A pox on a pox on both your houses

In the crazy world of politics, and in the crazier world of presidential primary politics, there were few things more quixotic than Jon Huntsman’s futile bid for the presidency. Huntsman behaved as though he stopped observing American politics the morning after Barack Obama was elected president, and didn’t bother catching up even when he announced his candidacy. In many ways he was the anti-Romney, running to the left of his actual record as governor. His debate performances were uniformly terrible, as his attempts at humor fell flat, and he otherwise offered up little more than empty bromides and bland slogans that were meant to appeal to . . . well, I’m not really sure who they appealed to other than the 12 people who voted for him.

Now, in a general election where even Ron Paul has sorta kinda made peace with the Republican party, Huntsman is on a media speaking tour. Huntsman went on CNN today and blathered about the GOP’s lack of inclusiveness and the party’s inability to offer real solutions. Video is available at the Right Scoop. The other night, Hunstman appeared on the Colbert Report. I don’t normally watch mini-Stewart, but I was in a semi-feverish state and lacked the ability to change the channel. Immediately Huntsman complained about the general state of American politics. He asked when was the last time we got together as a country and tried to work our problems out and achieve solutions to our problems. The utter vacuousness of this comment acted like a magical healing balm, filling me with the strength to pick up my remote and flip off the television, but not before hurling an agitated and incomprehensible epithet for which I must now go to Confession.

What was so outrageous about the comment? It means literally nothing. First of all, what is this great national debate that we’re supposed to be having? Is there going to be a scheduled moment when all Americans gather and hash out their feelings? More importantly, people have offered solutions – they are just solutions that Jon Huntsman doesn’t like. And that, right there, crystallizes the problem I have with so many political moderates.

Huntsman speaks for many of the erudite middle. These formerly voiceless souls were given the force to speak their mind when David Frum and others created the “No Labels” movement. Frustrated by the endless partisan bickering between ideological camps that believe in something, these brave souls have shouted from the rooftops “We are mad as heck and we’re not going to take it anymore! Two different political parties shaped by totally different ideologies refuse to capitulate to one another, and thanks to the complex system of separation of powers and checks and balances that governs our country, are unable to solve all of our problems with one giant piece of compromise legislation that will eliminate our debt, cure our ailing economy, guarantee peace in the Middle East, and deliver ponies to all the little girls who desire them. We have no particular idea how to solve these problems, and surely anything we offer is likely to offend someone, so we’re not actually going to explain just what exactly we would do other than say we like some Republican ideas and some Democrat ideas. Which Republican ideas and which Democrat ideas? Well let’s not get into specifics. No, instead we’re just going to passive-aggressively bemoan the political process and caterwaul about the lack of specifics. Even though several important political figures have offered painstakingly detailed economic plans – twice. What we mean is that we don’t like detailed programs that we disagree with. So someone should enunciate a very detailed, intricate policy proposal that pleases Democrats about halfway, and Republicans halfway, and that will solve all our problems. And then we’ll all have unicorns too.”

Okay. So maybe no one said anything precisely like that. But it certainly captures attitudes I have seen expressed by those in the so-called middle.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing in my experience dealing with the independent set is their lack of substance. Again, I don’t refer to all moderates and independents. But a good chunk of them, reflected especially in facebook conversations I have regrettably engaged in, are as vague as the politicians they like to complain about. Most of their comments are posts go something like this: I don’t like Paul Ryan because he’s too extreme. The GOP is too extreme. They always nominate extremists. John McCain would be an ideal Republican, but he became extreme for two months in the Fall of 2008, so I voted for Obama. Why can’t more Republicans be like John McCain? Well, the good John McCain.

That was an actual series of arguments presented by a friend of mine. When I pointed out it was bizarre to complain about the extreme GOP in a year in which Mitt Romney is the party’s nominee, he basically hemmed and hawed and just went back to complaining about the extreme Republican party.

