In a recent effort to get Iowa voters motivated to vote, Ted Cruz used the tactic of publishing a person’s voting habits from the last couple of elections and assigning a grade to that voting performance. The tactic is based on the proven fact that voters are more likely to vote if they are in essence shamed into doing so with the knowledge that their neighbors will see how they are graded.
The real kicker is that on top of the flyer in big letters it says, VOTING VIOLATION. This prompted the Iowa Secretary of State to criticize Ted Cruz’s campaign reminding him that no voter is in violation of any law by the frequency of their voting. Cruz in typical politician bravado refused saying, “I will apologize to no one for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote.”
I suppose a good dose of shame can go a long way to get one to vote. I can assure you that this voter, who questions the underlying assumption that voting makes that much difference, would definitely not vote for someone who attempted to stigmatize my voting performance. The real kicker is that the percentages allotted all had a grade of C, D, or F and don’t actually seem to relate to person’s actual voting record.
So let’s add up Ted’s score as a decent, fair-minded politician. He believes in shaming people to vote. This takes him from the starting point of an A grade to a B. He sends out a flyer which implies the voter is in violation of election laws, this gets him a C. He double’s down on his sin, (the misleading flyer), by claiming it to be virtue, (encouraging them to vote), now he’s down to a D. Finally, the information on the voter’s participation in recent elections is just a sham, they are not real numbers. Congratulations Mr. Cruz you have just earned an F!
But wait I haven’t been perfectly honest. The flyer does state that it originates from the Cruz campaign. So would reasonable voters think that the whole campaign flyer was just a clever ruse to get them motivated? Yes and no. They would understand the flyer to be an election tactic. But emotionally they would see their name and the names of their neighbors on the flyer. Even as the voter realizes they are being manipulated, the mere threat of exposure accomplishes the goal and moves them to vote. Being a fair-minded blogger, I will give Cruz credit for telling the voters that the flyer came from his campaign. Thus his grade is raised to an F+. Ted how shameful!