By Alex Austin
Every four years, Americans go to the polls to decide who will be the leader of the free world. The process to get there is long, arduous, and full of talking points.
These talking points always have something in common, no matter which election cycle you look at. Partisan news outlets mud-slinging candidates they don’t agree with, while at the same time propping up those they do. Political ‘analysts’ who throw around buzzwords as if there was a bargain sale on them. And the collective populace left to try to sort out what is fact, what is fiction, and what is just plain ridiculous.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, the American people literally have over a year to make their decisions. The candidates for this particular cycle began announcing they would run in April of this year, and the first primary is February 1, 2016. That is a long time. A time where many things will be said, argued, and debated.
However, this length of time is good for one reason: it allows plenty of time for candidates to separate themselves, to show why they are different (read: better) than their peers. This desire for separation, to say and do things that each candidate thinks will get them votes, is both the most interesting, and the most unintentionally hilarious, part of the process.
This cycle, more than any other I can recall, has the most clickbait-worthy headlines.
If you thought that eight years-worth of Republicans asking whether President Obama is an American (he is) or a Christian (he is) was a lot of political toxin to swallow, then the sheer tonnage present in this cycle, most of it coming from those same questioning Republicans, may just be beyond your comprehension.
This woman has degrees from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But that doesn’t mean she’s smart enough not to lie in this information age.
Interestingly, unlike the above examples concerning President Obama, where lies were spread to make a candidate look bad, this cycle has been home to a plethora of candidates who are lying to make themselves look better.
What’s even more interesting is that the majority of these incidents are coming from people with no political background. Instead, they are taking advantage of the partisan, paranoid, nature of unsure voters to buoy their campaigns.
Let’s begin with the most famous Republican candidate: Donald Trump.
Trump has had a hand in politics for decades, being a large contributor to campaigns from Ronald Reagan to Mitt Romney (and some Democrats along the way).
However, it seems that he has learned nothing about how to conduct an interview in all that time, as every time the man sits down, he seems to say something so jaw-dropping, so unbelievable, that you would think the video you’re watching was cropped together.
For example, his infamous rant on Mexican immigrants drew heavy backlash, including his firing from NBC. Many years, this would mark the end of a campaign, where people turn on you so heavily that nothing you can say can dig you out of the whole you have put yourself in.
However, in this instance, not only was Trump praised by fellow candidate Ted Cruz, but he is currently the front-runner. What does that say about the people voting for him? I’ll leave that unanswered.
Next, I will draw your attention to Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. This woman has degrees from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But that doesn’t mean she’s smart enough not to lie in this information age.
As the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and these three candidates along with their peers quite simply take this to heart.
During the September 16 Republican Debate, Fiorina claimed there was footage of a Planned Parenthood clinic killing, and harvesting the organs of, a still-alive fetus. However, within days, fact checkers tore her allegations to shreds. However, just like with Trump, after these comments, her poll numbers improved.
Finally, there is Dr. Ben Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon. Unlike the two candidates I have already highlighted, the questions concerning Dr. Carson have less to do with his positions, and more with his personal history.
His 1990 autobiography Gifted Hands has come under a lot of scrutiny, and for a good reason: most of it is fabricated. From claiming to be raised dirt-poor, to overcoming his anger issues, to being offered a scholarship to West Point, all of it is false.
What did Dr. Carson do in light of these facts? He accused the media of conducting a ‘witch hunt’, which prompted his supports to give donate $3.5 million to his campaign in a week.
So the question remains: why do candidates feel the need to make such allegations and accusations in bad faith? Well, it’s quite simple.
Earlier in this piece, I jabbed analysts who throw around buzzwords like candy in a Christmas parade. As the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and these three candidates along with their peers quite simply take this to heart.
They know that the American public will take many things at face-value. They know that fighting against the ‘liberal media’ will gain them support and money. And they know that a million people shouting lies will always be louder than a million shouting truths.
Cover Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)
This piece is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Rise News.