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.
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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.
There was a story in Wednesday’s NY Post about potential issues at polling places. Mainly, that independents are suddenly realizing that New York has a closed primary, and they’re not going to be able to vote in the upcoming primary. That means that only those registered as Democrats or Republicans are going to get to vote in their party’s primary.