In the classroom, teachers often get frustrated when students incessantly ask about numbers of points or how many sentences does this need or what number of what will get me an A. My response is always the same: focus on the material and really learn it, and the grades will come naturally.
So why can't we apply that to the political process?
Just think, if we hadn't listened to the polls, the two people at the top of the Presidential ticket might be very different from the two individuals we have today. Politics today has become a slice-and-dice numbers game, totally based on trying to satisfy the diverse populations that have little to do with each other and that often contradict each other.
You end up with a candidate who has to make these kinds of decisions:
When politics is turned into a numbers game like this, how can we determine who is the best candidate? This sort of poll-driven culture breeds shallow decision-making, much like those students who are totally driven by grades and their GPA and test scores. Choosing a candidate isn't like solving for X. It's not a formula or an equation or a template to be filled in. Yet the media drives that unhealthy, unthinking narrative all the time, only serving to increase confusion and causing many voters to go for a famous name. The devil you know is better than the devil you don't.
Seriously, look at these two now running in the general election. Could anyone ask for any worse people than them? Couldn't the Democrats come up with a far better, more qualified candidate? I'm not a Democrat, but I have to think that the Party leadership made their decisions based on the idea that this year is "Hillary's turn," as if the country owes her something for having put up with that pig of a husband of hers for so long.
The Republicans are no better. When you consider the vast array of excellent candidates: Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, among others, the best they could end up with was Donald Trump? Really? That aging sleaze bag huckster is the vision of the future? God help us.
But look at what they did throughout the primary process. Everything was geared toward who could beat Hillary and who looked Presidential and who satisfied which demographic in which state or county or region. Not character. Not real vision. Not integrity. Not commitment to the Constitution. I actually understand why people such as Mark Levin and Ted Cruz have admitted that they'll vote for Trump, even if I disagree. They both know that Hillary is a "deplorable" excuse for a human being and that her presidency would be a disaster.
Every time I feel a little tempted to cave in and support Trump, all I have to do is listen to what he says, and then I fall back into my #NeverTrump mindset. I'm happy there.
At the same time, I wish I weren't in that situation. I wish I could have remained a Republican and that I could support the Republican candidate, but with things as they are, I simply cannot. Had the culture been different, had people followed their hearts and been able to separate themselves from the powerful media narrative, we might have a better choice. Personally, I think the media pushed Trump as an exciting, fun, refreshing candidate while at the same time, holding on to all the scandal they've been collecting on him for years. That way, when he runs against the awful Hillary, she comes out smelling like a flower and he comes out smelling like a turd.
And America loses either way. As long as we insist on looking on percentages and not at individuals, we will continue to have sub-par candidates. Until we as Americans start to think more deeply and to insist that candidates are evaluated based on the content of their character rather than on which special interest group likes them or hates them, then maybe we'll finally get leaders that will truly help to restore the United States to a place of exceptionalism and greatness.
America deserves much more than the slop we've been dished out, but it's on us as a people to drive out the slop and demand the very best. That means thinking beyond polls and demographics and looking inward, at the candidates and at ourselves.
Our national problem is not political, but spiritual. As long as we live in a godless society, we will continue to have the Obamas and Clintons and Trumps of the world.