Saturday, November 03, 2012


By Mustang Bobby

Does it really matter to you if someone else endorses a candidate?

I suppose it's interesting that Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the plutocrat's version of a maverick (he was once a Democrat, once a Republican, now an independent) endorsed President Obama the other day, but after the last week, it would be churlish of him not to at least thank him for helping out after the deluge. But I don't think he did it just for that reason alone; he's seeing which way the wind is blowing, so to speak, and the wind today seems to be coming from Chicago, not Boston.

But in truth I don't think endorsements should matter all that much to the average voter any more than a celebrity endorsement sells more coffee or boner pills. Most voters go into the polling station with one thing on their mind: What's in it for me? Forget the big issues like climate change or trade with China; will voting for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney make my life better here in my little world?

But there's one reason a lot of the campaigns make a big deal out of celebrity endorsements. They appeal to part of our brain that makes us read People magazine or Liz Smith's gossip column: it's the brush with fame that turns us on. Hey, I'm just like Brad Pitt because I like Barack Obama too!

It also cues up the lizard brain: make it about the primal fears of the voter and you can talk them into anything. A candidate will scare the crap out of you with threats of gays getting married and slutty college girls getting abortions even if you live in a town where the gay population is more likely to show up at Rotary on Tuesday than at the courthouse demanding a marriage license, and it's the housewife in need of a mammogram who loses when Planned Parenthood is run out of town.

So if you'll fall for that, perhaps you'll be impressed if Meat Loaf endorses Mitt Romney and Bruce Springsteen endorses Barack Obama. But neither of them are going to matter a whole lot when your local school district can't afford to fix up the classroom or the free clinic shuts down when some Jesus-shouting snake-handler warns of Hell on the sidewalk because they handed out condoms.

I endorse Barack Obama for president. So what?

(Cross-posted at Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

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