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10 myths about American politics

Former President Donald Trump (left) is Republican candidate for Governor Carly Lake "save america" A rally in support of the Arizona GOP candidates on July 22, 2022 in Prescott Valley, Arizona.  (Mario Tama/Getty Images/TNS)

The media often justify election coverage by arguing that a critical democracy requires a well-informed public. Unfortunately, their reporting often repeats long-standing myths about politics that undermine this worthy goal.

Here are 10 of the most obvious myths.

1. The most important thing for voters is the quality of the candidate.

In this era of celebrity, name recognition is more important than material accomplishments. There’s no other explanation for Donald Trump’s electoral success, Kari Lake, J.D. Vance, Mehmet Oz’s candidacy, and Kanye West and Dwayne Johnson’s contemplation of future candidacy. Many voters accept celebrities either to gain proxy status or because celebrities express long-held beliefs.

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2. Voters prefer candidates who exhibit bipartisanship.

Future voters often express chagrin about politicians failing to “get along.” Still, they mostly vote for the primary candidate that reflects their most polarizing stance. Candidates react accordingly even after winning.

3. Voters like positive messages from candidates.

Voters also frequently lament attack ads that combine half-truths about their opposition with horrifying images and ominous music. However, research shows that most voters respond to negative ads more than positive ones.

4. Voters pay attention to candidates’ records on issues.

Candidate websites contain detailed views on a wide range of issues, but there is little evidence that voters carefully examine these websites. In fact, voters barely notice any change in a candidate’s position, except on a few issues they already care about.

5. Voters care about the future.

Some candidates tackle long-term issues such as the national debt, the fate of Social Security and Medicare, and the future of our planet. However, voters are focusing on short-term concerns, such as petrol prices and deep-seated issues like abortion. To some extent, this reflects how the media treats the issue.

6. Voters will evaluate candidates using similar criteria.

While they argue that moral integrity favors candidates whose commitment to “family values” reflects voters’ For example, feminists endorsed Bill Clinton. Evangelicals still support Donald Trump. But less popular politicians often suffer voter wrath for less egregious transgressions.

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