As we enter the home stretch of the 2012 presidential election, it is pretty clear at this point that the outcome will be determined by a handful of swing states: Ohio, Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada and Iowa. The rest of the country will be relegated to spectators on election night as we wait for the results to come in from these so-called “purple” states. And with the polls so close, there is one of group of Americans in particular that holds the fate of this election in its collective hands: the undecided voters. By most accounts, there are about five to six percent of voters that have not yet decided who they are going to support for president. These undecided voters are the crown jewel of the electorate. They are the subject of focus groups and micro-targeted advertising. Candidates specifically tailor their messages to appeal to these voters. They are soccer moms in suburban Denver, autoworkers in Ohio and senior citizens in Florida. Some of these voters supported President Obama in 2008, but have been disappointed with the progress over the past years. Others just remain hopelessly uncommitted.
But whoever these people are, wherever they live… I just have one question for them: How the #$%^*& are you still undecided? Surely, you’ve had plenty of time and information to make up your mind. After all, there has been two conventions, three presidential debates, hundreds of campaign speeches, non-stop television and radio coverage and nearly $1 billion in advertisements – and this does not even count the fact that Barack Obama has been president for the last four years and Mitt Romney has been running for president for the past six years and participated in over 20 debates during the Republican primaries. Apparently, that is not enough for you ponderous, ever-so-careful undecided voters. Most of us, even political junkies like myself, reached our saturation point long ago. We just want this election to be over so we can go back to watching television without being inundated with Super Pac ads. Hell, over 25 million people in this country have voted already! But you people seemed determined to drag this out to the bitter end.
Look, I respect the fact that you take your vote seriously. It is among our most sacred rights as citizens. But come on, you are seriously milking this whole thing. It’s really not that complicated. You two have candidates that have starkly different positions on just about every issue – health care, taxes, entitlements, abortion, gay rights, climate change… to name a few. What exactly is there to be undecided about, folks? This is not a Coke vs. Pepsi scenario. Yet, you insist on belaboring your choice. You are probably the same people who stand in line at fast food restaurants for 20 minutes and then wait until you reach the cashier to finally look at the menu and decide what you want. And, yes, I am that guy behind you – rolling my eyes and cursing under my breath.
The way the media (and presidential campaigns) cater to you undecided voters might lead you to think that you are special in some way. They certainly do make a lot of fuss over you. Maybe there is a perception that you are more thoughtful, and prudent than other voters or that you’re up late at night researching the issues. But I doubt it. I hate to break this you, undecided voter: you are not special. There are other adjectives that come to mind to describe you – like lazy and unfocused – but definitely not special. Perhaps, with pollsters monitoring your every move, you enjoy the attention. Fair enough. I live in a state that is largely ignored by presidential candidates and, honestly, I feel some kind of way about that. So, enjoy your last few hours in the spotlight. Come Wednesday November 7, the day after the election, you can take your rightful place among the unenlightened masses.