By Darren Johnson
With the debate tonight at 9 p.m., airing on the major networks, let me opine a bit about the polling that will happen after.
Though I feel like whenever I write something like this I have to add a disclaimer – I am not a Trump voter. In fact, as a journalist, I have made it a point to be politically independent my whole adult life. I see the pluses and minuses in all candidates, and even managed a small minor party for awhile a decade ago to prove my equal concern for both sides of the aisle.
But in this day and age, people assume writers have an agenda. I have no agenda except stating as truthful of an opinion as possible. Anyway…
One thing I wouldn’t count on are polls that say Hillary Clinton is going to easily win the presidency. It seems that every poll is saying this. But, if you recall the primaries, the polls were often wrong. Bernie Sanders, for example, won a lot more states than expected.
One thing the polls cannot register is “the secret voter.” The person who says one thing, but – once in the voting booth – does another.
In America’s politically correct, slightly paranoid current mindset, there may be a lot of people unwilling to express their true opinions.
Now, Hillary Clinton is a media darling. People who live in hubs with a lot of corporate media – think New York, Washington D.C. and California – have no need to be secret about their candidate. She’s the trendy choice.
In states that are decidedly red, the Clinton voter may want to stay quiet, yes, for fear of being bullied and shouted down, but those states aren’t going to give their electoral votes to Clinton, anyway, so the secret voter isn’t all that important there.
But, because Trump is such an outrageous candidate, people who live in purple states – those states that are about half red and half blue – may want to stay mum. It’s embarrassing to publicly defend the guy. So they keep quiet, even when a pollster calls, but they will privately vote for Trump in the booth.
Examples of secret Trump voters may include: Husbands whose wives are pro-Clinton, but it’s not worth the argument to defend womanizing Trump out loud; people who are against political correctness, but work in a politically correct environment; people who ultimately like the idea of chaos and anarchy, but they live rather conformist lives, with a mortgage and job selling insurance or whatever. Their vote is a dirty secret in their otherwise boring lives.
These people can’t outwardly profess their love of Trump, or the secret vote they will cast, but don’t be surprised if Trump ends up winning more purple states than expected. Perhaps enough to win it all?
Now, third party candidate Gary Johnson may also get secret voters – the “don’t be a spoiler” people can be bullies, too – so it can be argued that Democrat-leaners should encourage Johnson voters, not put them down, because they are probably more likely to hurt Trump than Clinton.
It’s the bullying culture – propped up by the Internet – that turns people into secret voters. Try to be better than that and let the people around you, and on your social media, speak their minds without harsh rebuke. Don’t be a bully, and then we may know what the people around us honestly think.
And that’s the last word … for now.
Darren Johnson is a college communications instructor and owner of Campus News, a popular newspaper that hits 37 colleges in the Northeastern US. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.