The 2016 Presidential Election featuring Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will end on November 8th with the victory of one controversial candidate or another. Where a President Donald Trump would have struggled to garner support from both sides of the aisle, a President Hillary Clinton would have faced staunch Republican obstructionism and potential impeachment proceedings over legal questions surrounding her tenure as Secretary of State. To say the least, the Forty-Fifth President of the United States will be one of the most divisive. The 2016 Election has certainly proven to be an example of what politics should not be about.
Politics has become little more than gossip focusing on those in government. Instead of solutions for the issues the People face, the character and personal flaws of political leadership thoroughly saturates political coverage. Politics is the interactions between government and the governed. The study of politics is, therefore, valuable when it helps improve how political leadership interacts with the People in order to foster better governance. Unfortunately, politics is feeding government dysfunction by rewarding political leaders, who embrace controversy and discord, will attention. To give politics value and reverse the destruction it has caused, the focus of politics must change.
Who is elected matters, but it cannot matter more that what those in government are doing and will do. The controversies surrounding Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump should have undergone public scrutiny at the beginning of the 2016 election cycle. In turn, both candidates should have either been eliminated based on their personal flaws or the issues should have taken command of all political discourse. This is not to say the controversies surrounding Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton should have been ignored. Instead of obsessing over who was running for President and their antics, the American People, professional media outlets, and political figures needed to discuss the issues and allowed the candidates to take place in that conversation. They needed to move beyond the campaign.
Ultimately, what matters is how a candidate is going to govern. The personality of a political figures impacts what policies and decisions that person will make as a public figure. By examining the personal deficit of a candidate much can be learned. On the other hand, all people are flawed while flaws alone do not determine how people react to situations. It is also important to remember that democracy is a constant struggle that requires the perpetual input of citizens. By focusing on the issues in a perpetual public debate that transcends the campaign, instead of the individuals currently running for office, more is learned about how the candidates might lead. Far more can be learned about the qualifications of the candidates by forcing them to explain their positions on particularly issues and what solutions they might embrace than actually taking about their flaws.
Government exists to fix problem. Politics matters, because it can help improve how government addresses problems. Regrettably, the politics of today do more to create problems in government than to solve them, because the political industry has become far too obsessed with who is running for office and short-lived election cycles. Beyond candidates, beyond political parties, what really matters is what government is doing and what government is going to do. Who is elected matters, because who determines what government will do. By focusing on the issues and problem solving, political candidates will be forced to answer what government will do. Moreover, politics should not be about the personalities; it should be about solving the issues.
Read old posts