Saturday, May 23, 2015

How We As The People Affect Politics

Some people have reservations about posting their thoughts about politics in social media, in social settings or just about any other form of communication.  Other folks are very passionate and have no problem discussing what they feel is right, wrong and how things should be fixed.

The 2016 Presidential election campaigns are in full swing.  Yet, some politicians have placed themselves in the "exploratory - potential" category, i.e., Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, George Pataki, Donald Trump and others.  Of course, they are testing the waters, discussing issues and seeking financial support.

The word has long been on the street about the $1 billion Hillary Clinton is amassing for her 2016 Presidential run.

The washingtontimes.com is also reporting. “A network of conservative advocacy groups backed by Charles and David Koch aims to spend a staggering $889 million in advance of the next White House election, part of an expansive strategy to build on its 2014 victories that may involve jumping into the Republican primaries.

That is a lot of money, to say the least.  It is much more than twice the amount both parties have spent on the 2008 Presidential election.

What is the point?  It is that those running for office or "exploring" their options will be spending money that will be channelled through all forms of communication and the media to deliver the message as to why they are the most qualified to lead the country.  Most, but not all, people will be making their decisions based on what they hear and see through the media.  The media will deploy "experts" to explain the issues the candidate is discussing as well as the opposing view.

In the Dallas, Texas mayoral elections, 6% of eligible voters turned out and casted a vote.  Of course, we know that local elections have low turnouts, state elections climb higher (33.7% in Texas), congressional elections climb even higher (but are at an alarming low turnout - 2012 at 53.6%, 2014 at 36.3% the lowest since World War II) and the highest turnout is the Presidential election - 2008 at 57.1% and 2012 at 54.9%. 

Obviously, political campaign strategists focus highly on the demographic makeup of the constituency of people contained within those percentages.  Groups have been organized, along with strategies to encourage people to go out and vote.  Ah yes, the old adage, "not casting a vote is casting a vote for the candidate you not want to win."  But do people care?  It appears that maybe 54.9% of the people do.  The others must have no feeling either way.  One can suppose that they do not feel they can affect the direction or decisions of their country.

I am afraid obsolescence has set in to the people that affect politics.  People affect the outcome of the race when they do vote and when they don't vote.  I am afraid that we have allowed a very simple minority to affect an election.  Along with obsolescence comes the strategy of how campaign managers and those that want to influence decisions such as the Koch brothers communicate what they want to to the voters (the ones they know will actually come out).  If a person agrees with the Koch brothers and what they stand for then that is their prerogative.  If a person agrees with Hillary Clinton and what she stands for that is their prerogative as well.  However, the issues are Foreign Relations Policy - ISIS/ISIL, Nuclear Armament, Military Intervention, Coalition Forces Overseas,Trade Agreements, Oil, Currency Exchange, Security, Immigration, Marriage Rights, Food Supply, Imports, Exports, Isolationism, States Rights and the Federal Government, Taxes, Terrorism, Rioting, Profiling, Bomb Attacks, Prison Reform, Abortion, Right To Bear Arms, Minority Rights, Government Spending, Gross National Product, Minimum Wages, Health Care, Medicare, Social Security, Public Safety, Crime, Government Regulation and much, much more.  Much more.

The issues continue, but so does obsolescence.  There is a point to be made that a person must work to support their family and does not have the time to research all the issues and the ensuing facts. Even with that knowledge, one then needs to take the thoughful time to make their own assessment.

The media arrives and due to visual and audible entertaining elements attempts to capture the audience and relay the news, the facts, the reality or present it in comedic fashion.  So, there must be a percentage of people that engulf themselves with this presentation of issues and events and make an analysis based on their own clear conscience. I do not know what that percentage might be.  I do not believe anyone does.  But, I do believe that the political campaign managers make an "educated" guess as to what that percentage may be and align their strategies accordingly.

I also know that 5% of high net worth individuals earn more than half of the entire population of the United States.  That is a Federal Reserve reference.  

I also know that Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern have a very strong commonality.  They are each and unto themselves merely an act.  Entertainment.  They surely have opposing views.  But they are still just an act.  Believe them if you will.  That is what is great about the United States.  It is called freedom.  Freedom to choose who you will listen and/or not listen to.  But only 54.9% create the action and take it upon themselves to vote.  Listening to whomever you want is freedom.  Not voting is a vote against freedom.

Peace.

Markie Z
twitter@markandrewz