It seems like everyone hates each other. No, I’m not talking about my 13th birthday party (although that was a disaster). I’m talking about America’s current presidential election.
As in many previous elections, America is saddled between two unsatisfying candidates that leave the masses with something more to be desired. Remember when we had to pick between Kerry and Bush? Come on.
But this election is different. This election has been marred with prominent accusations of cheating, bigoted remarks about subsections of our country, and more than enough locker room talk.
Wait, maybe I am talking about my 13th birthday party.
So how did we get here? How did we get to a point where we have embraced a candidate who’s running away with the election despite the fact that, in June, a majority of people surveyed by The Washington Post agreed that Clinton has either lied or has something to hide. The Post also added, “Both front-runners are deeply unpopular with voters, but Clinton elicits a more visceral mistrust.”
Visceral mistrust is not exactly a term you want associated with the future president of a country.
A lot of blame can be put on current Republican nominee Donald Trump. Trump has run such a bad campaign that Republicans are leaving his side in droves, especially after the release of an 11-year-old recording in which he describes his sexual advances toward women. Trump’s campaign is so terrible that people have questioned his true intentions.
Michael Moore, for example, believes that Trump started running as a way to bolster his Apprentice renegotiations. In an article for the Huffington Post, Moore outlines Trump’s surprising rise to the top of the Republican ticket. He claims Trump had no intention of actually running for president and was just as surprised as anyone when he began winning primaries.
Now Trump is locked into running for a position he doesn’t really want. In his article, Moore makes some good points highlighting the fact that Trump declared his candidacy with no staff and no policy plans, and began running without a written speech.
These are hallmarks of someone who really doesn’t believe they’re going to be in it for the long haul. We have to give some credibility to the article because Michael Moore knows more about not wanting to run than anyone else in the world.
Superb Michael Moore fat jokes aside, what other factors have led us to our current situation? It can’t only be Trump’s fault and it’s not like we’re talking about Jeb Bush’s new facial tic (because that would be too easy).
Another cause may be polarization. These two are our candidates because few people vote for anyone outside party lines. According to Pew Research Center, polarization is on the rise in America, which is extremely visible on the surface. Republicans have a very unfavorable opinion of Democrats, as party distaste has risen from 17 percent to 43 percent in the last 20 years. Democrats and their distaste for Republicans also rose from 16 percent to 38 percent.
However, as a whole, Americans aren’t getting more polarized. While our Congress and Senate are hotbeds of political party fervor, most Americans tend to fall in the middle. The Washington Post conducted a series of studies looking into Pew’s claim that America is becoming increasingly polarized. Unlike the Pew studies, the Washington Post offered interviewees three options on questions: one liberal option, one conservative and one in between. A majority of people chose the one in between.
In other words, our data typically allows respondents to choose options that are in the middle, and often times we do. This means that Americans themselves don’t actually care about party lines because many of us are fairly moderate. I guess this is why most of us aren’t in politics.
So now that we’re here, what do we do? How, as a country, do we handle a choice that few people seem to like? I think we should all take the advice of my mom: “Stop with the name calling and rudeness. Grow up. Take a deep breath and relax. This will all be over soon.”
Huh. I guess I am talking about my 13th birthday party.