A meme, I saw on Facebook said, 108,856,312 voters need to give a darn. OK, they used stronger language, but this is a family newspaper.
The problem, as I see it, is that neither side, DEM [Democrat] or GOP [Republican], are willing to bend at all. Not very many centrists left in either party. If you don't agree with the GOP 100 percent, or the DEMS 100 percent then you are considered an enemy by that party. Both parties have some good ideas, both also have some that aren't so good. Sadly, with the death of Senator John McCain, we lost one of the few remaining centrists, who had the willingness, ability, and the "stones" to work with folks, on both sides of the isle. Senator McCain would try to make an agreement, aka a compromise, so that both sides got something, when the final bill was voted on in Congress. Even though he disagreed with a DEM, on policy, he could still be friends with them after work. How sad today, that neither side seems able to do that.
DC politics has become a "blood sport", like the ancient Roman Coliseum, where you fought to the death. It's no longer what is best for the nation, but what is best for the politician so they get re-elected while helping their party to stay in power. They’ll say and do anything in order to win, because winning is all that counts. Sadly, as money talks and everything else walks, lobbyists get the politician’s attention, by flashing the cash; where as you and I, the voter, get ignored, except for election year, when they need our votes. Then we hear promises that they rarely keep.
Some folks are one issue voters. Issues like: Abortion, LGBTQ issues, 2nd Amendment rights, Allowing Open Borders, Religious Rights, etc., get folks fired up. Neither party is willing to give an inch on their respective “sacred cows”. There is a reason, these issues generate money.
Political campaigns cost lots of money, especially for radio and TV ads that essentially smear the opponent where being truthful isn’t important. The ads are designed to demonize the other side and make them appear to be the “Anti-Christ” and that the world will come to a horrible end if that “evil person” is elected or re-elected.
Both parties need their voters fired up, possibly scared, but definitely angry. They want you angry enough that you’ll pull out your wallet or purse and send them money, the more the better. The big money makers for the DEMS are: Keeping Abortion available 24/7, LGBTQ issues, Open Borders, Keeping the GOP from ending Social Security and Medicare, etc.
The big money makers for the GOP are: Trying to stop Abortions, Stopping Illegals immigrants by building a physical wall, 2nd Amendment rights, protecting Religious Rights, etc. These and other hot button issues get the voters fired up and get them to open up their wallets and fill both party’s coffers with lots of money.
Senator John McCain showed his integrity when he ran against Barack Obama in 2008. When at a town talk, some woman was bad mouthing Obama where she said, “I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him, and he’s not, um, he’s an Arab”, McCain then grabbed the microphone and cut the woman off. “No, ma’am,” he said. “He’s a decent family man and citizen that just I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what the campaign’s all about. He’s not an Arab.” Senator McCain was booed by many in that audience.
“The Maverick”, as McCain was called, showed real class and spoke real truth. Disagree with Obama and his ideas, sure, but let’s not start saying untrue things about him, as a person, was McCain’s message. Sadly, neither side listened, as all elections since, have had both parties demonize the other person as being evil incarnate. We need more centrists in government like John McCain.
Each of those issues, I listed above, are powerful issues for some part of the population who will vote faithfully, for the party, that best represents their view, on that vital issue.
So, it’s not so much that voters don’t care, as that Facebook meme implied, but when an issue is a bedrock issue for them, like an important freedom they cherish, or their wallet, or a religious belief, etc., it’s difficult to want any compromise. That's why centrists, like John McCain are needed, so that these issues can be resolved.
Where does that leave us, as a nation? Very divided. The Electoral College is how Trump won, in 2016. He appealed to the “fly over counties”, whereas the DEMS focused mainly on the major metro areas, where they have the most support. It isn’t just getting the vote out, as the DEMS out voted the GOP, in 2016, by about 3 million votes.
It’s getting the vote out in all areas of the nation, not just the cities, because winning the popular vote doesn’t count, unless you win the Electoral College. Let’s see if the DEMS take a different approach in 2020, if they don’t, then we’ll get another four years of Trump.
Mike Cannatelli’s column appears every other week in the print editions of the Avon Grove Sun and Kennett News.