Sunday, January 31, 2016

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: The Voters Interrupt This Program.....

We have all been witnessing a serial entertainment known
as Stage 1 of the 2016 presidential election. Making sure we
were not overwhelmed by rhetorical lassitude and the chronic
tedium of observing public personalities who would induce
us to premature somnabulism, we have had the entertainments
of at least one electoral vaudevillian in each party, Donald
Trump on the right and Bernie Sanders on the left.

This program of dismantling assorted shibboleths from the past
has been unnerving to certain political establishments in both
the public policy community and in the media. Whatever their
political destiny, Mr. Trump upended political correctness,
and Mr. Sanders brought a naked socialism where no serious
candidate had ever tread before.

These two gentlemen from New York City, with their such
different backgrounds and ideologies, enabled a suspension
of the old rules and customs of the campaign cycle, and in
confrontations with their less colorful rivals, they in turn
entertained, provoked, outraged, delighted and confused us.

I am not dismissing their efforts. They have each managed to
do more than amuse or infuriate us.  I am also not suggesting
that their performances rise to the level of Shakespearean
comedy. Their outcomes, and the presentations of their
competitors will now be measured by the audience. This
measurement is not quite like the ratings which underpin the
broadcast industry. Instead, this extended theatrical
presentation will be now necessarily interrupted by some
important judgments from audience members through some
programs of their own called primaries and caucuses.

For many of us, it couldn’t come too soon. Unlike a television
program, there was no “off” button for Stage 1.

Copyright (c) 2016 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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