Kimberly Aldinger, 45, of Seven Valleys, a dialysis technician who voted for Hillary Clinton in the primary, is open to Obama but “until I see what he wants to change and how he’s going to change it, I am totally undecided.”
Sheryl Randol, 51, a single mother of three who works for a pharmaceutical company, wants to see the Iraq war ended but doesn’t know enough about either candidate.
Obama “has to show me that he’s got the intelligence and the people around him to make a difference globally,” she says. “I want to see concrete plans, not just spin.” ~Paul West
Reading about undecided voters is always an extremely frustrating experience. Granted, I spend much more time reading, thinking, writing and talking about politics than most people, and I am following the campaign even more closely as a blogger than I have done for any other presidential election, but these sorts of statements drive me right up the wall. I do understand that normal, sane people don’t want to spend much of their time thinking about politics, I know most folks are very busy with their own affairs, and I freely acknowledge that there is something odd about those of us who follow it very closely. Even so, there is still no excuse for trotting out these justifications at this point. The presidential campaign has been going on for almost a year and a half, primary voting on the Democratic side went on for six months and we had a mind-killing 20 debates, and the general election is now just a little over four months away. I don’t accept these cop-outs that any of the candidates have failed to “show” voters enough or that their proposals and plans are somehow still vague and undefined. If undecided voters are too busy, too uninterested or simply can’t be bothered to pay attention, that’s all well and good, but let’s not pretend that they can’t make up their minds because the coverage hasn’t been substantive enough or the plans aren’t specific enough. We hear this refrain about wanting to see “concrete plans” every election cycle, and every cycle we hear this after months and months of being inundated with such plans. How can someone who wants to see the war in Iraq ended not know by now which one is opposed to it? It defies understanding.
Even if you accept Chris Hayes’ explanation that undecided voters think politics is important, but don’t like doing political things, that doesn’t excuse such incredible disengagement. Hayes likened the undecided voter’s attitude toward politics to his own dislike of doing laundry; I would compare it to my dislike of driving. Even though I don’t like doing it, I do bother to acquaint myself with traffic laws and some minimal familiarity with how to maintain a car. If some people think of politics as a chore, you’d think they would at least make the effort to do that chore reasonably well.