Enough With The Low Information Slur

When did “low information” become the new political slur de jour? People need to stop. Even Ted Cruz, who should know better, foolishly used it to describe Donald Trump’s supporters. Well guess what, Einsteins, low information likely describes 95% of the voting population compared to political hobbyists who argue about politics on FaceBook, Twitter, political websites, etc. the way others talk about sports or their kids. Political hobbyists are a pretty self-selected group.

So funny thing, there is a name for this phenomenon of low information voters. It’s called democracy, particularly modern mass democracy. And guess what again, one vote for Trump from one of his allegedly low-information supporters counts just as much as your wonky vote for Cruz, Rubio or Kasich or Clinton or Sanders.  

Traditional conservatives have long pointed out the problem with modern mass democracy, and more recently so-called neo-reactionaries have as well. You really want to take care of the low-information voter problem? Then restrict the franchise. Require a non-trivial civic literacy test to vote. But I guarantee you that there is a huge overlap between the people tut-tutting about low-information voters and the people who would lose their minds over a suggestion for civic literacy testing. They would surely call the poor soul who suggested it a racist, a fascist, a Nazi, the next Hitler, etc.

You know another way to deal with the problems of democracy? Put in power a charismatic man of action who promises to get things done. Sound familiar? But once again, I guarantee you that the same people IQ signaling about low information voters overlaps greatly with the people hand-wringing that  Trump is an authoritarian and a strongman and making Mussolini and Hitler comparisons.

There is also very likely a great deal of overlap between the crowd that frets about low information voters and the crowd that seems to magically believe that only the right half of the bell curve exists. Therefore anyone whose manufacturing job goes south of the border can just study to become a computer programmer and compete in our new 21st Century economy. Because you know, comparative advantage and all that. Likewise, they seem to think that if low info voters would just stop eating Twinkies and turn off Honey Boo Boo and read some Nozick instead, then they would make more informed choices. But as I recall, that whole Algernon experiment was science fiction so the bell curve isn’t going anywhere, and it isn’t magically drifting right either. If our high info friends would join the rest of us in the real world, they would realize that there are a lot of voters who simply aren’t capable of handling much political nuance or sophistication. Heck, I can’t even get supposedly high info political hobbyists to think outside their tidy little dichotomous Red and Blue boxes when it comes to thinking about Trump.

Conservatives who toss around the low information slur, whether regarding Trump supporters or otherwise, are foolishly reinforcing the narrative of their enemies.  Do they not realize that this is exactly what all the liberal opinion makers and their minions inhabiting the comments section at Huffington Post or wherever are saying about them. “Can you believe those low information conservatives don’t believe man-made climate change is settled science?”

Here’s the deal. Unless you support fundamental changes in our political system, then the low info slur is just a way to say “people who don’t vote like I want them to.” Sorry pal, but low information voters, like the poor, are always with us. So perhaps you would be better served figuring out ways to appeal to the low information voters most likely to support your candidate and/or party, rather than hector them or snark about them to your fellow high info circles on social media. Like it or not, politics is not about high minded discussions of the finer points of movement conservative ideology. It’s about getting real people, high info and low, to vote for your guy.

Unlike Ted Cruz, everyone didn’t go to Princeton undergrad and Harvard Law, and most that did support Democrats, so maybe, just maybe, calling the people he needs to vote for him in the general election should he manage to get the Republican nomination bad names is not the wisest strategy. 

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