Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Bumper-Sticker Poll

Collin County, Texas, is consistently among the most Republican places on the planet. John McCain will win Collin County in November. I'll be voting for John McCain in November (and doing so with warm nostalgia for that day in 1996 when I pulled the lever for Bob Dole). If there is such a thing in America, this place where I live is McCain country.

Yet even living here, I have no idea what a John McCain bumper sticker looks like.

On the other hand, even here in Collin County, I see "Proud Collin County Democrat" bumper stickers tooling along U.S. 380, accompanied by "Obama" in various styles and colors. They may be outnumbered, but Collin County Democrats are enthusiastic. They think that they're going to be serving crow to their neighbors in November.

Bumper stickers are not televised debates or press releases or policy statements. They give no opportunity to communicate fact or to make a persuasive case. Bumper stickers are entirely emotive. To choose to display a bumper sticker is generally an emotional choice, and bumper stickers evoke emotion in the readers. That's why they are so important. People vote with their hearts, not with their heads. Head and heart may be in the same place—often are. But when head and heart collide, Americans vote with their hearts. A good bumper sticker builds emotional momentum by demonstrating to undecideds that the roadways are full of people who feel prideful and good about themselves in their choice of candidate. The invitation is there to join the group and be proud, confident, and enthusiastic with them. Bumper stickers evoke emotion in order to sell a candidate to the heart.

The Obama stickers certainly evoke an emotion in me—envy. I want to be enthusiastic about a presidential candidate. I want to check my touchscreen box on Election Day with pride, not with fatalistic resignation. My empty rear windshield tells the tale of a bewildered conservative Christian voter, flabbergasted that in a nation of three hundred million people we can't seem to locate a single engaging conservative leader qualified and willing to run for President of the United States.

I'm willing to predict it right now: Any GOP candidate who can't win the Collin County bumper sticker poll doesn't stand a dog's chance at the ballot box in November.


M. Steve Heartsill said...

Bart...I saw a great bumper sticker yesterday as I was heading home...the sticker simply said:

We're Screwed...'08.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Bart,

I saw one the other day. A vote for McCain would be insane

I, like you, do wish we could get excited about the good Senator.


selahV said...

It's defeatists like ourselves who need to take shoepolish and paint our own bumper stickers on the back of our vehicles.
"McCain's the Man with the Plan"...Obama's View of Change is Strange" selahV

Bart Barber said...

Selah V,

Ahh...Perhaps I have become one of the nattering nabobs of negativity! :-)

But, in November there will be a winner and a loser, and I'm just trying to offer semi-objective analysis of which candidate will be which. I want it to be McCain…wait…scratch that…I don't want it to be Obama. But there's a difference between what I (don't) want and what's happening around us.

Actually, I'm long-term optimistic even if I'm short-term pessimistic. When McCain loses in a landslide, Republicans will have a good reason to run a conservative next time out.

kws said...

While back home in Mississippi, I saw a OBAMA/OPRAH '08 sticker. I'm still recovering.

selahV said...

Okay, Bart, I repent. What amazes me is that the same man who wants to sit down and chit chat with all the world dictators, is scared to death to stand in a town-hall meeting and engage John McCain.

While I would rather have a real conservative, the thought of having a full-fledged self-professing liberal is overridden by hope in a smarter America. Call it denial, but I'm still hoping against hope that the 'bama is simply drama. selahV

Dave Miller said...

Count me as a nattering nabob. I have a friend who was a top aide for our congressman. He thinks the Democrats will get a filibuster-busting majority in the Senate, a vast House majority and the White House. He was telling me about some of the bills that are waiting in the wings.

These bills would change the very nature of our nation. In two years, there might be a backlash and conservatives might make a comeback in the Congress.

But, by then, the America we know will be buried.

This is a crucial election, and I am about as enthused about the Republican candidate as I am when the Red Sox win the World Series.

I keep hoping the tide of opinion will turn. Right now, I am pessimistic.

On the other hand, Christianity has sometimes done better as a counter-culture religion than when it is culturally dominant.

Maybe I'm looking for a silver lining.

Anonymous said...


Could you spell out some of the plans the Democrats have if they are successful in the election ... both president and Congress?


Strider said...

The Democrats have plans? When did that happen?
My own meaningless opinion is that the winner of the presidency is not that important as long as we have a congress as dysfunctional and useless as it is.
As far as losing the "America as we know it" I am not sure it has not been gone for a long time. When my brother opened up his new business a few years ago the police stopped in to inform him he was breaking the law. He was not allowed to put up a 'Grand Opening' sign in his own window without special permission from the county which would cost a dollar a day. You can't talk about religion in school unless it is any religion except Christianity. Shoot, I am going back to the communist dictatorship where I serve as a missionary so I can find some freedom.

That sounds a little harsh- I dearly love our country, I even put my hand over my heart during the national anthem.