Opinion: Political Machines
Like most people, I am many things. I am a Marine, an autistic, a father and grandfather, but by profession, I am an analyst and statistician. Like others in my profession, we look at past trends to determine the potential for future probabilities. We also look at what actions can be done now to change those probabilities toward a more favorable outcome. I suppose that this is one of the reasons that I decided to "take the plunge" (and damn near drown myself) into politics; the idea that past trends and current actions can produce a more favorable future.
It's no secret that I don't like most of the candidates that the Old Parties have promoted over the past six presidential election cycles. Admittedly, there were a couple of them that I thought were pretty good, but the ideals of the Old Parties themselves have seemed to consistently be pushed toward the extremes of their respective ideologies. And yet, they always seem to find someone who is willing to represent those respective extreme ideologies every four or eight years. And people would celebrate their candidate's election, or mourn their candidate's loss. And that used to baffle me.
Each of the current presumptive Old Party candidates has a record of voting on (or issuing personal statements on) a host of issues that contradict their supposed current opinions on those same issues; each of them has a well-documented history of political or social gaffes that put their mental capacities into a seriously questionable state; and each of them has an extensive laundry list of personal idiosyncrasies that many find questionable (if not outright repulsive). None of this is news, and yet all of it will be either glossed over or outright ignored by their respective political parties as they march inexorably toward the general election in November.
Over the past century, the puppet-masters in the Old Parties have become experts at using the techniques associated with mass media (newspapers and 24-hour news channels that are totally committed to promoting their respective ideology and agenda), propaganda (the mass media will print/say only the positive items that the party wants them to print/say about their candidates), spectacle and government-organized demonstrations/rallies (what did you think the debates and conventions were?) to promote their candidate in the best possible light. You won't see any mention of their histories, gaffes, or questionable actions - at least not from them - because that's what they do to get you, the voter, to see their candidate as an idealized - possibly even heroic - image of someone who will make your life better.
These two political parties have simply become propaganda machines designed to cultivate an idealized and possibly heroic image of their candidate. And many of you will fall for it again, because you have in the past, and that's what they are counting on.
Prove me wrong.
Oh, by the way, the answer to the question is a "cult of personality" (e.g., Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler).