As the primary season winds down today with the last gasp from the Left Coast, we can look forward to a general election featuring the two most-detested major party nominees in polling history. The media worked strenuously to avoid doing its job filtering, interviewing, and probing the views and histories of the two soon-to-be nominees. This year’s series The Case Against Everyone will indeed include a case against the presidential candidates (Mr. Trump was covered last year) and will also include highlighting the issues and forgotten corners of the American and international landscape that are rarely asked or intelligibly discussed. Answers may or may not exist, but dear readers, you will soon know the questions to hold your elected officials to account.
Mr. Donald Trump and Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT) have drawn large crowds throughout the nation. TV news finds this puzzling; rarely are audiences asked why they came to see these candidates. If the answers are not coherent, perhaps the longing for a different nation could be translated by the media into recent statistics, surveys, and polls. These surveys should shame the media who unabashedly proclaim the American political and economic system open, democratic, and fair.
The Associated Press-NORC poll revealed shocking numbers about the trust of Americans in the two major parties and the three branches of government. The only major paper to cover it was the Denver Post.
- 8% of Americans think the Republican Party is extremely or very responsive to ordinary people. 62% do not.
- 12% of Americans think the Democratic Party is extremely or very responsive to ordinary people. 46% do not.
- 12% of Republicans think their party is responsive and only 25% of Democrats think their party is responsive to ordinary people.
- Confidence in Congress is 4%, confidence in the executive branch is 15%, and 24% in the Supreme Court
- 55% of people feel helpless about the election and 2/3 of young people do too.
Not exactly views promoted every day by the talking heads on TV. Their flag waving about the American political system is not reflected by actual Americans. In the mean time, Puerto Rico voted in the presidential primary and while everyone was complaining about the decrease in polling locations, there was no substantial discussion about the economic crisis of Puerto Rico.
- 2% of Puerto Ricans have left the island in a year. Florida may soon have as many Puerto Ricans as New York. More Puerto Ricans lives on the mainland than on the island for the first time in history.
- Tax breaks that propelled the island’s pharmaceutical industry have ended, killing the manufacturing base and jobs. The U.S. territory is effectively bankrupt.
The fact that the only substantial discussion of Puerto Rico has been by a comedian on HBO puts to shame the election “coverage.” Meanwhile health indicators point to a sickness in body politic.
- Nobel Prize winning researchers have shown that death rates for non-college educated whites have risen dramatically since 1990, likely linked to decline in the manufacturing economy. Suicides, overdoses, and alcohol abuse are all likely culprits. No other nation or ethnic group has shown such a reversal. Half a million people are dead who should not be dead.
- Suicide rates are rising to recent highs.
- Opiate (and its related cousin, heroin) abuse deaths are at record highs which are at least partially related to commercialization of health care and “patient satisfaction scores” imposed by hospitals and Medicare. This McDonald’s “customer service” approach is killing medicine and the morale of health care providers.
These are glimpses of the desperate situation of real America not discussed in “election coverage” and vapid celebrations of the American “political process.” What little is mentioned is insubstantially probed or run past “political” experts not content experts. These are some of the many issues to be discussed with friends, colleagues, co-workers, and elected officials to play our collective roles as good citizens.