BY TERRY MICHAEL, USA TODAY
With looming worries about jobs, home values, health care, college debt and Afghanistan, Americans seek clear options this November. They're not getting them by design.
In general elections, major parties offer red meat, like tax cuts or promises to save Medicare, to reliable partisans while microtargeting messages to the undecideds in a few swing states to sweep up the last few votes by muddying the waters. The goal is to win state by state pluralities adding up to the 270 electoral college votes needed to win.
Voters are professionally manipulated, not engaged. Instead of seeing clear-cut alternatives, they hear just the messages campaign operatives want.
It doesn't have to be that way. If the broadcast and cable networks would let the two most prominent minor parties, Libertarians and Greens, briefly address the nation immediately after Mitt Romney and President Obama deliver their acceptance addresses, the whole dynamic could change.
Via Michael Charney