Voters Are To Blame For Bad Politics

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Bonnie, Feb 23, 2005.

  1. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    Voters Are To Blame For Bad Politics
    By Terry Mitchell (02/23/05)

    When I was growing up, I actually considered a career in politics. I quickly changed my mind, though, when I discovered that there was way too much politics involved in it. Obviously, that's a play on words, but I get funny looks from people when I tell them that. However, I am completely serious. The politics of running for and holding elective office is influenced too much by the politics of power, influence, and money. But whose fault is it that such a condition exists? I believe voters have no one to blame but themselves.

    As a voting public, we have become entirely too sophisticated for our own good. Many of us have made a habit of voting pragmatically, i.e., voting for the person we think has the best chance to win instead of the person we most agree with. We complain about wishy-washy politicians who won't give us straight answers, yet when people who say what they really think run for office, we dismiss them as being "loose cannons." When any candidate makes a statement that's evenly slightly out of the mainstream, it is considered such an egregious act that he or she either becomes marginalized or is forced to drop out of the race. What's left is a bunch of cautious and robotic weenies with their fingers in the wind - people who form their decisions based on polls and focus groups.

    We say we want candidates who are different, but not too different. We say we want new ideas but we shun candidates that seem the least bit precocious. Therefore, we end up with the kinds of candidates we've always had.

    I've often heard voters comment on candidates by making statements like "I couldn't imagine her being elected" or "he sends shivers down my spine." Most people will automatically exclude any candidate who would fit those kinds of descriptions. But should they? Sometimes good candidates come in packages that might be a little different or even a bit scary. By disqualifying those types of candidates, we could be missing out on some potentially great leaders. I wonder how many of today's sophisticated voters would consider someone like Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, or Teddy Roosevelt too much of a "nut" to be elected.

    We like to say the issues are the important things to us. However, many of us vote based on personalities. For example, we will decide on a presidential candidate based on who seems the most "presidential" (whatever that means). We are also too concerned about meaningless ceremonial issues. For example, I bet some people wouldn't vote for an unmarried man for president because of their concern about the absence of a first lady. We also put too great of an emphasis on superficial issues such as aesthetics, i.e., how someone looks. Richard Nixon may have lost the 1960 election because he didn't look as good on TV as John F. Kennedy during their debate.

    We also stress a candidate's education a little too much. Education is important, but it's not everything. Some of smartest people in the world never attended college. However, many of us wouldn't consider someone for any office higher than dog catcher unless he or she had at least a Bachelor's degree.

    Many voters make their ballot selections based on personal greed instead of what's best for their country, state, district, or locality. They will reserve their votes for politicians whom they think will give them things and/or make life easier for them. Of course, Politicians constantly exploit this greed by making outlandish promises. Once these politicians are elected, they either have to renege on those promises or create budget deficits in order to bring them about.

    Other voters, while not so much motivated by personal greed, will vote based on localized interests at the expense of the more general interests. For example, they might vote for a particular congressional candidate because they think he will bring a lot of goodies to their district. This mentality also helps to forge a cycle of promises, broken promises, and budget deficits. Until voters begin to put the general good ahead of personal and parochial interests, these problems will persist.

    We like to blame the news media for all of the "gotcha" political stories that pry too deeply into the personal lives and distant past history of candidates and therefore keep many good and qualified people out the political arena. However, it is ultimately our fault because we eat that stuff up. We can't get enough of it. The more dirt the news outlets dig up on various candidates, the more we buy their newspapers and tune in to their TV and radio stations for more of those stories. The sad part is that we allow that stuff to influence our votes. Most of it is irrelevant to the issues at hand and should not be taken seriously by voters. We do usually ignore the parts about the candidates or parties we like, but we tend to believe the parts about the candidates or parties we don't like. Therefore, the news media keeps feeding us this garbage.

    Last but not least, one of our biggest problems is our unwillingness to vote for independent or third party candidates. These candidates generally do not have obligations to party bosses or quid pro quo relationships with lobbyists like the major party candidates do. Very often, we will vote for the lesser of two evils, rather than an independent or third party candidate who might be much better. Of course, when you vote for the lesser of two evils, you're still voting for an evil. Many people feel like they would be wasting their vote by voting for any of those other candidates. This is simply not true. A voter only wastes his/her vote when he/she votes for someone he/she does not really like. Instead, we create a voting catch-22 for ourselves, i.e., no one will vote for Mr. Independent because he has no chance; Mr. Independent has no chance because no one will vote for him. If enough people decided to start voting their conscience, we could break that vicious cycle.

    http://www.americandaily.com/article/6920
     
  2. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Interesting article. I cant say i disagree majorly. we do control our nation. If people think we have to choose between the less of two evils that its obviously Americans arent doing their job. The candidates for higher office often come from local politicians. If you dont want bad people in higher office, take more care in who you vote for in lower offices.
     
  3. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    As exampled by the recent multiple arrests of local officials in Monmouth County NJ for taking bribes from contractors. All told so far 3 mayors, 1 Fire Commissioner, 1 Police commissioner, and the rest local council people.
     
  4. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I agree with it being 'interesting.' I've said before my thinking tends to make me claim more 'libertarian' than 'GOP.' Yet, I've had few choices on the Libertarian ticket that I feel comfortable voting for. Those that witnessed the exchanges between tpahl and myself during the election cycle would be well aware of that. It got so heated because I knew a bit about Badnarik, which wasn't the kind of info that was out there.

    So, I voted GOP on most races. Some democrat, few but some. One libertarian, who I didn't know much about but it was local.

    So am I making a 'go for the win vote?' I don't see it that way. More voting for the best of the meager offerings.
     
  5. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    Yup. In my estimation, the last real straight-shooter who ran for President was Barry Goldwater. The fact that he told the truth scared the bejeezus out of the majority of Americans. It took nearly twenty years for events to vindicate the statements he made during that presidential campaign.
     
  6. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    Kathianne I agree with you whole heartedly on this point. I have voted both Republican and Democrat, and consider myself a Conservative Independent. I will vote strictly according to the issues. In some cases the Democratic candidate is more conservative than the Republican.
     
  7. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Agreed. And sometimes the democrat is less conservative, but more 'clean.' Hey, I'm in Illinois. So I vote for the best of the offerings...
     
  8. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    Here in NJ there is a candidate named Brett Schundler who ran agianst McGreevey for Governor last time. Brett lost mostly because he was deemed too conservative and out there and was never even given a real chance by his own party here in NJ. It's a shame because as a two term Mayor of Jersey City he lowered taxes, and balanced the budget, also he helped create incentives for high class waterfront development in Hoboken and JC. He was even popular with minorities. He could have done wonders as Governor, instead we got corruption and embarrassement from the other one. He's running again, don't know how he's going to beat Corzine who is a much more formidable candidate considering his billions of dollars, and his extreme liberal ideology.
     

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