The Civics Lesson 4/27/19

By Richard Bleil

A third of our population still likes the president. There is nothing wrong with this; we are all entitled to our own opinions. It’s not my intention to be confrontational in this post, but the reality is that when the president was elected, I made the comment that this presidency will be a lesson in civics.

In my humble opinion, the president won the election for three reasons. First, the Republican election field was way too large. Some of the best presidential candidates were taken out far too early because the votes were just spread too thin. The president himself was a known celebrity, which, sadly, brings a recognition that will draw a certain portion of our population just because they’ve seen him in television and probably liked his show, although why I will never understand. I guess people just like seeing people being mean to other people. It’s a major shortfall in our society in my opinion.

Second, there is a group of people who completely refused to vote for the Democratic nominee. I try not to use names in my blogs, but follow me here; there was a very liberal candidate them that should have won the Democratic nomination, but it is now well-known that shenanigans (to be kind) within the DNC leadership basically stole the nomination to give it to the other candidate. This gave rise to a certain set of people who refused to vote for either candidate, the argument being that “there would be no difference.” With the scandals and unpopular practices of the current administration I wonder if they feel the same way.

The third reason that he won is actually quite simple; he (or his election campaign team) did know where to focus to win the electoral college. It’s a sad reality that the most popular candidate, the one that most Americans actually want as president, is not always the one that wins. Thanks to the electoral college system, we have a president that lost the popular vote by three million. Personally, I see this as a problem, but, he was smart enough to realize that the popular vote didn’t really matter.

Now there are three groups of people in this nation. The first still approve of the president and the job he is doing. The second group did like the president, but have come to realize that his policies have worked against him. The third group never liked him at all. I don’t really understand the first group, but that’s just me.

The second group are the ones that never liked the president. Of these, the ones who refused to vote because of their pain at what the DNC did are learning a difficult lesson. I understand the protest vote; I really do, and if there really is no difference between the candidates, I can see it. But here we had two distinctly different candidates. The president opened his candidacy by insulting Mexican immigrants, and is now trying to shift billions of dollars to build an unpopular wall on the Mexican border. He mocked a handicapped reporter, and basically admitted to sexually assaulting women, and yet, by refusing to vote for the only viable alternate candidate, they were complicit in his winning the election.

The third group started liking the president, but have changed their opinion. As a candidate, the president was outstanding at speaking to the anger of the crowds, and working them into a frenzy. But people didn’t really listen to what he was saying. Today, a lot of policies such as the trade war that has hit his base so hard, and a tax reform that benefited only the wealthy (and what little benefit the rest of us have seen will expire), his supporters are changing their minds about him. And yet, he has done what he promised to do in the campaign, and the impact has been as predicted by his opponent.

The point that I am dancing around rather ungracefully is that I believe it is time that we Americans start taking our politics more seriously. It is sadly too common that people vote party ticket, usually for the party of their parents. This is intellectual laziness; it’s far easier to vote a party than it is to listen to what the politicians are actually saying, and formulating an independent opinion. The current president has split not only the nation, but his own party as well. When it looked as if he would win the party nomination, many members of his party rightly pointed out serious concerns about him, claiming they could never endorse him because he did not represent the party, only to change their tune once the nomination was secured. They started strong, but ended with a whimper.

I would like to see more Americans take the attitude of these politicians, at least before they caved. There is nothing wrong with favoring one party over the other, but if the politicians do not reflect your personal view, don’t vote them in. We are stuck with these politicians for at least two years. Regardless of the pin they wear, if their policies and attitudes do not align with your own, you are still stuck. We all are stuck.

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