Opinion: How to Win the Election (and How I Know That I Won't Win)
Fear is a great motivator; probably one of the best motivators. If you think about it, most people will do more to avoid something that they fear than they will do to achieve something that they want.
When I was in high school, my step-father had been a cigarette smoker for decades. For years, both my brother and I had tried motivating him to quit smoking by pointing out things like the health benefits or the financial gains associated with quitting. Nothing worked until close to the end of my senior year when a doctor told him that if he didn't stop smoking, he would be dead in six months. He quit, cold turkey, and lived for almost 20 more years. He approached me a few days after stopping, grabbed me by the shoulders, shook me and yelled in my face "THERE'S A WONDERFUL WORLD OF SMELLS OUT THERE!". My step-father reaped the benefits of quitting smoking, but he wasn't motivated by anything to quit smoking until he was afraid of it.
"You may be right; it's all a waste of time, I guess that's just a chance I'm prepared to take, a danger I'm prepared to face."
The American culture has become one based on fear. The majority of the population operates out of that one emotion, and most of them don't even know it. We are afraid not only of what people say, but how they say it, especially if what is being said is something with which we don't agree. We are afraid of someone - anyone (except the government) - of taking what we believe is ours. We're afraid that anyone who is not us, or those within our sphere, of having too much freedom. And the vast majority of us appear to be compliant, even eager, to violate our own civil rights out of fear.
A March 2020 poll of 3,000 respondents across the country showed strong bipartisan support for criminalizing speech. About 70% of those surveyed supported government "restricting people's ability to say things" deemed as misinformation (without expressing what that 'misinformation' might be). Nearly 80% endorsed the conscription of health care professionals to fight COVID-19 despite greater risks to their own health. Government seizure of businesses and property was supported by 58%, and over 70% supported the detention of COVID-19 patients in government facilities. The majority surveyed did not change their opinion even when told their views may violate the Constitution. No one cared about that; they only cared about assuaging their fears.
"I'm old enough not to care too much about what you think of me, but I'm young enough to remember the future and the way things ought to be."
A popular movie from about 25 years ago pointed out that a candidate only needs to do two things in order to win an election: make you afraid of "it", and tell you who's to blame for "it". The candidate who does that the best is usually the one who wins. I have no doubts that my opponents will be doing exactly that (in a number of subtle ways) as we approach November, both to me and to each other. And that's how I know I won't be winning this election; because I won't do that.