Because I had to work last night (horrible, I know!) I was unable to attend my party's political caucus. I have, however, done my research on not only my party's candidates, but also the candidates of other major parties. In doing so, I have come across some pretty neat things about each candidate, and I have stumbled on some not-so-neat things. As we are talking about politicians, here, that is no surprise. The trend that I've noticed in my research, however, is what I call "hate grouping".
It seems that no one likes any particular candidate, and instead of having a "may the best man win" attitude, many voters have a "may the worst man lose" attitude. On many of the sites I've looked at and radio dialogues I've listened to, I've encountered statements like, "I don't care who wins as long as it isn't Trump," and "I'll vote for anyone before I vote for Hillary," or (and this is my favorite that I've heard from multiple sources) "If Trump wins, I'm moving to Canada."
My question is, why? Why is this election cycle becoming a hate fest when there are plenty of viable candidates to choose from? Why are we so obsessed with hating candidates such as Trump and Hillary instead of choosing other candidates, and why are they still getting the majority of the votes?
My hypothesis is that people aren't doing their research.
The political process isn't meant to be as simple as choose A or B and things will work out fine; rather, it requires effort on the voter's part. Why do we remember and even honor the Presidents of the past - Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan, etc. - but not those of today? What made those Presidents so great? In my opinion, it was that they were actually great men and not the rabble-rousers of today's campaign.
Voters used to be more invested in the election process. US voter records in recent years are at an all-time low, and likewise I believe that political involvement is as well. People are relying more on sensational news media and blanket statements to make up their minds than ever. I think that people like Trump and Hillary are winning the race, not because they are better than the others, but because they get more publicity.
Because we expect to make superficial judgements, all we see are the candidates who've made it to the surface, when there is really a slew of viable, and potentially better candidates just underneath. When we don't do our research, we only see the tip of the iceberg. Let's take Utah as a case in point: the LDS Church, has a huge influence in Utah, made a statement recently that it wanted its members to get involved in the political process, and even cancelled all meetings on the night of the Utah caucuses in an effort to get its members involved. This increased voter involvement likely led to Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders winning Utah as opposed to Trump and Hillary who both won the next-door State of Arizona.
Squidward once said, "Everybody's an idiot except for me." He also said, "Wake me up when I care." Let's not be Squidwards. Let's start caring, wake up, and get involved in the political process of our great nation. We all look back to great Presidents of the past and claim that things would be better if we had another President like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. We can, but it will take effort.
Let's all become invested in the future of our nation by researching our candidates and choosing the best man, and not the one that will make the worst man lose.