"All politics is local" - Tip O'Neil
It's political season again and candidates are out on the stump preparing for America's favorite quadrennial blood sport, a Presidential election. In addition to a President, Americans will go to the polls this November to elect local, state and federal representatives along with twenty some odd Senators as well as the President. This is the season when candidates dust off their policy proposals, consult with the wonks and tout their best ideas. Sadly, for fewer and fewer number of voters, these policy proposals mean less and less. Don't misunderstand me, I like policy proposals and like to know where a candidate stands on certain issues. Many however, don't really care about the nuances of policy.
I was listening to a discussion recently about why so many people vote against their interests and the moderators of the discussion could not answer the question. Really? In terms of the electorate, I am entirely convinced that less than 20% of voters cast their ballots based on policy proposals or the actual stance of the candidates from a philosophical perspective. Most people cast their ballots based on the person running. They don't really care about specific stances on the issues or even their political ideology. People vote for people. After all, most people in this country believe that all politicians are liars making campaign promises they never intend to keep so why get bogged down in the policy wonk world of where their candidate stands.
How else would you explain a person voting for George W Bush twice, Obama twice, then Trump? Believe me, it happened. It also explains how so many Sanders supporters voted for Trump in 2016. They obviously were not voting on policy, they were voting on personality.
I remember years ago when the aforementioned W. was running for President, he was the candidate most voters wanted to have a beer with. Apparently, that was their criteria of how to vote and who to vote for. I realize that in a primary battle, more emphasis is placed on a personal narrative and what is referred to as "retail politics" but in a general election should we not pay a little attention to what a candidate stands for and how they might likely decide certain issues? Seemingly not. Sadly, it seems that most politics is now retail politics.
I am convinced that the reason Democrats did so well in the 2018 mid-terms is the fact that the Democratic Party recruited and supported a dynamic bunch of candidates who ran for office. They were smart, articulate and struck a chord with the voters in their districts. In other words, Democrats are finally learning what Republicans have known for decades; people vote for people and too often in the past, people liked the people Republicans nominated. Forget their policies that were bad for many of those voters, they just liked the people.
I saw this tweet this morning and it encapsulates exactly my point. Now I cannot assure you that Mr. Oz Dillon will indeed vote for Mr. Rashid this November but my bet is that he will, because people vote for people and that's not always a bad thing.