Navigating a changing political landscape in Wyoming: A call for voter discernment

By: 
Albert Sommers and Ogden Driskill

A new phenomenon is taking root here in Wyoming, where our rural nature and an independent spirit have long defined our political identity.
 The unmistakable influence of Washington DC-style political messaging has permeated real and virtual spaces, creating a sense of urgency for Wyoming voters to decipher the truth from the lies and half-truths.
Now, more than ever, the most crucial task for voters lies in our ability to discern the truth, a skill that hinges on scrutinizing the source. The grassroots integrity of Wyoming’s politics, once bolstered by our close-knit communities and face-to-face interactions, is now facing challenges posed by sophisticated political flimflams that blur the lines between fact and fiction.
A key strategy for Wyoming voters is to closely examine the source of mailers, texts, online posts and even billboards that profess a political truth. Understanding who is behind a particular message becomes paramount, because in this landscape, misinformation and disinformation spread like wildfire.
Unlike the familiar faces and local voices that traditionally shaped and reported Wyoming politics, these new “messengers” often lack transparency about their authors, information sources, and funding.
Wyoming voters should be vigilant in scrutinizing not only the content of any political message – does it describe the Wyoming you actually live in? – but also its source. If a real person isn’t taking responsibility for the information, it should be a red flag for voters.
Our electorate must demand transparency and insist that those who shape political narratives be accountable for their words. In a democracy built on the principles of informed decision-making, unsubstantiated or anonymous messaging has no place.
Wyoming voters who refuse to engage with negative messaging lacking a responsible source send a clear message that they prioritize transparency and authenticity when it comes to their political opinions and decisions. Sadly, voters must become skilled at knowing the difference between the genuine discussion of ideas and manipulative tactics.
The influx of DC-style politics, with alarmist language designed to incite fear and anger, seeks to influence public opinion by appealing to our worst instincts, and often has nothing to do with real life in Wyoming. It is critical for voters to cut through the noise and thoughtfully seek what aligns with the unique needs and values of our state.
In this age of information overload, where social media, news outlets, and political campaigns vie for attention, Wyoming voters must develop a keen sense of discernment. The ability to separate fact from fiction and to hold political mouthpieces accountable is the armor voters need to navigate this new political terrain.
Wyoming’s storied history of independence, integrity, and self-reliance should be a guiding light in this quest for discernment, as voters reclaim control over the narrative that shapes our political future.
(Albert Sommers is the Speaker of the House and has served In the Legislature since 2013. Ogden Driskill is the President of the Senate and has served in the Wyoming Legislature since 2011.)

 

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