As the election draws nearer, I'm becoming more and more adamantly pro-Kerry. Though I'm not an independent swing voter by definition, since I'm not a Bush hater, I'm closer to an independent, undecided voter than many other Kerry supporters. Like me, many Kerry supporters are desperate to get people to vote for Kerry. Unfortunately, many Kerry supporters don't seem to have a clue about how to convert voters since they don't understand how anybody could possibly be not voting for Kerry. If this describes you, I've decided to put together a few paragraphs describing how to hunt and bag voters and transform them into Kerry voters.
Concentrate on undecided voters. Just as there is no way in hell that you'd vote for Bush under any circumstance (short of sudden onset dementia), there is no possible way you'll convince a Bush supporter to vote for Kerry. Ain't gonna happen. No way, no how. Don't waste your time on people who have already decided to vote for Bush.
Don't waste your time on voters registered in states that are already decided. In other words, in states where the polling is currently so lopsided that almost nothing can possibly change the outcome. These states are Washington, D.C., Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York for Kerry and Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming for Bush. One possible exception is New York. There are tens of thousands of "snowbirds" who are registered to vote in both New York and Florida. If you know them, make sure they cast a ballot in Florida. Even if you live in one of the above States, surely you must know friends and family in another state. Find the undecided voters among them.
Identifying the quarry requires some subtlety. Several people have told me that they don't know any undecided voters at all. Everyone they know is voting for Kerry, they tell me. Well, that's great! The funny thing is, I know some of the same people they know and I'm pretty sure some of them are still undecided.
Here's the deal. You probably know undecided voters. But if you interject comments like "Bush is the worse president ever and if I find out anybody's even considering voting for Bush I'm gonna gouge their eyes out with a hot poker" and then ask "by the way, who are voting for?", then perhaps, just perhaps, not everybody around you is going to give you an open and honest answer. I know this is hard to believe, but even if you don't threaten violence, comments like "only a total moron would vote for Bush" tend to incent undecided voters to give you the impression that they are voting for Kerry, even if they are still undecided.
The easiest way to find undecided voters is to pretend to be an undecided voter yourself. Don't want to lie? Politics is about lying, anything is fair game, so get over it. Worried that other friends might gouge your eyes out with a hot poker when they hear you say your considering voting for Bush? Well, that's just a chance you'll have to take - this election is important, the risk is worth it. Unfortunately, if you've regularly been throwing out anti-Bush comments with apoplectic rage, then you've already blown it - nobody's going to believe you when you claim to be undecided. In this case, the best thing you can do is stay out of the way of friends who haven't been quite so blatantly vitriolic with the hope that they may be able to target and convert the elusive undecided voter.
In order to find an undecided voter, lay low and watch people's reactions to political statements. For example, if, at a party, someone comments that anyone who votes for Bush should be thrown in jail for criminally negligent stupidity, look for a listener who laughs nervously and maybe nods in agreement, but says little in response. That might be an undecided voter!
Now, separate him or her from the rest of the herd (I mean group). Try a casual line like "I'm having trouble deciding who to vote for in this election. I don't like Bush's stance on X, but I also have trouble with Kerry's position on Y. What do you think?" Try not to compare Bush to Hitler. Try not to call attention to Bush's lack of intelligence. I know that will be brutally difficult, but trust me, if you use one of those comparisons, the quarry is likely to flee.
With any luck, the quarry will admit to being an undecided voter. You need to refrain from moving too fast. Any sudden movements or strong partisan statements can spook an undecided voter. Remain calm no matter how frustrating your interactions are with this idiot. Don't get preachy, don't start spewing facts. In fact, facts can be your greatest enemy. The bad news is that the quarry has already heard numerous times what a disastrous president Bush has been on both the foreign policy and economic fronts, yet the quarry is still undecided. For some reason, the facts don't seem to make a difference to the quarry. There is no new information that you can provide the quarry that is going to make a difference.
The good news is that the quarry is still undecided. The next step is to listen to the quarry to find out what sorts of things he likes about Kerry and dislikes about Bush. The goal here is to reinforce those things, repetitively and with subtlety. Please note the word subtlety. Once again, that's subtlety. Do not bludgeon the quarry. Patience is everything. Again, the goal is to reinforce those things important to the quarry that will push him to vote for Kerry. You need to reinforce those reasons to vote for Kerry that are important to the quarry even if you think they are the dumbest, most asinine possible reasons.
Sending links to articles is a good way to help reinforce points. Ask the quarry what his favorite news sites are. Restrict yourself to sending him articles from only those sites. He may pick sites that are repulsive to you, but remember, he's undecided, so chances are, if you scan those sites you'll find articles that reinforce those things important to the quarry that will convince him to vote for Kerry. Do not, under any circumstances, send him links to moveon.org or commondreams.org! While those are great sites with terrific information, they are simply too, too much for your average undecided voter.
Follow these simple steps, keep at it, and you may convert some voters. Good luck, the future of the country depends on you!