Surviving 18 Months of Political Campaigning

by James Wallace Harris, Friday, May 3, 2019

The 2016 presidential election wore my psyche to a frazzle. It started early and dominated the news for a year. The 2020 election process has started even six months earlier. Damn! We know who the Republicans will run. For the next 18 months, we’re going to be bombarded by news of Democrats campaigning. That’s torture to contemplate.

Over the years polls have shown that the split between Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are roughly even, or about 1/3 for each. If Democrats are serious about dethroning Donald Trump they need to run a candidate that independent voters will love. The political reality is Republicans will always vote for Republicans and Democrats will always vote their ticket, so the election is decided by the independent voter.

I’m thinking about how I’m going to survive the next 18 months. One solution would be to not watch any news programs until next summer after the Democratic convention. Another idea is to figure out which candidate has the best chance to win against Trump and support them. But how is that done? I think it’s by figuring out what the independents will want in 2020, and not by what liberals want. Now is not the time to seek liberal pie in the sky.

Republicans have a very definite platform, even if it’s unwritten. They know what they want. We know what they want. They have a coalition of special interest groups that back them. The Democrats are much less defined by specific goals. Some Democratic candidates are using Medicare-for-All, wealth equality, and tuition forgiveness to attract voters, but are those issues that will appeal to independent voters? The reason why Trump won in 2016 is that the Democrats didn’t have the pulse of the nation.

My guess is voters who hate Trump will want a rational candidate, one who is psychologically normal, even dull. That might be why Biden gained an instant lead. I would like a qualified candidate, one that has the skills to do the job of president. Unfortunately, America picks its presidents like high school kids elect theirs. It’s all about personality and chemistry. Trump supporters love him like football fans love their favorite teams – a kind of fanatical passion that defies reason.

I personally feel burnt out by politics. I’ve read that many young people didn’t vote in 2016 because they feel politics doesn’t matter or that politics is a complete turn-off. Almost as many people didn’t vote as did in 2016. Can the Democrats find a candidate that will appeal to all those non-voters?

I don’t feel the job is attracting qualified candidates but egotists. I would prefer down-to-earth candidates that have real experience, either a mayor from a large city, governors, or senators. I’d like to see candidates who have governed at least a million people and made most of them happy. Because governing 330 million constituents is a huge step up.

Our country faces many big problems. We need someone that can lead the rest of us into solving them. Trump has done an excellent job of making the rich richer but has he even tried to solve the problems that are true threats to our nation?

Conservatives by their very nature want to preserve the past. The trouble is, the future is about his hit us like a freight train, so it’s suicidal to look the other way.

JWH

7 thoughts on “Surviving 18 Months of Political Campaigning”

  1. I consider elections as games. How do you win? I find it suggestive that Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort “shared” polling data with Konstantin V. Kilimnik, an operative linked with Russian Intelligence. The key polling data focused on Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania–the three states that Trump narrowly won to push him over the top in Electoral College votes despite losing the popular vote by 3 million.

    If the Democrats hope to win in 2020, they need to get smarter and more campaign savvy with better tactics and strategy.

  2. I disagree, Jim. I love politics. Non-stop campaigning would suit me just fine. I can’t get enough of it.

    I disagree about the independent vote, too. Independents are all over the place. Some of them think that the Democratic Party is too conservative. Some of them are Libertarians or think that the GOP is actually too liberal! Some are simply not willing to compromise with ANYONE about ANYTHING.

    We usually hear about appealing to independents as a way to convince the Democratic Party to move right. Of course, Republicans just get more and more extreme every year, and that tends to work for them. So I’m skeptical.

    Given how few Americans can actually be bothered to register and vote, the way to win isn’t to try to appeal to such a diverse bunch as “independents.” The way to win is to get your own supporters to turn out and actually VOTE. The side with the most enthusiasm is the side that’s likely to win.

    Just think of all the times the Democrats have picked a “safe” candidate. Or the depressing bunch of VP candidates their presidential pick has also chosen to “balance” the ticket. How has that worked out for them? They need to pick someone who’ll enthuse the base, someone who reminds us of Barack Obama or Bobby Kennedy.

    Now me, I’d pick Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Too bad she’s too young. Well, then… AOC for President in 2024! 🙂

    1. You’re not being sarcastic when you say you can’t get enough politics, Bill? That boggles my mind. To me, it’s like saying, “Oh, I love getting tortured.”

      Independent voters are fickle, moving towards Obama one time and Trump the next.

      I like AOC too, but she has absolutely no experience. It’s like saying, let’s make the chief of staff of this hospital one of the interns.

      1. Many independent voters are fickle, sure. But Obama got elected because Democrats turned out for him (including lots of people who didn’t vote, or didn’t often vote, previously).

        Trump lost the popular vote. So you could say he got elected because of the Electoral College, but you could also say that he got elected because so many Democrats stayed home. This is why the GOP works so hard on voter suppression. And it’s how Russia helped the Republicans, too. Enthusiasm matters!

        And yes, I was kidding. Oh, not about loving politics. I was dead serious about that. But I was kidding about AOC. I don’t want her to even run for president in 2024. I want that to be for Elizabeth Warren’s second term. I want AOC to run in 2028. 🙂

  3. https://newrepublic.com/article/153723/democrats-created-electability-monster

    “Independent voters are fickle, moving towards Obama one time and Trump the next.”
    It’s not voters who are fickle. Both Obama and Trump got support based on promises to get money out of politics and to push equitable policy such as universal healthcare and fair trade deals. (They lied.)

    “Now is not the time to seek liberal pie in the sky.”
    That’s exactly the message that Hillary ran on in 2016. Remind me, how did that strategy play out? Bernie was filling stadiums with thousands while Hillary could barely fill a gymnasium bleacher. You might want to re-examine how she wound up as the nominee. Do you really wonder that we can’t go to the stars when in the most powerful nation in history tens of millions of citizens can’t even go to a doctor?

    Taking a break from (mainstream) news sounds like a good idea. Read some books instead. I’d start with Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent”. Drop back to Henry George’s “Progress and Poverty”, maybe a little Thorsten Veblen and Vance Packard for spice. Daniel Lazare’s “The Frozen Republic” is an eye-opener, as is David Graeber’s “Debt: the first 5,000 years”. In short, do a little mental De/Re programming to strip away some of the embedded mythology that keeps people from understanding what is really happening.

  4. Off-topic
    Thanks for the “Book Reviews by P. Schuyler Miller” article. Brings back a lot of fond memories.

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