Thursday, November 10, 2016

Post-Election Recriminations That Are (Once Again) Missing the Mark

After every election there are recriminations expressed by the losing party.  Unexpected, or especially severe, election losses typically raises the volume of those some.

But this year we are seeing something different:  Recriminations from both parties -- not just from the one that "lost."

That is so because essentially both parties lost.  Yes both.

The Democrats lost in the typical sense -- the candidate bearing their banner did not get elected to office.  That both the party, and especially the candidate herself, saw her election as pretty much a pre-ordained "given" made those recriminations somewhat worse. But apart from that they are typical.

"What should we have done differently to win the election?" they ask. A different candidate? Different advertising themes targeting, perhaps, different groups in different ways? What? What? What?

The Republicans see themselves as having lost too -- this despite the fact that the candidate bearing their banner won and won big.

In the case of the Republicans the recrimination is that the candidate bearing their party banner wasn't actually a part of their "team."  He'd not come up from the minors to the majors as a team member ought to have. And while he willingly carried the party's banner his hat -- very noticeably --had another team's logo on it.  His own.

Apart from that the recriminations are, again, for both parties, pretty much normal. "What could we have done -- and what should we in the future do -- to win the election?"

And that, dear reader, is the problem.  Yes it really, really, is.  For the error is not being properly framed.  The real issue is not 'what do they need to do to win the election' -- for it is that very focus that has put each of the parties on the loser's bench.  It is not the election methods that failed, but both parties' lack of attention to what the election is supposed to be about:  Satisfying the governmental needs of the people.

In other words making whatever changes are needed at election time is, and in the future will be, too late.

This is equally true for both parties -- although, rather interestingly, things came to a head with this failing mostly for the party whose banner carrier actually won:  The Republicans and Donald Trump.

There was -- and this is the key point I am trying to make -- there was no way, no tool, no gimmick, no slick technique that could have changed the outcome of this year's election. None.  Any changes would have had to have come earlier. Much earlier. And that change would have had to have been much more fundamental. As fundamental a change as was/is the candidate who won -- Donald Trump.

In other words the parties -- yes, both of them -- will need to change their very focus. They will need to start focusing not upon winning elections, but upon winning  the hearts and minds of the people by actually caring about what those people -- all of we people -- care about.  Not gimmicks. Not phony election-year issues. But the the very place that we the people wish government to play in our lives.

Not the place that the government and its massive employment roster (More people in the USA today work for the Federal Government than work in manufacturing!) wants for itself  -- but upon our wants and needs. Not at election time, but all the time. Every day. In our cities. In our towns. In our small communities. In our families. In our own private lives.

And mostly that is a small part.

And there's the rub. For government -- itself so focused on itself -- has lost sight of that essential fact. That they -- the political parties -- both of them --  have come to believe their own blather: That the welfare of the people depends largely upon them. And fundamentally that just isn't so.

You know that is true about yourself at least. -That what makes you happy is not government.  So do I. But they -- government itself, and the political parties -- don't. And until they learn that fundamental truth -- that what really matters is not them, but us -- their post-election recriminations will miss the mark and gain neither them, nor us, anything at all.

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