That blog post I wrote up for this site on my brother-in-law the swing voter was recast for the Huffington Post. Feel free to post comments there. I would’ve preferred keeping the story more neutral – i.e. more quote-heavy on my brother-in-law’s actual thoughts – but HuffPost wanted something less “newsy.” Anyway, comment away.
Here’s the intro:
I just don’t understand swing voters. I simply do not get them.
The swing voter, that maddening, allegiance-changing species. A demographic so thin they are counted in the single percentage digits this year, but so utterly powerful that they will decide the election, just as they’ve decided every presidential election since anyone can remember. The media rush around looking to characterize them — soccer moms! Blue-collar workers! Unemployed a cappella singers! — but ultimately they can’t, because the only category they fit is the one they created for themselves.
To become a member of this group, all you have to do is not know whether you’re voting for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.
But how is that possible? Romney has been running for president for more than a year (longer if you count his 2008 attempt), and Obama has held the actual office for almost four. Moreover, these candidates obviously embody two distinct points of view about how to govern the country. Yet a billion dollars may be spent by the time this is all over trying to reach this tiny, tiny group, to get them to make up their mind by election day.
We could be over and done with this by now if it weren’t for these people.
I was shocked some years ago to learn that one of my own relatives is a swing voter. My brother-in-law, a recently retired Navy captain, changes allegiance to parties whenever the mood suits him. Dubya this year, Obama that. I spent an entire beachside family reunion in 2004 arguing with him — well, drinking and arguing, and arguing respectfully, because if you take this stuff too seriously, especially when family is involved, you will go nuts — but without any better understanding of how he makes his decisions. It’s all gut check, if you ask me.
But what a gut check! My brother-in-law is a swing voter with a winning streak. He’s voted for the winning president every four years since he started voting in 1984. That’s seven out of seven!
The rest of HuffPo blog post is here: