1. The Political Establishment
The number of organizations whose role is to influence political leaders continues to increase as well as their budgets. Between non-profit political organizations, corporate lobbyists, government employees and people that spend their lives going from state and local government to influential media and PR positions there are a large group of people responsible for engaging with each other and the media regardless of who is in office. They have become a class of their own no longer representing the average American majority but organizational interests. Unfortunately, they are the primary sources of media reports because of their visibility and proximity to political leaders as well as their access to journalists provioding detailed political information. Unfortunately, working in politics pays well and the more you make, the further away you get from remembering local sentiments. Democrats seem to have an affinity for Establishment people at the expense of the average voter, On many issues Centrist Dems have leaned into corporate relationships with companies that do not have the best records in employee consideration or satisfaction, This is the reason GOP opponents can shame them while creating the false belief they are a friend of the people.
2. The Media
Since the news division has become a profit-center, the balance between being the voice of the voiceless and an amplification of corporate financial interests, wealthy individual influencers and the political establishment has leaned unfairly in favor of a small privileged class of Americans. Narratives are shaped by racially and politically biased polling companies with samples of little more than 500 people yet elevated as “breaking news” headlines. News anchors have been hired to reflect corporate interests and moderate between the two major political parties. News Directors produce the “fights” not the facts. Producing local and print news has become so costly the influence of anyone with internet followers has neutralized the fact based approach to reporting. Local news no longer filters to national news resulting in a disconnect only benefitting the economically privileged. The average American is so inundated with data the Evening News is no longer the place to go for clarity. This has resulted in the success of false information and conspiracy theories passed off as news. Journalists pressured to produce stories to keep the attention of the new technology-hungry American has resulted in what Watergate famed reporter Carl Bernstein called, “lazy journalism”. Every argument is classified as one side or another forcing people into corners. Few investigative journalists are seen on America’s most powerful medium so their stories go unread by “Joe Regular” who only checks in for an hour or two of news and his social media account. Opinion shows have become substitutes for news shows and news shows focus too much on entertaining and representing “equal” views at the expense of higher moral truths (see item #4). False equivalence has become acceptable debate response and the response to intellectual dishonesty is a “wink and nod” by TV news and media anchors. Lastly, the interest in appearing objective has opened the door to an absence of the industry’s responsibility to be the arbiter of fact and truth. The humanity journalists used to bring to news stories has been traded for the camaraderie between journalists and their sources. Too often the sympathy and consideration the American news consumer deserves is now offered to guests while robotic effort to make sure all voices are heard in the appearance of fairness equalizes facts and nonsense. There is also a comfort of drilling down on details then criticizing Dems for the very details requested while accommodating gruff GOP guests by moving on regardless of the lack of detail or truth in response to a single clarifying question.
3. Ignoring The Masses
Over 40% of the eligible voting population does not vote and politicians make little effort to engage them. There is no bipartisan fight for national voter engagement. In fact voter suppression has become a successful political tactic. Recent examples in Wisconsin, North Carolina and Florida are blueprints for keeping red states red in spite of changing demographics favoring Democrats. In spite of recent national vote totals, politicians spend most of their time and money making calculations and speaking to existing voters. Counting the support they will get for backing one public issue over another has become the way to win elections instead of inspiring new voters and existing oness with problems that could be solved. Since 2016 pursuing/satisfying and attracting the unicorn-like Obama/#45 voter has been the #1 priority at the expense of new and infrequent voters. No plans exist to address the millions of Americans who have lost confidence in voting as a result of the many political promises made yet never kept. Getting authentic responses on any issue personal to average Americans has become rare to nonexistent. Even outrage by political leaders is measured to avoid offending specific voter groups.
4. Fear Of Discussing Systemic Racism
Racism has been successfully reduced to a political issue and is no longer a moral imperative. Inequality is viewed and discussed dispassionately as if the data accumulated does not coincide with actual American lives. The efforts of civil rights leaders of the past have been reduced to stories of ancient history for many Americans. Millennials and Gen-Z’ers are seldom inspired and possess little knowledge of the efforts of people and events that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The excitement and idealism in working toward, “a more perfect and just union” has gotten lost in the day to day sausage making of politics, the individualism of technology and success of corporate capitalism. Meanwhile there are millions of Americans who live understanding on any given day systemic racism could mean unemployment, underemployment, economic disadvantage, incarceration or death. Even poor people that have racist ideas choose suffering by voting against their own interest to align with the current Racist-In-Chief President. There is no longer a bipartisan agreement of the importance of combating racism even though a majority of Americans that believe racism is wrong. The refusal of politicians to address this issue constructively, consistently and authentically contributes to mass voter disinterest. Reparations to descendents of kidnapped Africans forced into slavery has been reduced to a novelty bill in the House of Representatives, Since their 2012 post election analysis of reasons they attract few minority voters, the GOP strategies have focused solely on state and local voter ID laws ultimately found to suppress minority and elderly voters. Just recently a non-profit organization headed by two of the few black #45 supporters handed out cash prizes to potential black voters in the Cleveland,Oh area. News reports track more than $200,000 going to the non profit yet the schedule, purpose and mission of the group are sketchy at best. The cash may have been to suppress potential Democratic votes or increase GOP votes. I suspect the former. Many black people are still waiting for Dems to engage issues of racism the way they engage attracting independent voters and subsequently have been disappointed resulting in voter detachment from the only party offering minimal benefit. Considering black voters guarantee 85%–95% of their votes to Democrats, where are the black women leaders? What programs mentor student interested in politics? Speaking out on racision should not be reserved solely for people of color.
5. President Obama
As a person who worked in New Hampshire and Colorado to see the first black American become the 44th President, I must say his always strategic recent choices to offer political advice have been at best disappointing at the worst annoying and completely out of touch with the very people that secured his twice elected terms. Lately, I have asked myself, “Who the heck (replace with foul language) does he think he is?” I hesitate to say too much more concerned some Obama-hating racist will take my words as representative of inroads the RNC & #45 campaigns can make in dissuading black voters to come out in 2020. All I will say what the women in my family who loved me would say when I got out of hand, “Boy, sit yo butt down, be quiet and remember where you come from!” When he does not elevate himself above the nonsense of the current White House occupier and criticizes his own, it reduces him to another establishment clone. That is not the man I shed tears for.
In conclusion. Everyone should remember #45 won because:
A. He achieved a 77,000 vote lead in 3 states (Mi., Pa, Wi.) winning the electoral college.
B. 4 million voters opted out in 2016 that voted in 2012 including 1 million black voters.
C. Russian interference in the 2016 election was confirmed by every US Intelligence Agency. Their successful disinformation campaign targeting African Americans via social media resulted in reduced voter turnout.
D. The campaign against the first female presidential candidate was inadvertently successful at highlighting the level of acceptable sexism in America. Look at the way Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren have been treated on, “the details”.
E. People are angry because elected officials keep talking over them.
Do the math, view every news source critically and objectively but most importantly, vote. It matters.
@michaelacanty is a Social, Political and Entertainment Commentator, Human Development and Leadership Consultant, creator of weRwideopen an initiative established to openly discuss issues of race and equality and blogs, “Movies, Music, TVPlus”, “Politics Is Not a Bad Word”, and author of the upcoming book, “Today On This Day: Meditations To Live and Love By”