After the 2000 presidential election Ralph Nader tried to argue that he had taken just as many votes away from George Bush as he did from Al Gore.
I thought that this was a patently absurd claim. Why would someone who likes a conservative evangelical pro-business cowboy end up going with the liberal consumer advocate from the Green Party?
Why indeed. As much as I like to pigeonhole people into nice orderly stereotypes, there will always be individuals who insist on having complicated and unpredictable reasons for supporting something.
There are gay Republicans. Feminist porn stars. Jewish holocaust deniers. Black supporters of the confederate flag. Some of these people may have more rational justification than others, but I'm learning that whatever weird contradictory demographic you can think of, there's someone out there who belongs to it.
What made me come to this conclusion was listening to a story on This American Life yesterday about a group of life-long Democrats who are campaigning for McCain in Pennsylvania. These are not moderate fair-whether Democrats, but people who appear to be passionate about Democratic ideals. They said they'd never voted Republican in their life. And it's not like they were simply being racist (like the union members in a following story who told campaigners outright, "I will never vote for a n***er for president.") One of them was black, and even set off my gaydar when I heard him talk. A gay black Democrat supporting McCain? Seriously, WTF?
And they weren't just content to vote for McCain, they were campaigning for him. Hard. One guy had taken a week off from work in New York to travel to Pennsylvania and go door to door talking up McCain. It wasn't just their support for McCain that confused me, but their fervor about it.
My only explanation is that they were disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters who worked up such a hatred for Obama during the primaries that they're putting all their energy into getting him defeated in the general election. People interviewed said as much, saying that the Democratic party threw Hillary under the bus and they didn't trust Obama. That's all well and good, but why would you put all your energy into undermining the very issues that your candidate (Clinton) supports? There's really no rational explanation for that. Then again, people are complicated and there are always conflicting motivations that, if you could dig deep enough, there must be a logical explanation for. Even if the explanation is that they're schizophrenic.
Anyway, this got me wondering if there are any demographic groups that don't exist. The world is a big place (6+ billion people) and the sheer numbers alone make almost every combination possible. From what I've seen so far, I wouldn't be surprised if there were a lesbian libertarian Mormon Kucinich supporter out there.
Here's one that occurred to me, though: Is there anyone out there who is an enthusiastic, passionate supporter of both Obama and McCain? Someone who's undecided, not because they're lukewarm about the candidates, but because they can't decide between two such fantastic choices?
I'd like to meet that person. And write a dissertation on them.