What About the Voters, After All?

Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather near Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on April 2, 2023. (Photo by Giorgio Viera/AFP/Getty Images)

In trying to figure out what will happen in 2024, we all understandably spend a lot of time talking about the candidates, the parties, the PACs—all of those entities shaping, or hoping to shape voters’ behaviors.

But we don’t spend nearly enough time or energy on the voters themselves. Partly, that is because it is hard to do. The electorate keeps the secrets that it doesn’t yield up to pollsters until Election Day. That’s partly because even the voters don’t know—sometimes especially the voters don’t know.

They don’t know because of the actions of the previously mentioned entities out there feverishly shaping, wheedling and cajoling. Asking a politically persuadable American which candidate he or she would prefer assumes that the voter a) knows and b) cares who Gov. Whatshisname or Sen. Whosywhatsit is and what they’re saying or doing about the scourge of immoral advertising for terrible light beers or the regulation of chatbots.

Opinion polls this far from an election are measuring the opinions of the disengaged but interpreted by the overly engaged. Hilarity often ensues.

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