“What do I hear for these valuable but slightly irregular Florida GOP delegates? Do I hear three million? What’s that Mr. Santorum, twenty thousand? Get away from me boy, you bother me!
Three million, three million…I’d recognize that flabby white arm anywhere, Mr. Gingrich is in for three million dollars! Mr. Gingrich is over the moon or maybe not but the bidding continues! Do I hear four million?
Four million, four million…(THUMP!) …Mr. Romney has dropped an airlifted safe onto Mr. Gingrich containing sixteen million dollars! There are no bidders left…no Mr. Paul, we don’t accept Ayn Rand Gold Standard Buckaroos…someone please escort Mr. Paul to the auction for Bigfoot artifacts…as I said, there are no bidders left so the delegates go to Mr. Romney for $16 million dollars! Congratulations Mr. Romney, you’ve just bought yourself a great set of delegates. Just remember, don’t get them wet or let them eat after midnight! Just kidding ya, enjoy!”
Don’t you love American democracy? Where money is speech and Groupon has special limited time offers for delegates?
In this era of recession, unemployment and foreclosures, when over 46 million out of 307 million Americans live in poverty, our social system may be crumbling due to the damage the top 1% have wrought on it but at least our elections not only remain consistent but provide a money-back guarantee to the highest bidder.
As all the pundits agree, The Emperor With No Clothes is buying himself another transparent suit today. Mitt Romney is expected to win the Florida GOP Primary tonight but what is kind of surreal is that it seems universally acknowledged that it is due primarily to the spending of around $16 million in negative advertising against Newt Gingrich and not because people actually support Romney as their candidate. Add to that, the in-your-face campaign the GOP has made through the Mainstream Media to destroy Gingrich and make clear to their party, “We have decided on who will be our nominee, your job is to vote for that candidate so the image of this being democratically decided can still be argued by us.”
To be clear, Mitt Romney is expected to win the Florida GOP Primary, not because he has made a strong case for why he is qualified, because he is likeable, due to his favorable stands on the issues, as a result of his vision for the future of the nation…no, he is openly touted to win because he spent five times more money on negative advertising in Florida than Gingrich. That’s all.
Is that really a dynamic we should be talking about so openly in public without feeling this whole “democracy” thing is just a sham? Sure, Romney robotically echoes words about American Exceptionalism and American Freedoms but he does so while his campaign manipulates Florida voters like unexceptional rats in a maze as he writes a check for the delegates he’s decided to buy.
And what about Florida voters? They have been subjected to a massive inundation of propaganda that is telling them to do what their told…but when they vote and explain it by saying that they were just following what the commercials told them to do, is that an acceptable excuse? When you have all the voices in the media telling you that you’re being manipulated by all the money spent on manipulating you, shouldn’t you shake your head and say, “I am not a puppet!”
Unfortunately, Corporate America, which backs the big money candidates, has spent many years and many millions (more likely billions) investigating and refining the tools of propaganda and how to both conceive and test ads that will convince people that drinking a “diet” concoction of laboratory chemicals, caffeine, salt and gas is good for them and will make them thin and healthy.
If you can sell the public that eating liquified then molded chicken beaks, guts, feet, ammonia, artificial flavoring and other chemicals are “fun and tasty”, you can convince them that voting for a liquified then molded candidate with artificial positions and sweeteners is a good thing too.
Americans want to be sold on things, they want to be convinced to like things or buy things. It’s actually a good feeling to many people and they welcome it. Actually, now it’s more than just wanting to be sold on something. With the advancement in marketing research, advertisers have learned how to stimulate fear and desire in people in a way that is as highly effective as a sheepdog herding sheep into a corral.
So, many people just can’t help themselves from doing exactly as they’re propagandized to do, partly because the advertisers now know how to wire directly into their brains and partly because they want authority figures to tell them what is good or bad and what they should want or do.
There are many people who see propaganda for what it is and don’t allow something as suspect as a tv commercial to make them buy a body spray because the ad shows it makes gorgeous members of the opposite sex lust for them nor do they vote as ads insist they should. Such people reason for themselves and make decisions based on something they possess as a higher form of life, such as information, reasoning or principle. However, this appears to be a minority of voter/consumers. The reality is that, except for a few exceptions, the candidate that spends the most money on advertising, wins over a majority of people to vote for him/her.
Occupy Wall Street and the financial hardships millions of Americans are suffering through now should help to inoculate many from being so simply swayed to do as the conditioning they’re subjected to would dictate but when it comes to GOP voters, looking for critical thinking even in the current environment is like looking for Mitt Romney to say “I believe” believably.
What about the Independent Voters, who will ultimately decide who is elected President and which party runs the houses of Congress? Which side of the fence are they on? Will they be just as vulnerable to the hundreds of billions in negative advertising against President Obama that will flood the nation’s air waves? Will they drink their Coke and gobble up their McNuggets, nodding their heads at descriptions of Obama as a “European Socialist”, “An absolute failure”, “Made the recession worse”, “Weak on foreign policy” just as the weak minded Republicans have in the GOP primaries? Or will they reject the old proposition of, “Who are you going to believe, my very attractive and powerful negative ads or your lying memory?”
Also, one has to add to this mix that unlike Gingrich, Pres. Obama will be armed with hundreds of millions to advertise positively about himself, his accomplishments and his vision for the future. And of course, there will be negative advertising against Romney both from Pres. Obama, his Super PAC and other outside groups. You can’t go into a gunfight empty-handed because you oppose guns or, good intentions or not, you will lose. So, as long as we have this corrupt Citizens United ruling in place, as long as there are no truth in advertising laws against political ads (though there may be in the future), as long as we don’t have mandatory public funding for campaigns and far shorter campaign seasons, these are the rules and tools of the game and you stand on principle against using them at your own risk of defeat.
In the end, I am optimistic that most American voters will reject this kind of manipulation from the GOP and will not support an obvious corporate and Wall Street facade as President of the United States. I say this not because I have great faith in Americans’ wisdom, reason or vision.
What I do have great faith in is pain.
When your hand is hurting because someone has pounded on it with a hammer, no matter how wonderful the assurance is that pounding it with the hammer again will make it feel better, bullshit can’t override pain.
People are really suffering across the country and they know why. The majority doesn’t blame Obama for causing their pain though some are upset at him for not making it go away. They have been hammered by the top 1% rigging our democracy and economy in an act of class warfare, to drain them of their wealth and futures so the top 1% can become more obscenely rich and more tyrannically powerful.
Can enough advertising convince most Americans that pounding a hammer on their hand once again will take the pain away and actually make their hand feel wonderful and rich?
I’ll bet all my chicken nuggets that this time, it can’t.
With all that said, we will be live blogging the election today and tonight, you’re invited to share your comments here about our democracy, money in politics, Romney, Newt and this primary throughout the day. Tonight we’ll live blog as results come in but be prepared, it could be a very early night, if Romney’s lead ends up as big as predicted, he could be declared the winner right after polls close as has been the pattern since NH but you can still hang around and chat, someone’s got to drink all these pomegranate martinis anyway!