Recognition of Voter Uncertainty Can Bridge the Partisan Divide

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Partisan politics is a type of motivated reasoning that defines the political opposition as wrong regardless of the topic or position taken. Fake news catalyzes partisan politics by purposefully encouraging emotional reactions that far exceed the counter reaction when the truth becomes known. People remember emotions more than facts so the damage caused by fake news continues. Technology enables a partisan environment where extremist label even the most blatant partisan politics as a virtue.

What is the solution to these information age problems? What can help put us on a path towards using technology to increase tolerance and understanding instead of helping us blast fake news and partisan rhetoric at each other? I am certain the answer is respect for our individual rights: (1) to be uncertain, (2) to not be bullied into undesired actions, and (3) to freely  seek information to make better informed decisions.

Uncertainty has a bad reputation as a characteristic of weak minded people. I could not disagree more.  Uncertainty and the desire for information is simply the opposite state of being from Know Positive or Known Negative states with the associated desires for immediate action.  I believe uncertain people need to be recognized and counted instead of marginalized and forced to act by people with partisan political agendas.

Uncertain people are the natural judges and followers of certain people and, when in a recognized majority, tend to naturally marginalize partisans who tell lies of omission and spout fake news. Open discussion forums like social media are in theory rational over time, but in practice information overload allows us to only absorb a comparatively small amount of information with little opportunity or desire to seek an objective truth.

So how can an understanding of uncertainty improve how our existing political system functions? First, there must be a forum for where uncertain people can go to be counted in a meaningful way and to judge the consumption worthiness of alternative information sources. In this type of uncertainty safe environment, extreme opinion holders will soon discover how tolerant uncertain people can be of alternative viewpoints.

Uncertainty recognition is about empowering the political center to push back on extreme political views. The counting of uncertain people is initially just for the reference of policy makers, but eventually uncertain people deserve the right to vote with real policy implications like power sharing and policy continuation until policies that command action-oriented majorities emerge. In this way a vote for uncertainty becomes the bridge across the extremist partisan divide that many people desire.

 

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