There are a lot of news stories this week relating to the May campaign reports, and in particular the pitiful amount of cash on hand that Donald Trump has. What’s also interesting is not just that he doesn’t have much, but that it’s also impacting the Republican Party’s campaign chest. In contrast, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party seem to be doing quite well. There’s more than a little irony in this.
Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of sports metaphors used to describe politics. Yes, I’ve done it myself, and I’m going to do it again. I’ve also noticed that the extremes in both parties tend to believe in a “Great Leader” scenario. “Elect X and they will do all these wonderful things!” When you point out that it doesn’t work that way, you’ll get dismissed as being an “in name only,” and not understanding that the Great Leader will make a speech and all will go their way. They’re thinking that politics is a one-on-one sport, like tennis, boxing, or mixed martial arts. They’re continually disappointed if the person they’ve designated as the next “Great Leader” is elected and fails to accomplish what they thought would happen. The problem is they didn’t realize that politics are a team sport.
Over much of this primary season, if there’s one constant I’ve seen from various self-identified young people (under 30), it’s that the Democratic Party needs to reach out to them, to do what they want before they’ll consider voting for Democrats. There usually follows a laundry list of demands, along with saying that the party should select candidates who would “excite the base,” or more properly, excite them. They even have reasons why the party isn’t doing that, things like “corporate control,” “the Establishment,” and of course the ever popular “Blue Dogs.” The reality why the party isn’t reaching out them is what they don’t realize or want to admit: They have it backwards.
Over the course of my life, I’ve belonged to many organizations, and held offices in a number of them. When I was 15, I was elected to the board of directors for my church (no, I didn’t seek it), and at 16 I was a delegate to the state convention. I’ve been on committees, boards, and even President of hobby clubs, professional organizations, and social groups. I’ve been “just a member” of many of them, and happy to do just that. But the one thing they all had in common was that you had to be a member to have any say in what the organization did, and who they elected. It’s a simple concept, and one that apparently is lost on a number of people these days.
Today was primary day in New York, and over lunch, I went and voted. Yes, as the title said, I voted for Hillary. That I voted in a primary is not unusual, I vote in all of them. There’s another one in September for state offices, and yes, I wish they’d change that. I regard voting as a duty, one that goes with my rights as a citizen. As I’ve said in a previous post, it’s not often I’m “excited” about any candidate. Mostly, I take a look through what their platforms are, review their records and qualifications, and pick the one I think will probably do a better job than the other one. Sometimes, it’s really “flip a coin,” in that both are good and you can’t lose either way. This year though, I couldn’t wait for the primary day to arrive so I could vote. Not because I was excited, but for a reason that hasn’t happened to me before.