I consider myself blessed with having such a varied
group of subscribers/readers, persons who range from
left to right, including many in the political center. My
readers also include those who have supported most of the
presidential candidates in both parties. I am not a political
reporter who is supposed to be objective; instead I am an
opinion journalist who expresses his views on a variety of
subjects. Nevertheless, I try to be as fair and accurate and
respectful as possible. I cannot remember a political cycle
when these standards were more scarce.
I am always amazed at, and grateful for, the tolerance of my
readers who often disagree with me perhaps on some
particular viewpoints I express, but who remain loyal and
supportive of this website and its author.
My most basic political value is my belief that in our republic,
a representative democracy, the ultimate decision makers are
the nation’s citizens who assert their authority by voting in the
various local, state and national elections. Some call this a
Jeffersonian view, a Lincolnian view, or a (Theodore)
Rooseveltian view, but by whatever label, it is a pragmatic
and idealistic value in our enduring, evolving and (so far)
successful experiment in self-government.
As I have previous admitted, I did not see either the Donald
Trump or Bernie Sanders phenomena coming in advance.
Nevertheless, they are the biggest personal political stories
of this cycle so far. One of them is almost certainly going to
be his party’s presidential nominee, and the other, while
falling short of the nomination, has seemingly profoundly
changed his party’s public policy views.
I have endorsed no one, and I am so far making no predictions
about the outcome in November. The only persons who I
take strong issue with are those who presume that those
who does not hold his or her political view are somehow
“ignorant,” ‘dumb,” “political traitors or “quislings.” This
applies to reporters, opinion journalists, campaigns and
candidates. Alas, this has occurred not only in the media, but
has been practiced by most of the presidential candidates in
When it comes to holding political views in our nation, we
have to remember that it's still a free country.
The frustration of the American voter, ranging from right to left,
is the real story of the 2016 election cycle, as are the changing
demographics, especially generational ones, among the
nation’s voters. I did not see the significance of this change as
much at the outset of this cycle as I see it now --- although I have
been writing about the causes of the changes for many years now.
As my readers know, I often write about U.S. and world history,
including notable events and precedents. I don’t think history is
always repeated, but I do think it usually instructs us.
There are also instances of momentous political change when
our old models no longer apply. This year is one of those moments,
and I caution anyone who tries to make a credible prediction at
this early time, two months before the major political
conventions and five months before the general election.
I particularly caution about the dependence of the political class
on old models of ethnic, religious, racial, gender and economic
groups and how they behave at the ballot box. I also caution
about the past dependency of public opinion polls. Even “exit”
polls need often to be taken skeptically.
When “disruption” takes place in the political arena, the old
models break down. Old models and traditional polling make
political conversation simple and predictable.
But there is very little so far in 2016 that is simple or predictable.
Copyright (c) 2016 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.