Presidential campaign politics has hit a new low. We’ve lost our way and now only practice the politics of personal attacks instead of politics. The current campaign is why people hate politics and politicians. Really? Here’s a news flash, this campaign isn’t the first dirty one, and it’s by far not the worst.
The battle between the front runner Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and their families rages on. The latest barrage comes in the form of allegations against Senator Ted Cruz for having extramarital affairs which has been dominating the dominating the current news cycle. To the average person only paying partial attention, it does look like American politics has finally devolved into a ‘no holds barred’ arena of scathing personal attacks, and vicious accusations involving candidates and their families.
Senator Cruz’s wife Heidi was going to join me on my am radio show today but cancelled late yesterday. Although they said it was to focus on Wisconsin, its seems that the campaign is performing damage control by avoiding any event that will distract from the narrative of Ted’s poll numbers in Wisconsin. That big delegate prize is coming up next Tuesday, April 5th and Cruz is so far in the lead. Some speculate that the silence means the allegations are true and others think it’s just smart to start a new narrative away from the potential scandal. Of course this issue comes on the heels of the super pac attack on Melania Trump using a modeling shoot she did for GC magazine as a way of hurting Trump among Mormon voters in Utah. So you’ve got a battle involving extra marital affairs, nude pictures and even a few nasty attacks on the kids…
Either way, many Americans look at this campaign and feel that politics is a dirty business that is removed from the good old days of issues and discussions on plans for the government. My position? Who cares!
A quick look at history shows that the politics of personal smears and attacks goes back to the origins of our Republic. During the election of 1800 John Adams was called out in the press for having “a hideous hermaphroditical character” and Jefferson was accused of ushering in a new era where “murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will openly be taught and practiced,” if he were to be elected.
During the election of 1828 Andrew Jackson was accused of adultery and his wife of bigamy. In those days you couldn’t tweet your response to attacks, news traveled slowly and campaigns ufolded over years. Today the impact happens quickly and responses are broadcasts sometimes in minutes after an attack. In a sense, the attacks of today have less of an impact because the next news story is coming up minutes later.
The bottom line is that politics is and has always been a serious and nasty business. It’s for keeps. The winner of the Presidential contest will hold significant power having a huge impact on the nation’s economy, military and place in history. The men and women who seek the highest office in the land, and arguably the most powerful position in the world, understandably hold nothing back. This is for the win.
It’s time for people to stop whining about what’s fair game and what’s not. The election is in part about the character and strength of candidates to see how much abuse they can handle before crumbling as it is a test of their plausible plans for governance. You could argue that the specifics that are often mentioned are irrelevant. It’s about the mettle of the man (or woman) who will be charged with making decisions that will impact millions. Watching Trump and Cruz go at it is more reminiscent of days of Adams, Jefferson and Jackson than anything else. Tabloid journalism is only reflecting what’s really happens in politics.
We should be thrilled that we’re fighting with words and personal attacks and it’s being reported on regularly. In many nations the struggle for power involves murder, military insurrection and coups. Americans should be satisfied that instead we’ve got the National Enquirer, GQ and Twitter. For me, I love politics and given the tightness of the current race, I can’t wait to see what’s coming up next to factor into our decision making.