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Home / Politics  /
The Purposeless Spectacle Of Presidential Elections, Part II
presidential elections

All exits ultimately lead to the same place on these circus grounds


In Part 1, I outlined a very valid reason why voting in a U.S. Presidential election is an utter waste of time.

You can readily think of why you show up for your job, at your favorite restaurant, at your friend's party.  But showing up at a polling station to vote for the President produces no measurable return for the average voter.

Contributing cash or volunteering time and then voting is more of a waste.

What about one's right to vote?  In the Soviet Union, there was only the Communist Party and citizens had no right to vote it out. Americans live in a democratic society. To not vote in a 'free and fair election' and exercise your democratic choice is a crime against the system, isn't it?

Maybe if we had a real choice. When the options are rotten and we're brainwashed to select a particular one, can you accurately call it choosing anymore?

Hollywood celebrities make videos each election cycle to point out to us how important it is that we cast our vote. Caveat:  for a Democrat.  Ron Howard the director made a video with Andy Griffith and Henry Winkler, former TV colleagues of his, to support Obama, a Democrat. For the 2016 election, one of Silicon Valley's billionaires was portrayed as an outcast for supporting Trump, which really shouldn't be such an issue in a truly free and fair climate where everyone is entitled to vote for whomever they please. The New York Times devoted two full pages to print every Twitter insult Trump has lobbied since he started his campaign.

Famous celebrities and the uber wealthy caring about something so important is just part of the hardly neutral media's way to distract us at the circus, making us believe there are stakes here and that our choice does matter.

In Part 1, I argued that the Presidential elections are a show sponsored by one set of backers.  The backers own all the products being shopped in the election marketplace.  These backers have a preference which product they'd prefer to see become dominant, and they utilize the media in not very subtle ways to hammer home that "choice". But if the backers somehow misestimate which candidate resonates more with the public, they're covered by owning the alternate products as well. It becomes irrelevant who wins.

In 2000, liberal voters got emotional that Gore had the election stolen out from under him. Six years later, an HBO documentary was produced, Hacking Democracy, showing electronic voting system irregularities during the 2000 and 2004 elections. Diebold machines were exposed to have exploitable backdoors.

Even if Bush really did steal the 2000 election and the next one in 2004, Gore and Kerry didn't walk away losers. Gore went on to produce an overhyped documentary that, despite his hypocrisy over green living, won him a Nobel Prize and freed him up to exploit his well-connected public sector status to profit largely in the private sector.   John Kerry lost the 2004 election by a slim margin, but then went on to be chairman of various committees before becoming Secretary of State under Obama at the beginning of 2013.

As a kid, when learning about the American political system, we were always taught how fair it was, how there were systems of checks and balances in place.

Are there? Today, it seems like frontrunner positions are locked up long in advance like the next few Olympic Games.

In 2015, the New York Times ran an article on nepotism. What were the odds of a baby boomer son acquiring a position once his father had already attained it compared with a general baby boomer male without any paternal connection?  Baby boomer males work fine here as the statistical group because all males who've made virgin runs for the Presidential office between 1992 and 2016 for either of the two main parties  were baby boomers -- apart from John McCain and Bob Dole, which may be why neither of those two men stood a serious chance.

1 in 9 baby boomer sons whose fathers were billionaires also became billionaires compared to about 1 in 250,000 baby boomer males in the general population. The odds of a baby boomer son following his father into the Presidency are more remote. Only 1 in 13 baby boomer males with a Presidential father became President. In the general male baby boomer population, the odds are 1 in 18.7m.

Up until 2000, the year the USA turned 224 years old, the U.S. only ever had one father-son presidency, John Adams (2nd President) and John Quincy Adams (6th President). The Adams' stint really shouldn't be cited as a precedent.  John Adams was one of the 41 Founding Fathers of the USA and served as the nation's first vice president. He was a shoo in as the USA's second president. The Presidential office was new, and Adams didn't have to run anything near to a modern expensive political campaign.

Adams possessed one of the highest IQ's of any President and birthed a political family of politicians, diplomats, and historians. So the odds of a brilliant son of a Founding Father making it to the Presidential throne when the USA was still young weren't so insurmountable in an era when the U.S. population and territory were significantly smaller and fewer people possessed the educational qualifications to qualify for the job.

If the odds of a baby boomer son acquiring the office of the President after his dad served is 7.6% -- and any experienced statistician would say those calculations are exaggerated because those 1 in 13 odds are, literally, based on only one man out of a potential thirteen ever doing it in almost two centuries -- then the odds of a baby boomer wife acquiring the office after her husband served has to be considerably worse. Incalculable, as no woman and no spouse of a former President has ever been nominated or elected before.

Actually, I don't think anyone with as public a shady record as Hilary Clinton's, male or female, has ever gotten this far in any Presidential race. Some of the corruption was spilled in Wikileaks cables, some was always there for all of us to witness. Now it's an open secret that she actually has two positions on just about everything, sanctioned spying on foreign diplomats, lied to the FBI about classified documents, used private emails and servers to conduct State Department business, and amassed $22m in speaking fees from the corporate interests [Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank] she'll no doubt be looking out for once she probably becomes the next President. Usually, these big fees are only shelled out after a President has delivered and stepped back into the private sector.  Call Hilary's present reaping an advance on her Hilary Clinton Presidential Enteprises shares.

