When I played football in high school, we had to do a drill called the "Bull in the Ring" drill. This entailed putting one player, the bull, in the middle of a ring formed by the other players. The coach would then point to one of the other players and that player would try to knock the bull off his feet. I was never very good at this drill and asked a fellow teammate for advice. He said, "Just watch the coach very carefully and turn quickly to where he is pointing." Of course, I am legally blind without my glasses and couldn't afford contacts; so, this wasn't much help... Except I stopped feeling inferior for not being good at that particular drill.
The purpose of the drill was to teach us to react to pressure: The lesson to be learned was that when the other team tried to push you in one direction, you wanted to be going in the opposite direction -- even if it wasn't immediately obvious why. It is a lesson I still remember well.
You ask, "What does this have to do with politics?" Well, unprecidented amounts of money are being raised by candidates in this year's elections, and even worse, the Citizens United ruling allows corporations to spend an unlimited amount of money on political advertising.
How are we to deal with the immense amount of information being pushed at us with incessent TV ads and phone calls? How much of that information is correct? Well, no matter what information is being pushed, there is one thing we know for certain: Somebody paid for it. We just need to figure out which team is doing the paying. If it's our team, vote for the candidate being pushed -- if it's the other term, vote for the opponent.
With candidates, it's easy easy to figure out who paid, we just go to OpenSecrets.org and look up the candidate: The web site will conveniently tell you what percentage of the candidate's donations were large donations. For 99.9% of us (i.e. those of use that aren't wealthy), that means vote against the candidate who is financed with millions of dollars that come mostly from large donations. What if both candidates are getting a lot of large donations? Other tabs on the Open Secrets web site will tell you which industries are doing the bulk of the donating. Large donations from Wall Street (the financial industry) probably mean that 99.9% of us don't want that candidate.
What about all those TV ads that aren't being put out by the candidates? TV ads are big money and if you can't find any known organization that is responsible, assume all of the money came from large doners. So, if you are like 99.9% of us, vote against whatever those ads are pushing.
Disclaimer: Herb Robinson is a Congressional candidate.