Ed. note: I don’t know the candidate and I have no party with whom I actively work. Furthermore, this isn’t a hit piece on Politico. They did a great job reporting on what is actually happening, in the Missouri GOP primary. It is the fact that it is all actually happening this way that is so deeply maddening.
That’s right. My head is going to explode, thanks to this article and everything about our society that it manages to encapsulate. So, here we go…
Apparently, the GOP has a new … or should I say, had a new golden boy, Josh Hawley, – at least, so says Politico, and, by all accounts, the GOP really wanted him to be the “next one.” I say had because, already, he is falling from the good graces of the party elite. You see, they don’t like how he is campaigning. He isn’t putting enough time into it, they say. Here’s the thing, though – he is not a self-appointed golden boy. In fact, he’s the reluctant golden boy. He is, by all indications, the kind of anti-hero that we actually want to have in office. Mr. Hawley is in the throes of a GOP primary race that he never wanted to be in. Yes, you read that correctly. He didn’t want this fight. His recent election as State Attorney General gives him a perfect 1 for 1 record, in political races, and he, apparently, actually intended to perform that job. At 38, and with serious academic credentials, and looking “the part” of a U.S. political superhero, everyone in the Republican Party decided that he was the guy to challenge Claire McCaskill for the Missouri Senate seat. The thing is, Mr. Hawley didn’t want to run. He had just been elected, he has two young sons, and he had no intention of running for the Senate at this point in time. After phone calls from everyone from local party officials to the Vice President of the United States, he agreed to run.
Josh Hawley Doesn’t Run Right.
Since Josh Hawley isn’t campaigning as hard as voters want him to campaign, some are starting to say that they aren’t going to vote for him. Now, campaigning has always been a big deal in politics. However, at this point in history, I have to ask why? As the fox knows,* there are many reasons why. The trouble that I am having is that the reasons why are deeply troubling, when you really start to examine them. First, we need people to campaign hard to sell voters on the candidate. Second, we need people to campaign hard to tell voters why their opponent is terrible and why the candidate is going to be better. Th former ties into my last, and perhaps deepest concern – the voting base needs to be “energized.” Let’s take these apart piece by piece.
Selling voters on the candidate. What a remarkable admission is made by those that say they won’t vote for him now, because, by their estimation, he isn’t out there campaigning hard enough. They are literally admitting that they, and the party in general, lack the capacity to choose a candidate based on their agenda and qualifications – they need to be sold on a face and a compulsory handshake. If we were living in the pre-internet age, I would understand the need to get your face in front of voters – to shake babies and kiss hands, and all that. However, we are not living in that age. It is a remarkably sad commentary on the state of our democratic republic, that we require a sales pitch that is the product of “face time,” with the candidate. What do you care that he shook your hand? How petulant are we?!? Go online and read his policies and his agenda. Determine whether it matches closest to your ideology. Vote accordingly.
The need to tear down opponents to win. The other really important thing that every candidate must be sure to do is to attack their challengers. Be sure to make it personal, if possible. We can’t just run on the ideas and merits of the candidate. After it is all done we can shake hands and pretend that it was a noble engagement and that we are all good friends, right? Perhaps, there is a better way? Maybe… Go online and read his policies and his agenda. Determine whether it matches closest to your ideology. Vote accordingly.
Of course, energizing the base is of paramount importance. We can’t get everyone pumped up and excited about working together to improve life for the people of this country. Forget about learning the intricate details of the problems that we face to develop real solutions and vote for the candidate that has advanced the best solutions, in our own estimations. No, no. That isn’t going to get it done. We like red meat. Right or left, we want to see our opponents ripped to shreds. We want to feel validated in the ludicrous and god damned foolish idea that all of our political beliefs are correct and the only way to make things better is to do it our way. How arrogant, ignorant and fool hardy. I almost think we deserve what we get. Perhaps, instead of desperately seeking out that political red meat, that is eventually going to give our nation a political heart attack, you might consider taking the following route: Go online and read his policies and his agenda. Determine whether it matches closest to your ideology. Vote accordingly.
One parting thought: Mr. Hawley has been videotaped working out in the gym (during daytime hours – **gasp**), photographed out buying a bottle of wine on a Friday, and critiqued for posting an Instagram picture of himself at the gym. All I can say is: get a life, people! Do you think the guy doesn’t work in the evenings, or on the weekends? Why are you taking creepy pictures of him while he goes to buy some wine? Get a life. You have a candidate that was talked into running – this is your best shot at getting someone who isn’t a power-hungry, maniacal, sociopath, in office. So far, all who have been involved have done a great job demonstrating why no normal, sane, person would actually want to run for office.
*See Isaiah Berlin’s essay on The Fox and the Hedgehog, or Philip Tetlock’s application of same to political forecasters.