Category: Elections

The Importance of Electoral Education and Voting

Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_States

(A reflection upon our election…and what the Founding Fathers of our nation thoughts were towards voting and how important it was)

Americans HATE electoral politics. How else can you explain the low turnout year after year and the immense relief that comes on the first Wednesday of November (the day after Election Day)? They are continually bombarded with ads on the television, the radio, in their mailbox and their neighbor’s front yard. Once Election Day passes, they won’t have to worry about being called at night for the sixth time in seven days asking them who they plan to vote for or why they should vote for this candidate over the other. For many, they simply cannot wait until this is over, for life to return to normal. They either don’t plan to vote or they go into the voting booth and check off the most familiar names they see without really thinking about the consequences.

With Congressional approval well below 20 percent one would think that Americans would be energized for change. Perhaps the problem is that they just don’t feel that their votes will matter or they don’t know who or what these candidates really are. Others lament the “dirty politics” of negative ads. The truth though is that negative campaigning has been around almost as long as the nation has existed. Continue reading

The GOP overcame the media

newspaper-418919_640Previously in the series – Why the GOP is losing: Healthcare

So, I had previously started a series (of…one, I know – way to follow through) looking at why the GOP seemed to be losing on the national stage. As we now know, they didn’t actually lose, they won. In fact, in doing so, they overcame some big hurdles including large media. So the look below covers a bit of everything.


 

The media loves to portray the Republican Party as (insert dumb/racist/sexist/etc here) and frankly that is because the Republican Party is to blame for giving them so much ammunition. The clip below is from the Daily Show (yes, not full-fledged legitimate media but their reach is quite profound) and it provides a classic example.

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Hoosier Tuesday: Tully – Congressional hearings on Congress

Dirksen226It has been awhile since I sat down to write a Hoosier Tuesday column. Partly this is because politics in Indiana haven’t been all that newsworthy. There aren’t any competitive races, nothing with a national impact or appeal. But Matthew Tully’s column ends that dry-spell for us.

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Thursday’s on the Trail: Kansas…

Konza2It has been buried in the news lately, what with the Middle East proving once again that it is horrible mess, but what is happening in Kansas could serve as a major political shake-up for the United States. Current U.S. Senator Pat Roberts survived a primary scare against radiologist Milton Wolf only to see his Democratic opponent seek to drop out of the race. That would seem like a formula for certain re-election, right? Well, it looks like Kansas voters have other ideas.

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Thursdays on the Trail: Primary offers no suprises

1900_New_York_polling_placeTuesday served as the “way too late” primary day for several states in the union, including the Midwestern states of Michigan and Kansas. Things played out as expected in Michigan – Rep. Justin Amash won his primary battle and Rep. Kerry Bentivolio lost his. Because of how the districts have been drawn up in the Great Lakes States, the vast majority of those who won their primaries on Tuesday will be victorious in November including Amash and Dave Trott (the man who just demolished Bentivolio at the polls). The big races in Michigan will be those that did not fall prey to the partisan redistricting, i.e. the U.S. Senate and Governors races, where Rep. Gary Peters is running against Terri Lynn Land to see who fills the seat left by retiring Sen. Carl Levin and Governor Rick Snyder aims to keep his seat from challenger Mark Schauer.

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Cantor continues to stick it to the taxpayer

Today, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA 7) announced he would leave the House on August 18th – not at the end of his term as originally planned. Big whoop, so he leaves a few months early, right? Wrong! By leaving his post early he will be costing the taxpayers of Virginia even more money as a special election would be needed to fill his seat for the few weeks Congress is in session. What a nice way to stick it to the voters who cast him out of the House. The only thing higher on the sore loser spectrum is a recall election. Grow up Mr. Cantor.

Thursdays on the Trail: A message of moving foward

Elephas_maximus_(Bandipur)For quite some time I/we have stated here that the Republican Party in order to be successful moving forward needs a message about moving forward. And, in some ways, they have. It’s easy to see that in states like Indiana and Michigan, Ohio and Iowa. Republicans are leading their states forward, making them better places to work, live and raise a family. Somehow, it seems that Republicans inside the beltway haven’t gotten this message though. Congressional job approval is on par with death and eating dirt three times a day. So it’s interesting that the man who helped orchestrate the GOP reign in DC has something to say on the matter. Continue reading

Michigan Monday: A Stupid Day for a Primary

I guess it closer to November...

I guess it could be closer to November…

We are quickly approaching the day that the state of Michigan holds its primary elections. In fact, said elections take place a week from tomorrow on August 5th. That gives the winners in each race just three months – 13 weeks exactly – to make their pitch to the general public. Thirteen weeks to ask their current or future constituents to make a choice while they have given 8 months to the small subsection of their constituency that votes in a primary to decide their fate. That doesn’t seem just a little screwed up? Continue reading

Michigan Monday: Amash speaks, we should listen

8486719503_77bba4569d_zThis blog has made no bones about our admiration of Rep. Justin Amash (R – MI 3). So, when he speaks to The Grand Rapids Press/MLive at their candidate forum, it should probably be what we cover for the day.

Congressman Justin Amash spoke at the candidate forum in Grand Rapids where he was asked questions about his opponent (“not credible” – his answer and mine) and about his fights with the GOP Leadership. This is where I come to a crossroads (despite the admiration)…and where Amash just speeds on through. He basically lays the blame for a dysfunctional Congress at the feet of Speaker John Boehner. My problem there is that I like John Boehner…and at some point, we have to stop blaming the parent for the behavior of the children.

Man, I hate the term “establishment” for so many reasons and I hate that Amash has to go there. I get it, it’s a hot-button talking point. He is running in a primary against a guy he can paint as “establishment”. But he, of all people, should be rising above that. No, I don’t know what other broad paint brush word he should use because broad paint brushes are stupid (unless you actually have to paint, then they come in handy…although I prefer paint pads when possible). Once again, the fact is that the Republican Party is fractured and this “establishment” crap only serves as a way to widen that fissure.

However, the strength of the GOP is secondary to the job that Congress is doing (a shitty one). I think, at this point, more Americans approve of death than they do of the job that Congress is doing/not doing. This is where Amash makes a great point. “If only we had more Republicans, everything would be good…but that’s not the truth, that’s not the reality” he states in the above clip. And it’s true. It is not about a party, it is about the people. We can have a boatload of Republicans and be even worse off than we are now if they are not principled and truly representative of the people’s interests.

I say this as a member of the Republican Party – just because you have an R next to your name on the ballot does NOT make you the best choice. I may not always agree with the way Amash votes on things and that is alright (for one, I don’t live in his district, or even Michigan anymore for that matter). But I have immense respect for that fact that he seems to be highly principled and is always willing to explain why he voted a certain way even when it is not popular among his peers.

The truth is, if the Republican Party listened a little more to what the people really want (and run complete idiots in some races) then electing Republicans wouldn’t be the struggle that it is. There will be some areas that never elect a Republican. That is just the way the demographics fall. People believe different things in the nation and it’s part of what makes out nation (sometimes despite our leaders) great.

The United States needs more people on Capitol Hill like Justin Amash. I am not saying that they need to have his political ideology. I am saying we need men and women who stand up for what is right even when it is not popular, people who have the best interest of their constituents – and by extension, our nation – at heart when they serve  in the United States Congress.

A perfect picture to explain Americans...all different but all the same.

A perfect picture to explain our great nation. We are all different but all the same.