For me, election cycles are a great opportunity to study human behavior. Whether they be local or national, the dynamics of opposing political views clashing among all walks of life and all educational levels is stunning. To me, it reveals the lack of strategic thinking among the voters who steadfastly argue their choices and platform.
For many of us, some series of events or pieces of information have become locked in our hearts and minds and form our political convictions. Short of a lobotomy, there is little that can be done to change the minds of staunch supporters of any given candidate or philosophy.
My question is about how much of the electorate is unswayable by events and facts and how many vote (or don’t vote) based on the barrage of information in every sector of the media? There must be a huge number whose decision to vote, and who to vote for, is decided by what they see in the media and what influence their circle of friends can have.
A year-long presidential race is a massive profit center for every TV channel, newspaper, radio station and social media outlet. It must be, because there is virtually nonstop coverage of every nuance of every event in the lives of every candidate and their party. The narratives and interviews of pundits are interrupted only by endless commercial messages and paid political ads.
If there is such a massive amount of political air time dedicated by the media outlets, then, statistically, they are betting that their particular coverage can capture a large enough following to keep up their ratings and market share. Higher numbers equals more sponsors who pay more and more for commercial time.
Hearing the same rhetoric and political slant over and over from any given source, must create an audience that can be influenced in how they vote, or not vote. Ergo, free elections are not really free. Too many turn their strategic thinking over to their favorite channel, radio host, newspaper or blog.
Then, after billions of dollars are spent attempting to influence the voting public, there is almost always an October bombshell that can change the political landscape at the last minute. How much does such an event have on changing what box a voter checks in November? What influence does a scandal or a tragedy have on keeping people at home, instead of voting?
Finally, how many voters are oblivious to the entire process? How many put pure emotion in who they vote for and whether or not they even vote? How much do non-informed voters contribute to the outcome of elections?
Seems to me that those billions of dollars spent on campaigning may be beneficial only to the Medias’ shareholders, and that is the price of free elections.