Like many of you, I am aghast at this year’s edition of the United States Presidential campaign. I guess I can start out by saying that the crop of candidates is probably the worst I’ve seen since I started voting in the early 1970’s.
I take no satisfaction in saying this because the future of the United States is at stake. The politics of this country have been degrading for some time now, and I am not sure we’ve reach the bottom, but we are close.
An admission, if you didn’t already know, I am a life-long Democrat. I say this unapologetically. That does not mean I am a far-left leaning liberal. As a result of growing older, being a member of the LDS Church and a refugee of California, I am become more conservative on a number of issues. But, and I say this unabashedly, I would never, ever, ever embrace the Republican Party. Never going to happen. If anything, I might join the ranks of those who identify as independent. The Pew Research Center estimates that 39% identify as Independent versus 32% as Democrats and 23% as Republicans.
The Republican race for the Presidential nomination has been much more interesting to follow than the Dems, so most of the media attention has been there. Much like March Madness brackets, my prediction of a Jeb Bush versus Hillary Clinton Presidential race has been totally shattered. So, as a result, we will probably have a woman as President. There is no way in my mind that Trump or Cruz can win the Presidency. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.
The fact is, from my standpoint, the people are telling politicians that they don’t like how things are going in Washington. BUT, voters have always been unwilling to really take a step they need to, to send a real message. That is, kick their members of Congress out of office. This goes for House and Senate members. Most action or lack thereof occurs in the legislative branch of Government and we have seen a total impasse in the last few election cycles. Dogma has taken over from real legislative action and compromise.
Congress in general has incredibly low approval ratings. Gallup has pegged Congressional approval at 13 percent in its latest poll and an 84% disapproval rating. But, as I stated, voters are unwilling to vote out their own representatives.
The Republican candidates are feeding off the anger of some that feel the “system” is not working for them. Some of that view is reality, but the message that the country is a mess is just plain wrong. This has been fed by an almost 8-year campaign against President Obama by conservative talk radio and, by extension, their audience. People can legitimately disagree on certain issues like healthcare, the war on terrorism, the economy, etc. And fact, there should be vigorous debate on issues. It’s healthy and it’s totally American. But, in many cases, it’s personal, unfactual and even racist.
Much of the rhetoric in the campaign has been crafted in the airwaves of talk radio and the candidates fight over who can be the most conservative on the issues and who will do their best to obliterate the actions of the Obama presidency. They are playing, in many cases, to the worst in the country in the areas of xenophobia, bigotry and just plain hard-heartedness.
They should have learned that the swing to the right might work in the primaries, but as Mitt Romney found out, it doesn’t serve well in the general election. A candidate cannot come back from the edge of the fringes. Not a republican, nor a democrat. The electorate is mostly in the middle and that is generally the way they vote. The Republican autopsy after the last election pointed this out, but has been ignored.
If you woke up from a deep sleep, ala Rip Van Winkle and were told that Donald Trump was the leader for the Republican nomination, you’d have the same reaction as Doc Brown had in “Back to the Future:”
Doc: So tell me, future boy, who’s president of the United States in 1985?
Marty: Ronald Reagan.
Doc: Ronald Reagan, the actor? Then who’s vice president, Jerry Lewis? I suppose Jane Wyman is the first lady.
Marty: Whoa, wait, Doc.
Doc: And Jack Benny is secretary of the Treasury.
It’s unbelievable to assume Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. As has been said, even Ronald Reagan could not get the nomination for the current Republican Party.
Yes, Yes, I know, the democratic side has its own issues. I’m sure that will be pointed out.
Politicians are known to say, “The American people are not stupid…….” I’ve always thought that was code for saying, “The American people ARE Stupid.” But I realize it is not stupidity, it is that many people are either uninformed or apathetic. The fact is about half of the eligible electorate bother to vote. So, we actually get what we DON’T vote for. And politicians count on the fact that voter turnout is low.
After all, the modern politician really represents their special interests and campaign contributors rather than the American people. If the voters would be more informed, go and vote and be willing to kick out their own politicians, we would not only have a more informed electorate, but much better candidates.
Some might say that I am just bashing the Republicans, but I’ll deal with the other side next time.