If repeating the same mistakes is the definition of insanity then our primary process is definitely cause for this nation’s sanity to be called into question. Seven months of intense and often drama-filled coverage of presidential hopefuls has culminated with the Iowa caucuses and the end result is we are pretty much left with no answers.
The fact there have been scores of debates, millions of dollars spent in advertising, and countless hours of campaigning should mean every American voter is well enough informed to make up their mind on who they want for their next president. Why drag things out with some old and out dated process? Our current primary system is about as useful as a business relying on the telegraph system for staying informed.
Think about it, in a day where all the information that has ever existed is in the palm of our hands, we take almost a year and a half to decide who will be our leader for a four year period. Donald Trump can live tweet responses to answers given by Hillary and Bernie during a democratic debate for all of us to read while watching it on our cell phones and the best we can do is take seven months to find out Democrats are split between the two in a state that most voters couldn’t find on a map. Meanwhile, the gang of 16 Republicans have pretty much told us what we have known for months now; no one is liked or supported by voters nearly as much as they are disliked.
If we were to believe the media, this is a crazy time in our country and we face a pivotal election. While I agree this is a pivotal election, the real reason has nothing to do with establishment candidates vs. anti establishment candidates. The media plays this up because it is a simple concept for the simple-minded voter, kind of like making something about race that really has little to do with it just because it is easy to understand and easier to get worked up about. The primary reason this presidential election is so important has more to do with who we want to see over hauling the Supreme Court, which stands to lose three or more justices to retirement/death. Whoever our next president is will have a lasting impact on this country simply by what kind of court they remake.
Still, there is no great war at this time even though we can not find a way to get out of our longest running war. While some candidates may want to see us more involved in the Middle East or put Vladimir Putin in his place, this is about as close to peace as we have been in some time. There is always going to be hot spots in the world, however, for the most part, life is good in the military sense.
We are not experiencing a great depression either although many are predicting a recession by year’s end. Should this happen, it could hurt the Democrats in much of the same way George H.W. Bush was hurt when he lost his re election bid to some guy with the last name Clinton. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Hillary lost in 2016 for the same reason Bill won 24 years earlier?
There is not nearly the great racial divide that the media blew out of proportion in 2014 and 2015. Black Lives Matter does not seem to matter as long as the media has Donald’s nonsense and Hillary’s potential scandals to focus on. The fear we have for Muslims is pretty ridiculous when you look at just how few Muslims live in our country and how much violence we experience from non-Muslim groups. But again, it makes for a simple and emotional debate while we ignore more important matters.
Our country seems to have far more wants than needs, but somehow these wants will play a big role in influencing voters. It would be nice to have affordable college tuition, higher salaries, and better and more affordable health coverage. However, Congress has a pretty good track record since 2000 of managing to accomplish next to nothing for the common voter while mastering the art of finger pointing. Don’t get your hopes up. Whoever our next president is, he or she will find it very difficult to get both sides of the isle to agree on anything.
All of this brings me back to Iowa and our primary process. Why would any voter expect our government to improve our lives when they continue to rely on a process that is as old and dated as wool baseball uniforms? Iowa settled nothing. It could have been skipped entirely and replaced with a Survey Monkey. New Hampshire is no different. What if California, Texas, New York, Florida, or Ohio kicked off the primary circus? No one, not even the media, would care one iota about Iowa.
Given all the information we have access to, is there any sound reason not to hold a national primary day? Do candidates really need to run themselves ragged barnstorming county after county for votes when all we have to do is tune in and watch debates and then find a fact checking web site to see just how much they have lied? How many pant suits can Hillary’s handlers dress her in? How many pork rinds does Marco Rubio have to fake enjoying? Who really wants to listen to candidates who hold less than five percent of their party’s support?
As I write this, it is Ground Hog Day and I cannot help but think of the great film staring Bill Murray by the same title. How many times is this country going to have to keep reliving this same stale and horrible process before it gets its head out of its backside and learns to make the necessary changes toward becoming a better country? We will know in four years. If we are still breaking down Iowa then, I hate to think about just how screwed up this country will be.
Top photo: Senator Bernie Sanders came to a “virtual tie” in Iowa with former Secretary Hillary Clinton. (YouTube)
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.