Presidential Campaign

Politics in America, 2016: Getting what we deserve?

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Nothing exacerbates the political friction between liberals and conservatives like a presidential election, and this year’s campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is turning more contentious by the day.

The popularity of Facebook and Twitter has given millions of Americans a platform to express their views — and attack those who disagree with them. Not to be outdone, the media has become rather adept at fanning the flames of political intolerance.

{mosads}The past decade has seen endless military conflict in Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East. A civil war in Syria, sectarian violence in Iraq, and the withdrawal of U.S. troops gave birth to ISIS, which continues to spread its terror. The promise of an Arab Spring has turned into a cold, dark winter.

In the meantime, North Korea continues to test and expand its nuclear weapons program while President Obama hopes the nuclear deal he negotiated with Iran will prevent them from doing the same.

Here at home, political and racial divisiveness continues to grow. Questionable treatment involving the police and African-Americans has ignited a racial firestorm. Protests led by the Black Lives Matter movement, the assassinations of police officers in several U.S. cities, a stagnant economy, and years of political bickering over gun control and immigration reform have left many Americans exasperated.

The majority of Americans seem uninformed when it comes to the major issues facing our nation. The candidates and the media are well aware of this. Campaign teams, along with the media, propagandize and spin the issues in a way that favors the candidate they represent or endorse.

After months of primaries, the race has come down to Donald Trump — a bombastic personality whose temperament has turned the Republican Party upside down; and Hillary Clinton — disingenuous, pandering, and someone who couldn’t tell the truth if it made a better story.

Considering the importance of being elected President of the United States, voters couldn’t have nominated two worse candidates. Then again, why would the best and brightest run for our nation’s highest office when news organizations have staffs dedicated to uncovering every negative thing a candidate has said or done in their past?

In the weeks and months ahead, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will say anything to paint their opponent in a negative light. The media thrives on such conflict. In today’s day and age, controversy generates ratings and sells newspapers.

If you’re torn wondering which candidate to vote for, rest assured the media will do all that it can to influence your decision. After all, politics is the art of influencing the uninformed. Walter Cronkite and the art of neutral reporting died a long time ago. Today’s media seems more interested in influencing voters rather than educating and informing them.

During the political conventions, a parade of supporters gave one speech after another, complimenting their candidate while denigrating the opposition. Then, with great fanfare, each party’s nominee was introduced. Speeches were given; pandering promises were made; delegates cheered; balloons fell; and then the media began to dissect and criticize everything that was said.

In the weeks ahead, each candidate will campaign around the country. The real excitement will come when the debates begin in late September. Expect more hype and less substance. The media, which considers itself the most qualified in determining who should be president, thinks it’s more important to pit the candidates against one another with “he said” “she said” accusations. Controversy means ratings.

Debate moderators will give each candidate one minute to provide solutions to our nation’s problems. What’s a minute when the likelihood of either candidate solving these issues is slim at best? Just when the answer to balancing the budget or defeating terrorism is about to be given, a buzzer will go off.

Heaven forbid a candidate is found to have changed their mind on an issue. What many would consider an example of growth and maturity will be labeled as a “flip flop” or pandering. A candidate who says one thing on a Monday and something different on Tuesday provides the perfect media sound bite on Wednesday.

By Election Day in November, both candidates will have spent in excess of $1 billion trying to secure your vote. The money will come from super PACs, corporations, special interest groups, wealthy donors, and everyday citizens. Where will the money go? To media outlets where attack ads will be the theme of the day, accuracy be damned.

Americans work hard to raise their families and make ends meet, yet many will send checks to the same politicians they’ll spend the next four to eight years complaining about. The negative attack adds these checks fund will have you wishing you had spent your donation on a nice dinner with a friend or loved one instead.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “The government you elect is the government you deserve.” A more informed electorate along with a media more wiling to educate rather than influence, will ensure more qualified candidates are elected in the future. That will give us a government we deserve and one we can all be proud of.

Keith Rosenkranz is a former U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter pilot and combat veteran of the 1991 Gulf War. He is the author of the book Vipers In The Storm, which chronicles my experiences during Operation Desert Shield/Storm. He has published articles in the NY Times, Seattle Times, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, and In addition, he has done analysis for CNN, CNBC, Fox News, and made appearances on The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity.

The views of Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Tags 2016 presidential election campaign debates Democratic Party Donald Trump electorate Hillary Clinton Media elite Republican Party United States

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