It's a psychological war, a war of mental categories, assumptions, prognostications, and declarations of "done deals" before they're done. It's a war of polls and "front-runners," of probabilities and predictions.
There are two important stages to
an election. Stage One, in which we are now, is the period of time when we get
to decide who will be on the ballot. Stage Two, which comes after the primaries
are all finished, is when we figure out who on the ballot should get our vote.
These are two very different stages. Key to winning the psychological battle for
the election is to keep reminding ourselves that we are in Stage One, not
The fact is that right now,
nobody knows who will be on the ballot for the Presidential election in November
of 2008. It could be any one of the candidates who have already declared their
intention to run, or it could be someone we haven’t heard of yet. As past
elections have shown, “front-runners” at this stage of the process do not
necessarily become the candidates on Election Day. And in the age of blogs and
vlogs, circumstances in politics change faster than ever, and the dynamics of
change are more numerous and unpredictable than ever. Many things still have to
happen. Straw polls, debates, key endorsements, and the free media these things
generate can catapult potential candidates into a much stronger position than
they now enjoy.
That means that our focus right
now should be on getting behind the person we think is the best candidate, and
working to increase that candidate’s name recognition and base of support.
That’s “Stage One” activity. Too many people, however, are thinking and acting
as if the candidates have already been chosen. Too many are saying, for example,
“We don’t have a good pro-life candidate,” or “The choices aren’t so great.”
This is “Stage Two” thinking, as if we have already been handed the slate of
candidates and have to be content to choose the best of a host of unsatisfactory
The bottom line is this:
think for yourself. Don’t let polls and headlines tell you who is most
likely to be the nominee of any party. Rather, decide whom you want to support
and work hard for that person. Websites like
are good sources for getting an independent and comprehensive view of the
political landscape and those who are running or may run.
Finally, don’t wait for anyone
else to push you or give you permission to do what you know you should do. We
already have all the mandate we need, in our rights as citizens and in the call
of the Gospel to transform the world. Gather together with like-minded citizens,
no matter what their religious affiliation, and get to work!