Science Provides a GOP Sure-Win Strategy for ’12: Hand Sanitizers
Hand sanitizers. That’s right. Place them strategically just inside the voting booths—and who could be offended by this service to voters?—and it’s a sure sweep for conservatives into the House, Senate, the White House. If conservatives wish a landmark landslide, then they can casually fling a bit of rancid garbage around the outside of the building itself.
I came upon this brilliant political strategy whilst innocently perusing my monthly issue of Discover magazine. In an article with the leftist intent of reducing morality to mere materialist causes, the author let out what she took to be one more devastating arrow aimed at the heart of conservatism. Citing research by psychologist Jonathan Haidt and elaborated by psychologist David Pizarro, the authoress reported that “filthy surroundings caused test subjects to have harsher judgments of others’ approach to resolving moral dilemmas. Other research has shown that politically conservative people report greater sensitivity to disgust.”
Hence the reason conservatives are obsessed with cleaning things up in Washington.
And that leads to the other leg of the strategy. As reported by Pizarro himself last year in a New York Times article, “Subtle cues about disgust and cleanliness can affect social and political judgments as well. In an experiment conducted recently by Erik Helzer, a Cornell Ph.D. student, and one of us [David Pizarro], merely standing near a hand-sanitizing dispenser led people to report more conservative political beliefs. Participants who were randomly positioned in front of a hand sanitizer gave more conservative responses to a survey about their moral, social and fiscal attitudes than those individuals assigned to complete the questionnaire at the other end of the hallway.”
All this talk about policy. All this money spent on television, radio and print ads. All this wasted fossil fuel trucking candidates around. All this could be avoided and a lot less money could be spent by simply shelling out the cash for a few thousand cases of those little squirty bottles of hand sanitizer. Garbage is omnipresent and free. If conservative activists are squeamish about planting rotting rubbish outside voting booths, perhaps an enterprising olfactory entrepreneur could produce an eau d’offenseef that could be indiscreetly spritzed around the outside of the voting premises.
That double combo should prove devastating. On the way in, voters are hit with waves of disgusting odors, priming their latent conservatism to perk closer to the surface. Their subconscious conservative desire to be rid of the malodorous aura that bathed them on the way in is met with the saving vial of sanitizer just inside the door, bringing them around to more conservative voting responses in regard to moral, social and fiscal candidates and issues.
There you have it! An assured political victory without recourse to messy and inconclusive debates and arguments. As speakers of Latin would have it—if I recall the phrase correctly—disgustibus non est disputandum.