This week’s list of “Ten Things You Dislike About Politics” came to me so quickly it was a bit disappointing, to be honest. But since “Super Tuesday” was held last week and it’s still primary season, politics has been front and center in many people’s minds lately. This list isn’t ranked; the order is mostly how things came to me.
- Ballot measures – These are really big in California elections. The primary ballot statewide had one race involving candidates and 9 initiatives, and some local ballots had even more propositions for the voters to decide. I think this is OK in theory, but why do we have representative government in the first place if we need to make the decisions ourselves?
- Endless campaigning – Not much work gets done because people start working on re-election six months after they get elected.
- Negative campaign ads – Why should I tell you what’s good about my candidacy when it’s easier to tell you what’s wrong with my opponent?
- Cynicism – This is a problem on all sides, to be honest…
- Exploiting divisions – This is a side effect of the negative campaigning, to some extent, but it also comes from over-simplifying the issues.
- Elections treated like sporting events – I’m talking about the whole horse-race metaphor here; the polling, the predictions, the odds-making.
- Personalities emphasized more than positions on the issues – I see this as another aspect of the over-simplification that I mentioned earlier.
- The Electoral College and winner-take-all primaries – The Electoral College in particular is a leftover vestige of a time when the population was less educated and informed about the candidates and the process. I think by now we’re (probably) capable of choosing our candidates and electing a President directly, do you?
- Partisanship – More oversimplification, this playing into the “us vs. them” dynamic. I’ve found that most people I’ve discussed politics with have more nuanced and varied views than can be summed up in a red state/blue state category scheme.
- Lobbyists and special interests – Well, maybe this is one reason we should have ballot measures after all.
So what do you dislike about politics? Or are you a political junkie who loves everything about them? Head over to Ten on Tuesday to see what the players there had to say, and add to the discussion here or on your own blog.