Campaign Fatigue Really Is a Thing

And I’m not the only one who thinks so!

Or: How I came to be flattened like a roadkill pancake along the Information Superhighway during the 2014-2016 US Presidential Campaign.

For almost my entire life, I have been an avid follower of the news in general and American Politics in particular.
My parents encouraged me to read the daily newspaper and what were then the leading weekly news magazines.  Every four years my parents openly discussed the Presidential races around the family table.
The night of the general Presidential election, the results were closely monitored at the television set and in 1964 I remember my Dad filling out a U-S map as Democrat Lyndon Johnson won state after state in his victory over Republican Barry Goldwater.

FILE PHOTO:  In Profile: 100 Years Of US Presidential Races

At that time, the country was increasingly polarized by the undeclared war in Vietnam, not to mention racial disparity and the seeds of financial disparity as well.  Differences of opinion were earnest and deeply held, but the tone of civil discourse was mostly just that: civil.

Race Relations Coffee Cartoon

President Richard Nixon, aided greatly by mega-diplomat Henry Kissinger, brokered “Peace with Honor” in Vietnam and opened relations with the Chinese mainland, even as his domestic advisors attempted to subvert the United States Constitution in an effort to conceal the White House involvement with the “third-rate burglary” at the Watergate.    Nixon ultimately resigned and we told each other, “The System works.”
But Nixon turned out to be just the kind of political role model we didn’t need.  He had gotten away with more than that for which he was punished and that observation did not go unremarked.  It was only a matter of time before somebody would attempt to succeed where Nixon had failed.
nixon engraved portrait
President Nixon (R), the only holder of the office to be compelled to resign the U-S Presidency
In the last year of the previous century, in the election of 2000, George W Bush succeeded to the Presidency under the murkiest political circumstances in the nation’s history.  Quite possibly the most clear-cut model of a figurehead ever elected to the Oval Office since Warren Harding, Bush functioned largely as a kind of ventriloquist’s dummy while Vice President Dick Cheney (who had selected himself for his own office) set policy in conjunction with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
It is especially ironic to note that Bush’s father preceded him to the Presidency and was himself a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  More than a few of the intrigues Bush the elder had set in place would be the targets of the intrigues the second Bush White House would set into motion.
GHW Bush and GW Bush
President George Herbert Walker Bush and his son, President George Walker Bush
Cheney and Rumsfeld, with nary a day’s worth of military experience between them, engineered a course of action that steered the United States into multiple military misadventures in the Middle East, ostensibly to prevent the use of non-existent weapons but in fact designed to benefit select multi-national corporate interests in the Defense and Energy Industries along with certain allies in the Middle East.
 It was a collateral benefit that such gambits also served to fuel a spirit of jingoistic nationalism, a useful distraction from the overarching reality to distract the masses who were required to be fodder for these machinations.

EDIT KOTERBA 10-21-2012 Color. Campaign Fatigue.

Since that time, the kind of terrorism these wars were meant to crush has only flourished and spread further into the Western societies to which they are opposed.
And now, the domestic American political scene, which once was thought to be impervious to the kind of megalomaniac despotism that once was the exclusive province of Depression-era fascism, Communism and Third World military juntas, shows signs of infection itself.
George-Orwell-001
George Orwell, chronic depressive and writer of prescient political fiction as well as non-fiction
 In his novel, “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” George Orwell writes that the main function of War is to destroy the output of Human Labor in order to keep the citizens focused on the need to produce more goods and services to replace those destroyed in the conflict.  The key here is the element of distraction.
In July of 2015, Slate columnist Daniel Engber had already written about Presidential Campaign fatigue.
Here’s the link:
 http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/07/campaign_coverage_fatigue_finally_a_solution_for_readers_who_are_already.html
Not only is his proposal ingenious, it’s also most amusing to read some of the ultimately erroneous assumptions he makes.  None of us are truly psychic..
Georg Hegel
Georg Hegel, philosopher
What remains to be seen is how far the American electorate will move toward authoritarian totalitarianism.  Georg Hegel, the philosopher of the latter half of The Enlightenment, famously observed, “What experience and history teach is this – that nations and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it.”
John Brunner
John Brunner, award-winning author of Science Fiction novels
One of my favorite writers, the late John Brunner in his epic novel “Stand on Zanzibar,”boiled it down this way: “Papa Hegel he say the only thing we learn from History is that we learn nothing from History.  I know people who can’t learn from what happened last week.  Hegel must have been taking the long view.”
Yes friends, those who neglect to study history are inevitably doomed to repeat it.  
Hence the current political climate in the U-S, fueled largely by people who don’t realize they are not blazing any sort of new trail but rather are barrelling headfirst down a well-worn rabbit hole with a cement dead end.  
And this is really why I and so many other Americans are feeling the effects of Campaign Fatigue so early this year.
This just in!: In case you’re prepared to dismiss me as just a lone shrill voice in the wilderness, please click on the link below.  It leads to a story on the subject of “Presidential Election Burnout” among voters long before the General Election is scheduled to take place.  And interestingly, the phenomenon is NOT limited to just the current campaign!
Here’s the link:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/03/26/the-more-people-pay-attention-to-the-2016-campaign-the-more-it-bums-them-out/
Mount Trump Cartoon
A couple of cartoons because, frankly, I just had to lighten the mood somehow.

