November 6, 2014
The last few weeks I’ve been following Clay Aiken’s campaign to gain a House seat in North Carolina. And along the way, I was intrigued by several issues.
(1) Resistance to voter IDs. I get the concern that that’s a strategy to deny people access to their right to vote. But why can’t those who are so concerned just come up with ways to help those without an ID get one?
(2) Entertainment as a source of political information. That’s an issue we talked about in an online journalism I am taking – how entertainment is increasingly taking over serious political journalism.
This point was brought home when I saw twitter reactions to Bill Maher citing Clay as one of the Democrats distancing himself from Obama. But if you get your politics from a soundbite from a TV host, or tweets, surely you lose context and nuance.
In Clay’s case, he was running on a platform that Democrats and Republicans should work together to solve critical issues for the good of the people, and that they stop engaging in one-upmanship. So, it makes sense that he take a more impartial stance. All this is missing from the zingy one-liners written to entertain.
(3) I was surprised at how much candidates themselves have to raise in order to run a campaign. Doesn’t that subvert the democratic process? Wouldn’t candidates be beholden to their donors?
(4) I’ve also been intrigued by why and how Obama became so unpopular. What has he done that was so wrong? Guess I have to learn more about US politics.