The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 18, Issue 1/4, 2002

Philip D. Dalton
Pages 221-236

Voter Malaise and the Disruption of Truth and Timelessness

The increasing awareness of the incommensurability between voters’ attitudes about voting and the reality of voting are contributing to the much written-about voter malaise which plagues U.S. elections. Voters who assume their role is to determine the ideal, right, or best candidate confront an election system in our current communication environment that attempts to market candidates to match voters’ ideals, while also providing a surfeit of information that both contradicts the ideal depictions while also making transparent the process by which candidates are packaged. This essay identifies four communication phenomena that contribute to this malaise: campaign transparency; bifurcation of issue and candidate; the abstracted nature of news content; and the glut of information that characterizes our present communication environment.