Image: A serious problem with U.S. politics

Sean Bassinger, forum editor

We have a serious problem in U.S. politics right now, among other things.

As the primary election season continues, the Democratic and Republican parties continue to see support for two seemingly unlikely candidates: We have Senator Bernie Sanders in the blue corner and real estate loudmouth Donald Trump in the red.

In addition, we have another funny little occurrence taking place with what we call “superdelegates”: Hillary Clinton continues to maintain her lead on the Democrat side with the assistance of an additional 400+ superdelegates, which could switch candidates when the Democratic Primary Convention roles around this summer.

The superdelegate system—regardless of who comes out with more pledged delegates from popular votes—could still keep Sanders shut out. Hopefully it won’t if he receives a fair win, but this is still a possibility.

On the other side we have the Republicans struggling with the opposite: Trump continues to win popular votes in primaries and caucuses across the country, and there are no superdelegates to swing the vote either way.

This all changed after the RNC decided to remove their superdelegate system when Mitt Romney turned out to be such a dud candidate for the party. He just wasn’t controversial enough image-wise.

Sure seemed to work out well, didn’t it?

And there’s the problem—it’s all about image.

We say we want candidates who are about “the issues,” but what does this even mean anymore?

Do we want a president who’s good at talking about “solving” these so-called “issues” when we’re angry, or a president who works to actually lead?

Trump, for instance, he has the “best” people and the “best” words. Apparently he’s his own expert on foreign policy, which he said during an infamous interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Glad to hear, Don—I feel the same way about my consultation expert for “best breakfast cereals” and “best sandwiches to eat after 11 a.m.” There’s nobody better for the job than me.

Well, maybe a local sandwich artist at some deli, but screw that. I have me.

See the problem here?

The man excels at talking about himself more than anybody else, but the majority of his voters don’t care. They’re getting exactly what they want because he doesn’t talk in circles like other politicians.

It doesn’t matter what he says because many voters on the right hear word patterns much different than they’re used to, which is more than enough to sway them.

So yeah, in that regard, Trump most certainly has the “best” words—they’re just not the most helpful or intelligent.

As for Sanders, we see other image problems costing him votes, because if Hillary excels at anything, it’s image. Many of her current platforms weren’t even focused on until the Sanders campaign went from the status of “hah, seriously” to “oh wait … this guy could make waves.”

Second, it’s less about Sanders being a terrible candidate and more about him turning out to be “not good enough.”

He still appears to be the best candidate for the wants and needs of the working class, but this doesn’t matter in the eyes of some voters—he’s not “perfect.”

Therefore, if he appears flawed by any stretch of the imagination, he loses a vote.

It’s not that the man himself is unelectable, but rather this golden image his so-called “fans” have cast upon him can be taken away with very little pressure from the mass media.

How dare he only tip 15 percent at a coffee shop (he and his party supposedly only purchased snacks, though TMZ felt it essential to report regardless).

How dare he say white people don’t know “what it’s like to be poor” (he was quoting a black woman who told him a story, though this was easily taken out of context after CNN posted footage of a video clip that highlighted the “poor white people” part).

Never mind his civil rights involvement, endorsements and the size of his campaign rallys … but the moment a bird lands on his lectern it becomes an instant media-worthy sensation.

So here’s the problem and here’s what we might need to do to remedy this:

We need to understand that the political representatives we allow (yes, we did this at some point) to be in office affect more of our day-to-day lives than we realize.

We cannot let the two-party system dictate every last aspect of our lives and then only become more interested when a reality TV star (Trump) and common household name in politics (Clinton) runs for office.

Get out and vote.

Hold your representatives—local, county, state and national—accountable for their actions. When they say they’re going to do something and then do not, vote them out of office.

If Sanders wins the presidential bid, get out there and continue to find ways to make our politics work for all of us again.

If he does not win, get out there and find other ways to figure out how we can fix this.

One thing’s for certain: If all goes as it should, the conversations will only continue as we get closer to a better resolution.

In the end, we’ll only get the candidate we deserve.

This could be excellent—or horrific.

The opinions expressed in Bassinger’s column do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff.

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