Diary

Low Information Primary Season

Watching Fox News doing a mini post mortem on Walker, I found myself getting frustrated. Their analysis is that, with the way he presented himself, Governor Walker didn’t come across as a fighter.

Well, why should he have to? Part of the case for Walker was that he is not only a conservative and a reformer, but a conservative reformer who’s been able to do it in a blue to purple state and still remain electable. I wouldn’t expect a blue state Governor to come across like an overt firebrand.

It’s already thoroughly proven that he’s a fighter. Don’t people know his record?

And that’s the thing. I think a lot of people don’t. Not really. Not in detail. I happen to become very familiar with the accomplishments of Governor Walker, because I already had strong feelings about the abuses of public sector unions, and because I have an aunt who lived in KY, and worked as a teacher in Ohio when they were trying to reform the unions there. And, perhaps a bit strangely, she constantly railed against Governor Walker constantly for months (she somewhat disliked Kasich -but it was Walker she really blamed)

Anyway, because he was dealing with something that was already a “hot button” issue for me (and one I’d hadn’t really seen anybody take on to that extent before) and because I had a relative who was geographically (somewhat) nearby  — I got drawn into learning more about the issues, and the Governor than most people probably bothered to do and over the years came to see him as a compelling choice for President.

But when I’ve talked to people who were leaning Walker and switched to Trump, or liked Walker but liked Ben Carson more, I get the impression their level of knowledge about him is something more like my level of knowledge about Bobby Jindal: I know he’s considered conservative, I know he was at one point a favorite of Rush Limbaugh, I know he did something along the lines of educational reform, and that’s about it.

It would seem like if I want a conservative Governor to be President, Jindal would be a natural next choice. But he doesn’t seem viable, and I googled him and saw something about “the much loathed Governor of Louisiana” and so started wondering if he’d be electable, and he could drop out any day now and I have other things to do – do I really want to put in the time to try and thoroughly learn about him?

…..and that’s probably the same logic a lot of people used when writing off Walker.

And it demonstrates how the media, and lots of polling people during the late summer about their casual candidate preferences, can play an inappropriately outsized role.

It’s hard to really get to know much about these candidates – much less form a conviction that one in particular should be President, when there’s so darn many of them. And the mainstream media is not helping.

So, while I am still very sad we won’t be inaugurating a President Walker in 2017, I do think he is right that it would be better if the field were to quickly narrow so that voters can really evaluate a few qualified candidates rather than bouncing round between literally a dozen. (who may or may not be qualified)