Gladys advanced to the next picture as Walt continued. “Hardcore Republicans and hardcore Democrats vote the party line no matter what. However, during the Primaries, all the candidates represent the same party. You’ll have to earn the votes of your own party members. On the website, each viewer is asked to answer a short survey. We use it to help determine the viewer’s core values. The software will ask the viewer whether he or she would consider themselves a conservative, a moderate or a liberal.”
Ted leaned forward. “How do you define those terms?”
“It doesn’t matter. It’s strictly from the viewer’s point of view. Here’s what the viewer will see if he or she selects conservative.”
Gladys advanced to a new picture.
Walt continued. “Conservative Republicans tend to use the constitution as their bible. They also tend to be more religious. They tend to have money. They believe in limiting the intrusion of the government into their lives. The picture they’ll see will show you with a more expensive watch and suit. The lapel pin is an elephant. The tie is silk. The books on the bookshelf change titles to The Men Who Built America, a Bible, and books on the constitution. The book ends will change to pistols. On your right hand is an expensive ring.”
Chan laughed. “Is that a picture of me standing next to Trump? What a riot. And what about moderates?”
Gladys advanced to another picture. “We just tone down the watch and replaced the pistol bookends with American Flags or Statues of Liberty. Liberal Republicans or Libertarians are more like Democrats. For them we change the photograph to one of Ronald Regan. We want to capture the voters who may not vote the party line. They’ll vote according to one of the other political values. You’ll notice some subtle changes on your picture.”
Gladys pointed to the lapel pin as Walt continued. “The tie remains red. If you were a Democrat, it would be blue. The slug line now reads ‘Grand Old Party.’”
“Notice this picture on the desk,” Gladys said while pointing. “It shows you standing in front of the Washington D.C. Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That appeals to your Mormon voters.”
“That never happened,” protested Chan.
“Again, it doesn’t matter,” said Walt. “Remember, we are trying to create a first impression. No one is actually saying that it’s you in that picture. It just gives that impression. It’s mainly subconscious. In all the years that we have been using this software, no one has ever questioned a photograph.”
“And what if a Democrat looks at the website?” asked Ted.
Gladys advanced to a new photo. “He or she will see this generic picture. The lapel pin is the flag, and the tie is blue.”
“What about the Tea Party?” asked Chan.
Gladys chuckled. “For all practical purposes Tea party members are conservative Republicans. The software treats them the same.”
“How does your software know which party to use?”
“That’s a good question. Let us discuss that now. You’re familiar with computer cookies?”
“Yes, of course. There’re embedded files on a user’s computer.”
Walt smiled. “Then you know that website use these files to access information about the viewer so they can deliver tailored information. We use them too.”
Ted leaned forward. “Okay, but users can turn off their cookies. What then?”
Walt smiled. “Another good question. We don’t spy on voters. If their cookies are turned off, we simply ask them to complete the short survey I mentioned earlier. We ask questions on everything we need to know.”
“But on the survey, can’t viewers skip questions or opt out of some questions?”
“Yes, of course. If they opt out altogether, they’ll see the generic picture. However, our research shows that viewers will not opt out of the political values that they feel strongly about. For example, some voters might decline to answer the question of race, but voters who’re proud of their ethnicity will answer. That then becomes their most important value and the one that the software uses to bring up the correct picture according to the hierarchy of political values.
Chan was surprised. “How many more pictures are there?”
“You’ll see as we go along. If the software can’t determine if the viewer is a hardcore party member, it goes to the next core value.”