The “Political Junkie” Blues

Should we feel sorry for the typical “Political Junkie”?

It’s really getting pathetic, you know?

We all want to blame someone, like the all-important, “The Media,” but the fact of the matter is, what’s driving the bullshit is… well… us…

What bullshit, you ask? I’ll get to that.

I Vomited stickerYes, “political junkies,” we are the ones driving the nonsense that has become our electoral system. If you want to know why silly season lasts longer and gets sillier every election year, the answer is simple; we demand it. “We,” of course, refers to “political junkies;” people who seem absolutely addicted to the idea that what happens 18 months before an actual election actually matters, despite the fact that the evidence is overwhelming that what happens 18 months before an election matters exactly not at all. You get excited over every new poll to the point that you wake up in the morning and head straight for Real Clear Politics to see what the latest numbers are and you alternately rejoice and fret over the numbers, as if today was November 7, 2016, and tomorrow, the world will either live and thrive again, or die in a fiery ball of flame.

Trump faceGet a grip, folks. The key to being a success in life is keeping everything in perspective. With that in mind, here are a few things to chew on right now, full 14 months before the 2016 election.

  • Donald Trump has exactly one snowball’s worth of a chance in hell of winning the Republican nomination, and less than that of becoming president.
  • Bernie Sanders, while running an admirable campaign, is and always will be an underdog for the Democratic nomination.
  • The polls you read now are completely worthless. Put it this way; political parties and campaigns pay tens of thousands of dollars per month on actual polling that actually means something, and the polls you see cost you nothing. “You get what you pay for” has never been more apt.
  • No one but other “political junkies” are framing the debate right now. Most Americans are not paying attention right now, because the first votes won’t be cast for roughly five months. Most important states won’t cast votes for much longer than that. Some have almost a year to wait.

Got that?

All of this worry about Donald Trump completely misses the boat. Right now, with the splash he’s made, he has about one-quarter of Republican vote, and his support is almost 100% Tea Party-based; his supporters basically hate the entire system; they are convinced that government does nothing right, and who think we’ve been screwed since women got the right to vote a century ago. If you’ll recall, at this point in the 2008 race, McCain was politically dead. At this point in 2012, everyone but Mitt Romney was taking a turn at pandering to the teabaggers and leading the Republican field. Trump currently has an “unfavorable” rating in the 60s among Republicans. He’s polling so high because even most Republicans aren’t paying attention right now. It’s actually too soon to care. If you think anything that happens on September 8, 2015 will matter on November 8, 2016, it’s the addition talking. Take up a hobby other than politics; you’re sick.

Sanders and DickAs far as Sanders goes, I see him running a valiant campaign, and I see a lot of bluster from his most fervent supporters. What I don’t see is his campaign making any serious headway against the Hillary Clinton juggernaut, which, contrary to what many may think, has been fueled by popular appeal, and not “Wall Street.” See, here’s the thing about politics, “Political Junkies;” politicians don’t get money to make them popular, at least on the Democratic side. They get money based on their popularity.

That is not to say Sanders can’t win, although the signs are that he still can’t. Of course, early on in Obama’s 2008 campaign, it was hard to believe he could beat the Clinton machine, either. However, Sanders has two problems to overcome that Obama did not. First of all, Obama is incredibly charismatic. He has that Bill Clinton type of charisma; the kind that attracts people who don’t even want to like him. And second, Obama’s supporters wanted to make him president and did everything they could to make that happen.

I’m not going to say Sanders has no charisma; he’s actually a very likable guy, albeit a bit brusque. He’s very eloquent, he has a good heart and I have always liked him. Most people do like him. Bernie is a great guy, and a good politician. A good career politician who has been a socialist all his life and has never been a Democrat before. He still isn’t. That will be a hurdle for some Democratic voters.

