And so when I look at this election, it strikes me that this - more than any other in our history - is a test for American voters and democracy itself.
Without an informed electorate, the very idea of democracy is a sham. That's one of the reasons that public education has been such a priority for so long in this country.
And yet we have the Republican Party's nominee running a campaign based on lies about their opposition and simply saying "trust us" when it comes to their own policies. They're not even trying to hide it.
Advisers say the campaign has no plans to pivot from its previous view that diving into details during a general-election race would be suicidal.Let me spell that out for you. What they're saying is that they KNOW that the specifics of what they want to do (lower taxes for the wealthy, get rid of Wall Street regulations, voucherize Medicare, privatize Social Security, etc.) are terribly unpopular with American voters. So what they're going to do instead is lie about President Obama and offer vague platitudes about how they will make everything all better.
The Romney strategy is simple: Hammer away at Obama for proposing cuts to Medicare and promise, in vague, aspirational ways, to protect the program for future retirees — but don’t get pulled into a public discussion of the most unpopular parts of the Ryan plan.
“The nature of running a presidential campaign is that you’re communicating direction to the American people,” a Romney adviser said. “Campaigns that are about specifics, particularly in today’s environment, get tripped up.”
When Ronald Reagan ran on this kind of platform, "trickle down" economics was still pretty much a theory to most voters. So he talked about it and enough voters we willing to give it a try after the 1970's stagflation. But now Romney/Ryan know that we've seen it in action and watched it take us to the brink of another great depression. So they know it won't sell.
Romney's first plan was to simply sell the country on the idea that his business credentials meant that he knew how to fix a broken national economy. When that one got blown up by Democrats and the Obama campaign, he went with picking a running mate that "had a plan." Of course, Romney had to run away from the specifics of the plan by saying that he had one of his own - and won't give us the details...just "trust me."
This is the weakest presidential campaign I have witnessed in my lifetime. The truth is that if this election were based on that, President Obama would win re-election in a landslide.
But the Republicans have 3 things going for them...money, racism and an alternative media that caters to the lies.
And so American voters and democracy are going to be tested this year. Will Republican money/media be able to fuel enough subterranean racism and lies to win? That's the bet Romney/Ryan are making.
I'm counting on the idea that voters are going to demand better than that.