This was not an isolated incident. I’ve seen this play out on blogs, on television, on radio chats, and in all types of venues. People express their dissatisfaction with both political parties. They complain about the tone and incivility of politics and pine for the good old days when everybody just got along (thus exposing their complete ignorance of American political history). They mention ideological extremism a few dozen times. In many cases they mention something vaguely about Republicans and social issues, and discuss how they used to have a more favorable view of the GOP until they veered so far right (yet again exposing their ignorance of American political history). Then there’s more stuff about tone. And some more about extremism. Absent from their discourse, in most cases, is any indication of what they actually think should happen. Compromise is not a political platform. Aside from the fact that that some issues don’t admit of compromise, there is little mention of what specific aspects of the respective party platforms should be kept, nor any idea how incompatible ideas can be combined.

What strikes me about this set is that their own cynicism helps fuel the stasis that they bemoan. They have become so enraptured in their own self-righteousness that they refuse to work within the system to fix it. They focus on unsubstantial, petty issues like tone and civility, and automatically dismiss political leaders on either side who offer concrete visions for this country. Many of them take a snobbish view of the intellect of the American public (especially those rabble rousers on the right), yet they gullibly ape talking points sprouted in social media outlets.

These “No Label” Huntsmanites are all a part of the “a pox on both your houses” coalition. A completely different aspect of this coalition are those who have very definite political leanings, yet feel that both parties are unworthy of support. I have more toleration for this group because they are generally more informed, have clearer political opinions that they are not afraid to express, and because I have felt as they do times. I still think this group is misguided. I cannot agree with the sentiment that both parties are equally bad. Oh, sure, the GOP has caused me no small deal of consternation over the years. Yet the Democrat party, as a Catholic and as a conservative, offers nothing for me. They are utterly abhorrent on social issues, particularly on two issues most dear to Catholics – abortion and marriage. They don’t get much better on economic and fiscal issues. No, their economic platform may not violate Church teaching, but it certainly doesn’t exemplify it either as left-wing Catholics like to pretend. No, the two parties are not equally bad, and one of them at least offers some refuge for even the most jaded among us.

Please don’t take this as an apology for the Republican party, and especially not for Mitt Romney. There are plenty of reasons to be disgusted with contemporary politics, and with the political parties. I fear, though, that this very deep cynicism breeds a self-perpetuating cycle of political immobility. In some cases it serves as an excuse for doing nothing at all. At any rate, we are ill-served by forgetting that some individuals and even parties in the political world are less bad than others.

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Dante alighieri


  1. . They focus on unsubstantial, petty issues like tone and civility, and automatically dismiss political leaders on either side who offer concrete visions for this country.


    Tone that challenges you is uncomfortable; saying something true that will make you uncomfortable if you don’t believe it is “uncivil,” and thinking of solutions is really uncomfortable.

    If you stand for something, you can’t sit back and talk about how horrible the folks actually doing something are.

    Plus, it’s cool to be cynical.

  2. the other thing is that Huntsman types, and Mitch Daniels’s “truce” (i don’t think of the guy as a RINO as far as i know, just using an example,) are essentially calls for the Right to give up on social issues. for instance, what would a compromise on same-sex marriage look like? civil unions obviously. yet the problem is that The Movement views that as akin (ha!) to Jim Crow laws and will never accept it, and when push comes to shove people like Huntsman will’ve likely “evolved” on the matter and say that we need to call them both marriage. this is because he doesn’t offer a compelling explanation of why marriage is heterosexual in nature, so he just uses civil unions as an placeholder for the “moderate” consensus at the moment. basically his opinion doesn’t seem to be based on anything solid besides conventional wisdom, which can obviously change.

    then there’s abortion, where as Ross Douthat has pointed out, there could be some form of compromise, but only if “Roe” is overturned and states are allowed to set more restrictive laws. of course, saying you want “Roe” repealed is extremely extremist. on a related note there’s an idiot quote from Mike Castle from fairly recently where he says, paraphrasing, “all of a sudden we’re talking about abortion, we’re talking about these social issues that _don’t really matter_.”

    of course “don’t really matter” doesn’t mean “i can go either way on that one.” it’s “dammit why don’t ya shut up and get with the times already.” it’d be better if he just admitted that instead of cloaking it in “nonpartisan” verbiage.

