Voters who understand democracy in these moral terms have very different frame-circuits in their brains than liberals do. If LIVs among conservatives define their very identity morally by conservative values, those values may well override material concerns -- and the very real benefits that may accrue to them by, say, taxing the wealthy or by getting cleaner water or universal health care. For many conservatives, this idea of liberty is more important than anything else. And so the liberal assumption that information about individual material gains would get poor conservatives to vote for liberal policies is mostly false.
The liberal use of the term "low-information voters" reveals where liberals need to get real. First, liberals need to recognize that conservatives have a moral system that is different from theirs and that they vote on the basis of it. They need to understand the conservative moral system and how it works, if they are to defeat it. And they need to understand the power of their own moral system and make use of it.
Second, they need to notice that many liberal Democrats vote on the basis of as little information as the Republicans they are calling LIVs. It is not at all unusual for people to get their political opinions secondhand from sources they trust: their friends, neighbors, relatives, churches, commercials, and the TV shows they watch. We may wish democratic decisions had a firmer basis, but this holds for Democrats as well as Republicans.
Third, they need to understand how brains work: If the facts don't fit morally based frame-circuits, it's the frame-circuits that stay and the facts that go out the window. All political parties should aim to communicate facts, but to do so successfully they have to take into account voters' moral systems that constrain party values. Those moral-system differences are among the facts that need to be discussed.
Fourth, liberals who speak of LIVs need to understand that many voters, Democrats as well as Republicans, vote on the basis of values and character rather than policies, material advantages, and facts. In short, they vote on the basis of trust -- trust in both whom they vote for and the sources of information about whom to vote for.
Cursing conservative low-information voters for not voting for liberal policies is a fool's errand for all these reasons.
Luckily, many people are liberal on some issues and conservative on others. These people are called "moderates," "the center," "independents," or "swing voters." They have both conservative and liberal moral systems in the same brain. How is this possible? Throughout the brain there are circuits that are mutually inhibitory -- when one is turned on the other is turned off. The more one is turned on, the stronger it gets and the weaker the other gets. This isn't just about politics. There are other moral systems that are contradictory and work this way. Think about the things you might find acceptable to do late on a Saturday night as opposed to a Sunday morning. It's a moral switch mechanism in the brain (and that's even before a few drinks enter the equation).
So how do political parties best inform and influence voters who have both moral systems but switch back and forth?
The trick is what you're already seeing on your television: the consistent and repetitive use of language that activates frames and moral systems. Never use the other side's language. And always say out loud the moral framing needed for comprehending the facts. For example, health care is a matter of both freedom and life. If you have cancer and no health care, you are not free and you could die! With the right narrative, it is a powerful message, and one that tells a deep truth.
And, like it says on the back of the shampoo bottle -- repeat as necessary. Brains don't change without repetition. It's like any muscle: The more a neural circuit fires, the stronger its synapses get. To strengthen the neural circuits for your moral system, you have to repeat the language of your moral system and avoid the language that activates the contradictory moral system. Conservatives learned this decades ago.
But a quick lesson to liberals who want to inform "low-information voters." Drop the term. It amounts to calling them dumb. Just because you use three words and seven syllables in place of one, it doesn't mean they don't understand.