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Strong opinions, weakly held

The state of play

I have been watching the Presidential campaign far too closely for months now, and I just wanted to call for a bit of a time out (not that anyone involved will heed it). People are obsessing over the daily polls, the content of ads, and which candidate seems to have the upper hand on a day to day basis.

This is fueled mainly by the maddening commentary from people whose paychecks depend on an audience obsessively checking their blogs, reading their columns, or watching their shows on a day to day basis. They depend on getting people’s emotions ratcheted up about the Presidential election, and they’re good at playing on those emotions.

At this point, either you have faith that your preferred candidate has a plan for victory that will work and that they’re smart enough to adapt that plan to changing circumstances, or you don’t. If you don’t, you may as well tune out for the next couple of months and then go vote when you get your turn.

What I don’t care for is the avalanche of recommended political messaging, proposed lines of attack, and the insistence that the campaigns somehow need to change their tenor. The thing is, the campaigns don’t care what I think, they don’t care what you think, and if I had to guess, I’d say they don’t care what Josh Marshall thinks, either.

I can’t help but think that all of the armchair quarterbacking is really just a way for pundits to give themselves the chance to say “I told you so” later on, and I’ve pretty much lost patience with it.

As an interested citizen, it’s not my job to guess at winning campaign strategies. If I care enough, I can give money, I can try to convince people to vote for my preferred candidate, or I can volunteer and make calls, knock on doors, and register voters. Or I can stand around and argue with people who are already going to vote for the same guy I’m going to vote for about why he’s going to lose if he doesn’t agree with me on the best way to get elected President.

The ultimate test for any candidate is whether or not they can devise a strategy that will lead them to victory. In November, we’ll see which of the two passes that test.

1 Comment

  1. At some point in the distant past (I like to think, anyway), campaigns were about issues. Now, all coverage is about the campaigns themselves, as you note. It’s no longer really about what the candidates say; it’s all about how they say it. Form over substance. It’s pretty depressing.

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