A Post for Annette Scott and Everyone Else as the Summer Wears On

“I really don’t love either of the candidates. What do they say? It’s a choice between hot and hell,” said Annette Scott, 70, of Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Scott, a retiree, said she’s seeking answers to the country’s problems – and failing to find them from either candidate.

“Please give me solutions. Whether they are workable or not workable, at least propose them so everybody can talk about it,” she said. 

It’s July. We haven’t had either of the conventions yet. We haven’t had the “debates”. Perhaps the “average American voter” isn’t really paying attention at this point. It’s often said that most voters don’t pay attention to politics until after Labor Day. That’s about eight weeks before the election.

That would explain why Annette Scott, who lives in Monmouth County, New Jersey, thinks neither candidate is offering any solutions. She probably gets her news from television, like most older people do. Although she’s almost certainly heard of a couple solutions offered by one candidate (since we’ve all heard about “the wall” and keeping out the Muslims), she’s definitely heard more about the other candidate’s email than any solutions she’s offered.

For Annette:

In case you read this blog, below are links to the two candidates’ websites. One page is labeled “Positions” and the other is labeled “Issues”. (Notice how one refers to what the candidate thinks and the other refers to the problems we face?)

Candidate 1 lists seven positions on his page (in capital letters, so you know he means business):


Candidate 2 lists thirty-two issues on her page:

  • Addiction and substance use
  • Autism
  • Campaign finance reform
  • Campus sexual assault
  • Climate change
  • Criminal justice reform
  • Disability rights
  • Early childhood education
  • Fixing America’s infrastructure
  • Gun violence prevention
  • Health care
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Immigration reform
  • K–12 education
  • Labor and workers’ rights
  • LGBT rights and equality
  • Making college affordable and taking on student debt
  • Manufacturing
  • National security
  • Paid family leave
  • Protecting animals and wildlife
  • Racial justice
  • Raising incomes and fighting inequality
  • Rural communities
  • Seeking a cure for Alzheimer’s disease
  • Small business
  • Social Security and Medicare
  • Veterans, the armed forces, and their families
  • Voting rights
  • Wall Street reform
  • Women’s rights
  • Workforce skills and job training

You might not agree with the set of positions or issues they decided to list, but you’ll have to admit the two lists provide food for thought and discussion, whether the solutions are “workable or not”.

For everyone else:

Until proven otherwise, I have to believe that most Americans have more sense than the opinion polls suggest, especially the polls that purport to show this will be a close election. Remember that we actually hold 51 separate elections for President (one for each state and one for the District of Columbia). Those elections generate electoral votes, and those electoral votes determine who will be President. A single national poll is merely a summary of how voters across the country felt when the poll was taken. It doesn’t tell us how voters in particular states will feel in November. It certainly doesn’t tell us, four months before the election, who is going to win 51 separate elections and receive a majority of electoral votes. Given this fact, it’s fair to say that publicizing national polls at this point is journalistic malpractice.

One other thing: We still hear a lot about the “trust issue”, as in “I just don’t trust her”. I would love to hear at least one reporter ask what’s called a “follow-up” question: “You say you don’t trust her, but what specifically don’t you trust her to do? Are you concerned that she won’t try to do any of the things her record or positions indicate? Do you think she’s actually been a secret Goldwater Republican all these years? Or that she wants to introduce sharia law socialism in her first 100 days? Or that she’s going to steal the White House silver? Or are you saying you don’t trust her simply because it sounds better than saying there’s something about her you don’t like?”

When it comes to trusting people running for office, the issue is whether we think they will seriously try to keep their promises after they’re elected. One candidate this year has made some very big promises, but has been sued hundreds of times in his checkered career, leaned in various directions over the years, is very sketchy about details and is world-famous for making shit up. The other has been accused of all kinds of bad behavior, public and private, but was in public office for 12 years and has spoken out on all manner of political issues for decades. Nobody really knows what the first candidate would do as President. Everyone should have a very good idea what the second candidate will do. But it’s the second candidate people don’t trust? 

Since I should be doing something else with my time instead of getting worked up about the election, and given the amount of journalistic malpractice that’s practiced these days (just once, please ask the follow-up question), this may be it for me until November.

In conclusion, therefore, you all have a good rest of the summer, remember to avoid the comments and, when we finally get to November, vote a straight Democratic ticket! Candidate 2 is going to need cooperation from Congress when she’s President.