But unlike Obama’s supporters in 2008, Bernie Sanders 2016 supporters are his biggest weakness. They are petulant, not supportive. They obsess over those of us who simply say “Bernie can’t win,” and they act as if they believe that my saying that creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sorry, Sanders people, but your greatest strength is the notion that “Bernie can’t win.” People love an underdog story, especially at this point in the campaign. You should not only embrace it, but welcome it with open arms. Contrary to what many “political junkies” believe, most voters don’t choose their favorite candidate based on their positions on “the issues.” I know; to a progressive “Political Junkie,” that’s heresy of a sort, isn’t it? People vote based on their perception of a candidate’s competence and strength. See, most voters have more common sense than the average “Political Junkie;” they know they have no idea what the issues will be 18 months or two years or four years from now; no one does. They’re not taken in by meaningless “catch phrases, like “Wall Street” and “income inequality.” They want to put someone in the White House who they feel can react well to anything that might happen during the next four to eight years.

Bernie Sanders’ best selling point is his perception as an “outsider,” and if he loses that, he’s done. Therefore, instead of whining and crying whenever one of us tells you he has no chance of beating Hillary, you should thank the lord above that people think that. And in the meantime, instead of calling people stupid because they can’t see him as president, work on making sure people know who he is.

See, here’s the deal; Sanders is a good guy, but he suffers from what kills the vast majority of politicians; a lack of name recognition. He appeals to people who are hooked on progressive talk radio, but few actually do that; the most popular shows get maybe two million listeners, all of whom are very liberal. One of the keys to becoming a politically savvy human, and not just a “Political Junkie” is to understand that success in the political arena relies on name recognition and trust. You can brag about Sanders’ unfavorables being far lower than Clinton’s if you want, but the reality is, they’re not low for a good reason. His unfavorables are low because no one knows who the hell he is. Everyone knows Hillary Clinton. People don’t vote for someone they find “not unfavorable,” they want to vote for someone they think can get things done and change life in America for the better. Everyone knows Hillary Clinton has the ability to get things done. Few outside of the far left have even heard of Bernie Sanders, so you have to wonder what will happen when they find out he’s a Socialist and a career politician.

grannyfingerNot that there is anything wrong with that, of course, but if they learn these things about Sanders without the necessary context, it may be too easy for the wrong people to define him. Instead of wasting your time crowing about all of the things Bernie Sanders is promising to do and fretting over your own personal ego problems, like those that lead you to lose self-esteem when someone says “Bernie can’t win,” how about spending more time telling people who he is and why you think he can do great things. But don’t just rattle off a list of his positions on issues; tell people why he’s a great guy. Then, prepare to vote for Hillary, in case we’re right and she gets the Democratic nomination, because progressives need for Democrats to win from now on. Not just 2016, but in at least the next 6-10 election cycles. Out main goal has to be to make sure the current incarnation of the Republican Party never has control of government again. We have to fumigate Washington, and as many state capitals as possible.

Keep in mind; only political junkies are framing the debate right now. If you are hearing a lot of crap, it’s feedback; most voters are not paying attention right now because they’re sane and they realize that no election season should take two years to resolve. Most voters know who Hillary Clinton is, but they don’t know about anyone else, and they won’t care for quite a while. If you’re excited about Bernie’s crowd sizes, it’s because you desperately want her campaign to be in trouble. It’s not in trouble; not even close. If you think Donald Trump is anything but a momentary distraction, it’s because you want him to be more than that. And really; if you’re whining about anything the DNC is doing right now, you really have a problem. Six debates is plenty, and if the race turns out to be closer than people think, they can add a few more. Relax.

Get a grip, people. If you think the results of the 2016 election hinge on anything that happens more than a year before that election “officially starts,” you have lost all perspective. The first votes are almost half a year away; if you expect voters to stay motivated for 14 months, well… that’s because you’re a “Political Junkie.”


The “Political Junkie” Blues — 2 Comments

  1. Pingback: BadGOP | The “Political Junkie” Blues

  2. Back in 2011, right about this time of the year in fact, the political pundits and political junkies were obsessing over the polls showing that Democratic voters “weren’t excited” about the 2012 electionn. They then proceeded to spin this as “Obama is in trouble.” The problem was that most voters weren’t paying attention, and even someone like me, who is more politically active, wasn’t really all that invested in the presidential election next year. Realistically, it’s too far away to begin with, and for the real action, there are any number of local offices in this state which are being voted on this year. So expecting me to be “excited” about about the election in 2016 is asking too much. Ask me next year, when it’ll matter.