On the road or the (campaign) trail?

Interested reader JH wants to know:

What is your opinion of groups endorsing a particular candidate in the presidential election? From what I can tell the Crabb Family, Palmetto State and Gold City have all in some ways let it be known who they support.

As have Greater Vision and at least a few of the Kingdom Heirs, who were wearing Bush-Cheney ‘04 buttons all week long during NQC (and at their convention booth, Greater Vision had this slightly unsettling life-size poster of Bush wearing a “I’m a Greater Vision fan” sign). And I’m sure there were and are other conspicuous endorsements out there from other sg performers and groups. Though I personally wouldn’t make political endorsements if I were a performer, such endorsements are predictable, unfortunate, and, I think, largely unimportant. I say “unimportant” because I tend to look at the situation pragmatically. And the most important thing to say from a pragmatic point of view is that it’s unclear how much political endorsements from sg groups, whether from the stage or on websites or in public statements or whatever, really matter. Assuming that sg fans are statistically similar to the rest of the country, they break down into roughly three groups: hardcore conservatives (mostly Republicans), hardcore progressives (mostly Democrats), and a sliver of undecideds in between. People in the first two groups aren’t likely to change their votes based on sg performers’ endorsements because either the fan and performer already agree or because the fan who holds a different political position than the performer likely does so strongly enough that one or two endorsements from even a favorite group or performer are going to do nothing to change that position. But then there are those undecided voters. Honestly, they’ve always been somewhat of a mystery to me. Who are these people? I understand why campaigns court and coddle undecided voters, but why on earth are they venerated as the ideal citizen, intellectually above the fray of everyday politics and enviably careful with how and for whom they vote? Voters who have gotten this far along in a presidential election cycle with as high a stakes as this and still don’t see enough substantial ideological, moral, and practical policy differences between the two parties to make a decision have to be, quite frankly, so catatonically disengaged and irresponsibly inattentive that the only thing we should be lavishing on them is all the information they’ve been willfully ignoring over the past several years. Which is all my way of saying it may be in some cases very likely that an undecided voter who also happens to be an sg fan might very well be persuaded to vote one way or another based on a performer or group’s endorsement. But then if an endorsement from a sg group is likely to sway your vote, then so are countless other influences equally as irrelevant (what you ate for breakfast or what your horoscope says or what William Shatner thinks or whatever). What’s more, there’s no guarantee that this kind of politically self-dispossessed voter won’t swing the other way under some other kind of influence. So bottom line: political endorsements from sg groups are a nice way for performers to feel politically responsible but probably do very little to change the outcome of elections.

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