  3. The folks like Huntsman Colin Powell etc (and probably Romney for that matter) are almost always in favor of more centralized and bigger government. As a consequence their basic sociocultural attitudes are set by the norms of that group. I suppose on the positive side one can say that they have a few more scruples than the average modern Democrat and are less corrupt. Of course such people don’t have a prayer in a normal political environment. It’s only in a (non military) crisis that they tend to be called on. We saw that in DC when the mild mannered technocrat Anthony Williams was suddenly pushed into the DC Mayor’s office after Marion Barry’s destruction of the city. He was so politically inept that he had to be reelected as a write-in candidate. By all accounts he was reasonably effective but altered nothing substantial thus paving the way for Barry’s doppelganger Vincent Gray. We also see that in Greece where some technocrats were dragged blinking into the light to preside over the general chaos. Of course they will change nothing because they have no basic attitude opposing the way that the government is structured. They just want the benighted monstrosity to run a bit better.

  4. Good post, Paul. The tired carping about “civility” reminds me of another prevalent cliche: America needs to have a dialog about race. However, dialog means, in practice, agreeing with the Dem position on affirmative action and welfare state. It’s really hard to have a dialog with someone who accuses you of being racist whenever you question liberal dogma.

    The same with civility. Romney can be accused of killing someone, Ryan’s gonna push grannies off a cliff, but Romney says he was born in Michigan and that is hateful, racist speech. And yes, the mush-minded “independents” always seem to accept the liberal narrative -it’s the “Tea Party” that is extreme, the GOP that is negative.

    I have an “independent” relative who thinks very much like your friends. She told me that while she is planning to vote for Romney, she will vote for Tammy Baldwin for Senator. Baldwin is a lesbian leftist pol much beloved by Madison residents – not so much elsewhere in Wisconsin. My relative is against gay marriage and opposes Obamacare and yet she will vote for someone who is passionately for both positions. Why? “Because I’m independent and I always vote split ticket on principle. I don’t want a one party system.” Nevermind that the only chance Obamacare has of being repealed is if Romney wins and both House and Senate are in GOP hands.

    In the case of this particular relative, I think it’s because she was raised Dem (as was I), voted Dem until the 2004 election, and still, deep down inside, wants an excuse to vote Dem, although she recognizes that she is, on most positions, to the right of them. Saying “I split my ticket because I don’t want one party rule” gives her an excuse. I told her that I cannot reward the Dems for their bad behavior and therefore will not even consider voting D until they seriously reform their party (Stupak was the last straw, as far as I’m concerned).

    I also said that the democratic process itself addresses the fear of “one party rule.” (Incidently, does anybody remember Dems ever being concerned about 1 party rule when they controlled both WH and Congress?) Don’t like what the party in power is doing? Throw the bums out! It worked in 2010.

  5. And yet, I think we all had a sneaking sympathy with those people in Argentina, when they began banging their saucepans and shouting ¡Que Se Vayan Todos! [they must all go] Some years later, the same demand was taken up in Iceland, not noted for its favelas.

  6. There are many reasons for someone to wind up in the moderate/independent category. Some are just not paying attention to political issues. Others are stuck, because where they stand on the triad of modern politics (economics, social issues, and foreign policy), doesn’t fit perfectly with the platform of either party. Any one who is an austrian, pro-gay marriage paleo-con is in danger of having their head explode while in the voting booth. I have sympathy for this type. For the record, I’m an austrian, pro-life neo-con. I simply get a really bad head-ache when given a ballot.
    The ones that seem to really irritate the post author have a different issue. I believe they suffer from post-modernism. While most ardent liberals will claim to have a post-modern view of truth, their own ardent-ness for for what they believe to be true betrays their true viewpoint to all but the most irony-blind (which is usually ardent liberals).
    Someone who is truely post-modern sees all truth as relative, there is no absolute truth. If there is no absolute truth, then there is no truth worth fighting for, worth sacrificing for. These moderates have taken post-modernism to its logical conclusion in the political realm. If all truth is relative, then you’re being an extremist if you don’t simply morph your truth with that of your political opposite.
    They are modern-day lotus eaters. Drained of passion for anything other than the fruit of relativism, they beckon truth seekers to join them so we can all just get along.

