By Joel S. Hirschhorn -- Contributing Writer - July 31, 2007
The latest bipartisan George Washington University Battleground Poll rightfully received media attention because of its depressing data. There is historic political pessimism and cynicism. But something is more troubling than the data on the dire views of Americans about their elected representatives and government. It is that 72 percent of voters still believe that “voting gives people like me some say about how the government runs things.” Unbelievable! Such confidence in a system that has failed them.
Despite untrustworthy elected officials and a dysfunctional government that takes care of the Upper Class more than everyone else, Americans retain still believe in their democracy. This logical absurdity – or delusional state – is best explained by avoidance of the pain of cognitive dissonance. Americans resist the reality that they are living in a sham representative democracy where the rule of law is a growing fiction.
It should be noted (but was not in the media coverage) that 75 percent of the likely voters were 45 or older, with a third retired. That makes the results even more unsettling. They should know better than to keep believing they can vote the nation into a better condition. Self-identified Republicans were 41 percent, Democrats 42 percent, and Independents 15 percent.
Consider these reasons for giving up on voting and elections under the grip of the two major parties: Some 53 percent have an unfavorable view of politicians, with 55 percent believing that most elected officials are untrustworthy. A majority of 52 percent disapproves of the performance of the Democrats in Congress and 61 percent disapprove of Republicans there. An incredible 93 percent feels that lawmakers in Washington put partisan politics first compared with citizens. But the biggest shift in voter opinion is that 71 percent think their own Member of Congress puts partisan politics first compared with them, with 63 percent feeling strongly that way.
For the big picture: Seventy-percent are now convinced that the country is off on the wrong track – and 58 percent feel strongly that way. This is the worst score recorded in the history of the Battleground survey. Democrats are universally agreed about this point, but so are 71 percent of Independents and 49 percent of Republicans.
A plurality of 38 percent believes their children will be worse off in the future and only a third said they "think their own children will be better off than they are right now -- a drop of 7 points since January." Pessimism is worst among white Americans: Only 29 percent believe that their children will be better off; 38 percent believe their children will be worse off.
Dan Balz of the Washington Post summed up: “the American people have entered this campaign with a wholly cynical view of the political process.”
One trick of the political status quo establishment to keep many Americans (but still less than about half of all eligible voters) believing in voting is advertising. Consider the current crowded presidential primary season. The mass media constantly work to play up the races among Democratic and Republican contenders. Why not? They make a ton of money from all the money spent on campaign advertising. Televised debates and endless state and national poll data are entertainment that fuel fake competition. It is sheer manipulation of the electorate – to keep them interested in the election and, worse, to keep them believing that it really matters who wins in each party.
In the end, greedy and arrogant power elites will ensure that only a “safe” candidate will be chosen so that the two-party duopoly loses no power and no presidency rocks the political boat or harms corporate America. Having so many contenders in the primary season is a farce. The eventual Democratic ticket will be Clinton and Obama. Period. End of story. It is the lowest risk, smartest political strategy. On the Republican side there is more uncertainty, but the likely ticket will be Giuliani and Thompson.
The true wildcard is whether Michael Bloomberg enters the race as a third party candidate. I am rooting for this. Objective statistical analysis of the American electorate shows that the level of public discontent with Democrats and Republicans is so high that a lavishly funded campaign by Bloomberg can make history. Take independents, turned-off Democrats and Republicans, and the huge numbers of eligible voters that do not usually vote. Bang! You have more than enough votes to make Bloomberg president. By choosing a well known but political maverick that the public trusts as a running mate, he can win. It is exactly the kind of shake-up our political system desperately needs.
Americans must awake from their political stupor and stop letting themselves be victimized and manipulated by the media/political/financial elites running and ruining our nation.