Art-Imitates-Life-Imitates-Art: A Primer on the American Presidential Race

After all the serious politics of the last couple of months, let’s forget all that Canadian stuff and go for something fun. US Politics.

The Big Question

Question: What’s the difference between the American Presidential race and reality TV?

Answer: Um…?

But that’s not asking the important question, which is, “Can American voters tell the difference between the Presidential race and reality TV?”

At this point in the campaign it’s not an easy question. The Reality TV people, to give them credit, have done such a good job of mimicking certain limited aspects of our culture that when we come to a real-life conflict in one of those areas, we get into an art-imitates-life-imitates-art quandary that takes a bit of unraveling.

So the TV-watching public might be forgiven for feeling that the Republicans are in the process of deciding who gets voted off the island. I mean, look who it’s likely to be canned: the guy everyone loves to hate. The TV scriptwriters are burning with envy.

The big test for the candidate who will eventually get the nod from the Republicans? Can he persuade everyone that he is a serious contender for the third most powerful position on earth, and it is time to send the TV-personality clowns packing. (And I don’t mean the moderators. More on that later)

The Liberty Score

In an attempt to boil the complexities of the political campaign down to a simple idea that even the stupidest voter can understand, the Republican Press has developed the Liberty Score. This is a simple percentage score, indicating how many times in the last six years a given legislator has voted to uphold Conservative values. So, if you’re a true right-winger, the whole thing is simple. The guy with the highest percentage is the guy you vote for.

Man, why didn’t somebody think of this before? Obviously the election isn’t about policy or leadership. It’s a straight battle of good against evil, Right against Commie. The winner gets to run the country his own way for the next four years. Of course, if he’s not a legislator, you can’t use this yardstick, so that puts poor Donald Trump at a disadvantage.

The Super Pac

Also called an Expenditure Only committee. This is America’s greatest nod to the concept that money is everything, and that you can buy the presidency. A PAC is a non-party group that is allowed to raise and spend an unlimited amount of money, as long as they do not coordinate their efforts with those of any campaign. Ha, ha. A super-PAC is just…well…bigger. So, for example, the Right to Rise USA PAC has raised over a hundred million dollars to support Jeb Bush.

The “Gotcha” Question

The latest? The Republicans are absolutely livid about the commentators who ran their latest television debate. They attacked the moderators during the debate for asking stupid questions, and now they’re attacking the whole media. For what I cannot figure out. Apparently they’re using “Gotcha” questions, which, for the paranoid, means that the reporter is out to get you, and prepares questions the trap you into saying something stupid. I’d have to say, I don’t think the media needs to go to the trouble. But it’s a great way to duck a tough question: “I can’t believe you’re asking me that question.” And then you proceed to rail against the reporter and not answer it.

Let me get this straight. You are having a debate on television. You are showing prospective voters who you are and how well you can handle public pressure. (And incidentally, you’re getting an invaluable amount of free publicity for you and your party) But when the moderator doesn’t spoon-feed you a pat question that allows you to trumpet your prepared sound bites, you whine that the media are all against you? I wouldn’t think, in a country so sports-sensitive, that the old “We lost because the referees hate us” line would carry much weight.

Let me give you a hint, guys and gals. Take a look across the border to the north and see what happened to the right-wing guy who made an enemy of the media.

But thanks for the entertainment. Beats reality TV any day.



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