The democratic process to elect our president has taken a nosedive. We’ll have to leave it to history to decide if this is the moment in time where we took a wrong turn.
Fox News sponsored the first 2016 GOP debates. Fox News set the criteria that candidates must place at least 2.5% in four national polls to be in the debate. The four polls were not specified. Other media outlets followed suite with this criteria. This week, Fox Business News will host the GOP debate and have applied criteria using the four polls of their choice. In lieu of the CBS/New York Times poll that is highly regarded, they chose the worst performing poll in the last election cycle, the Investors Business Daily. This new process designed by Fox News and the GOP has eliminated candidates like, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham and George Pataki before the first vote has been cast. We have trivialized our democratic process by breaking it into three groups decided by the Media: Adult table. Kid’s table. And the “You don’t even get to eat” table.
Don’t misunderstand. As a Democrat, I don’t have a dog in this fight other than concern for our country. I am concerned that instead of candidates being culled by the voters; media is culling them. We have long accepted the practice that the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary have been used as an introduction of candidates to the country. It is a “meet and greet.” We never quibbled about these states being first to choose because we knew the choices made by those two states were seldom indicative of how the nation would vote. And it still isn’t! However….
This year, by the time the GOP has their caucus in Iowa and primary in New Hampshire, there may not be a viable candidate left for the GOP voters. Lacking money and lacking the mentality to say outrageous things to attract attention, some really good presidential candidates may have been cast aside by this new electoral process. When the GOP gets over their anger and wants a President for the good of our country, who will be left?
Due to his wealth, Trump may have the capability of persevering, but Ben Carson appears to be on borrowed time. Whether or not it is determined that Carson fabricated his offer of scholarship to West Point is inconsequential. I’m more concerned with other more troubling things I’ve heard him say on national television. He says he was a young kid full of rage. He admits attempting to stab someone with a knife but hit a belt buckle. He says he tried to hit his mother in the head with a hammer. He spoke of other acts of violence. Then he said he over-came it and became a famous neurosurgeon. Good story. Nothing matters more in politics than a good story. Remember how far Zell Miller’s story of helping his poor ole Mama haul rocks to build their cabin took him?
Carson’s own narrative via his books and many speeches has created his persona. Since his “story” is what he’s basing his qualifications for President on, thorough vetting by the press is expected and necessary. Every word uttered by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has been dissected and investigated. Sorry Mr. Carson. You do not deserve special treatment by the media.
Despite Dr. Carson’s good story, am I the only one that wants our President to be smarter than a 5th Grader? Ben Carson justified his lack of governing experience by saying, “Every signer of the Declaration of Independence held no elective office.” Huh? Does he think there was no government before that time? No colonies? No Continental Congress? Does he think that 59 men just decided to sign this document? He also said in defense of his inexperience, “The Ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic was built by professionals.” Luckily The Ark didn’t hit an iceberg. Then he states that the Egyptian Pyramids were built by Joseph to store grain. I have no comment about that. He said, “Obama Care is the worst thing since slavery.” Even fifth graders know healthcare is not worse than human bondage.
Finally, Ben Carson’s testiness when confronted by members of the press asking for clarification of some of his previous statements, tells me that he didn’t go into this endeavor with his “eyes wide open.” Get it?
Sorry you missed my column last week. It was great! It was huge! It was the best ever! However, the Editor didn’t have the space on the Obituary page to print it.
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