I have long entertained some theories about elections, and how and why people vote the way they do.
Factional Voting: On any given issue, from the most basic township trustee election to the Big One…voting for POTUS. Take for instance a local Council Representative…there are three factions in play: FOR, AGAINST, EITHER/OR. In a nutshell…supporters of a candidate, enemies of his or hers, and the vast pool of voters who don’t know…don’t care…or make it up on election night.
FOR a candidate… close friends, true supporters who know what is going on and are informed voters, and enemies of the opposition candidate.
AGAINST….people that don’t like the candidate, disagree with the issue, hold strong but informed reasons for being opposed.
EITHER/OR… voters who never heard of any of the candidates…just pick one from the list. Know them both and are ambivalent about them, and those who just don’t care.
There are reasons for NOT LIKING a candidate, of course:
the way they wear their hair
friends do or do not like them
because they are a woman/ or a man/
pure straight-party-ticket voters.
In reverse, the same reasoning can be applied to LIKING a candidate.
The Either/Or category makes up much of the “swing-vote” of people who don’t know, don’t care, never heard of any of the candidates. can’t stand “uppity women,” or a myriad of other reasons for “deciding at the last minute.”
UPDATE FOR 2018 MID-TERM GENERAL ELECTION:
The above discourse on “why/why not” as applied for individual candidates in specific election applies as well to the local Ward Councilperson as it does to the representatives of the United States Congress.
I normally do not vote straight party ticket….especially in local city elections. The dichotomy of the political parties usually doesn’t apply on a local basis. Candidates usually declare themselves either Democrat or Republican for assorted local political reasons. However, this year, 2018, I feel forced to vote a more or less straight ticket…because the expectation of independent voting by representatives is no longer valid. Both parties have ways to control members to prevent diversion from the party-line on big ticket items. No matter how “independent” a candidate claims to be, when it comes to the nitty-gritty of a very close vote, pressure is very effective in the form of financial help or political advertising “attack ads” that are so popular. Sure—one can buck the system, but that is an at-your-own-risk choice.