Bummed Out from Pluto Cartoon

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About jaypochapin

Married adult human male, father, brother, son, writer, voiceover actor and humorist. Frequently funny, sometimes snarky, occasionally profound. Beatles, Stones, Who, Python, Firesign Theatre, Shakespeare, Bogart/Bacall, Marx Brothers, Alice Cooper and more besides. Have worked as many things: traffic reporter, disc jockey, newscaster, interviewer, producer, copywriter, voice over talent, teacher, emcee, housekeeper, janitor, uniformed security officer, bagel baker's assistant and more, but don't let the uniform fool you, baby! I ... AM ... THE WRITER!

3 thoughts on “Campaign Fatigue Really Is a Thing

  1. Great post. I would like to add that the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate is up for grabs this year. The media and public are so focused on the presidential campaign that no one is paying attention to Congressional elections. It’s a great time to look at issues rather than personality politics, since the President is ultimately beholden to Congress.

    For instance, I’m a firm believer in “Support our troops; bring them home.” This perpetual war against unseen enemies is devitalizing and fragmenting the nation.

    I’d like to see some strong action to repeal the ethanol mandate, and the air bag mandate, convert to the metric system, abolish daylight savings time, and that’s just the beginning. Congress has to come up with a budget this summer, before the general election, and if individuals put the same energy into forcing candidates to take clear stands on important issues, we may edge a little closer to truly representative government.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Katherine!

      Thanks so much for your compliment, it is most deeply appreciated.

      I limited myself to just the Presidency in this post because I think we may see an unprecedented political phenomenon this fall: negative coattails.

      A few Democrats may wish to distance themselves from Secretary Clinton or Senator Sanders, but more Republicans will likely seek to put several light-years between themselves and whoever the GOP nominee eventually turns out to be.

      Also, it’s been my personal experience that while the “Throw the rascals out!” movement never lacks a voice, it rarely materializes at the polls, since most people vote to keep the incumbent in office (“Better the Devil you know, etc., etc…”)

      As for the assorted causes listed in your final paragraph, I support some but not all, but I still welcome you to my blog and will never cast aspersions on the state of your domestic relations, your anatomy, nor call for the curtailment of your civil rights merely because we may hold divergent opinions or beliefs.

      And that is what the Founders of our country always had in mind from the very beginning: a belief with which I am confident you agree.

      As sincerely as it gets,

      JP

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for your reply, too. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my issues, but to have the courage to raise their own. No matter who becomes president, this is an opportunity for newly awakened individuals to educate themselves about issues broader than personality and generate open discussion about where this country is going. It’s important to pay attention to local and regional candidates, who are more accessible to individual voters. Candidates must at least be conversant with the issues their home constituencies believe are important, otherwise how can they truly represent them? This election, especially, candidates cannot afford merely to ride the coattails of their party’s candidate.

        Before now, I believe individuals had given up hope that they could make a difference, but they are seeing they don’t have to accept the status quo. I believe I could make a strong case for any of my issues and plan to do so on my blog. I encourage feedback of all persuasions.

        I forgot to mention repealing Obamacare and the mandate against incandescent light bulbs.

        Like

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