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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/22/12

Why Election Campaigns Are a Waste of Your Time

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You know that steroidal 24/7 race for president between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney? Ignore it.  Same for every other race for political office all across the country from now until election day. Ignore those too.

The reason is simple: whatever is said or done in a race for political office is done for only one purpose--to get a candidate elected.  If Obama or Romney tell us they are for education, that doesn't mean they will do anything to help education. It just means that their advisors have decided that talking about education will help them get elected. If a candidate for Congress says he will propose laws that will help veteran's groups, it doesn't forecast what he will do when in office. It just means his campaign has decided that saying this will help get votes.

In other words, if you've been paying attention to what the candidates have been saying or doing during this hotly contested election season, you've been wasting your time.  You are being played for a fool. Every political ad, every speech, every move by the candidate is calculated to produce the desired result: an election win. Surveys, focus groups, and high-paid consultants figure out what voters (or big-money donors) want to hear, and that is what you will get.

It's not a Republican or Democratic thing. It's just that the process of running for political office has devolved into a wasteful exercise heavily tainted by wealthy special interests and their money. The main objective of politicians is to win. They may wish to be in office for ego, money, power, ideology, or other reasons, but to get into office they must first win their election, and will do whatever they think is necessary to do so.

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So how do you--the intelligent, informed, objective voter-- decide for whom to cast your ballot? You need to look at the candidate's background, voting record, prior conduct,  writings, actions".in other words, their past performance.  Anything they have said or done since they started campaigning is done strictly to garner votes. It's done for the same reason Coke, Pepsi and Chrysler run commercials, to convince consumers (voters) to buy their product (vote for them). Whether what is presented is true or not is secondary to the ultimate objective.

So go ahead, knock yourself out worrying about Romney's latest campaign ad, what Joe Biden said, or the latest revelation about by the handsome guy who wants to be your congressman. Just understand that none of it really matters when it comes to casting an intelligent vote. If you haven't figured out by now whom you want to win, then you haven't put in the effort.

The dirty, rotten secret is that this election season, like every other, is a sham. Its purpose is to persuade low-information voters to cast their ballot for the candidate who says or does what he or she believes will convince you that the candidate  is on your side.

Ignore it all. Use your time between now and November 6 for better purposes. You can still cast your vote that day--and if you are lucky, it might be counted and even make a difference.

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Arlen is a writer/blogger living in Monterey, CA. His political blog is He also writes a quotation quiz "What's Your QQ?" at

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