On Single Issue Voting

Election Reflection

Many people’s reaction to the complicated mess of the campaign was to blot out everything except for one very polarized issue (like the Supreme Court, abortion, or the immigration of brown people). It is a partially understandable approach since it has the consequence of making the choice very easy. But we need to encourage people not to be single issue voters. More than that, we need to make it unacceptable.

The election of Trump serves as a counterexample to an idea we all somewhat grant—namely, that single issue voters comprise an acceptably large and appreciated share of the electorate. It is somehow a subset of the ‘informed voter’ set. But the concept of an informed voter needs to have internal to it a requirement to be educated on a broad range of issues. It is time to admit that the single issue voter is hiding intellectual laziness behind a facade of passion or moral conviction. Under the surface sits a misguided reductionistic political philosophy: ‘everything of value somehow comes down to this here one issue’. We all know, rationally, that there are other issues, many of which have significant impacts on people different from us. But we need to feel appreciation for that fact deep in our souls. Most importantly, we need to consider those other people and, in some cases, be willing to sacrifice what we want for the sake of them.

Begin by calling out the defects of single issue voting. Do so tactfully, and with an understanding of the voter’s position in society.logo-yellow

7 thoughts on “On Single Issue Voting”

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