By: Steven Goodman – Opinions Editor
Full disclosure: I haven’t been following the current election cycle as closely as some people. I know the basics: who’s in, who’s out, what comments have been made, who is winning in each state, the stances on varying issues, etc.
That being said, what I have seen and read about this election cycle makes it obvious that the candidates have dissolved into name calling and shouting matches with each other. This is especially obvious through the debates; although, it seems to happen more often on the Republican side, but I imagine that’s just because there are more Republicans running than Democrats.
Then, of course, everybody started panicking in the last few weeks when Donald Trump, presumed to be the forerunner from almost the beginning, began to actually win. Not just a couple states, but pulling out a significant lead. I think Stephen King summed it up perfectly when he tweeted, “Conservatives who for 8 years sowed the dragon’s teeth of partisan politics are horrified to discover they have grown an actual dragon.”
I personally believe that both sides are to blame for this rise of someone like Donald Trump, who plays upon the fears of many people in this country. The fact that we now how a major contender for the Republican presidential nominee who embodies so many of the harshest stereotypes of the Republican party is not all that surprising when you have two major political parties constantly blaming each other and refusing to even consider, for the briefest second, listening to the “opposing” party or, God forbid, “compromising.” I assume that word would be more shocking to hear on the Senate floor than if someone dropped the F-bomb in that same forum.
It seems like the groundwork has been laid so easily for a potential presidential nominee who absolutely refuses to listen to anyone other than himself. To constantly attack those who utter something he doesn’t like to any degree. To continue to do what both sides of the Senate have been doing for the last several years: Assuming their ideas are the best and ignoring anyone else. And now someone who thrives in that type of environment has come so close to a presidential nomination and it is that closeness which makes everyone so afraid.
Many people assumed that the initial polls ranking Trump in the lead, when the number of Republican contenders was still in the double digits, meant nothing: That people would eventually realize how dangerous a person like this could be with such power. Now, many Americans are beginning to realize that Trump may not be the biggest danger, but the fact that so many people want a person like this in office. It is this danger that we need to begin combatting: The idea that our government should be made up of people who reject everyone’s ideas but their own and think raising their voice louder than anyone else’s is the solution to all our problems.