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Election Day is Only 547 Days Away

May 10, 2015

“Pay attention to the fine print. It’s much more important than the selling price.”

– Francis Underwood
House of Cards

The people who believe that they should be President of the United States have started to let us know. Six Republicans have announced their candidacies and have active organizations pursuing party leaders in Iowa and other key states. More importantly, they’re seeking big donors wherever they reside.

Two more potential candidates have told us that they will tell us by the end of the month if they will give us a chance to vote for them. There are seven others (eight, if we include the nation’s class clown Donald Trump) getting their money and campaigns together before they make their formal announcements.

The Democrats seem intent to keep taking their chances on the Clintons. Bernie Sanders, an independent US Senator from Vermont, is running as a Democrat, but the party likely wishes he would just go away and leave Hillary alone.

There are a number of other people who have announced their candidacies. Businessmen, veterans from the recent wars in the Middle East, entrepreneurs and folks from every other walk of life have convinced themselves that they are ready to move into the White House. We’re not talking about John Anderson, Ross Perot or Ralph Nader here. Some of these people have no more chance to get on the ballot, let alone win an election, than I have to play center field for the Yankees. It’s delusional in the truest meaning of the word. You wonder if you should be sad that they haven’t figured this out on their own. It’s as if I called up Joe Giardi and told him that I found my Wilson A-2000 glove in the garage and was now shopping for a baseball bat on Amazon. All I need from him is to tell the trainer my uniform size and dietary restrictions. I’ll join the team as soon as I can. Put me in coach!

A good slogan can go a long way. The campaigns will tinker with the tag lines for as long as their candidates are in the race They will keep trying until they find the words that will capture the voter’s imagination, money and yes, even their votes.

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Almost six in ten voters chose “Morning in America” and Ronald Reagan in 1984. Once the polls opened, the outcome was never uncertain.

Some people like to talk of Ronald Reagan as the “great communicator.” His one-liners and folksy anecdotes drew voters in and put people at ease. Reagan’s ad men understood this and they provided him with gauzy campaign material designed to give Americans confidence and to make them feel good about their futures. They nailed it in 1984 with their slogan “It’s Morning Again in America.” This motivational psychology didn’t help much when we were left picking up the pieces from Reagan’s dismantlement of regulations in the financial industry. His faith in the market and contempt for government left a long tail of increased public and private debt, an expensive savings and loan debacle and a legacy of federal deficit spending.

Bill Clinton is also known for his ability to connect with the voter. His 1992 campaign slogan “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow,” which was a phrase that was borrowed from a catchy top-40 song, helped him introduce himself to the public as a new type of Democrat. The campaign staff preferred the internal mantra, “it’s the economy, stupid.” They did all they could to distance the candidate from the party’s troubled Carter presidency and the inept challenges to Reagan’s 1980 and 1984 campaigns. What a surprise it must have been to Republicans years later when they saw Clinton in action at the White House. He went further than Reagan ever tried or possibly even imagined to free Wall Street from its pesky regulators. We’re still dealing with that mess. The hangover from Clinton’s policies make the hangover from Reagan’s eight years feel like a bad hair day in comparison.

Mondale's slogan was

Mondale’s slogan was “America Needs a Change.” Maybe so, but voters thought otherwise. He carried Washington DC and his home state of Minnesota. All other states chose to stick with Reagan.

Jeb Bush, considered by some as the front-runner, hasn’t made a formal announcement. He is trying to secure $100 million with his political action committee before he hits the trail. He should have plenty of money to figure out his taglines and slogans. Naively, we can believe the money will only pay for TV commercials and practical necessities such as diet sodas, pizzas and office space for his campaign workers, but not help shape his policies. It goes without saying, people on Wall Street who paid $100,000 for a single fundraising event likely have other ideas.

As an instance of, ” I read this stuff so you don’t have to,” here’s what the candidates have decided upon for their introductory slogans.

