The 2016 Presidential race has been one of the most bizarre periods in modern politicalhistory. Even Thomas Jefferson’s accusations of John Adam’s hermaphroditic traits are incomparable! This election cycle has taught me a lot about political tactics and the potent effects they have on potential voters. Let’s analyze what we can learn from the 2016 election
The political sphere has always been plagued with slogans, buzzwords and platitudes. However, we’ve seem to have received an extra dose during this election cycle. During the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders was brutally lambasted for his ‘socialistic’ ideals, even though terms like ‘socialist’ and ‘capitalist’ are barely relevant in our post-Cold War world. Candidates including Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush were disparaged for being ‘establishment politicians’, though, technically, anyone holding political office is part of the ‘establishment’. Donald Trump elevated himself as the ‘pro-life’ candidate while unhesitatingly proposing to carpet-bomb the Middle East. These examples of buzzwords were formulated to viscerally sway potential voters, who lack both critical thinking abilities and basic knowledge of the hot-button issues.
Speaking of buzzwords….
Sticking it to the Man
2016 has been marked by a peculiar revival of the 60’s Countercultural rhetoric. Although groups like Weatherman Underground remain dismantled, ‘anti-establishment’ politicians have swept the nation, inspiring the old and young alike with their fiery rhetoric and romanticized vision of a better America. Obama’s ‘Yes We Can” couldn’t compete with them!
Until now, an politically-inexperienced businessman has never won a major party nomination with his ‘can-do’ attitude. And, just four years ago, it would have been considered impossible for a proud socialist senator to ignite a mass movement, even potentially threatening Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the Democratic primary.
Socialism is no longer a dirty word and now liberals are wearing the label as a badge of honor. The so-called Alt-Right has successfully counteracted the dominance of traditional conservatism with their nebulous political platform that strangely hints at White supremacy.
Every politician is attempting to brand himself as ‘anti-establishment’, including Hillary Clinton (former Secretary of State), John Kasich (former Chairman of the House Budget Commitee and current Governor of Ohio), Ted Cruz (currently Chairman of two Senate subcommittees), and, of course, Jeb Bush (former Governor of Florida ….and a member of one of the most influential political clans in the country!)
No one knows what it means to be ‘anti-establishment’ yet we can’t help but be seduced by the term’s intoxicating allure.
Why Third Party Candidates Suck
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have notably been distinguished as two of the most disliked presidential candidates in recent time. For the average, hapless citizen, it is tempting to see what the pantheon of third-party and independent contenders has to offer.
However, there’s a reason why third parties have never gained any momentum in any presidential race. Their candidates suck!
The candidate for the Green Party was a physician who barely has any grasp of the nuances of foreign policy. The Libertarian Party was sponsoring a man who has trouble identifying Aleppo on a map. The relatively new Solidarity Party bases its campaign on a platform which most Americans would find socially regressive and politically draconian.
Until a third party is able to nominate a competent, politically-savvy candidate who is in touch with the concerns of the average American, they don’t stand a chance in the presidential race
Those Were the Days
It’s not enough that we have to be subjected to low-grade reboots of Star Wars and saccharine TV shows from the ’90s (i.e “Fuller House, “Girl Meets World…barf). Now, our addiction to ‘memberberries has fueled the Donald Trump campaign. Trump’s campaign slogan evokes a nostalgic picture of an America from the before-time.
‘Member when marriage was between a man and a woman?
‘Member when there weren’t any Mexicans?
‘Member feeling safe?
As heartbreaking as it is for us to believe, these are sentiments echoed by millions of people throughout this country. And don’t forget, their vote counts as well.
‘Member Archie Bunker? He was the main character in a 1970’s Norman Lear sitcom called All in the Family. An aging, cantankerous family man, Archie Bunker clung to his old-fashioned values as he uncomfortably watched the world of his childhood being swept away by the Counterculture of the 60s and 70s. In his frustration, Archie became more and more reactionary, to the point where he accidentally joined the KKK in one episode.
Every era has its Archie Bunkers. Middle-aged men (and sometimes women) who scorn at modern social trends while longing for the “good ‘ol days”.However, they’re no longer the lovable bigots lampooned for our amusement. In 2016, the Archie Bunkers have become a powerful political force in America.
Single Issue Voters
Although I’m not a practicing believer, I still maintain vague connections to my family’s Catholic parish. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Catholic Church is known for his uncompromising opposition to abortion (under any circumstances). Despite their reservations of Donald Trump, many devout Catholics are unapologetically supporting him due to his stance on abortion, ignoring his vitriolic remarks and appalling track record on basic ethics. And because of her support for Roe V Wade, Hillary Clinton is practically the Anti-Christ.
It’s amazing how, despite the range of issues associated with a political campaign, some people are so blinded by their ideological (or religious) lens that they’re unable to see past one issue on the ballot.
Tampering With Democracy
I’m no fan of Wikileaks. Although I’m a staunch proponent of government transparency, I think Wikileaks oversteps ethical boundaries in revealing information that often compromises the lives of undercover intelligence operatives. Its creepy founder, Julian Assange, has actually done more harm in the quest for government transparency.
That being said, I’m more horrified by the deplorably sneaky tactics of the Democratic National Committee. Their blatant favoritism towards Hillary Clinton has taken the shed of the respect I had for the Democratic Party. Despite my agreements with the party’s platform, I don’t think I will ever become a registered Democrat.
Assuming Donald Trump doesn’t cause an apocalyptic nightmare, I can’t wait to see what 2020 will bring!