They're in distress. And now, they're set to give up as they don't see a way out of "The Great Recession".

Of course, what they're failing to see is that the only way to change course is by voting for the change one seeks. Otherwise, nothing happens. What they're missing is that a certain G-O-TEA faction in Congress is blocking economic progress and playing political games with their lives. And by responding with apathy, these non-voters are doing nothing to end that.

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