Ben Carson  Heal Inspire Revive

Get it? He wants to “heal” America. Carson is a former pediatric neurosurgeon with prestigious credentials recently turned politician.

Hillary ClintonEveryday Americans need a champion. I want to be that champion.

I agree. Everyone needs a champion, but what that has to do with Hillary Clinton, I have no idea. Her everyman days are long behind her.

Ted Cruz – Courageous Conservatives Reigniting the Promise of America

Senator Cruz is staking out a position as the most strident of Republicans to distance the party and the country from what we often refer to as “the middle.” Other Republican candidates will be happy to challenge him for this reputation.

Carly Fiorina – We Must Once Again Become a Nation of Limitless Possibility

Talk about delusional ambitions. Fiorina is a former HP CEO who left that company under a black cloud ten years ago. When she ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2010, she acknowledged that she rarely bothered to vote. It seems to me that this will be a springboard to a well-paid cable TV talking head position.

Mike Huckabee – From Hope to Higher Ground

Cable TV personality and former Arkansas Governor Huckabee grew up in Hope, Arkansas (yes, the same Hope, Arkansas that Bill Clinton once called home). He will need a lot of hope to get to the White House. Personally, I think he ought to skip the hard work of the campaign trail and instead grab his Wilson A-2000 and buy a season ticket to the Cubs’ Triple A team in Des Moines, Iowa.

Rand Paul – Defeat the Washington Machine

Senator Paul has often taken positions that are different from others in the Republican party. It’s possible that the battles of a national campaign may force him to moderate his libertarian ways on issues such as gay marriage, marijuana, civil liberties and foreign policy.

Marco Rubio – Are You Ready for a New American Century?

Senator Rubio is twenty-four years younger than Hillary Clinton. Bill Clinton was twenty-two years younger than George H.W. Bush when he was elected in 1992. It’s a late start, sixteen years into the century, but you’ll excuse him since he was only twenty-seven in 2000.

Bernie Sanders – A Political Revolution is Coming

Americans revolutions aren’t what they used to be. Senator Sanders will need a whole lot of grass roots and ten dollar bills to beat the billionaires’ candidates.

 Election day is 547 days away. We’ve just started.
49 Comments
  1. I feel thankful to have ours done and dusted after reading this – even if I don’t like the result !

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    • There is a certain relief when the elections are over, partly due to the incessant narratives that the news outlets give us. Nothing new and most of it just lazy repeats. “Done and dusted.” I like that phrase.

      Like

  2. What a bunch of smurfs. On both sides. I dread Clinton’s apparent inevitability. Absolutely dread it. Somewhere along the way there needs to be somebody else in the party willing to take the Clinton machine on. Right? Right? I hear crickets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right you are. This isn’t healthy for our democracy.

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    • I agree too. Ho-hum Hillary. I think she is a bright woman who will probably make a fine president. But like Obama, nobody’s gonna let her.

      At least with someone new, the GOP will have to dig up new dirt rather than re-running the already syndicated crap.

      Liked by 1 person

      • If Hillary Clinton is elected, no matter how hard she is hit, the campaign will seem easy to her in comparison to trying to govern. The R’s will keep her in check from the start. Further, I think that her own positioning, penchant for dealing with powerful interests and wayward practices will create their own consequences.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I absolutely agree. She will face the same wall Obama hit. Nothing like an entire political party intentionally trying to screw up the country, is there.

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      • Nobody’s gonna let her. *sigh* It is frustrating that there is so much truth to that. Surely everyone in office must have some quality that could contribute to our country, if only people would work with them and try to figure it out.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Just having a discussion on this topic at Mom’s Day brunch. Folks being elected before they are ‘elected’ is asinine but that seems to be just one of the inherent aspects of our outrageous two party system. Oh, and $$$$, I forgot that.

