I’ve been a political junkie for a long time. As I’m fond of saying “I love the game, but hate the stench”. Over the years, I’ve watched campaign after campaign, on both side of the major party political fence, and have been more often than not somewhat bored by a lot of things that are a staple of US politics. One of those things on that list of “boring” has always been political conventions.
Everyone knows what to expect. Two to three days of speakers regurgitating the same old script consisting of the following:
- How great the party is.
- How horrible the other party and candidate is.
- Nonsensical solutions to nonexistent problems.
- The same old tried and failed solutions to real problems.
- Blah, blah, blah….
But this year… This year is DIFFERENT! And man is it ever!!!!
The Republican National Convention started off with a bang, when anti-Trump delegates were shut down by a bizarre floor vote that left a lot of people either scratching their heads, or furious, depending on which side of the Trump you’re on. And things continues to spin outside the normal orbit of the boring. Speech plagiarism, Christie holding a mock trial (which was good theater BTW), Cruz not endorsing Trump, apparently with the approval of Trump,the continues presence of the anti-Trump fueled anger that was simmering just below the surface, causing a lack of true party unity (usually considered a failure on conventional terms – get it?) and then Trump giving a long dark speech that made ME terrified, plus all the other stuff that made this one heck of a fun convention to watch. Granted, by Cruz not getting the nomination, thanks to the unexpected presence / win of Trump, I lost a bet and now owe a friend a steak dinner. But it was worth it I think.
And now the Dems have their turn. It’s not even a day in and there is TONS more to this convention than anyone could have predicted. First there are the hacked e-mails, showing that the DNC did indeed unethically stack the deck against Bernie Sanders in favor of the Queen, Mrs. Hillary Clinton. Though it’s not really surprising, as Bernie supporters have been for good reason accusing the DNC of being in cahoots with the Clinton campaign, the stolen e-mails, revealed by Hillary nemesis Julian Assange and Wikileaks, confirms those suspicions. To make matters worse, former Clinton campaign manager Debbie Wasserman Schultz who was forced to resign over this embarrassment, has, for some reason that makes no sense at all, except to Hillary I guess, been appointed to an honorary campaign with the Clinton campaign, before the ink on her resignation was even dry.
Are you KIDDING ME????
Isn’t there anyone in Clinton’s inner circle who can stand up and say “DON’T DO THIS! IT WILL LOOK HORRIBLE!!! BAD OPTICS!!!!”.
Apparently, there isn’t.
How did all this happen???
There was a time when the party machine had more say in who would be able to run under their ticket. Oh, sure, a rogue candidate could jump into the fray under the company banner, but without real support from the party organization, that candidate wouldn’t stand a chance. He, or she would get squashed. The party wold change the rules behind closed doors or throw out various roadblocks to make it impossible for the interloper to ever succeed. Just look at how the Republican party machine treated Ron Paul, even though he had more popular support than several of the candidates who continued to enjoy favorable treatment.
Here is a message for both of the major parties. The Past Is Gone.
The past is a time when everyone would, in the end, agree to go along to get along for the sake of the party. The past is a time when you could bribe opposing politicians with platform changes or even appointments of you and favored lackeys to cabinet positions.The past is a time, before the internet, when the parties could pull of subtle things to influence election, and talk about it within the hallowed halls of party headquarters, and no one would be the wiser. They could do these things and so much more without any repercussions.
Those days are gone.
Why is this happening? Easy. It’s the internet. We are privy to information that in elections past would have never seen the light of day. We are now hyper-aware. We are an electorate that has watched politicians pretend they are “one of us” and want to “help us” but barely lift a finger to do what they promise, or worse do the opposite. We are an electorate that are finally willing to hols politician’s feet to the fire for flip-flopping. We the electorate, even if we can’t identify it specifically, can detect and smell the corruption rotting just below the surface, and we simply are not willing to stand for it anymore. We the electorate are, frankly, sick of being lied to.
The people running the political show are still playing by the old rules, dubious of the fact that everything has changed since the election of 2000. They are so out of touch with us, with the world we live in, that they never figured we’d catch on. And worse, when it became clear that we did, they were so blind to us that they didn’t even see it.
It’s all about information. That the internet was going to change the way we do political business was predictable and inevitable. I would have thought all this would have become obvious and would have already changed things before now. But… Finally… Here we are.