From the Editor: On the current state of the election

From the Editor is a biweekly collection of thoughts from Editor-in-Chief Harrison Otto about life, politics, or whatever comes to mind

From the Editor
Harrison Otto

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April 10, 2017

After a long, painful, and nasty past six months, the 2016 presidential election is finally reaching its endgame. On November 8th, the people of this country will go to the polls and choose who they feel is fit for the office of the president. With only a few weeks to go, the political battle between “crazy” Trump and “crooked” Hillary will come to much needed conclusion.

I’m not here to talk about any of the candidates this time — but about how our democratic election has turned into a really disappointing reality TV show — one where indecency and gossip are the main attractions. Unfortunately, Americans are seemingly caught up in the showbiz.

I’ll start with the media. This election is the first where social media is the main source of news for many people. In 2012, while Facebook and Twitter existed, nothing about the election was interesting to enough to catapult it into the realm of pop culture. That’s where Trump comes in.

The outrageousness of Trump’s behavior early in the campaign (and later too) gave reporters something to talk about, such as when he made fun of a disabled reporter during a rally, or when he insulted Heidi Cruz. This results in more content, more viewers, and more money for big news corporations. But it also gave people on social media something to talk about.

In the past, people would occasionally post on Facebook about candidates. This election, political Twitter and Instagram posts are impossible to avoid. The public is much more exposed to the campaign.

In fact, it became more than just the political process — people were interested like they were watching a soap opera. And while it is a good thing that voters are giving the election some thought, many Americans are getting lost in the hype of the election itself. The battle between Trump and Hillary represented an exciting struggle between good and evil — and that’s just what is happening to our country.

The problem with the intense exposure of the election is that everyone now has to have an opinion, even though they have not done any real research to back up their argument. People who didn’t care about politics at all before the election now seem to know all the answers and are convinced that their candidate is right and the other is a scoundrel.

The process of picking our president should not be a popularity contest. When Trump supporters are asked why their candidate is the best, they say that he’s better than “crooked” Clinton. And when Clinton supporters are asked the same question, they say that Hillary is better than crazy Donald, “the bully”.

Something is wrong with this election because everybody is standing behind a candidate, but nobody can seem to give a reason unless it’s bashing the other candidate.

The president should not be chosen strictly based on how well he or she does on camera. Americans need to turn off the TV and research the platforms of each of the candidate before making an educated decision.

If not, America can only hope for the best.