Beginning this summer, I volunteered on a virtually full-time basis for a political campaign. This is the first time I had ever been involved with one. It was quite an experience.
I actually did not decide to do this because of the specific candidate. My motivation was to get involved for the experience. Naturally, I wouldn’t be able to work on a campaign for a candidate who I didn’t believe in, but I had never heard of this candidate before I volunteered. I mention this to explain that I am not some avid fan who could never cast a critical eye toward the person I was helping to get elected.
Throughout the campaign I became convinced that mine was clearly the better qualified candidate. His positions on the issues reflected a more reasoned and researched approach than his opponent. He was better known throughout the state. He had nearly three times as many people contributing money to his campaign. He outperformed his opponent in debates. He outspent his opponent on TV ads. There were no major missteps or scandals.
Last night his opponent garnered 100,000 more votes than he did in a state where that is a pretty big number. I concluded that there was very little that any of us could have done to help our candidate get elected. It was a down ticket race (not one of the big important positions on the ballot), and I am convinced that basically people voted for the “R” or the “D.” My candidate was a Democrat, and I really don’t think anything else mattered last night.
I fear for our country if candidates cannot lose–regardless of their qualifications or beliefs–if they are aligned with the correct party during the correct campaign season. I believe this was exacerbated last night by the fact that anger was the driver for most of the votes. I do not believe that anger is a good driver for groups of people.
There are reasons that the image of an angry mob was a potent and scary element in many films during the 40’s and 50’s. The world had seen what sort of leadership is raised up by an angry electorate in Germany.