Bandwagon Voters and the Dysfunction on the Left
By Al Giordano
Somewhere in America – actually, on every street – there is an Independent voter, or a family of them.
Let's call them Mr. and Mrs. Independent. Contrary to the hype, they are less likely to be small-i independent in the sense of open-mindedness and careful vetting of issues and policy positions than they are prone to looking, election after election, for which bandwagon to jump onto.
And that explains how, on Tuesday, so many of the same Massachusetts Independent voters that cast ballots 14 months ago for Democrat Barack Obama went and did so for Republican Scott Brown.
The harsh reality is that so many of these “Independents” can more properly be called “Bandwagon Voters.”
Imagine Mr. and Mrs. Independent living on one of those streets. In the house to the right of them is one family, devout evangelical Christian, pro military interventions, and desiring of lower taxes.
Mr. and Mrs. Independent consider the family to the right a little bit scary and weird. In the privacy of their home they might even make fun of the family on the right, which reminds them of that of the cartoon Flanders family on The Simpsons TV show. And the Independents don’t generally agree with the Flanders' obsessions against abortion and gays. Still, they share some of the same fear of people of different races (most of the Independents are white), they also resent taxes, respect the military, and they also have to contend with the family in the house to the left.
In the house to the left is a more liberal family. Really, it more resembles the Simpsons themselves. Often, if given the choice between attending a party at either neighbor’s home, Mr. and Mrs. Independent will choose the party in house on the left, as they did in 2008. The Simpsons are generally more fun than the Flanders.
But if throughout 2009 the dysfunction inside the house on the left – the screaming matches, yelling, pouting, expressions of outrage and feigned outrage – spilled out onto the street, it is kind of understandable that this month they chose to accept the invitation of the Flanders instead of that of the Simpsons.
The house in the middle contains the Bandwagon Voters. They will reliably, year in, year out, follow the neighbor that seems like it is having more fun. They’re Good Time Charlies, essentially.
This dynamic – more than any public policy explanation – describes what happened in Massachusetts this week and why it happened.
And this is why we see so many preemptive screeds by the same “progressive” bloggers that have been doing the screaming out in the street all year long. They are now furiously typing to mock the idea that they have any responsibility for the Democrats’ defeat on Tuesday, pointing fingers at everyone else, because somewhere inside their little pea brains they understand perfectly well their role in the dysfunction that scared Mr. and Mr. Independent away this round, and they fear - as well they should - that Tuesday's defeat will fall harder upon them even if their behavior helped create it.
Worse, they’re using Tuesday’s results as permission to scream even louder, disturb the neighborhood even more, yell “I told you so” and make petulant demands that things must be done their way, or else.
And this only makes Mr. and Mrs. Independent more smugly satisfied that they attended the Flanders’ tea party this year instead.
And the continuing efforts at imposed buzzkill by The Poutrage Club of the house on the left only emboldens the Flanders, too. It gives them morale. It makes them more content, in turn, more confident, and therefore more attractive come November.
In that sense, they very much share in the blame that they so desperately attempt to assign to everybody else but them.
That's not "blaming the left." (I'm many paces to the left of most of those people, and many of you who share in this view are, too.)
It is, rather, identifying the dysfunction.