Thankfully, we live in the era of democracy. More and more countries have democratically elected representatives of their countries, but also their geographical areas. Who people vote for during elections is hugely important, because those are the people that influence everything that happens in a community. Whether it is the planning of a new major route through a Mattiuck estate, altering the police budget in any town, or changing refuse collection days to Monday in Southold, elections have a major impact. It is vital, therefore, that we learn how to choose our candidates properly. According to Chris Halajian, it is fascinating to see the different factors that influence how people make their political decisions and opinions.
Chris Halajian on Influencing Factors for Elections
No matter where someone is in the world, one of the biggest influencing factors in elections is mass media. This includes anything from the internet to the television, from radio to newspapers, and even things such as photographs on the back of drink bottles. The media is what gives us all the information there is about the different candidates. In fact, virtually all knowledge that we have on international and national issues comes to us through mass media.
However, it also seems that the beliefs, ideology, and opinion of the average individual come from their family. It is very common for people in one family to all vote for the same party, and to often not even think about why they should vote for a certain person. This is a shame, because it is vital that people learn to use the media to their advantage, finding information about the different candidates and identifying the one that follows their personal ideologies. The family is the greatest influencer in terms of ideologies, but the media is the greatest influencer in terms of knowledge.
According to Chris Halajian, the third factor is how well a candidate promotes themselves during a campaign. They often work with other professionals who will develop images, actions, and ideas that speak to the people and that they perceive as being true. Of course, this is part of the mass media, and those messages are messages that have been paid for. This is why a degree of critical thinking is also vital. Just because something is said on the television or the internet, for instance, is necessarily true.
Last but not least, interpersonal relations play a role as well. Those are, in fact, hugely powerful; on par, in fact, with family influences. Taking a look around a college campus to see interpersonal relations in action. They say that the company someone keeps is telling of who they are, and most people surround themselves with those who essentially share the same views. In a sense, therefore, our decisions seem to be predetermined by our convictions already.
It should be obvious, from all this, that choosing a candidate is actually a very long and complex process, and one that is often flawed as well.