The American elections are heading toward peak hype. That should make the late summer and early fall a bit mind numbing, but at least the weather will not be the center of attention.
This election may provide some insight into whether or not it is possible for politicians to govern the country instead of merely playing politics. That would be a nice change and both Sanders and Trump are playing up how they are different and therefore worthy of victory.
In the context of traditional politics, both Sanders and Trump are invasive species. Wikipedia describes it thus: An invasive species is a plant, fungus or animal species that is not native to a specific location, and which has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health.
I am sure the old style politicians in Washington are concerned about the possible damage to their eco-system. There are likely other structure that could benefit from some invasive ideas, too.
The current political setup is self satisfying and pays only as much attention to the wishes and needs of the people as it must to retain power. Quid pro quo is the standard. Interest groups, lobbyists, activists and politicians spending half their time raising money to be re-elected to another term of raising money leads to catastrophe. The incentives are misaligned.
Both the populist candidates resonate with the voters who have come to believe their vote is worthless. Given the change in communication over the past 20 years or so, I am a little surprised it took people so long to discover that politicians are not working on their behalf. It has come to a point where it is difficult to imagine an unselfish politician. The blame for this falls squarely on the voters. The promised free lunch has been eaten by others. It is time to understand what works and give up the delusions.
It has been this way for a long time. American journalist Kin Hubbard died in 1930 but some of his quote still sound right.
“Now and then an innocent man is sent to the legislature.”
“We’d all like to vote for the best man, but he is never a candidate.”
Perhaps if we reorganized the ballot so it looked like a multiple choice grade 10 history quiz. The d) answer is always none of the above.
The question becomes can you be cynical enough. I wonder what the Vegas line would be for over/under on none of the above.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
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