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Rhoads: What Vanity Voters Don’t Get

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Mirror-Mirror-on-the-Wall-The-Secret-Most-Effective-Relationship-ToolBy Mark Rhoads - 

There are people I call "vanity voters" who only move themselves to action every four years during a campaign for president. They have a very high regard for their own opinions and only the office of president is important enough to engage their attention.

What these vanity voters fail to understand is that the weight of their single vote when millions are cast is so much less than their potential influence on other contests down the ballot that are less glamorous than leader of the free world. Relatively, few people vote in primaries for the state legislature or county and local office compared to the national contest and yet that very fact makes their votes more important at the lesser level.

Individual votes count the most when only a small number will decide the contest. I have known candidates who won primary races for the state legislature by only ten votes and then went on to easily win a general election because the map was drawn to favor their party, so that nomination was tantamount to election.

The same effect is even more true in races for local school boards where the stakes for children are very high and should command the attention of parents who say they care about the quality of local education. But the irony is that many vanity voters cannot be bothered to pay close attention to a school board vacancy because they think the office is not important enough.

As a result, a conservative voter who thinks he or she is very well informed on national and international affairs nevertheless cannot find the time to do homework on who is running for school board or which judges who are running for retention should not be retained. Worse, these voters too often might blindly follow the sample ballot of some interest group that has an agenda counter to conservative principles just because they don't know any better.

Most vanity voters are not strategic voters. They vote when they are interested and do not vote when they are not interested.  That is a shame because they could be so much more influential in a race for local office. Most schools in Illinois and nationwide do a terrible job of teaching basic civics.  It might be fun for a school to run a mock election for president when that office is all in the news.

But I think a mock election for village president would to a lot more to teach students about how important local offices really are and how important a single vote can be.

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1 COMMENT

  1. You’re absolutely correct in your analysis, Mark.
    A lot of this problem is due to the new media’s concentration on Presidential elections, to the exclusion of all the others.
    As an aside, one of the saddest comments I heard on TV after the recent election came from a semi-educated union member, who told the interviewer he voted Democrat because he’d “be in trouble in the union” if he had voted for Trump.
    The poor sap never knew his ballot choice is supposed to be confidential?