By Graham Glover –
I’ve been waiting with eager anticipation for the 2016 presidential election to really get started. I had high hopes that after Labor Day the silly season would end. The summer before the primaries are all about political posturing and maneuvering and weeding out the lower-tier candidates. When fall rolled around, I expected the race to get serious.
Sadly, my hopes have been dashed. Destroyed, more like it.
The primary season might be in full swing, but I don’t know that I’ve ever witnessed a more aimless election. Its purpose is clear: to elect the leader of the free world. Its substance is practically nonexistent.
Some blame the media. Others think the public doesn’t care. Many think the Republican and Democratic parties are useless, running on the same issues they have for years.
All of these – the media, public, and parties – might be somewhat responsible for our current wretched presidential election, but I think the real issue might be a bit more simple. The problem could simply be those running for office.
I wonder, what it is that drives this current flock of candidates in their quest for the presidency. Power? Greed? Idealism? Revolution? Fame? Change? Buffoonery? What is it that propelled them to put their hat in the ring to be President of the United States? More importantly, what continues to keep a lot of them running when they know, without any doubt, that they have ZERO chance of being elected? Are they really concerned with advancing the cause of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or are they merely concerned with seeing their name and their face associated with the presidency?
After watching 3 Republican and 1 Democratic debate, I’m not sure any of the candidates are prepared to give a substantive answer to this question. Don’t blame the debate moderators, even the questionable CNBC ones. They have tried, even when their questions have been lame. It’s the candidates who just don’t seem overly interested in answering a question with substance. But the campaigns, led by those currently running, have made this election a joke to anyone that takes politics seriously. To say this election is aimless is an understatement.
Ask yourself: what’s important about the 2016 election? What are the top 3 issues the candidates are addressing? Have any of the candidates offered a vision of what they want America to look like if they are elected?
For the last several months I have watched every presidential campaign fail in speaking to the eternal truths they see defining America. They are all eager to speak to the petty, current tabloid political issues, but don’t even attempt to offer a meta-narrative about who America is or what she might yet become. There has been A LOT of talk about tweaking certain policies, about which countries America should engage militarily, and whether one is qualified to be president, but I have heard very little about any substantive change these candidates want to make to policy or how they wish to preserve the trajectory of our great nation. There are many ideologues running, all of whom fail to grasp the basic notion that politics is about compromise. Pragmatism is a dirty word for both parties and it seems like for every candidate seeking the presidency. Governing is an afterthought to this group. Sound-bites and blame games dominate our current debate, with almost no time spent on debating the issues presidential candidates should be addressing.
But these candidates are only a reflection of the public they represent. A public that knows little about the art of politics. A public that is concerned with catchy one-liners and ignorant on how the Federal Government of the United States shapes the world in which they live. It is a public that is focused not on politics, but on entertainment – if one can even call it that.
The 2016 presidential election is proving to be aimless in a way I never imagined. Blame the candidates. Blame yourself. Blame all of us who are not concerned with politics in its truest nature.