The other day I was driving down Highway 51 when I saw a pickup truck outfitted with majestically large tires flying a Trump for President flag.
Well, I thought, that does it. I like his style and I shall vote for Trump.
Then I turned off the highway and saw a campaign sign for Joe Biden. Hmm, I thought, that’s a nice sign. I’m voting for Biden now.
Fifteen minutes later I turned onto another street and saw a Trump sign. You know what, I said to myself, I never thought of voting for Trump. That sign has convinced me. He’s my guy.
Then I saw a Biden sign … Okay, you get the idea. So what’s the point of this made up story?
I’ll answer that with another question: What’s the point of campaign signs in a race where everybody knows the candidates?
So I did what everybody does when they need a question answered. I asked the Google.
One theory is that it can function as a reminder to the rest of the base: “We think this is important. If you don’t vote you are letting us (your neighbors) down.” There is a social aspect to voting and voting decisions.
A website called stackexchange.com said signs can remind people there are supporters of “the other candidate,” even in their own neighborhood, making it seem possible to change their vote. It might encourage people to look at election literature or watch a debate. It might be the start of a process that leads to a person changing their mind.
Maybe in some elections, but this one? I don’t think so.
Another theory: It allows individual citizens to make clear public expressions of their political allegiance, at very low cost, which increases their sense of commitment, unity and belonging.
I’d say this one is spot on.
I compare putting a Trump or Biden sign in your yard to hanging up an Alabama or Tennessee flag on your front porch on game day.
You’re not changing anybody’s mind about who their favorite football team or presidential candidate is.
Not going to happen.
Just like the guy in the pickup truck, you’re just letting everybody know who you’re rolling with.