Friday, October 3, 2008

Decision 2008

Lately, as the US has been in the midst of the presidential and vice-presidential debates, I’ve been pondering why people gravitate toward one political party or the other. Why might one particular candidate appeal to certain individuals? What properly justified true beliefs do voters use to make their selection, and what knowledge issues result from this? For one who is politically neutral, how might the candidates use emotion, perception, language, reason and logic to win his or her vote? What fallacies arise?

5 comments:

Rachel said...

timely question, Anna. (I am glad blog usage is starting to pick up!) Basically, the elections become so heated because everyone wants their truths given priority in government. I think that a lot of the tension/mudslinging between parties occurs because of the resultant increase in emotional involvement in issues - all of a sudden, beliefs are put back on the line (after four years). Personally, I think president would be one of the worst jobs of all, because it is an occupation that revolves around compromise of one's true beliefs in order to maintain popularity (prior to election) and facilitate cooperation (post election). Only a few of the politician's personal beliefs remain undiluted, and become their signature issues. Everything else they must try to make palatable to their opposition in addition to their supporters.

You asked about fallacies as well. One that I see as perhaps the most significant is the connotation/bias associated with the loaded words that Republican and Democrat have become. It is impossible to identify as a party supporter without receiving the stereotypes of and against the party. I think it is the super-strong connotations of the parties (ex: the self-serving narrow minded republican and hippy-dippy liberal dem) that make a reconciliation of their respective truths so difficult to obtain.

Eric Yin-Yang said...

For people who lean towards neither side like me, it really is personal morals, desires, and fears that propel us to eventually vote in any one direction. With the skewed, shifty elections in today's world, you never know where propaganda is being used to change your beliefs, so I think that before politically neutral people appeal to one side, they ought to consider the feasibility of the things advocated by politicians as well as the side-effects that may occur that they didn't mention.

ZoeW said...

I realized that while party affiliation is partly based on morals/ideas (generally your party matches your morals etc.), a lot of it is bias. As I watch the negative campaigning I see adds bashing both my choice and the oppositions. I realized that when I saw ones bashing my choice I scoffed, said how stupid it was they could only come up with negative things and defended my choice with the truth. yet, when I see the opposition being egged on I praise the attackers for showing the truth (even if it is just as much a lie as the one bashing my choice) and agree with the horrible things being said. I am ashamed that such hypocritical things go through my mind, but I feel like the intense competition kind of forces that into us - making some of us hate the other side because we want our side to win so much. It's too bad that parties can't find more of a middle ground because the competition brings out some of the worst in me and others.

Kenshin_Himura said...

Something that I have noticed that I have found to be weird in our modern-day society is that the candidates no longer match all the views of the people, ie people vote; not because a candidate will see through on the voters ideas but because the candidate has the most similar in ideas.
Thus: people who have certain pulls towards topics tend to favor the candidate who connects with them.
Another thing that I have noticed, especially in the Obama rally, is the passion people give, not necessarily for the candidates, but for the parties themselves. Take for example, the Democratic volunteers were handing out, "Vote blue down the ballot" flyers. They may not necessarily agree with all the beliefs, or even be the best candidate for the job, it is just the fact that because they affiliate themselves with a party, they feel an urge to win...

s.hannon said...

this i think is an interesting point to make. personally i feel like i am not as "up to date" with politics as i could be and especially for this past election, i felt like i didn't know all the issues the canidates had opinions and what their solutions to problems were. so this question i think is extremely important.

personally i think that most people pick a canidate because of the people around them. for example parents have a strong influence on their children. this is a very strong example because the parents are the people who really teach morals and when your parents morals line up with one canidate then most likely your morals are similar to your parents

but i also think that many people go with the canidate that is the most like themselves. for example this past election i felt like a lot of the obama supporters voted for him because he was black. i am an obama supporter so don't get me wrong, i felt obama was a good choice for this election, but a lot of news articles talked about how a lot of people if asked why they liked obama, they said (in not so few words) because he's black. i find this very interesting. i felt that obama being black really helped him in this election, not only because he would be the first black president but because so many people could relate to him.