Think about it.
Voting in our political system, if it were done ideally, would work like this:
- All voters would cast ballots for those candidates who best represented their interests.
- The votes would be tallied, and the winner would be the candidate who best represented the interests of the most voters.
But it doesn't really work like that, does it? For many voters, elections are a form of team sporting event. Voters don't cast ballots for the candidate who best represents them. Rather, they get behind and cheer on the champion on their team who has the best chance of winning, whether their agenda aligns with the voters' or not. If it has ever puzzled you how it is that Congress can have an approval rating of 14% (fourteen percent!) even though each and every member was elected by a majority vote in his or her district, then here's your answer. The voters play the game instead of voting in their interests, and when to no one's surprise they are not represented, they are dissatisfied with the people they pretended to prefer for the sake of the "election game".
Doesn't that sound a little silly to you? So I want to talk to the "team players".
The only time the you seem to take a genuine interest in your own best interests is when you are discussing the candidates of your own party's opposition. It's a bit bizarre, but the next time you're watching the network pundits prattle on, pay attention and you'll see it in action. Militant Leftists wax philosophic about what "the Republicans" need to do. Right-wing mouthpieces do the same about "the Democrats". They are both supremely adept at finding the flaws in the other side's candidates, and they are both supremely inept at recognizing the same in their own.
If you were looking at it purely as election strategy, it is the worst one to take. After all, if you want your candidate to sail through the general election to victory, shouldn't you encourage the other party to offer up some halfwit as their nominee? It seems to be what they'd naturally do if you weren't around to "help" them with your sage advice as to who's best, doesn't it?
Of course, that's not exactly how your advice runs. Opposition commentary is almost entirely negative. You point out the flaws so they can pick the candidate with the fewest to offer up. But the end result is the same. By speaking up, the opposition party has exerted a lot of pressure on you to pick the candidate with the "fewest flaws". One who can win. As a result, the opposition has just picked your candidate's flaws. That's not going to affect your vote, of course... you're a team player.
Then comes the General Election, and you have nothing but the one nominee from your party, whose flaws you pretty much completely ignored during the primaries, having been fixated on what was going on in the other party for whom you would never vote as a pure matter of principle. And suddenly you recognize that your nominee isn't going to win with just your core party votes. There are swing voters out there, and they're paying attention to all the details you ignored. And you have to deal with that, so it's all back to team sports and your own nominee's weaknesses and strengths honestly don't matter. General Electioneering becomes an exercise in denying all the flaws the other team picked for your candidate, and denying any of the strengths in theirs. Anything you've ever said good about one of your candidates is bad when it's said about the other guy. And right now, I'm going to pick on the Democrats, because as the champions of identity politics they provide so much low-hanging fruit:
- Pick on Obama? You're racist.
- Offer up a black candidate of your own? You're still racist because he's an Uncle Tom. And saying he's an Uncle Tom isn't racist, because you're the racist, not me. QED.
- Pick on Hillary? You're superficial and a misogynist.
- Offer up a female candidate of your own? OMG, what is she wearing? And seriously, does she think she can win with that face and hair?
- Ask about Obama's birth certificate? RACIST! BIRTHER!
- Ask about Ted Cruz' birth certificate? No, really... this has serious problems!
- Offer only rich white people who are past retirement age as candidates? No they're not (seriously). Besides, they know what's best for you.
- Offer a multicultural buffet of young candidates... black, white, male, female, hispanic? They're really condescending old white guys. And racist. Don't forget racist.
And it works the other way around. If a Democrat has an idea it can't be good because... well, because. And Republican ideas are good just because they're Republican. (Seriously, visit this link if you think I think it's all Democratic nonsense). Any candidate's qualifications and disqualifications are moot because you don't want "them" in charge. "Them" is, of course, the other team.
Neither one of you has a candidate... you're voting for the Donkey or the Elephant. Go, team!
Personally, I prefer it the way it's supposed to work. So I don't intend on voting Republican or Democrat or even necessarily Libertarian... and I proudly proclaim my lack of intent. I'll vote for a Presidential candidate who best represents my interests. And if they all suck, I'll abstain, knowing that my vote won't reduce the the amount of "suck" in the system.
But to be honest, most of that suck is from you guys.