David Harsanyi on Why Voters Don't Want Specifics


Few things get politicians into more trouble than offering voters too many details. Yet every election cycle, pundits of all denominations join to lament the fact that candidates (mostly Mitt Romney) aren't putting enough meat on their platitudes. Let's be honest; in politics, details can equal disaster.

Whereas wonks and columnists might eat up charts and white papers, the electorate has better things to do—most notably any activity not entailing looking at a chart or reading a white paper. That is why we function under a representative democracy rather than under a 300 million-person bull session. Voters, busy with real life, operate under the assumption that the people they send to Washington own calculators, watched enough "Schoolhouse Rock" to know how a bill becomes a law and, in some broad sense, share their worldview. Sometimes, writes David Harsanyi, political parties forget that fact.