  7. as far as i’m concerned, anyone who places any importance on being a pro-lifer, and doesn’t just see it as one of several issues (which if you take it seriously i don’t see how you can) should never vote Democratic. the exception would be if in the case of tilting the Supreme Court in a solid 5-4 conservative majority (as opposed to the 4-4-1 conservative-liberal-sometime conservative setup we have now,) a Republican president consciously screws over the pro-life movement and pulls another Souter, in which case a third-party protest vote might be warranted.

    i’m sort of doctrinaire on this because while i don’t have illusions about the fact that some establishment GOP types see it as simply an issue to be exploited, in reality there isn’t much a Republican can do on it besides nominating/confirming conservative justices, so presidential elections definitely matter there.

  8. “No, their economic platform may not violate Church teaching,”

    Just common sense and the horse it tries to ride in on. There is a reason why the Senate Democrats long ago gave up on proposing budgets.

    As for “moderates”, I confess I would only be a moderate if I could be the type of moderate portrayed by Ben Franklin in the video below:

  9. Obama (2008 campaign) promised “of necessity” skyrocketing energy prices. Gasoline was $1.87 a gallon when he took the oath (first time he ever touched a Bible?). It’s over $3.87 today. Pray for global warming.

    In January 2009, unemployment was 7.8%. Today it’s 8.2%, and it’s been over 8% for 42 consecutive months. If Obama stays, 23,000,000 Americans will never again hold a job.

    The national debt was $10,000,000,000,000 in January 2009. It’s about $16,000,000,000,000 today.

    Impending economic collapse.

    Obama promised to stop the oceans rising. Zephyrs and unicorns farts will not provide the energy required for a prosperous economy and a contemporary life-style: think “Flintstones.”

    MItt promises to help families. However given the dire conditions he will inherit, that will be a gargantuan undertaking.

    My greatest fear Obama will finish what he started.

  10. Jon Huntsman is a sore loser. Huntsman reminds me of John Barry Anderson, the third party candidate from 1980 who considered Ronald Reagan to be too “extreme right”. JBA ran for President, barely made a ripple in the 1980 election, and then disappeared from the political scene.

    Notice those who complain about “right wing extremism” can never define it. I define “right wing extremism” as balanced budgets, lower taxes, right to work, audits of public institutions such as state universities and regional mass transit agencies, the end of abortion on demand and its direct subsidy to Planned Parenthood, to name a few.

  11. His name was (and is) John Bayard Anderson, he was drawing his support primarily from disaffected Democrats, and he was not a vacuous candidate; he and his running mate issued a program with specifics. He was not a sore loser, either, just someone who thought he had an opportunity. I think if you did a content check of his speeches, you would find a difficult time finding phrases like ‘right wing extremist’, &c.

  12. A while back, Megan McArdle offered that a great many low-information voters seem to think there is some sort of ‘common sense’ solution to our fiscal problems that the politicians are not implementing, when in fact the solutions requires allocating costs which gore various constituencies (which include some of the same low-information voters). The Frum-Huntsman shnook parade is pandering to these low-information voters.

  13. Anderson was a legend in his own mind. He started out as an Illinois Republican congressman who proposed a constitutional amendment recognizing that Jesus Christ was the savior of the world. After almost two decades in Congress he had “grown” to the point where he was the biggest supporter of abortion among Republcans in the House. He was seeking to drain off just enough disaffected Republicans and disaffected Democrats to win. If he wasn’t a sore loser in 1980, and I think he was, he certainly was in 1984 when he endorsed Mondale. In 2000 he endorsed Nader. In 2008 he endorsed Obama, although by that time I am sure the average American had zero recollection of him.

    Go to the link below for a transcript of the Anderson-Reagan debate on September 21, 1980 (Carter refused to participate.) Anderson was a compilation of the “common wisdom” popular in Washington at the time among liberal pundits, which made him a media darling. I still recall the Doonsebury cartoons flacking his candidacy, which probably helped kill off his Republican support!


  14. Being Don’s age, and like Don living in IL in 1980, I second Don’s description of Anderson. Big time twit.

  15. Michael Paterson-Seymour says:
    Monday, September 3, 2012 A.D. at 2:10am (Edit)
    And yet, I think we all had a sneaking sympathy with those people in Argentina, when they began banging their saucepans and shouting ¡Que Se Vayan Todos! [they must all go]

    Nope, not even a little.
    I view it as dehumanizing to a pretty large population, and insulting to those poor SOBs who have been doing their best, even when it wasn’t easy.

