Why People Don’t Vote in America, and will Charlotte follow the National trend?

If I didn’t fall in love with marketing and communications, I swear I would have ended up in politics or economics. Thankfully this blog proves to be a satisfactory method to appease my other interests. 

The Charlotte Mayoral campaigns are starting to ramp up, and since this will be my first time experiencing it, I began wondering how much of a commotion-if any-the elections will make. If Charlotte turns out to be a sample of the national elections, one would expect plenty of bark but little bite. Then again, my mind began to wander and I asked myself: why does America have such a low voter-turnout? A question time and time again no one has figured out a solid answer (besides the easy “no one cares” avenue). I will quickly explore the macro-elections (America) and then dive into the micro-elections (Charlotte).

Perhaps we are asking the wrong question. The critical thinking steps that psychologists and other science-based schools of thought follow require one to look at the other end of a situation. Therefore a new question would be: what is America doing that is not stimulating a response from its citizens?

Now that question is a little more interesting to ponder. For now-President Obama and his competitor McCain argued issues that pertain to every American citizen; so why didn’t every citizen make their voice count?

I believe, like many others, that there is no incentive for the majority of the population to vote. The odds of a presidential election being decided by one (or even 100 people) are huge. So it is that the intrinsic reward (the internal feeling of accomplishment) is not there for American society? Could be. But what about the extrinsic reward; isn’t worth getting a pat on the back from your friends when you tell them you voted? Isn’t the “I voted” sticker worth standing in line and supporting your candidate? I can’t answer that, but the overall population leans to no.

With all these behavioral theories running through my head, I then narrow my focus to Charlotte. Smaller population, more communal accountability, and a Gen-Y focused city. Will participation in the mayoral elections surpass the national average? It has all the elements for the conclusion to be so, but I cannot go against my hunch that the minority of the Queen City population will decide the future of the majority. Is Charlotte implementing the right stimuli to produce a response from the majority of its citizens? And are the rewards (and punishments) strong enough to require a response from the people of Charlotte? Once again, I am not qualified to answer those questions, but I can’t go against my hunch.

As the Char-Meck burns through money like a Hummer running on hundred dollar bills, as CMS fires teachers, admin staff and then opens six more schools, and as houses go on the market and there’s no buyer in sight, I think there are plenty of punishment to go around if people don’t vote.

But hey, I’ve been wrong before.




A New “Justice” System Needed?

An opinion from a naive mind…

From the science field, to the economics field, to the marketing field, all the way to the education field, there is one principle of human behavior that we can all agree on:  people operate and respond to incentives.

So why doesn’t the United States Justice system realize that?

Please, do not get me wrong, I am not an opponent to fairness. I agree that fairness should operate in most arenas. However, I am weary of it when it comes to curbing behavior- especially behavior that society wants to erase.

There are not many suggestions I have for the United States government. Most of that stuff is far beyond my scope of things, but on this subject I believe I have a point.

For example, one drunk driving incident in Europe is an extremely hefty fine and automatically a year or so in prison (coincidence that Europe has better drivers than the U.S.?) In the U.S., it takes, what, THREE incidents of a DUI to be considered a felony? In a nation that has stricter alcohol laws than anyone around, I found that to be interesting.

Now look at the example. Which system provides a better incentive of NOT getting a DUI? The first one clearly has a negative opportunity cost.

So, below are three crimes and my suggested penalties. I would like to hear your responses.

1. Bribery/Embezzlement/etc.: Loss of ALL of their property. Split up to those deserving of the funds. Pays for damages. Not allowed to own property again.

2. Manslaughter/Murder/etc.: Tricky, because I am not a fan of the death penalty. But I would also take all of their property and place it in the name of the victims. Also, the one who took the life is responsible for all the victim’s debts. Not allowed out in public unless in a bright RED suit. (I am all about public embarrassment).

3. Perjury/Slander/Lying/etc.: You see, in our industry, this means so much to me, so I can think up some pretty bad punishment for this. However, I will stay away from physically harming another person. this one would be shunned to solitary  confinement.

Incentives. Thoughts? I mean, call it stupid, brilliant, crazy or bizarre, I think the point-if anything- is valid.

Back to Basics…

Whew, the past couple weeks have been crazy!

I’ll try to get you all up to date:

Charlotte STYLE Magazine will be launching its first PRINTED Magazine in June. Waahoo! Check out this blog or http://www.charlottestylemag.com to find out when the launch party will be and what locations in Charlotte will carry it.

A congrats is in order for Compliments Custom Clothier! Signing professionals left and right and is becoming a force in the custom clothing arena. Once DW4R gets their web site up, take a look at their clients.

We also have big things in store for the Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas! There is still some space left for sponsors and vendors for the Festival (June 19-21) so contact me at dwayne@dw4r.com or stop by the House of Africa on Thomas St. for more information.

Lastly, and certainly not least- are you looking for a chance of pace for a weekend? Want a new activity for a night out, or a date? Try out Cajun Canvas. Not only can you just paint for fun…you can bring your own beer and/or wine! I’m sold.

Okay, I’m done.

And a big thank you to David and Alecia from dna13. I am looking a little more closely at on-demand PR software and they responded to my pleas on twitter and we had a good conversation.