Is Charisma An Election Issue?

[twitter]Have you ever really thought about how and why you vote the way you do?

Are you Liberal, Republican, New Democrat, Independent, etc because your parents were? Is there one burning issue that supercedes all others that causes you to lean one way, irregardless of the others?

I always thought it was weird that the unions were heavy NDP supporters. The NDP are clear backers of gay rights and marriage, and in the same breath the blue collar boys are rallying around them as “the union friendly party.” Something tells me the union issue superceded the gay issue, when it came to their voting.

The U-S is going through a tumultuous election campaign that started about a war, became about an economy and is slowing degrading into a debate about race and gender. The war and the economy were legitimate “issues,” but in the end, the biggest “issue” facing anyone about to enter a voting booth becomes the most important – charisma.

I’m not eligible to vote in the US election, but like any political junkie I’m standing on the sidelines cheering on my favourite horse. I “thought” it was Hillary Clinton. I don’t know why, I just “liked her best.” I grew up in aLiberal household at the peak of Trudeaumania, so I’ve always sided with the Dems, but honestly my cheering for Hillary had as much thought as to who I will cheer for in the World Series. I didnt analyze anything, I just went with my heart.

Darren Barefoot waded into the issue today, throwing his support behind Barack Obama.

I’m rooting for Obama because he seems like more of a visionary and an agent of change. He’s also the superior orator. That may not make him a better president, but I might have to listen to one of them for the next four or eight years, so I’m going with the better public speaker.

I’m guessing Darren’s always had a liberal attitude, but when it came to deciding who to cheer for, it was charisma that became the big election issue, not the actual issues.

The website lets you rate the issues facing the current candidates on level of importance to you. Then it asks you 20 questions based on those issues. It then matches your personal and moral values with the values expressed by the candidates so far in the campaign.

I took a similar poll in the last Canadian election, I should have voted for the Bloc Quebecois. For a vehement nationalist like myself, this was a bitter pill – but I’m guessing my unique combination of liberal and conservative attitudes is reflected by Gilles Duceppe, notwithstanding clause be damned.

Mike Gravel. I have no idea who he is. I don’t know what he looks like. I have never seen him speak. But according to the survey at, he’s the candidate whose values best match mine, at 83%. John Edwards is a 74% match, Hillary is a 73% match.

Mike Gravel isn’t grabbing any newstalk air time. He’s not being featured on Oprah. He may not be the mostcharismatic candidate in the campaign, but he’s the one that matches my issues the best.

I think all voters should be asked to take a test like, instead of voting. You are asked what you believe in, which issues are important and your personal values are then matched with the candidate best reflecting your belief system. Think of it as Lavalife for the Voting Booth.

Something tells me that if we elected officials based on the issue of issues, instead of the issue of charisma, we’d bitch a lot less and have a more effective government.

That said, it will be a cold day in hell before I put an ‘X’ next to a candidate from the BQ.

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