    Of course, I also tend to notice that the folks I see face to face that bring that up are all Dems who want an excuse to attack the same folks they always have, but have a larger mob to help.

  16. About Anderson.

    1. William Loeb described him as a forthright advocate for a liberal point of view and respected him for that. It was a liberal Republican view, so it had different a different emphasis and texture than what was the mode in the Democratic Party; the Ripon Society gave him high marks and the Americans for Democratic Action gave him middling marks.

    2. Anderson is unusual in that he changed his position on a mess of issues between the ages of 38 and 57. Most of the time your world view is fairly settled by the time you are the age he was when he was elected to Congress. Unlike Charles Goodell (to take one example), his change of viewpoint was not co-incident with a change in the dimensions of his constituency. I suppose you could argue that changing demographics around Rockford, Ill. could have driven this, but it is difficult to believe that an old industrial city and the rural areas and small towns tributary thereto was suddenly inundated (ca. 1970) with transplants from Connecticut. You could also argue he was currying favor for a leadership position (which he did attain). The thing is, the House Republican caucus was at the time presided over by Chamber-of-Commerce types, not liberals. He may have ‘grown’ in office, but that process is more manifest in priorities, relations with lobbies, and spending proclivities. Richard Lugar or Robert Dole would be examples of that, not folks who do ideological pirouettes.

    3. Some of his activities after 1980 were certainly peculiar, but I cannot see the point of insulting him as a ‘twit’, ‘legend in his own mind’, or ‘sore loser’. Michael Castle was a sore loser and Jimmy Carter a legend in his own mind. John Anderson does not much resemble either. You do not see many twits among working politicians in this country. Journalists and academics who write for general audiences are commonly twits, not people who have to mingle with voters and get called on what they say.

  17. Mr. Deco,

    I turned 17 in 1980. Anderson struck me as a whining loser. I have a 4 1/2 year old and a 9 month old and a house to take care of so my Internet time is limited to when my wife isn’t fighting the pro abortion forces or the Colombian war against the FARC on Facebook or when they are all asleep. Therefore, I am not going to research the speeches of Anderson. Reagan won, inflation was whipped, taxes were lowered, government revenues nearly doubled and Solidarity received the help it badly needed to get rid of Communism in Poland. Anderson, in his wildest dreams, could never have accomplished half of that.

  18. Art,

    Before the primaries for the 1980 congressional elections, Boston Cardinal Humberto Medeiros issued a pastoral letter that stated, “Those who make abortion possible by law cannot separate themselves from the guilt which accompanies this horrendous crime and deadly sin.” Anderson was asked his view of this statement in his presidential debate with Ronald Reagan, and he responded: “[T]o try, as occurred in the case that you mentioned – that specific case – to try to tell the parishioners of any church, of any denomination, how they should vote, or for whom they should vote, I think violates the principle of separation of church and state.” With all due respect to Anderson, who is now in his dotage, that is just plain stupid.

    I don’t know how old you are, Art, but there is a big difference between living history and reading it. Anderson, was the only 1980 GOP presidential candidate adored by the MSM, and he ate it up. He was famous for having an unmerited high opinion of himself, and personality wise had a lot more in common with Jimmy Carter than you seem to credit.

    Finally, Anderson’s affection (and that is the right word) for abortion was and is odious.

  19. I remember what he said and the setting and somewhere in my possession have a Betamax of that particular debate.

    If you speak in public routinely, you say stupid things from time to time. That aside, liberal thinking on the matter of abortion and Church-state relations was hopelessly muddled at that time. I suspect it is less muddled now, but more vicious. I have been on the inside and on the outside of liberal political subcultures, albeit in the company of an older generation. If my experience is representative, the muddling is genuine and not readily penetrable. That is too bad, because often the muddled have something to say.

