Don’t you LOVE the Stench of Greed During the Campaigns?

Elections in the U.S. have taken on an air of a medieval court… the part of court that dealt with entertainment by jugglers and jesters. Except those actors didn’t deserve to be called “fools”… they actually provided some value. The same can’t be said of the vast majority of candidates these days.

Looking just as the 2 largest parties, we find a flood of aspirants for their party’s nomination. Let’s take a look at who is seeking to be the Leader of the Free World.

Republicans

The Republicans originally had 23 hopefuls, but Rick Perry and Scott Walker pulled out early on, along with two others. Of the remaining 19, 15 have been deemed important enough to be included in national polls. They include:
Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and Donald Trump.

Democrats

On the other side of the race to spend millions, we have a mere ten:
Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton, Lawrence Lessig, Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb, Jeff Boss, Harry Braun, Robby Wells and Willie Wilson. Vice President Joe Biden and talk show host George Noory have both expressed tentative interest, as well, but haven’t formally declared.

The Field

A total of 95 candidates declared for the race, across all parties, with only a handful pulling out so far… can you believe that? I’ve lived in smaller towns! But there was only a total of 25 contenders for the nomination of the two largest parties In reality, I think we can safely discount all but a half dozen or so of them. Inexplicably (at least to me), Trump seems to be leading in the Republican polls, while Hillary is still clinging tenuously to a diminishing lead over Bernie on the Democratic side. Combining trends, prayer and personal observation, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Trump has about as much chance of acquiring the Republican nomination as I do of being named the next Pope. The GOP isn’t likely to want a loose cannon like him running amok, wearing their brand. I can’t imagine anyone seeking the Presidency being as likely to do the country (and the rest of the world) , more harm than he could.

Ahhhh! Election campaigns — Gotta Love ‘Em!

So the circus is on! Mudslinging, name-calling and innuendos abound on the Republican side, while the Democrats, having seen the reaction to the Republican antics, decided to act a bit more civilized, in the hope that the contrast would work to their advantage. To be fair, it probably did. Their recent debate was much more civil. But then, if Trump hadn’t been center-stage, the Republican debate would undoubtedly have a lot more civilized ,too.

The pundits all seemed to be singing the same song: Hillary took the castle by storm! Public opinion, however, seems to be less biased, for a change. Many feel that Bernie came out as a clear winner, while some saw it as a tie. A common thread seems to be that Bernie is seen as “sincere” and “honest”, while Hillary is a practiced political animal. Like a chameleon, she’s able to show the sort of face she thinks her audience will respond best to at any given moment (ask her Secret Service detail about that). Bernie doesn’t play that game.

How will that work out for him? Is the American public astute enough to realize that with Bernie, what you see is what you get? Will the average American voter notice that Hillary’s demeanor is affected, depending upon the emotional current? Sadly, I fear not. We’re intelligent enough, I’m sure… we’re just handicapped by our own cultural habits. Too many of us have abdicated our thought processes to the media. It’s just so much easier to be told what to think, rather than think for ourselves.

Do I sound jaded? I imagine so — I certainly feel a bit jaded. Not to the point of throwing my hands up in disgust and giving up, though.

One thing I’ve noticed: apparently, a lot of folks that label themselves as Republicans are looking at Bernie with interest. Their party is severely fragmented, and many conservatives are tiring of the GOP’s hard-line on some issues that they don’t feel are necessarily that important. So Bernie, with his stance on a few items that being closer to a moderate point of view, is attractive to them. I’d be willing to bet that unless the Republican nominee is sufficiently moderate to satisfy them, a substantial number of registered Republicans would cast their vote for Bernie, if he’s ultimately the Democratic nominee.

My REAL Problem

Jaded though I may be, I have not given up on thinking for myself. I AM, however, close to despair, from trying unsuccessfully to find a candidate whose values match my own. I can find a point or two on which I agree with this candidate, and another one or two with that candidate… but every single one espouses at least one opinion that causes me great concern. Of the candidates I can even seriously consider as qualified and capable for the Oval Office, they all offer something I like and something else that worries the hell out of me.

A while back, I wrote a mini-rant about having to vote against, rather than for a candidate. From the way things are shaping up, it doesn’t look like that problem’s going to disappear entirely, It’s still too early to tell, so I’m going to cling to hope.

One thing that scares the hell out of me, though…. if Trump and Clinton receive their respective nominations, I’ll have to take a harder look at the other parties’ candidates… or write in someone. Because neither of them will ever get my vote, unless they’re running against the Devil.

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