The media and political pundits all offer their rationale. Voters are angry with Washington and so the electorate is voicing its anger through Trump and Sanders. I assume Washington means the House, Senate and President. Trump seems to draw support from older whites without a college degree. Sanders supporters are the young and better educated. There are other supporters but this is the generalization that I have read or heard from these political types who claim to have the knowledge to reach these conclusions. I have to wonder do these intelligent people ever ask why are you angry and try to clarify information for them. I read loss of jobs and lack of future opportunities. If this is correct then where in Washington do we fix this? The loss of jobs is primarily industrial/manufacturing which is the major part of our economy that has been shipped overseas. Younger people do not see the means to economic gain which their parents experienced because the job opportunities are not there. Neither the President nor Congress shipped jobs overseas. Perhaps they could have passed taxes in the form of relief and as a penalty to restrain the exodus. Why not direct that anger at the companies that sell these products shipped from overseas? Why is there not still enormous anger at the President Bush administration and the Republicans who supported his agenda which nearly destroyed our economy and substantial parts of the world economy? When the greed and disgust of Wall Street and the financial industry was rewarded with a taxpayer bailout by President Bush and the Republicans, we elected more Republicans to Congress. When President Obama saved the American automobile industry without the help of the Republicans, where was the anger then? States with governors and legislatures that were controlled by Republicans continue on their merry way. The members of Congress are routinely re-elected apparently without regard for their voting history. How do we convert angry voters who may be acting irrationally into voters who vote based on the facts or at least with a limited understanding of the facts and how their lives are effected?
I recently heard on a radio talk show a discussion on the uninformed and informed voter. The uninformed voter acted based on his or her “gut” or their own beliefs whether correct or not. The informed voter apparently has some modicum of understanding of various issues and will listen to explanations. In this discussion the uninformed voter’s opinion is extremely difficult to change. These people believe that they are correct in their beliefs and any candidate or office holder who echoes that belief gets their vote. The informed voters allow some room for explanation and reason in order to change their opinion. If an incumbent puts forth an uninformed opinion then that person receives the vote even if an informed candidate speaking the facts opposes the incumbent. How do we elect people who know the facts and will act in accordance with the facts? The answer may be in electing leaders not legislators. People who only want to serve for years and do little other than support those industries and their lobbyists who continue to fund their campaigns and contribute to their lifestyles have to be voted out of office.
Leaders not only need to lead but to lead in a thoughtful and truthful manner. If you only speak to reinforce erroneous beliefs then you are pandering or perhaps simply stupid. Your job as a leader is to inform and convince the electorate as to why you want to act or vote in a certain way which may be contrary to the current understanding by the voter or his “gut.”
However the electorate has to make an effort to be informed on the issues, the candidates and their positions on the issues. The electorate cannot expect to outspend the “money people” but can always out vote them.
Who is elected at each level matters. Today’s state legislator may be elected to congress next with name recognition as the primary advantage over a knowledgable person lacking such recognition. As a nation our reading of newspapers is greatly diminished although the electronic options seem to do better with readers and viewers. Listening to so called consultants or experts or reading online material may still result in uninformed or misinformed electors. Either way we all lose. Being informed may not be easy but it is critical for us as a people and a country. Accepting as gospel the word and priorities of the super rich through their Political Action Committees and so called Not For Profits does not benefit the remaining 95% of the population. We strive for a good job, decent pay and opportunities for our children. These other people, not just the wealthy but the super rich, focus on the bottom line, profits, low or no taxes and minimal government. Former President Reagan was dead wrong when he said government is the problem. Granted it does have issues in efficiency and effectiveness but the services it provides at all levels are absolutely essential. We as a people you, me, the haves and have nots as well as the super rich need to vote to insure the welfare of our nation and the people in it.
The expression “I don’t get mad, I get even” may have relevance today. We do not need angry voters, we need informed people who understand their own self interest and the interests of this nation and not merely those of a political party.