As I watch the current presidential campaign unfold, and I listen to candidates and also some of the pundits, it seems many are very cynical, irritated, and just plain nasty.
The biggest angry attitude is toward immigration, and its many components. In Iowa we have gone from a welcoming state from the Governor Bob Ray years all the way down to where at least one pundit has suggested reverting to enslavement as a solution. My what a fall we have witnessed.
The same issues that have grown support for Bernie Sanders cause the growth in support for Donald Trump. I know that sounds strange, but hear me out. Both campaigns are doing better then expected because of tremendous frustration in the way things are in the country.
This phenomenon is not new and drove voters to elect Barrack Obama for two terms. As the economy began to go south for the middle class and less privileged in the Bush 2 years it seems to me a good share of the electorate split into two factions, one went right and other went left. This created not a solution to the problem but made it worse.
In my view the underlying cause of this nasty attitude is that wages are stagnant and have been so for sometime, jobs seem to be heading overseas, college is getting unaffordable and only creates a mountain of debt, the recession is over for the upper class but not for the rest of America and Congress just argues and argues with no solutions in sight. The voters are out to blame someone and then the politicians and pundits reflect that.
In addition other issues are at play not the least of which was the gerrymandering of a number of congressional districts. This ensured that congress is not likely to change very rapidly, nor will the presidency if the Republicans stay their present course of disenfranchising Latino and possibly women voters. Under the present scenario we will continue to have a divided electorate, which creates divided government, and that will be a shame because little will change. It would have helped a bit if President Obama had been more of a glad-hander like Lyndon Johnson or even Ronald Reagan but that is not who he is or actually who his core constituency wanted him to be.
The only hope, and it is slight, is to elect someone who can work well with the opposite party. That might move us toward finding solutions that get us back on track. I certainly hope so.