Today is September 10, 2015. It is the day before a day that we’re supposed to hold in great reverence because it’s the day the Bush Administration let us down and nearly 3,000 Americans perished due to their unwillingness to take the terrorist threat seriously. And frankly, with all of the remembrances and ceremonies and things that will undoubtedly happen tomorrow, all of which actually fit the concept of “get a grip,” that’s not what I want to talk about right now.
No, I want to talk about the breathlessness with which some people talk about and deal with the 2016 election. Quite often, these are the same people who complain mightily over “the media’s” desire for a horse race, but really…
Again, it’s September 10, 2015. Election Day 2016 is on November 8, 2016, which means we have 427 days to go. On average, the vast majority of voters will start paying attention in the last 4-6 weeks, because they have a life, and they need to take care of their job, take care of their kids and things like that; they are literally not paying attention to anything that’s happening right now because they have a life. They may care about who’s president, but they won’t spend the next 427 days worrying about who the next one will be. Imagine that. Imagine being sane enough told hold off on worrying about who will win until it actually matters. While you are stressing out over every single ridiculous poll and driving yourself crazy with the idea that the next president has to be (insert name here) or the entire republic will go straight down the drain, they’re going to work every day and looking for the money to pay their bills and hoping their kids’ education is good enough so they don’t struggle so much. In other words, while you’re stressing out over shit that really doesn’t matter, they’re experiencing the stress that most human beings in an industrialized nation experience, and theirs matters. It’s supposed to be why we’re here, progressives.
I was just listening to a podcast in which the host – an estimable liberal pundit, no less – was practically despondent over the fact that Vice President Joe Biden is wavering on whether to run for president, and that “the Democrats” needed to essentially shit or get off the pot; that he/they/it needed to decide soon, because the hesitation was making Democrats look bad, somehow, and could potentially hurt either Hillary or Bernie in the general election.
Let me be clear about something…
There is one political strategy that hurts Democrats badly, and that is our tendency to choose a Democrat, denigrate the other Democrats, then watch that Democrat lose and spend the entire election season trashing Democrats in the general. Nothing that happens within the system at this point in time will have any effect on the election 427 days from now; get a grip.
Keep in mind; the first caucus, the one in Iowa that many people have convinced themselves is an essential component in any type of victory, despite reality — is still nearly five months away, and the first consequential primaries are a month after that; making them six months away. Why would anyone expect most members of the general public to be excited about a vote that is six months away?
This is the time when candidates are getting their names out there and listening to people about what matters to them; if you think you already know, I can guarantee you, you really don’t. No; joe and Mary Average are NOT concerned about “income inequality” and they’re not obsessed with climate change, and if you’re insinuating that they’re dumb because they don’t see things the way you do, you’re not making any friends. People in Oklahoma are worried about the earthquakes. People in Kansas are worried about their failing school system. People in most of the South are worried about their poverty and the fact that the one party that might be able to help them is preoccupied with “Wall Street” and “corporate interests,” when they believe those things are what they need to save them.
I’ll get into this more in many other posts, but progressives have a really shitty track record when it comes to knowing and understanding what the average American cares about. So, instead of stressing out about polls, you might want to do something about that. In the meantime, if you really think Hillary is the best candidate, then play her up and get people excited about her, without tearing down any of the other Democrats. If you think Bernie Sanders is the greatest candidate ever, then please tell people who he is and what he’s done and stop trashing Hillary Clinton. Also, stop fretting over people who say he can’t win and prove them (me!) wrong. I still don’t think he can win the nomination, but what I think doesn’t really matter, so stop focusing on me and solve his real problem; he’s way behind right now primarily because he has no name recognition! Instead of stressing over people not giving him (you) respect, so work on that. Instead of calling people “stupid” for not supporting him, let them know who he is and then sit and listen to them to find out what they’re concerned about. Don’t just assume you know; listen.
Now, though I have said nothing that happens now matters, there is one exception; attitude. There are two political parties, not a dozen. There will be two viable candidates in the next election, not ten. The Republican Party has proven themselves not worthy of this great country, which means your messaging must be based on the basic premise that ANY Democrat is better than ANY Republican, precisely because it’s true.
In the meantime, GET A GRIP. Yes, we need Democrats in the White House and in charge of Congress, but we need to work toward that. It’s 427 days away; relax and work hard.