If there is any political science “Golden Rule” that aptly fits America’s 2016 presidential race it is “throw out the rule book!” In my over thirty years of experienced campaign involvement I’ve never seen such a circus. Nationally acclaimed politicos and pundits are beside themselves and can only utter the three most unheard words in Washington politics—“I have no idea!”
This is unsettling to say the least. America’s presidential race is perhaps the most watched and influential campaign in global politics. Considering that this competition to pick arguably the most powerful leader in the world affects global economics, the geo-political atmosphere and basically how America’s consequential influence will affect the entire world, 2016’s campaign will have massive ripple effects for potentially the next decade. Therefore, it is little wonder that the rest of the world watches wondering “What in the hell are Americans thinking?”
Contextually, the United States is at a quintessential crossroad of national identity. Not since the 1960s has my country faced such a monumental moral dilemma. After decades of rudderless polarization in a rapidly changing international landscape, America finds itself in a seemingly downward spiraling quagmire of a leadership vacuum. Historically, these periods have marked defining moments in a nation’s character. Today is definitely a generational landmark in my lifetime. For me and countless millions of my fellow Americans the future is markedly unsure. In America, this is a severely uneasy and somewhat crippling condition. Normally we Americans are confident and secure in who we are and what we stand for; almost to the point of globally perceived obnoxious arrogance. Nonetheless, the rest of the world could be confident of where America stood in the world. Today in 2016, I’m not so sure that is the case.
That brings me to the start of our unfolding partisan controlled presidential decision making process. The predominately rural, inordinately Caucasian and historically “evangelical” American mid-western state of Iowa kicks off the road to the White House. To many, I included, this campaign launching pad seems ludicrously uncharacteristic for modern day America. It most definitely does not reflect the diversity of the United States in the 21st Century! Yet due to the rigidly dogmatic control of the self-serving partisan interests of Democrats & Republicans this has become the starting line for America’s presidential race.
The political cartoon above is perhaps an ideal depiction of how America is struggling with a major dichotomy. The idealistic perception of our historically democratic past where every-day common people gather in schools, firehouses and churches to publicly debate with each other about the values of their preferred candidate. This is noble, quaint and uniquely American in every sense of our country’s political past. I’m all for it because it gives us delusional fools hope that the America we grew up believing in, still exists. There’s a real comforting notion that hours of sincere heartfelt vigorous inter-personal debating & yelling at your fellow countrymen in the hope of converting them to your political perspective is what democracy is all about.
However, sobering political reality shatters that idealism into a billion slivers of money drenched and mud soaked reckoning. The facts are clear. After literally months of pandering, baby kissing, hand shaking face to face “retail” politics, the decision making process for the most powerful job on Earth today starts with a fraction of registered voters. The history of Iowa caucuses clearly demonstrates that the highest participation rate has never exceeded 45% of registered voters in either political party. Even more nauseating is the fact that this whole deceptively characterized process isn’t even remotely “democratic!” Only candidates for the two major political parties, Democrat & Republican, may be considered. Any voter that honestly declares themselves as “Independent” must first register with one of the two parties to participate. Honestly, where’s the democracy in that?
Now while I may sound like a purely disgruntled naysayer, nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, as a loyal patriotic American citizen that has worked tirelessly for over three decades in this political process I must speak the truth in the hopes of jackhammering my countrymen out of their mind numbing slumber. If we truly believe in an open democratic process, then why does the rest of America sit idly by and allow a strictly controlled self-serving partisan bureaucracy set the political agenda? Simply put, it’s because as “sheeple” we are content to swallow the same old #political craps that we are shovel fed because it’s familiar and easier than expending an iota of cranial common sense!
America today shouts with almost rabid mouth foaming disgust that we want change as witnessed by the popularity of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Yet voters are still bumbling down the same garden path that has been paved by the Democratic and Republican Party regulars giving us division, gridlock and dysfunction. Is this not the iconic definition of insanity? If Sanders and/or Trump truly believed in REAL change, then why not muster all of their energy, rhetoric and money into an effective Independent challenge to the status quo? By shamefully adorning the respective banners of a fumbling jackass (Democratic donkey) and a bumbling pachyderm (Republican elephant) have they not betrayed the very causes they so vociferously espouse? Therein they are betraying the very trust of their blinded loyal supporters.
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However, this sad development is perfectly understandable. After decades of working within the established partisan political electoral system on both sides of the aisle, I can attest that the American two party campaign structure is a seemingly indomitable beast to overwhelm. Popular sentiments based on an entrenched historical narrative re-enforced by a corporate controlled mass media apparatus make any and all Independent political movements almost an act of futility. Billionaire Ross Perot’s 1996 presidential bid, arguably the most successful attempt, was ironically characterized by Patsy Cline’s #1 Country song Crazy.
America’s “rigged” primary season gives credence to many detractors, some of my own campaign advisors included, that the President of the United States is “appointed” not elected. This country’s apathetic acceptance that only a wealthy person can be president is equally supported by some incontrovertible facts. 98% of all members of Congress are millionaires. The Supreme Court’s controversial and I would argue most devastating anti-democratic Citizens United decision blasted open the floodgates for unregulated campaign financing. Consequently, PACs (Political Action Committees) ballooned into Super PACs and biased self-serving millionaires/billionaires were left unfettered by public scrutiny or legal restrictions to buy and sell candidates at their leisure. The “common” man’s campaign contributions and votes were disenfranchised by a simple wave of the judicial gavel in the disgraceful misappropriation of every American’s right to free speech.
Nonetheless, there are a stubborn few of us Americans that still fervently believe in a “government of the People, by the People, for the People.” I have been called naïve, foolish and downright stupid for holding on to these beliefs with an iron death grip. So be it! I’ll go to my grave believing in the American People and the United States of America. There is no place on Earth I’d rather live and I’m proud to be an American. God help us if the few “foolishly deluded” true believers like me give up!
It is exactly for this reason that on Memorial Day 2015 I declared my Independent write-in candidacy to be President of the United States. Against all odds and sound political reason I became the only obviously physically challenged and openly gay 2016 presidential candidate. Being completely transparent I have admitted my past struggles with substance abuse, sexual promiscuity and the fact that I’ve never held political office. Furthermore, to emphasize my total integrity before the American People, I vowed not to accept office if our campaign wins because of my acknowledgement that physical adversities restrict my ability to fully discharge the obligations of office. To date, I’ve raised $40 and spent all of my own limited disability income to fund this historic campaign effort. Finally, our #NOTU2016 Campaign is the ONLY one to refuse PAC/Corporate contributions, limit personal donations to $100 and donate ALL left over campaign funds to charity. SHOW ME ANOTHER 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN THAT’S GOT THAT KIND OF GUTS!
Why, many have asked why would I embark on such a seemingly foolish endeavor? My answer is simple—TO GIVE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AN OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE NONE OF THE ABOVE! The whole damn system is broken, corrupt and needs a long overdue enema to clean it out. America has got serious problems and we need serious people to solve them. We don’t need any more career politicians, millionaires/billionaires or two-faced demagogues. We need REAL PEOPLE and ONLY the AMERICAN PEOPLE CAN KEEP AMERICA GREAT!
© 2016 – 2022, Tom Ufert. All rights reserved.