Sunday, July 22, 2012

Updated Jul 20, 2012 @ 03:28 PM
By Halen Allison
One hundred nine days.  That’s how much longer we must suffer through the constant and chronically painful deluge that is the presidential campaigns season, the total length of which seems to grow with each passing cycle.  I don’t know about you, but I grew weary of this campaign six months ago.  It’s only going to get worse the closer we get to D(ecision)-Day.  The escalation of rhetoric will see a commensurate rise in utter illogical nonsense and the intelligence of average Americans, those being the ones who do not belong to the professional political class, routinely insulted.  After all, how much contradictory information can one be presented with before they simply tune out?
Therein lies the problem with protracted campaigns which, in my opinion, wholly invalidate their utility.  They are so overwhelming to the senses of sight and hearing, not to mention offensive to one’s sense of taste, that the majority of the public becomes numbed to the entire affair.  This of course ignores the fact that the majority of Americans have already had their minds made up for them by delegates at the party conventions.  Republicans will largely vote for Mitt Romney, and Democrats will largely vote for Barack Obama.  So what’s the point?
Perhaps it’s safe to say that the true targets of these campaigns are the undecided voters (the independents) and those whose political ideologies are not represented by a viable party (the libertarians).  A recent Rasmussen report on partisan trends suggests that America is broken into approximate thirds: one-third Republican, one-third Democrat, and one-third unaffiliated.  So in one sense, the nearly incomprehensibly massive amount of money being spent on these elections is primarily meant to sway 30% of the voting population.  We can knock that number down even further.  Of the total voting-eligible population, less than half even bother to vote regularly, 2008 being an anomaly that saw 61% of eligible voters get off the couch.
In 2008, almost $1.5 billion was spent by the candidates.  That amount makes the 2008 presidential campaign worth more than the entire economic output of such countries as Djibouti, Grenada, and Guinea-Bissau.  The Campaign for President 2008 Edition would, were it a country, rank 168th on the worldwide GDP list.  And the cost of attaining the ultimate narcissist’s goal has been rising.
We must remember that the stakes are high in these elections, and those stakes justify the “noble and worthy” investment by candidates of hundreds of millions of dollars in order to sway a small portion of the population.  It also justifies what is tantamount to glorified panhandling, as each candidate assures you that if you do not donate now, his opponent (your enemy who must be defeated) will be able to outspend him and thus win the election.
Do you feel like you’re not doing enough to get your man elected, and your opponent defeated?  You can always ask those expected to give wedding or birthday gifts to instead donate cash to a campaign.  Such a donation goes a lot further than a gravy bowl, I’ve heard.
Personally, I'd like to see all campaigning stop during the last three months of an election cycle.  This would give us voters a chance to clear our heads and, maybe, make us feel like actually wanting to participate in our political process.
Word of the Day: Stentorian (Adjective): Extremely loud.
On This Day in History: The first car made by the Ford Motor Company is shipped (1903).  World War I veterans attempting to march on the White House to get their promised bonuses are met with police and tear gas (1932).  The plot to assassinate Hitler fails (1944).  The USS Constitution sails for the first time in 116 years as she celebrates her 200th birthday.
“There can be only one.” – Tagline to the movie Highlander, and equally appropriate for presidential candidates who aim to symbolically decapitate their opponents so they can live on.

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