An Open Letter to an Undecided Voter

I keep reading that there are fewer undecided voters now than at this same point in past presidential elections. Yet there are some.

It may be that there are some people calling themselves undecided who really, deep down, know who they want to vote for but just don’t want to say it out loud for some reason. And I appreciate that.

But some appear to be genuinely undecided. And these are the people who get rounded up by Frank Luntz and his ilk every four years and interviewed after debates. And I wish it would stop, because I honestly think some of these people remain undecided because they think it makes them special.

And every four years, these remarkable specimens say they are undecided because they don’t know how the candidates stand on issues, even after months of news coverage about how the candidates stand on issues. For example, NPR interviewed some undecideds after the debate from hell Tuesday night.

Zoey Shisler, of Tacoma, Wash., told NPR she was hoping to hear more about how the candidates would address the economy.

“All Biden had to do was convince me that he has policies that are gonna replace Trump when he gets in office, and he hasn’t convinced me of that,” she said.

Dear Undecided Voter:

Listen up. There’s this thing called the “internet.” If you can use it, go to the “issues” page on Joe Biden’s website. You have to get around a lot of obnoxious pop-ups asking for donations, but it’s do-able. Here is a link:

Joe Biden’s Stand on the Issues

This leads you to a page with more links to details on Joe Biden’s policy positions. You can … well, I can, anyway … read everything there in a lot less time than it took to sit through that damn debate.

On top of that, Biden has been running for president for several months. There have been interviews and articles in news media for months about his policy positions. The Democrats have a whole 91-page booklet called the “2020 Democratic Party Platform” available on the Web that spells out the policies Biden has agreed to support.

Granted, candidates don’t always stick to the platform after they are elected, but that’s true of everything else they say in the campaigns. This will at least give you an idea of the general direction he’ll probably wander off in.

Debates historically are piss-poor places to learn about candidates and their positions on issues. Even during a “normal” debate, the candidates are rarely allowed to say anything in detail and the moderators usually ask inane questions. The debates are mostly about watching to see if somebody says something stupid that will cost him votes, like when Gerald Ford inexplicably forgot that Poland was behind the Iron Curtain. That was classic. Seriously, the only information sources worse than debates are television ads and social media.

But if you sincerely want to know what candidates’ policy positions are, you have to be willing to make an effort to pay attention to the news and be willing to read stuff, like newspapers, because the teevee news rarely covers issues in depth. But at this point, given all the coverage, there is absolutely no excuse for having no idea whatsoever about Biden’s positions. I can appreciate that you might not know fine details, like Biden’s exact proposed numbers for marginal tax rates, off the top of your head. But you ought to know by now, for example, that Biden intends to repeal most if not all of Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy that have created massive budget deficits.

You do know that Trump created massive budget deficits, right? It’s been in the news.

Further, Donald Trump has been the bleeping president for going on four years now, and he and his shenanigans have been in the bleeping news several times a day every day for all this time. And Joe Biden was a bleeping senator for thirty-something years, beginning in 1973, and then was the bleeping vice president of the United States for eight years, and he was in the news at least once a month, if not once a week, all that time.

Yes, Biden has changed his positions on some things over the years, and Trump appears to change many of his positions several times a day. But by now you at least should have a pretty good sense of who these guys are, whether they are bright or stupid, mostly honest or not, are psychologically normal or belong under a bell jar in the psychopath museum, etc.

And they are the choices. Who’s it going to be? And how can you possibly live in this country awash with media all screaming at you about the candidates and be so unaware of what’s been going on? Where do you keep your head? Somewhere behind that box of old toys in the basement?

Being undecided doesn’t make you smart or special. It makes you pathetic. And I wish the Frank Luntz’s would stop interviewing undecided voters. Interviews and focus groups of undecided voters are interesting in a freak-show sort of way — as in wow, look at that two-headed snake! or wow, how can these people be so clueless! — but they are a waste of my time, frankly, and most voters’ time.

So get over yourselves, pay attention, make an effort, and either come to a decision or not. It’s up to you.