Angels and Demons
The national press (aka mainstream media), public, et al have been generally uncomfortable with their uncomfortablness (yes a new word) in the differing coverage of the Democratic and Republican primaries. Why are so many rational people eager for The First Lady vs. Santa Claus to be over and at the same time ready for The Hair vs. The Clown Car to go on forever?
It’s not liberal bias Fox News. It’s human nature. Start with the Democratic primary. To get the disclaimers out of the way, I voted for Obama in the ’08 primary and will be voting for Clinton in ’16. The tension between those votes has not changed with time. Bernie Sanders is appealing to our better angels. Free college for all? Super. Never have to pay to see the doctor? Bring it on.
That said- calling out the practicalities of such things does not label one a member of the dreaded “establishment.” Reducing the cost of a quality education will not do much to increase access until you also increase the supply. Is it a legitimate concern that by eliminating the co-pay when I stub my toe I might take a slot away from somebody who, you know, actually needs to see a doctor... yes.
But that is a battle with our better half. Like so many battles, while it is a healthy and a good thing (much like the current Democratic Primary is good for the Democratic Party), it is not one we necessarily enjoy lingering upon. We want it to be over because it reminds us of our own failings.
Now let’s flip to our Republican friends. Many smarter people than I have written about how Trump is the natural evolution of 25 years of free trade policies. However I would argue that he is the natural evolution of several thousand years of evolution (sorry to all GOP members I have already lost).
Trump’s appeal is actually rather simplistic once you strip it down. Your life sucks? It’s not your fault. Blame the immigrant. Blame government. Blame the elite. Blame the demon that is possessing poor Linda Blair. It’s an externalization of all our problems and it is inherently appealing. If someone else is to blame- I am not.
That is a battle with our own darker side. Like so many battles, we know it can take us to a self-destructive place, and thus we will draw it out as long as we possibly can, hoping for someone, anyone, to save us. It is no mistake that the GOP is willing to risk its salvation on a bunch of white guys, selected for their current positions by an opaque process, conclaving until we mere mortals see a puff of smoke appear from… Cleveland.
As we head into Florida and Ohio, this is not a Dem vs. Rep narrative. Many Democrats have appealed to our sins. More than a few Republicans have asked us to aspire. It is not a generational battle for the soul of the Democratic and Republican Parties. This is not a rush to end one fight and drag out another for mere entertainment value. It is simply a reflection of the struggle between the good and bad we all carry into our daily lives.