Mrs. Clinton has said, "Voting is the most precious right of every citizen, and we have a moral obligation to ensure the integrity of our voting process."  Whether or not Hilary is qualified for the job, her appearing on the ballot after having an independent political career for just fifteen years, coupled with her numerous verified corruption charges, has to make any voter wonder if there's any integrity left in this process.

Her opponent is Donald Trump, a man best described as the opposite of humble, born with multiple silver, gold, and other precious metal spoons in his mouth, fame-loving and attention-seeking, women-groping misogynist.  We have ample evidence of his corrupt business dealings, sexual assaults, stiffing of business contractors, racial housing discrimination, mafia ties, antitrust violations, and the list goes on. Donald Trump wasn't off base when he said that "I am not running against a crooked Hilary Clinton. I am running against the crooked media." He forgot to mention he's also crooked. Still, he gets on the ballot. 

Two proven corrupt, rich egomaniacs, completely out of touch with the plight the majority of American voters face, seeking to represent them, when nearly everyone knows that the candidates are just seeking the office to stroke their own egos and pocketbooks.

Having two less-than-representative people is nothing new in modern elections.  With few exceptions, they're all in it for the power, the wealth, the connections, the ego boosts, the groupies. Take your pick. Certainly from the 1990's onwards, it's hard to argue that any of the two key candidates were really model statesman Joe Average Taxpayer could look to in genuine admiration.

The difference was that in the past, at least one of the candidates appeared like he was noble, caring, honest, representative of change.

The latest election just makes it clear what's been true for as long as I've been able to (not) vote and likely a lot longer than that: that neither major party candidate really cares about winning the Presidency to benefit anyone but their backers and him/herself.  The sponsors behind Presidential Enterprises 2016 aren't even trying this time around to perpetuate that either major candidate cares, and the public knows it. In a Reueters/Ipsos poll conducted in July, 47% of Trump supporters voiced that their main priority was to keep Clinton out of office. Virtually an identical percentage of Clinton supporters said the same things about Trump.

Imagine that. Almost half of a candidate's supporters are behind him or her just because their "choice" is perceived as the lesser of two evils. That's a bit like saying people prefer to die by drowning -- when their only other choice is to die by suffocation.

Why would anyone want to vote?

And why would anyone invest more time to post diatribes on Facebook or Twitter or their blog about why their preferred candidate is so much better and their opponent so much worse?  If there were only two restaurants in your town, both terrible, and you were forced to eat out, I understand how you'd have to patronize the one that was less terrible, but would you go out of your way to recommend it?

It's a show, folks!  It's the presentation of a competition between two parties to generate drama and money and distraction. The results matter as much to your life as the season finale of your favorite TV show. I could be talking about the 1996 election.  I could be talking about the 2016 election. They're all the same.

Just for kicks, I looked through the transcripts of all the Presidential debates since 1992, when the baby boomers took up the mantle as Presidential candidate material, and picked a few quotations:

A.   "I'm going to reverse [the loss of jobs].  I have a manufacturing jobs credit. We pay for it by shutting that loophole overseas."

B.  "I believe we can increase investment and reduce the deficit at the same time…Invest and grow."

C.  "We have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us. We have to stop our companies from leaving the United States."

D.  "We have to make sure that we make it easier for kids to afford college. And also make sure that when they get out of college, there's a job."

E.  "I will invest in education, health care, protecting the environment, and retirement security."

F.  "We're going to have to help ordinary families be able to stay in their homes, make sure that they can pay their bills, deal with critical issues like health care and energy, and we're going to have to change the culture in Washington so that lobbyists and special interests aren't driving the process and your voices aren't being drowned out."

G.  "I've got policies to continue to grow our economy and create the jobs of the 21st century."

Can you guess who said what and when? I doubt it. Because every election the candidates say and promise the same old things.

It used to be that we believed in one of the candidates. The backers of the Presidential election spectacle hired good actors to convince us they had our interests at heart.  There was a reason to hand over our admission fee to the spectacle, paid for by us actually showing up at a polling station.

We got burned and a new guy showed up 4 to 8 years later promising the identical things with a new twist in a new plan, and we bought into the spectacle all over again. It's a lot like dating Thai bargirls. You believe the first and possibly the second girls who tell you you're special and sexy. You want to believe. But after you've witnessed these girls professing their love to a different guy each night using the same ludicrous recycled lines, you stop buying it. 

Only 57.5% of Americans eligible to vote did so in the 2012 election. That turnout was low enough to inspire talk of making Election Day a holiday so people would have no excuses not to get over to the polls.

A permanent holiday on Election Day is a great idea.  Americans the nation over can sleep in and recuperate from two hacks ranting into each of their ears. It will be one more reason to not show up.

[A: Kerry, 2004 | B: Bill Cllinton, 1992 | C: Trump, 2016 | D: Romney, 2012 | E: Gore, 2000 | F: Obama: 2012 | G: Bush, 2004]

If you liked reading this, consider:
 Let's All Subscribe To The Age Of Information Overload
 The Purposeless Spectacle Of Presidential Elections Part I
 The Complete Article Index