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  4. I suspect some of these candidates know they have no chance of winning but are using the opportunity to gain visibility along with their fifteen minutes. Or at least I hope so…

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    • For some of these people it’s a stepping stone to the next thing. For quite a few of them, we really don’t want that next thing to be the White House or positions requiring fealty to the public.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you. Great blog. I really enjoyed it. Appreciatively, Mat

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  6. We’re in big, big trouble.

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  7. Super good post. All true, and also funny. An unbeatable combination.

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  8. If it gets too bad, I’m finally going to affix my political bumper sticker. It says, “Where is Harold Stassen When We Need Him?”

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  9. Hack Gresmer permalink

    Good post Bruce. When does the radio show start?

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    • The radio program will have to wait until I can fund the budget for the show’s tag lines. I won’t be able to spend the money on the advertising agencies until I can purchase the focus groups and other market studies. The radio show’s advertisers insist on the market data.

      I already have the graphics for a TV show ready to go, however. The blue and red marbles aren’t what we’re used to seeing over at CNN, but if I add a few red and blue stick figures, bugle and snare drum music and some American flags flapping in the wind, who knows where this could go.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I keep thinking of George H.W. Bush saying, “Read my lips: no new taxes.” Sound bites are everything.

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    • A clear example of a politician saying something he did not believe, but in the moment seemed necessary to keep the support of people who were looking for a certain type of candidate. Clint Eastwood once again causing upheaval for the Republicans.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Look at the bright side…we are now only 546 days away.

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  12. Oh my, oh my what am I doing?
    Granted, I’m not running for President or anything, but I have to admit that the politics and the money have been challenging me.

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  13. It’s going to be an interesting year! I am not looking forward to the incessant phone calls.

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    • Just ask the callers if they have anything new to say. Maybe tell them about the recipe you’re thinking of making for dinner or perhaps instead of them telling you about their candidate, you might ask them if they might want to hear about your achy knee.

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  14. Our selections get more depressing every day.

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  15. kdk permalink

    I’m with you on wondering about some who jump into the fray. Is it too much for my inner-Pollyanna (I know, I know …) to hope for the small miracle that someone fair-minded, visionary, and with an ounce of that ever-elusive “inspiring leadership” quality emerges in the end? 547 days leaves time for plenty of good theater along the way …

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    • We all got used to the idea that good things can happen, even with important matters like national leadership. So yes, let’s look for a miracle this time also. Maybe there is something good waiting for us at the end of all this.

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  16. On rep side, no one will probably have enough delegates so brokered convention. Predict Bush nominee. I sure don’t want to hear about Hillary for next 547 days. None of them see to “get it” – what it means to live paycheck to paycheck or have no job at all.

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    • A brokered convention would be quite rare these days, but just the type of thing you might expect from the R’s. Intransigence, posturing and shenanigans are their specialty, even within the confines of their own party.

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  17. Thanks Bruce for the preview. The Republican race looks like it is turning into quite a dogfight. Or maybe they will just run around and sniff each other’s behinds. I like what Sanders has to say. It seems so rational. Count him out. I suspect the Republicans will end up with Bush or Rubio. The Democrats with Clinton. –Curt

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  18. I tend to think of the political process as mere “entertainment” rather than something that affects my everyday life on any level.

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  19. I love your political commentaries, and this post is no different. I actually smiled through this, even though it’s (the political machine is) enormously frustrating. One word is missing here as you discuss these (rather delusional for some) political candidates – that word is EGO. So much ego here, that it’s smeared over their faces and slogans like egg. Urghhhhhhhhhhh.
    I wish we were done and dusted, for sure.

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    • Well sure, it’s hard to imagine what it would be like to run for high profile political office. The ego would have to be unchecked and the blind drive would have to be on full tilt day after day.

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  20. Wish I could figure out what Rip Van Winkle was drinking!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Only 547 shopping days left? Good heavens it seems like just yesterday when I was under the impression I didn’t have to think about a new President again for awhile. Thanks for doing the preliminary homework for us.

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  22. Not only do I like your article, I like your comments. Witty, Mr. Thiesen! Mat

    Like

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