Most Americans who follow politics, even casually, understand that making use of hyperbole, feigning self-righteous indignation, and angry rhetoric is part of the game regardless that a fair amount of what is said is hardly ever true; by design. Of course, those politicians making sure people believe misinformed propaganda, or blatant lies rather than facts and truth know their absurdities are embraced by Americans who want to believe lies or are just too stupid and incompetent to know what the truth actually is; even when it stares them in the face.
Now that the 2016 presidential nominating race is in full swing, the hyperbole, angry rhetoric, and unbelievably bizarre promises are driving Democrats wild and certain that Republicans are finished for all time. A fair amount of the enthusiasm is understandable, what with a rash of Republicans competing to out-extreme and out-hate each other; something that drives their acolytes into frenzy and to the polls in massive numbers. On the other side things are not much different; including the divisiveness threatening Democrats with a newly-introduced purity contest.
One of the Democratic candidate’s supporters are energized over an as of yet unknown kind of “political revolution.” Apparently the revolutions’ plan entails changing Koch and tea party Republicans’ hearts and minds to embrace what they have always labeled tax and spend socialism. According to the narrative, after their champion sweeps to victory as a Democrat, the entire Congress will embrace the revolution and “pass this massively transformative package of legislation without delay.” It is an exciting prospect and has energized a large number of Democrats.
The other Democratic campaign, although pledging to continue the progress set by Barack Obama, is populated by “enthusiastic and energized” supporters who are certain that Americans, particularly Americans who are women, will flock to the polls to support and elect “the first woman president.” Seriously, that is the thinking among some Democrats. Never mind that America is a patriarchal society, or that a fair percentage of half the population are the worst kind of misogynists; religious Republican women who vote in droves. It may be 2016, but among Republican ranks being a woman is a negative no matter the level of “enthusiasm,” the candidate’s supporters have to know that their champion’s strengths and qualifications are not dependent on gender.
The point is that no matter how passionate one’s supporters are, how much “energy” is being generated, how many individual donations one garners, or which group endorses which candidate, Democrats are still in serious trouble…again. That has been the consensus since the 2014 midterms when “failing” Republican incumbents across the board were handily re-elected to continue their failing ways because Republicans turn out and vote; even for failures.
The results of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary fairly prove that Democrats, both old and new, had better come to grips with reality immediately or get ready for a Republican president and Koch supermajority Congress. The biggest mistake Democrats risk making again is imagining that polls showing voter disgust with Republicans, and a weak stable of Republican presidential candidates, guarantees an easy White House win; except that neither case accounts for the disparate voter turnout in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Despite the errant hype about how energized the left is to put their champion in the White House, and a populist movement never before seen in American history, in both the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary Republicans garnered significantly more votes than Democrats who were ‘super energized’ and enthusiastic. In fact, in both Iowa and New Hampshire numbers for Democrats were well below what they were in 2008. What should terrify Democrats even more is the Republican turnout in New Hampshire nearly broke the record set by Democrats in 2008 that was a record year of incredibly high voter turnout for Democrats.
If, as one suspects will be the case, Republican voters show up at the polls like Democrats did in 2008, this idea of enthusiasm, political revolution, and populist energy will have to break records to keep a Democrat in the White House. It looks highly unlikely because populism, moderation, and enthusiasm were both Democrats’ buzzwords going into Iowa and New Hampshire where divided Republicans turned up in substantially larger numbers than Democrats to vote. This idea surrounding the “hype” on the Democratic side that success is bound to a monumental turnout from “progressives” is just that; an idea founded on hype. Remember, in America 24 percent of the people self-identify as Democrat, and of those only 14 percent claim to be progressives; 40 percent of Americans are Republicans and the remainder decline to state; but Republicans outnumber Democrats and they always turn out to vote.
Progressive are not going to drive this election for Democrats, but they can be the impetus to put a Republican in the White House. It is noteworthy that among one candidate’s supporters, 20 percent said if their hero is not the nominee, they will sit out the general election. With Republican voters already outpacing Democrats, and one faction willing to repeat the 2010 disaster that let the Koch brothers put the tea party in control of Congress, Republicans now have two very easy paths to the White House. It is something that Democrats and Republicans alike are aware of and if the left were not so arrogant and dysfunctional they just might know it too.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.