"Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half." - Gore Vidal
Info Courtesy of Cracked.com
8. Myth: It's All Pointless: Candidates Don't Keep Their Promises Anyway
“...they say if you don't vote, you get the government you deserve, and if you do, you never get the results you expected.” - E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a GadflyNothing unifies voters more than the cynicism they share after a politician lies to them. Those who vote do so because they're optimistic, but at the end of the day, we're always ready for politicians to fail to deliver on any of their campaign promises once we put them in office. We believe that hopeful future presidents, like all job candidates, will say anything their prospective employers want to hear in hopes of securing the gig.
Fact:Statistically, those failures were actually the exception, not the rule. Political scientists in the 1980s ... found that 75 percent of pre-election pledges made by presidents Wilson through Carter were met.
During the 2008 campaign, Obama made 508 distinct promises... he's successfully followed through on 193 of those promises. That sounds a little low, but you have to take into account the fact that ...a president can't just do anything he wants -- he has to work with Congress, and because Congress isn't exclusively populated by Obama's friends, it means that he needs to compromise. Which he did, on another 79 of those promises. Another 44 have stalled, while 102 are still "in the works." Add all that up, and you'll see that Obama at least made the effort to fulfill some 418 of his 508 campaign promises. Nearly half of those efforts have, so far, been successful.
7. Myth: Campaigns Run Mindless Attack Ads Instead of Giving Us Substance
“Don't blow off another's candle for it won't make yours shine brighter.” - Jaachynma N.E. Agu, The Prince and The Pauper80 percent of voters find negative ads unethical and damaging to democracy. Plus, we assume that politicians are twisting the truth to manipulate us. This isn't the 1950s, guys; we don't fall for everything we see on television. Why not just knock it off and stop ruining democracy?
Fact:When exposed to a barrage of negativity, we may feign disgust, but are actually more likely to show up at the polls. Oh, and we're better informed, too -- in one study, people who watched attack ads knew more about the issues of the election than others. After all, negative commercials prompt fact-checking and force opponents to issue a response to clear their names. So what some would call deplorable smear campaigns that belong in the gutter, others would call a dialogue. And it's the voters who benefit.
6. Myth: The Two-Party System is Dividing Us into Opposing Tribes of Extremists
"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right." - H.L. MENCKEN
...how can the same country that offers 500 varieties of dog toothpaste only offer up two viable options for the most important job in the country? Look at your Facebook feed -- everyone that you haven't already blocked for their political rants is bemoaning the fact that both Mitt Romney and Obama suck. Which explains why 57 percent of Americans wish that they had at least one more option at the poll. Surely there has to be a better way.
Choices are nice, but there's one underrated advantage of the two-party system: It makes everyone more moderate. Multiparty systems, as attractive as they may sound, also lead to more fanaticism.
Fact:In 1800, Presidential Candidate John Adams warned that if Thomas Jeffreson won...
"... murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will be openly taught and practiced. The air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes." - John AdamsWhat qualifies as "harsh" now would be considered weak centuries ago, and in fact, anywhere else in the world today. For example:
- Watch this actual riot that broke out in the Indian Parliament
4. Myth: Campaign Spending is Out of Control
"I really feel kind of guilty spending 80 million dollars. People are starving in the world." - Penelope Spheeris
President Obama and Governor Romney raised $769 million and $642 million, respectively (as of September 30, 2012) -- that's $1.4 billion total, for a freaking political campaign. And that's not even counting the tens of millions poured into political action committees.
How can something this important be decided by a billion dollars' worth of ads that spam the commercial breaks of Two and a Half Men?
It is really important. Yet when it comes to spending, most industries put politics to shame. For example, in 2011, General Motors spent $1.78 billion in advertising to be the No. 1 car company in America, which is a fraction of the nearly $14 billion spent by the entire auto industry.
"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." - Napoleon BonaparteObama was caught saying that rural voters cling to guns and Bibles! Romney was taped admitting that he doesn't care about half the country! Any time a politician accidentally slips and says something stupid, condescending or offensive, you better believe that all of the armchair political scientists you work with will show up the next day saying, "Well, Biden just made a gaffe and called all women lazy; this race is as good as done."
Michael Tessler, an associate professor at Brown University, set out earlier this year to see if he could discern any significant impact from a particularly nasty Obama gaffe: his claim that the private sector was "doing fine" amid one of the worst economic crises in history. In the end, there was no substantial difference in political preference between the groups that were and weren't aware of Obama's highly publicized slip-up.
"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal." - Emma Goldman
"I have never voted in my life...I have always known and understood that the idiots are in a majority so it's certain they will win." - Louis-Ferdinand CelineAfter the Nixon/Humphrey election of 1968, a year that also saw the assassinations of two major political figures, the U.S. was just plain tired, and Americans decided that they'd rather stay home and nap for the next election in 1972. Turnout dropped like a rock, going from around 61 percent to 55 percent, and it just kept going downhill from there. At its lowest, 1996, only around 48 percent of voters got in on the action, and according to the numbers, we're only now returning to the same voter levels as 1972.