Editor's Note: Florida is one of the key swing states in the 2012 election, along with Indiana, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Nevada. For the next several months, we'll be asking voters in each of these states to describe the mood in their state and discuss what it's like to live in a swing state. Here, Florida resident Charlie Thompson shares his thoughts about swing states and the electoral mood in Florida.
The campaign season has definitely arrived on Florida’s “Treasure Coast.” Hardly an hour goes by when one or more TV ads denigrating the president or the challenger isn’t aired.
These ads will have no impact on the “true believers," who will vote along their party lines in lock-step without question. However, the ads suggest that neither party is in touch with a significant segment of the electorate - those who see little substantial difference between the parties and view both, and everyone associated with them, as corrupt.
Neither presidential candidate is generating much excitement. It’s rather like being given a choice between leprosy and cancer. Of course, this attitude is far more damaging to the president, who is seen to have failed to deliver the meaningful change he promised in 2008. At best, he’s seen as a weakling; at worst, a self-serving hypocrite. Thus, I suspect that many who cast inspired votes in 2008 will stay home or will cast “protest” votes against whichever candidate they feel has betrayed them. This frustration can change only if at least one party actually acknowledges and understands the deep disgust and contempt that colors the political attitudes of significant, even decisive populations of voters. Then, this party must take positive action to reverse these negative perceptions.
I myself probably exemplify the totally disenchanted voter. I am encouraging others to vote, en masse, against incumbent members of Congress. Thus, I’m shamelessly trying to take advantage of the general disgust being expressed by many voters on both sides of the spectrum. There is more to the “fire the all” approach than first appearance suggests.
Finally, the concept of “swing state” has little to do with politics per se. Rather, the designation “swing state” more accurately describes a population so completely “split” that only a relatively few votes can affect an election. And, of course, swing state become valuable only when the number of electoral votes in play trumps the popular vote as it first did in 1824 (John Adams v. Andrew Jackson) and recently in 2000 (George W. Bush v. Al Gore).
Thus, the swing state concept is merely an exercise in “gaming the system.” It’s a little discouraging to know that as a voter in a swing state, my vote can be negated via organizational manipulation that is pretty much completely beyond my control. In this respect, it’s just one more level of disenchantment.