Where is the Payoff?
One of the more frustrating aspects of being a political junkie is the relative simplicity of American politics, we have our district maps, wonky theory, polls up the ying-yang, driven and focused interest groups, finely tuned messaging to the most subtle of strategies in demographics, and constant look-out for new good candidates.
Then some mental hack and ethical cucumber like Karl Rove throws a grenade of pink Band-Aids at John Kerry, and in a relative sense it works. Or an economic variable like soaring oil prices becomes overriding in the swirl of politics and all else is basically ignored, oh well.
This has nothing to do with voter intelligence or information levels, it’s just that the American political environment—particularly with its vanilla, cringing corporate media—naturally rewards simplicity, keep it simple and one will succeed.
Dr. Artios of Eschaton is a wise, learned economist and social scientist, when he speaks we would all do well to listen closely. Looking over the 2016 election environment and the Clinton campaign, ask yourself this: what’s her election about?
Uhhh…taking on the gun manufacturers, ending the restaurant minimum wage, having a woman in the oval office for the first time, and more of Obama. Right?
I am a Clinton supporter, political and media junkie, political science grad and Twitter addict, and that’s the mushy multi-faceted answer that bounces back to that question. As Dr. Atrios so wisely points out that’s an election about nothing, sorry it just is, and with nothing to offer normally you’re going to lose.
Especially in the simple American environment, as Mr. Kevin Drum pointed out so succinctly in 2008 Americans are quaintly and somewhat childishly your-turn my-turn people, after 8 years the pattern is clear—not set in granite, but social-science clear enough—that the opposition Party is given their turn, that’s the base reason Republican turnout and confidence has been so high.
But, as we all know, every election cycle is unique, and in 2016 the Republicans have imploded and barfed forth a fascist in Donald Trump. Even though the Clinton campaign is running an election of nothing she’s still going to easily win, the American electorate will never allow a Mussolini degradation.
I’m happy and excited, as a political junkie I know full well her candidacy is substantive as hell in multiple dimensions (judicial appointments, agency leadership, veto power, gender politics) and much good will come of it, especially when compared to the nuclear disaster the county would go through if Trump were president.
Still, nothing is final and the lack of Clinton simplicity makes me wary. Should I be asked of the Clinton brain trust what to do (heh) I would remind them of an old saying a bricklayer I used to work for often used: turn my hand green.
National campaign elections are of course about many things, but the best, simplest way to motivate voters is to reward them, of course, vote for me and I’ll not only deliver jobs but real higher wages too. Vastly expand Social Security and Democrats will put a lot more money in your retired pocket. Subsidize higher education, make it essentially free and public again, save our young people money.
Sneer and chuckle all you want if you wish, but literally turn the country green by legalizing cannabis, stop the horrific persecution and let the fun munchies begin, it’s basely simple but by god it motivates a lot of voters, a good payoff.
A glaring example of the lack of a simple Clinton campaign payoff is the total rejection of the youth vote, they’ve gone overwhelmingly to Bernie Sanders. Why is that?
Because this Clinton campaign of nothing isn’t offering them anything tangible! We’ve scapegoated our youth and grossly foisted future problems on them in denial, they’re terrifically concerned and worried, of course, and the Sanders campaign of endorsing public higher education and #FightFor15 concretely showed them that not only does Sanders see the problem but offers real answers by turning their hands green.
It really doesn’t matter what the payoff is, just choose one that seriously has a chance of tangibly improving American lives right away in the simplest way possible. Personally I would choose #FightFor15 and greatly expanded Social Security, but I’ve noticed zero checks for being a campaign consultant arriving the mail lately.
I am your social media friend, tiny donator, t-shirt wearing voter, Clinton campaign, but adherence to the truth as a political scientist forces me to bluntly state your campaign of nothing would normally doom you to a loss in 2016. We and the country could never afford that, get something simple and rewarding politically fast.