Pandemic blog 36: undecided

Oh yeah, on top of everything else, there’s an election. Ordinarily, this time of year, I’d be spending some of a nice weekend day knocking on doors around Madison and making sure everyone’s registered to vote. This year, no door-knocking, not on the Democratic side, at any rate. So I did some phone calling, though it’s not something I love doing. And among other people I talked to one actual honest-to-God undecided voter.

Talking to strangers about politics makes you realize lots and lots of people don’t fit into the political boxes you understand from Online or TV or the Paper of Record. This voter was an African-American Iraq war vet in Georgia. He didn’t like what Trump had said about veterans. He didn’t like Harris’s record as California AG. He doesn’t like that Biden is in favor of a mask mandate, which he sees as “dictatorship” like what he saw in Iraq. He thinks the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security is too low and the elderly can’t live on what they get. He thinks a one-time $1200 payment is too little stimulus for ordinary people and most of the COVID relief went to big companies instead of into people’s pockets. He wants to know why we couldn’t have had monthly COVID relief checks like other countries. He thinks there should be term limits for Congress and judges. He worries that Biden is old and that Harris will become President and that based on his experience in combat women tend to “falter in the heat.” He thinks both candidates are “playing the race card.” He thinks Congress bickers too much and doesn’t do anything. He thinks we should throw them all out and start fresh.

I did not convert this guy to Joe Biden — how could I? I told him he had thought about the issues a lot more than anybody else I’d talked to, which is true. I tried to give him some sense that the reason I’d spend my afternoon calling strangers on the phone is that there’s a real difference between Joe Biden and Donald Trump and that difference directly affects things he cares about. He’s still undecided.

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2 thoughts on “Pandemic blog 36: undecided

  1. So he’s undecided because he’s trying to decide which candidate is worse. Last time those voters broke heavily for Trump at the last minute, but this time we’ve been through four years of a Trump administration (“faltering in the heat,” I guess), and we can compare it against eight years of an Obama-Biden administration.

    Other than the open sexism, how could he possibly think Biden would be a worse choice?

  2. Ryan Jones says:

    O. K. So, you’re a Democrat. I’ve been here a long time. Ever since I read How Not To Be Wrong, and that was a couple of years ago. I have a copy of your entire pandemic blog. And now I find out that someone as intelligent as you is a Democrat. A big time Democrat.
    Do you know what Republicans think about you? We think you are crazy. I mean we think there is something literally wrong with your mind.
    Don’t you know that socialism is a dysfunctional form of government. Not only that, but people like you think we can actually control the weather. You shove your so called data in our faces and say, look!, and temperature is raising!, maybe we ought to get rid of all the cows! And you live in Wisconsin. I live in Georgia. If we could actually control the weather, don’t you think we would want to turn the thermostat up a little. I mean it gets too cold for me during the winter, and I don’t live in Wisconsin! BUT you wanted Obama back in office. I mean, Hope and Change! Who could disagree with that!
    I don’t know what the world is coming to!
    I dare you, I double dog dare you, to defend yourself.
    Now, don’t get me wrong. I know Trump is his own worst enemy. I mean he has to be so right, so perfect all of the time. His ego is so huge, I don’t see how he makes it through the White House front door. But, Biden, he doesn’t know where he is half the time! And if you disagree with him, he calls you a lying dog face pony soldier.
    I’m sorry. My life is hard. But things haven’t been going as wrong for me as they have in the past. The truth is, in general I look up to people like you. I’m in graduate school right now, and you’re a lot smarter than my professors. My best friend is a college professor. But he is a Republican, like me. Maybe we’re just lucky we were born in Georgia. Maybe, if I was born some place else, I’d be a Democrat, just like you, and I wouldn’t know any different. My sister is a Democrat, but I blame that on McGovern and the Walker twins from down the street. They would get her on the phone and convince her that she should go to the whatever concert with them just because she had a car. There’s two of them, you see, and they would gang up on her, and get her to do anything they wanted. They still have control over her, and they are 68 now. I’m about your age, or maybe a few years older. I remember the blue album from when I was a kid too. I’d like to think we are not that different, that is if I could actually be as smart as you. Truth is, I don’t know how smart I am. Still trying to work that out. Looks like I’m going to be a computer programmer, if they will have me at my age. I’ve heard they might think there is something wrong with a first time computer programmer over the age of 30, much less one over the age of 50. Truth is, I’ve never been a success at anything, so far. But I still think you ought to know better than to be a Democrat. I’m still trying to figure out this messed up world, but I thought that surely someone as smart as you are would know better than to be a Democrat.

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