Alisdair Blackman

The “Weak” in U.S. Politics: February 7th 2016

The “Weak” in U.S. Politics: Mike Huckabee’s farewell dad joke and why Kim Kardashian won the polls this week (sorry).

 

The “Weak” in Politics as seen by Alexandra Tselios

We recently discussed the Iowa caucus on a podcast looking at the win for Republican Ted Cruz and the “by a sliver” win for Hillary Clinton (still far better than her 2008 29% Iowa results!!!). In our world, this was a huge focus for our entire week. However, in the actual world, I am bummed to say that Kim Kardashian’s poll (439,102 voters) about Kanye West’s latest album saw more voting participants than the Iowa Caucus (353,000). Apologies for bringing that up, but it is what it is and numbers like that can’t be ignored.

In Australia, under federal electoral law, it is compulsory for us to vote. And since I have grown up in a country with such a law, it seems so strange to me that when you do have the opportunity to shift the political landscape with your list ballot, then why wouldn’t you? As it stands, unless Ryan Seacrest somehow gets even more powerful, it is not compulsory to partake in anything Kim Kardashian offers you. Yet, more Americans would rather voluntarily participate in that than vote for who the next leader of their country will be.

This is not a particularly new issue to debate, whether or not voting should be compulsory and why the rampant apathy among American “potential”-voters; but I think it is interesting that the one candidate who is likely the most capable in igniting action among Americans seems to still be Bernie Sanders. When he lost “by a sliver,” he made the statement that voters are ready for a political revolution and that same sentiment seems to have carried through his campaign as he prepares for this week’s New Hampshire caucus. It is also worth reading an analysis of Bernie’s rise “from long-shot to real contender” where political scientists looked at how the odds are still not really in his favor, drawing a parallel to the 1972 race between Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater.

It is also worth noting that the Iowa caucus saw Paul Rand, Mike Huckabee, and Martin O’Malley suspend their campaigns. Again, if at this stage you are hovering in the polls at around 4%, you really need to move on with your lives, use what little money is left from your campaign on something that is actually realistic and tangible.

Total respect to Huckabee though for delivering the line, “It’s time to officially suspend the campaign … but not because of the votes, it’s because of illness. Obviously, the voters are sick of me.” I forgot he had charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent—and out of all of those who have fallen to the wayside this week, I will miss Mr. Huckabee and his dad jokes.

 

 

The “Weak” in Politics as seen by Roger Pugh

Heard in a 5th Avenue Bar
“Where are the Giants likely to find a new offensive line?”
“In Trump’s speeches.”

Heard in a Des Moines Restaurant
“Why are you finding it so easy to relate to Bernie?”
“He sounds like my grandma and looks like my grandpa.”

Heard at Cruz’s Campaign HQ
“Who would be in the best position if Trump became President?”
“Edward Snowden.”

Heard at Hillary’s Campaign HQ
“What is the key element in Bernie’s economic policy?”
“The ability to trade carbon credits for food stamps.”

Heard in Congress
“Is Obama still making adjustments to Obamacare?”
“Yes, anyone who voted for Trump can now get free treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Heard at Republican Party HQ
“Why did Cruz win in Iowa?”
“God voted for him instead of Ben Carson.”

 

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