The Tale Of 10 Turds And Two Heavyweights: Why 2016 Is Shaping Up To Be An Interesting Election (OP-ED)

What do Facebook, Fox News, The Donald and the Democratic nominees all have in common?

They’re setting the stage for a memorable 2016 election.

The election season is in full-swing, and while I am sad to say goodbye to President Obama (c’mon give him a third term!) I am looking forward to February/March 2016 for the primaries and onward towards November 4, 2016. And thus far, this election feels different than the previous four I have participated in, so I don’t know if it’s my naivete but it feels unique thus far for several reasons.

For starters, there is an unprecedented amount of GOP candidates in the Republican primary in modern history; since 1976 (the start of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 and it’s amendment in 1976 ) the most candidates within a Republican primary has been eleven. There aren’t just 20 candidates in this election; there are as many as 139 Republican candidates who have filed Form 2 with the Federal Elections Commission.

A candidate only becomes an official candidate after they have filed Form 2 with the FEC and acquired $5000 in campaign contributions, but since those candidates don’t actually have a snowball’s chance in hell, sticking with the top 10 is the easiest.

Watching the GOP race is like watching the show Survivor, only all the contestants are turds and it takes place in Hell rather than on an island.

Real Clear Politics (bookmark it), which compiles data daily from every single major polling source, shows the wide berth in which Trump is leading during the last two weeks while the other horses in the race remain close:

The GOP has had seven years to choose a viable candidate for this election. And after seven years of constant criticism for the current administration, one might think they would stop attacking every advancement this country has made and put their heads down to come up with some workable solutions — but when the Koch brothers are funding a campaign who needs ideas, amiright?

The best thing about the GOP race (or possibly the worst depending on who you ask), is that Donald f*cking Trump is the front-runner with 23 percent support! What?! I have to scratch that off my “$hit that would NEVER happen” list. The businessman who boasts about buying politicians.

Mitt Romney was also a filthy rich guy who was extraordinarily nicer than Trump and we all know how that turned out. Trump, however, spews a “47 percent” comment frequently and still remains strong.

It’s just too beautiful or disgustingly wrong (I haven’t decided). Judging by the first debate for the Republican Primary hosted by Fox, it was obvious the moderators were trying to topple The Donald so that a more viable candidate could rise to the top. It backfired terribly, and now Roger Ailes has promised to give Trump fairer coverage.

Astonishingly, the attempts to bring Trump down a few notches blew up in Fox’s faces. Fox “News” has been creating the environment that Trump is able to thrive in for nearly 20 years. Everything that comes from Trump’s mouth was put there by Fox News. He is their golem, whether they like him or not.

You built that, Fox News. It actually has a name, it’s called The Fox News Effect, and the influence they’ve put forth into our country via pretty blondes in conservative but revealing attire has become self-destructive. At last!

When Fox News moderators went hard on Trump in the debates, and rightfully so in my opinion, their audience seemingly turned on the right-wing propaganda channel. Was Megyn Kelly actually surprised that few viewers barely batted an eye when Trump alluded to her menstrual cycle being the reason she attacked him?

This moment in history has been building since 1996 when the network was founded during the Clinton administration and a major crack has formed — and it was all caused by a bloviating pile of hair.

The more serious candidates to look at will be Jeb, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Scott Walker and Dr. Ben Carson.

As for the other 15 or so candidates, they’re all cookie-cutter versions of each other. The only discernible thing about them sometimes are their hairdos. They all say despicable, backwards things and pander to Christian white males. Nothing new here — business as usual.

Why are all the marginally smarter candidates fairing so poorly, though?

I believe we’re seeing the effects that social media has on politics in action. Obama benefited from social media as well, but he first ran during the MySpace days in 2008 where you still had to seek out a person for the most part, now your favorite media arrives to you instantly through Facebook and Twitter among other sites. A candidate can speak directly to you and that has a cozy feel to it, it’s an incredibly appealing new style of politics and journalism, and Trump is king of social media. The others try, but they have that politician feel to them, which is measurably more boring than some a$$hole being incredibly abrasive and rude.

And I’m not making this stuff up, many studies on social media’s influence on politics have been done to show that the effect is significant. Check them out here, here and here.

One study says:

What do demonstrations on city streets in the Philippines in 2001, the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States in 2008, revocation of the results of the fraudulent elections in Moldavia in 2009, the M-15 movement with their camps and demonstrations in Spain in 2011, the so-called “Arab Spring” in the Middle East in early 2011, and the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that started in New York, also in 2011, all have in common?

They have all used social media to help organise such protests and mobilise their responsible agents. Yet these were much more than just about arranging a party: they all greatly exploited social media to establish communication networks and move towards their objectives.

This brings me to the Democratic Primary race.

Bernie Sanders is Rock’n’Roll and Hillary is Pop.

The debate over rock’n’roll vs. pop has been waged between folks for decades and I think this analogy is fitting for the Democratic primary race.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is speaking to people’s souls, while Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to their ears. Both camps like what they feel or hear, and the decision over who should lead the party is becoming tense as Clinton voters are figuring out that their “He can’t win” comments are falling on increasingly fewer ears.

Sen. Sanders, once thought the underdog in this race, is now quickly becoming a contender. The Vermont Senator just took the lead over the former New York Senator’s numbers for the first time ever in any poll in New Hampshire this week. Clinton still dominates in every other poll, but has fallen slightly in approval rating.

Sanders’ estimated crowd at his most recent events neared 100,000, which is more than every Republican candidate drew over the weekend combined.

How is a largely ignored “underling” doing so well?

For one, Bernie Sanders’ unapologetic populist message rocks; no matter how big of a fan of Clinton you may be, there is no denying this fact. What is unique about this is that Sanders identifies as a Democratic socialist and given the rhetoric from the right over the past seven years (or further even back), that socialism is the worst thing ever, it’s sort of odd Democrats are considering running someone who would even consider using that word at all. Oh, and he isn’t taking corporate bribes. WHAT?!

Second, it’s speculated to be the social media effect helping to boost his favorability. So the fact that he gets unfair coverage by most mainstream media is almost inconsequential. Which feels weird, because in the past whoever was most covered by mainstream media tended to come out ahead, but Sanders is making progress in the polls.

When it comes to social media, Sanders seems to be killing it, and as we saw with Obama’s campaign — that was important. Also, appearing “cool” seemed to help Obama out, and Sanders’ move to have wildly popular Sarah Silverman introduce him in Los Angeles this weekend was a smart move.

It’s still early, but if Sanders plays his cards exactly right, he can overtake his opponent, and if he does the feat will be monumental.

Either way, the Democrats are lucky to have two heavyweights in this race. They are each a master of their craft and either candidate will bring the Republicans hell come election time.

Featured image via If You Only News/CBS 

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