"How could you say such a thing when in a democracy the people are, by definition, correct?" you ask.
Because there's no such thing as collective intelligence, that's why. Sure, there are individuals within a given society who happen to be informed and intelligent -- but it requires work to overcome the sort of inertia that has so many other people in that society pinned to their recliners watching "Dancing With the Stars" while precariously balancing a mound of salsa atop a tortilla chip. Intelligence is synonymous with information, the absorption of which ideally necessitates an active role.
Don't get me wrong: Passive voters shouldn't be patronized or treated as gullible fools. Many work hard, pay their taxes and only flop down in front of the television because it's their way to decompress after a long day. The problem is that this significant voter demographic is too overstretched to spend a lot of time dissecting the intricacies of electoral politics and the realities of what the media is churning out. They're looking for sound bites, shortcuts and distillation of the whole process so they can get on with their lives. And what they've been mostly hearing is that Mitt Romney wants to put Big Bird out of work and likes the idea of women in binders, in a professional sense.
The re-election of Obama would be a screw-up -- no question. Something would have had to go horribly wrong for that to occur. And that "something" would have been that Romney failed against all odds to convince voters that electing him would constitute less of a screw-up than the alternative. Based on current polling results, that's not an easy battle for Romney -- even though it should be.
Here are six ways that it could all go horribly wrong:
-- If Obama gives the impression that he cares about the middle class more than Romney -- and people believe him, if only because he has that "community organizer" vibe rather than a corporate executive one.
-- If Romney fails to adequately convey to voters that Obama's perceived competence in foreign affairs is primarily due to the optics provided by arm's-length outsourcing -- to former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and private contractors in Libya, to al-Qaeda-linked mercenaries in Syria, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in rare matters involving actual responsibility. At least with George W. Bush, everyone knew how the hot dog was being made and what was going into it.
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