Even if you haven’t made an effort, you’ve likely heard something about the presidential campaigns. It’s hard to miss it. We’re inundated with news reports, television ads, and social media posts every single day. And the actual election isn’t even for another six months or so yet.
But regardless, the battle has already begun.
However, there is something new this election cycle, something that has been brewing in the background for quite a long time. People in the United States have become disillusioned with the state of politics today, especially within the younger generations (mine included). They’re frustrated with how nothing ever seems to change, with how we see the same old politicians go on and on about the same old hot-button topics. It has become so bad that many among the younger people refuse to even vote, because they believe that their voice doesn’t matter anymore, that voting has become a choice between the lesser of two evils.
I will freely admit to being one of those people in my late high school/early college days. I was tired of listening to the same old talk about “family values…morality…blah blah blah”. Instead of talking about actual issues politicians seemed to be grandstanding for some kind of moral high ground over the other side. This tactic has led to a strange radicalization among the political parties, something that has grown to the point where there doesn’t seem to be a discourse between people anymore. I hardly see any actual discussions about the issues on social media. Instead, all I seem to see on Facebook is people sharing chain photos that essentially say “man liberals/conservatives are SO dumb…why can’t they see that MY way of thinking is so obviously better.”
In short, election time has become little more than a pissing contest.
But what is more fascinating to me than this radicalization is the effect it has had. Even if you barely paid attention to the current political campaigns, you’ve likely noticed that there’s been a shakeup, a breaking away from tradition. What I’m referring to are the candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, two candidates who would never have gotten as far as they have without the political climate being as it is. In fact, Donald Trump has already run once for president under the independent party ticket back in 2000. He didn’t gain any ground then, so it’s not something people know about. The interesting thing is that if you look at his ideas back then, they’re pretty much the same as they are now. The only thing that has changed is the culture.
And it all comes back to this disillusionment. People are sick and tired of hearing a politician say “I’m for you” or “I’m going to Washington to work for you” and then seeing nothing come of it. People are tired of promises that don’t come to fruition. Now whether you agree with Trump’s bombastic promise to “make America great again” or Sander’s self-described democratic socialist views on creating a greater distribution of wealth, the fact remains that neither of these men would have gotten anywhere if this disillusionment didn’t exist.
The mainstream isn’t working for many people anymore. So they’ve sought out something different.
Now the purpose of this post is not to force my opinions on you (I have them but the point of the blog was always meant to be more analytical than persuasive…although I will admit to taking a hard stance on certain subjects). I just wanted to highlight how fascinating this political season has been. We’ve seen such a drastic shift in the culture surrounding it that has been in motion for quite some time. And next week is Super Tuesday, the day when eleven states have their primaries/caucuses. After the dust settles on that day, we will have a better idea of our likely candidates on both the Democratic and Republican side. I would advise everyone to get out and participate. Most people tend to wait until the final elections in November, but don’t underestimate the power of the local elections as well. If you feel like you support one particular candidate more than the other in your particular party, then vote for them. Don’t underestimate the value of it. I know I did for a long time.
But hey, even if you don’t plan on voting, you have to admit it’s going to be an interesting ride…
Well that’s all I have for you. Tune in next Wednesday for another post, and as always, have a wonderful week!