Labels in politics scare me. That’s the conclusion I reached this weekend as my Facebook News Feed became alternating posts about political candidates. I get it. Labels are catchy. They sum up a campaign in three or less words. “Career Politician” sounds like a bad thing. “Outsiders” sound like a good solution to a broken government.
But the labels being used are dishonest: politically and intellectually. Take my experience this weekend: I was bombarded by Facebook posts telling me abut friends who supported a Senate candidate who “had a real job,” who is an “Outsider,” not a “career politician,” and a host of other labels. I knew who they were supporting because of the pictures associated with the posting.
There was just one problem. Michelle Nunn is not a career politician, had a real job, and would be an outsider in Washington. No one I asked wanted to vote for Nunn, even though she met the labels. No one would indicate they were inclined to vote for Nunn, should their candidate lose.
It gets worse. Know of anymore career politicians running this fall? Governor Deal has more than twenty-two years. Will the outsider’s supporters vote for the “outsider” Jason Carter? I doubt it.
Let’s be honest. Political labels sound good when they can be used to bolster a candidate we support. But what if the only criteria voters armed themselves with were labels? I think you would see results ideologically inconsistent with the voters beliefs. Drill down further, my generation receives information in 144 characters or less. Do we really want voters operating solely off “labels?”