Part XII: The Elections Are Coming!
Run For Your Lives!

What follows is a non-partisan analysis. The two major American political parties will be referred to as “one party” and “the other party”. The candidates, or likely candidates, will be referred to as “this candidate”, “that candidate”, and “yet another candidate”.

As we all know, the primary purposes of election campaigns are to generate revenues for television networks and to drive people crazy. The former purpose of informing the voting public so as to assist them in choosing for whom to vote has become outmoded and irrelevant.

Elections are held on the first Tuesday in November, but prospective voters must first endure, or enjoy, depending on how masochistic one might be, the phenomenon known as the state presidential primaries. Primaries are necessary because typically more than one candidate wants to be his or her party’s presidential nominee who will then compete against the opposing party’s presidential nominee in the general election. The winner of the general election will then be the office holder for a term of years.

The campaign for the state primaries allows the several candidates to travel the country bad mouthing each other in speeches and making promises designed to influence the voters. Of course, because this activity is part of an election campaign, the candidates are excused from the inconvenient burden of telling the truth. A truthful election campaign would not effectively enhance the process of democracy in action. Another part of the primary election campaign involves what are known as debates, which are televised. Televised election campaign debates are not at all similar to what occurs in high school, college, or “debating societies”, where reasonable arguments are used to make a point and rebut the opposing argument. In televised election campaign debates, candidates strive to deploy strategically crafted statements, known as “zingers” into intelligent context. Viewers should be cautious, however, because neither intelligence nor context are required and both are entirely optional in televised election campaign debates. Unfortunately for the candidates, but fortunately for political cartoonists, candidates sometimes make a statement known as a “gaffe”. A gaffe occurs when a candidate inadvertently tells the truth, or when he or she says something to a small group of the “right” kind of people but it is also heard by a usually larger group of the “wrong” kind of people. Candidates who have made a gaffe will then defend their gaffe by saying it was taken out of context.

These debates also allow candidates to “solidify”, or “pander”, to the party’s “base”. A political party’s base consists of those voters who can be relied upon to vote for that party’s candidate as long as such candidate has a pulse. This election campaign technique is also known as “throwing red meat”. Particular needs and desires of the base are sometimes determined by the geographical location of the debate, which is usually held in the state conducting the primary. This allows the candidate to “tailor” his or her “stance on the issues” to a specific state’s voters, up to and including adopting diametrically opposing positions on the same issue. El Hyena will remind his readers that consistency has no useful function in election campaigns.

As the primaries progress, varying candidates will emerge as “frontrunners”, also known as “flavors” of the month”. As this occurs, the other candidates will either reconsider their campaigns or increase frothing at the mouth. After the votes in each state’s primary are counted, the winner will be awarded the allegiance of that state’s delegates. At the end of the state primary “season”, the party will hold its convention in a large city in a state where the party’s general election candidate is expected to receive the most votes, and each state’s delegates will attend such convention for the purpose of nominating the party’s presidential candidate for the general election in November. The delegates nominate their party’s candidate by staying in expensive hotels, drinking copious amounts of festive adult beverages, wearing funny hats, screaming themselves hoarse or being moved to tears by inspirational video presentations and, if there’s time, casting their ballots for the party’s presidential nominee.

After each party’s convention, each party’s candidate will then focus their campaigns specifically for the general election when our nation’s electorate will cast their votes. The candidates do this by gratefully receiving endorsements from their former opponents in the state primaries who will have magically forgotten the less than flattering things they have previously said about the party’s presidential candidate, by “re-evaluating” some of his or her previous “stances on the issues”, and by “clarifying” some of his or her previous statements. Each party’s presidential candidate may take comfort in the knowledge that the crucial deciding factors in the presidential election are that they are not the candidate of the other party, or that they are the “lesser of two evils”.

Finally, and mercifully, Election Day will arrive, and the voters will cast their ballots. While many voters will at this time discover that they are expected to vote for candidates seeking election to other elected offices, they are able to do this by voting for candidates whose names are followed by the same letter of the alphabet in parentheses as that of their preferred presidential candidate.

A couple of months later, the winner of the election will be crowned, and he or she will then begin “governing”, as opposed to keeping promises made in the previous campaign. Our nation will then be restored to greatness or its decline will be accelerated, depending on each citizen’s outlook. Meanwhile, the newly elected President must immediately begin his or her campaign for the next election by “tailoring” his or her political agenda to “how it will play” in such next election.

Is this a great country or what?

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