Monday, November 10, 2014

Further Proof that American Politics are getting Ugly..REAL Ugly

If you were watching Fox News on election night last week, you probably saw an exchange occur repeated between commentator Juan Williams and several of the news' panel's more, "conservative" members (seems oxymoronic to have to say so considering this is Fox we're talking about, but bear with me).

The argument that Juan Williams was trying to make early on in the evening was that the results of the election thus far were largely due to an "anti-incumbent" sentiment and since the Democrats had more Senate seats up for grabs, they were bound to lose to some degree because of its sentiment.

Problem was, as the other members of the panel pointed out, even GOP incumbents (including those not really popular in their respective states such as Mitch McConnell) were not only winning but winning with fair margins.

So while Juan Williams may have been wrong in trying to apply this "anti-incumbent" sentiment to the Democrat's eventual defeat, that fact that Senate candidates who are normally not popular with their constituents were fairly easily winning re-election is something to make note of.

The basic logic of elections is this: if the politician is unpopular before the election cycle starts, he/she will probably not have an easy time winning re-election.

But as Senator Mitch McConnell can testify, that is not always the case, not by a long shot.

Further, even in some open Senate races, such as Iowa's seat vied for by Democrat Bruce Braley and GOPer Joni Ernst, neither candidate had a reliably strong lead (let alone pulling more than 50% in a majority of polls) going into election night. Regardless of this, Joni Ernst beat her Democratic opponent by roughly 10 points and won just over 52% of the vote.

This "phenomenon" was explored today by Politico's Maggie Haberman here.

More or less, the political reality of elections works out like this: As long as your polling numbers are better than your opponents, you can win a majority of the voters' support.

What does this really mean?

Well, a nasty by-product of this reality is you can wage a nasty, cutthroat, and downright hateful campaign against your opponent, and as long as enough voters buy what you're selling and like your opponent just a little less than you, you can win. Hence the rise in such election campaign strategies (often times carried out by "unofficially affiliated" Super PACs).

And you wonder why so few politicians these days wage so-called "clean campaigns", which seek to minimize personal attacks on your opponent and aim more to educate voters on your own political stances...

Welcome to the current political reality in America folks, for better or..or just for worse.


All comments and/or opinions expressed in the above work are purely those of the author unless otherwise noted and do not represent that opinions/positions of any political or non-political organization or the Department of the Defense. Any/all distribution of this work MUST contain this disclaimer. 

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