With the ‘mid-term’ elections coming up, and the country seemingly headed for war and having a border to the south that can only be found on a map, 2016 looks far in the future. As we involve ourselves in the now, and try to find leaders who represent us, we find the challenge more difficult as time goes by.
Even worse, we find the politics of today so purposely polarizing, that it is common place to have people actually hate those ‘across the aisle’ from their side. And the rhetoric of our leaders not only flames the fires, it relies on that fire burning hot. The best way to keep your base is to make it so unappealing to consider the ‘other side’ during an election that defecting from the party is anathema.
But 2016 is not so far off. Each of the supposed ‘front runners’, if such a thing can be claimed more than two years in advance, have made the trip to Iowa – for those not in the American political know, that is the first step seen on the road to the White House. The press has written stories on why these candidates can or cannot succeed, their chances, even their death knells.
This election, however, might very well be the first in history to have someone “normal” win. Not a politician, not a millionaire (is that redundant in today’s reality?), and not nationally known in November of 2014. This complex set of connections we all enjoy gives power back to the people, the Internet could well be an equalizer.
A decent Blog, a clever twitter handle (like DarkHorse2016?), and a clear message could make a difference. I would like to present this argument in this space. I think an everyday American can represent every day Americans better than we have been before. I do not think a person needs an ‘R’ or ‘D’ to be a successful presidential candidate.
In fact I think being a Democrat or a Republican could be a big drawback: you are starting your campaign by not representing a sizable section of the population. That is not how a campaign should be run, not for the office that represents all of America. Further, as I mentioned above, a sizable portion of Americans will actually hate you. If you think I exaggerate think of President Obama and President Bush. Many Americans like one, and hate the other. Without ever meeting them. But how many Democrats like Bush and hate Obama? How many Republicans hate Bush and like Obama? Political parties polarize, they thrive on it, they foster it, and to be honest they require it.
One of my favorite quotes was from our first President:
However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
Political Parties…cunning, ambitious, ad unprincipled men…subvert the power of the people? George Washington was way ahead of his time. He is one of my favorite Presidents for many reasons, but this quote is on the list.