Armchair Politics

Armchair Politics

By C J Waldron

We all lead busy lives. Often we are too busy to pay attention to what’s going on in the political realm. Because of this, many of us decide to back a certain candidate, or affiliate ourselves with a particular political ideal based upon a single issue without wholly researching a candidate’s stance on other issues. In other words, we become armchair politicians.

It’s all too common. We are attracted to a candidate’s stance on immigration, gun rights, global warming or Wall Street, and we stubbornly refuse to listen to what they think about other issues. Oftentimes, this is intentional. Many candidates are one-dimensional and want to focus on a single issue while being deliberately vague on how they would solve a myriad of others.

These are the ones to avoid, yet so many Americans are attracted to these single-issue candidates. They respond to dog-whistle statements or tweets without researching the actual facts. They are too lazy or stubborn to do the research and therefore rely on questionable sources.

An armchair politician may support a candidate based on their stance on abortion. Many Evangelicals support Trump because of his current stance. They ignore his serial adultery, constant lying, separation of families and other troubling issues. They also won’t do the research on other policy issues because they wholeheartedly support this single issue.

Similarly, there are the Bernie-Backers who respond to his oft repeated “Wall Street” commentary while promising free college and universal healthcare, yet won’t press him on how we will pay for it. They ignore that he is a “convenient Democrat,” hasn’t taken a stand on many issues and lacks foreign policy credentials. They, too, are one-issue voters who will sit back and refuse to listen to other candidates, which only helps to elevate the opposition.

While we may not like the Electoral College, its initial intent was to prevent an uninformed populace from selecting an unqualified candidate. The Founding Fathers deemed the office of president to be too vital to be left to the general population, and so established a slate of electors to select a Commander-in-Chief, presumably based upon the will of a majority of Americans. The elections of 2000 and 2016 exposed obvious flaws in this process and have led to calls to abolish the Electoral College.

We need to take a stand against these armchair voters. The only way we can do that is to ensure that as much information is available as possible on each candidate. Given the massive political field of Democrats, this is becoming extremely difficult. As a result, many voters will be making their choice based upon a single issue, a less-than-reliable source or a political misstep, such as an awkward image or ill-timed phrase.

Let’s make it our mission to separate fact from fallacy.

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