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Pols, Pundits and Bear Trappers

Politics / US Politics Nov 10, 2014 - 10:22 AM GMT

By: Michael_T_Bucci

Politics

The mid-term election results in Americacan speak volumes if one only could hear the truth within the cacophony created by a hundred political pundits who mix moaning about low voter national turnout (lowest since WWII) with feigned "surprise" over GOP advances; pundits who never are at a loss for impressing the impressionable by mixing their stewardship with bewildering statistics, charts, graphs, demographic breakdowns; all of which, of course, leads pundits to issuing hearty expositions, predictions and projections of the future - a future based on their speculative punditry.


Punditry proves or disproves pet theories, validates pollsters, fills newsprint and air space, exaggerates the winners while further diminishing the losers. Punditry allows us to believe differences exist between the two political parties when they don't. Punditry reinforces our belief that we really have power over our government, its domestic and foreign policies (were you ever asked to vote on war and peace at any time in your life?). Punditry tells us what issues are important while excluding others. Pundits serve to help create our political reality and boundaries. Punditry is essential in placing before us a mirage of democracy instead of the real one threatened on all sides by voter disaffection; campaign funds stuffed by corporate, wealth-sector and K Street lobbyists; systematic exclusions of third party candidates, third party issues and, generally speaking, issues considered too sensitive in nature for (God forbid!) public discourse (war, peace, racism, rich/poor, NSA, drones, militarized police, Wall Street, the Fed, et. al.).

In U.S. mid-term elections nationally, we know how 36% of all eligible voters voted November 4, but we don't know why they endorsed one candidate or party over another, one issue over another, or why they chose to vote in the first place. More importantly, we don't know why 64% of nation-wide eligible voters stayed home. That question trumps all others and should lie at the heart of anyone's "punditry" for this season and the next.

In 2012, I penned an article titled, "Vote! Your democracy depends upon it." Days later a retired man and "Constitutionalist" argued that his protest against "government" was to abstain from voting. I urged that voting maintained the "institution". If we don't use it, we'll loose it! As a "Constitutionalist", he was undermining his own philosophy.

Did pundits explain why voter turnout by those 29 and under was dangerously low (roughly 13%)? If the future belongs to them, why are they boycotting elections? Trying to understand the mind-set of the "ME" generation, I queried Ron Paul youth and Occupy Wall Street youth. They are active, bright and very involved people who have energy and enthusiasm in common but are equally disenfranchised by the "establishment". The two-party system has effectively shuttered their right to be heard. They and other "out of the box" or "wing nut" types (labels given them) have no place at the table. And with little money to spend on political advertising, media ignores them. Consequently, voters do too.

Americans love money and, hence, love billionaires. How many pundits counted the hundreds of PAC and super PAC millions (totalling $3 billion) that was spent on both parties to gain proxy power for themselves and hence power over the electorate? Meanwhile some Detroit residents still go without water, which the UN cited as a humanitarian crisis. But a neighbor, a self-described "Confederate", argued these people didn't pay water bills and should get a job!" I replied, "In Detroit? Get a job where there are no jobs?" "Then they should move to a place where there are jobs," she quipped. Which brings me to Gov. Paul LePage and the state of Maine.

Voter turnout in Maine was considered very high against the national average. Indeed, it was exceptional being the highest voter turnout in the U.S at over 59%. But Maine pundits too scratched for answers, as one article that appeared November 5 at politico.com (a watering hole for uber-pols) by Colin Woodward, state and national affairs writer at the Portland Press Herald, demonstrates. Reminding a national readership of Gov. Paul LePage's infamous faux pas over the years and that Maine is a famously moderate state and LePage an extreme conservative, Woodward titled his front-page article, "How Did America's Craziest Governor Get Reelected?"

How on earth DID one of America's least popular and most divisive governors get reelected? Maine's ballot contained a referendum question on whether the state should ban the practice of baiting bears with donuts and other pastries (the ban was defeated). At the end of the politico.com article, Woodward, unintentionally perhaps, might have supplied the answer to why LePage won reelection. "The ballot measure [baiting bears] was defeated," he explained, "by some five points - about the same as LePage's margin of victory."

Maybe that explains why Mainers decided they haven't yet had enough of Paul LePage. Did bear baiters win it for him? Or do other pundits offer smarter theories? Or maybe no one really knows (except the bears).

But what I know for certain is this: if Woodward's hint by connecting the dots is correct, LePage bear baiters need to radically alter course. They need to start thanking the bears instead of shooting them.

By Michael T Bucci

Contact: mbucci@michaelbucci.com

(c) 2014 Michael T Bucci. All Rights reserved.

(Note: responses to emails might be delayed or not met.)

Michael T Bucci is a retired public relations executive from New Jersey presently residing in New England. His essays have appeared at The Market Oracle (UK). He is the author of nine books on practical spirituality including White Book: Cerithous.

© 2014 Copyright Michael T Bucci - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


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