This post may get me in a bit of hot water with frequent readers, but here goes.
Here’s a hypothetical situation for you. Let’s say there was a candidate named John Smith who decided to run for President. At first, he’s seen as a lightweight because of a decided lack of experience in the public arena. Yet, Mr. Smith overcomes this by promising the moon and the stars without actually providing specifics. The electorate, not being as informed as they should be, started listening to Mr. Smith and even agreeing. As a result, Mr. Smith gains enormous popularity with segments of the electorate and eventually wins office.
Of course, this isn’t really a hypothetical situation. It happened in 2008 with Barack Obama, and it’s happening again with Democrats and Republicans. In the blue corner, we have Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist promising free college educations, free health care, Free Willie, and anything else that comes to mind. In the red corner, we have Donald Trump, a businessman with a penchant for controversy and promises of building a wall and having Mexico pay for it. In both cases, their followers are as fired up as they can be and believe whatever the candidate tells them. When pressed for specifics…well, let’s say neither one has solid footing.
This is a problem, kids. Although this is still the prelims, it’s getting close to the time when candidates actually have to show their work. Repeating “red meat” phrases doesn’t do that and, if anything, shows there isn’t much meat there.
And when you consider those “red meat” phrases have already come under scrutiny (progressive economists say there’s no way for Sanders’ plan to work, and Mexico has already laughed off paying for the wall), it’s time we start looking for specifics, lest we get caught up in a cult of personality.
When you consider how the last one ended up, we should be very careful right now.