A March to Nowhere

Last night, Mitt Romney won the GOP’s Nevada Caucus. Someone else finished second. A completely different person finished third.

On February 7, Colorado and Minnesota will hold their caucuses and Missouri will hold its non-binding primary.

On February 28, both Arizona and Michigan will hold primaries.

On March 6, primaries or caucuses will be held in Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, and a whole bunch of other places.

Later in the year, there will be other primaries in different states that will mean about as much as the color of the housecoat my 86 year-old mother will wear today to clean up her kitchen.

Let’s be honest. The other candidates may cobble together enough resources to continue (or not) but the race for the Republican presidential nomination is over. We know who will win it. Why, then, are we all behaving as if any of this Kabuki theater had any relevance to anything? Why all the breathless TV punditry? Why the handwringing over misstatements and their effects on polls?

These questions are rhetorical, of course, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t answers. The problem isn’t that we don’t know the answers but rather that we can’t face them.

In American politics today, money wins – not just for candidates and officeholders (obvious – look at the data), but also for the politics industry (campaign managers, pollsters, advance people, speechwriters, lawyers) and for the political media (pundits, columnists, networks, advertising). And all these stakeholders, whose livelihood depends on the continuation of and interest in campaigns, will do everything they can to make sure this essentially meaningless march not only continues but does so in a way that is as entertaining as possible. Their incomes depend on the fact that you’ll continue to watch.

So, send out the memo:

  • Cue today’s gaffes…
  • Show new polls…
  • Make mountains out of molehills…
  • New hairstyle on the spouse…
  • Wicked-cool 3-D graphics…
  • Find scandal…must find scandal.

End of the day? Means nothing.

Money has already won. End of story.

4 thoughts on “A March to Nowhere”

  1. Wow, your mom is 86 way to go!:) Congratulations to her.
    It’s a charade, of course, but the process must go on for it is a process, no matter how much it irks and money is spent.
    While I’m not watching any of it, ever the optimist, I hope that at least a small percentage of the huge nonvoting percentage on election day will be persuaded to vote by — or despite — the nonsense on tv. I do hold to the theory of repetitive marketing that you must repeat one thing 10X in order to influence one mind — and if a few minds are persuaded to vote than might not have done so, then this whole deal is, perhaps, worth it.

    1. Chris: Love your comment because, as you know, I’m also an optimist at heart. My concern is that, to create excitement about the charade, media tend to ignore all matters of substance and focus almost entirely on the superficial. So, are people voting because of Mitt’s latest foot-in-mouth or because they want a change in national direction?

  2. Yes, yes, and yes. The buffoonery displayed so desperately by the candidates is also an important part of the play. It is all despicable, and I wish we had the short-window elections I observed in England and Sweden. Yes, of course that would mean a parliamentary system, but our own system has been engaged in deadlock politics for over a generation now. The results? Huge schisms that seem ever more unbridgable.
    By the way; where on earth does your mom find housecoats? I thought they went the way of Woolworth’s and the Natinal Dollar Store…

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