    The question is when you place someone in the fool box for a set of utterances you dislike. For my own part, I cannot offer any well considered criteria. Presidential politics has been littered with people who had led gravely disordered domestic lives (George Wallace, Edward Kennedy, Gary Hart, Bilge Clinton, John McCain, John Edwards, N.L. Gingrich), had a history of dubious professional conduct (John Edwards, Hillary Clinton), sided emotionally with the enemy (Jesse Jackson, Ron Paul), were unguently opportunistic (Richard Gephardt, John Edwards, and Albert Gore to a lesser degree), traded in autobiographical fictions (Bilge Clinton, John Kerry, B.O.), or were just bloody unpleasant to listen to or contemplate (Jimmy Carter, George Bush the Elder, ‘Pat’ Robertson, Howard Dean). No, I do not particularly care for much of what was advocated by John Anderson or Paul Simon or Wm. Bradley, but they are really near the end of the line of those I am inclined to slice to pieces.

    I would prefer our political world were more decorous, so I extend respect where I think it has been due. Once upon a time, ‘liberal pol’ meant Edmund Muskie, George McGovern, Hubert Humphrey, and Henry Jackson. Now it means Barack Obama and Harry Reid. You can see a difference.

  20. One other thing, Mike. As far as I can recall, John Anderson did not issue volumes under his byline with titles like Why not the Best? and A Government as Good as its People.

  21. Art, fair enough. I cannot disagree with what you say, but would note that Anderson’s statement regarding the so-called church-state separation is hard to excuse when coming from a guy with two law degrees. But I acknowledge that comparing him to Carter may be a bit harsh.

  22. “Finally, Anderson’s affection (and that is the right word) for abortion was and is odious.”

    I’ll say. During the run up to the Illinois primary in 1980 Anderson stopped at the airport at Willard in C-U. I and other members of L.I.F.E., Life is For Everyone, the campus pro-life group I helped found in 1978, ambushed him at the airport. We joined the few Anderson supporters there, each one of us carrying a sign that had one letter, together spelling out Anderson. As he came over we flipped the signs to the other side which spelled out Abortion, and began chanting “Anderson equals Abortion!” Anderson took off like a scared jack rabbit, and we received some good press coverage. Ah, the halcyon days of youth.

  23. but would note that Anderson’s statement regarding the so-called church-state separation is hard to excuse when coming from a guy with two law degrees.

    You have been to law school and know the sort of things taught there, not me. I would say his remarks on ‘the principle of separation of church and state’ fall within the realm of political theory, not law. (Of course, an aspirant lawyer should study political theory as well).

  24. Well, at Duke we certainly had a better grasp of the religion clauses than that. I find it hard to believe that Illinois and Harvard are inferior. Yet, even if his views are derived more from political theory it is stupid and amateurish political theory.

  25. “[T]o try, as occurred in the case that you mentioned – that specific case – to try to tell the parishioners of any church, of any denomination, how they should vote, or for whom they should vote, I think violates the principle of separation of church and state.”

    As an attorney Anderson knew better or he was a moron. Of course at the time he was speaking as a politician, and I often think that most politicians consider making moronic statements a job requirement.

  26. Let me offer an alternative interpretation: Anderson was not offering a legal opinion, he was saying it was unseemly for Cdl. Madeiros to have made the specific remark he did. IIRC, he prefaced that remark with a statement something like the following, “I have no trouble with clergymen speaking out on moral issues.” Again, liberals were twisted into knots attempting to compose justifications for the portfolio of reactions they had to the political phenomena surrounding them.

    The contrast between John Anderson ca. 1963 and John Anderson in 1980 does not make a whole lot of sense to me. Why anyone whose sensibilities and habits of mind were formed prior to 1962 and why anyone who remained a vigorous evangelical into his 50s paid any attention at all to the the blather being peddled by NARAL and various and sundry shysters on the appellate bench and in the law professoriate is a question I cannot answer.

    The thing is, guys, I have seen that muddle up close and personal among people who had nothing to gain from it and were certainly not unintelligent in any other aspect of their lives. The evolution of attitudes among a certain sort of bourgeois from a certain set of age cohorts should have been an interesting topic for a social psychologist. It cannot be anymore, because Anderson’s contemporaries fall into two categories: the very old and the dead. I would wager no social psychologist has ever thought to ask.

  27. “Yet the Democrat party, as a Catholic and as a conservative, offers nothing for me.”

    Exactly. My choices usually boil down to whether or not I believe supporting the GOP tactically is more important than punishing them by voting for a third party or independent candidate.

    It is obscene that this is now viewed as the party of “progress” – a party beholden to the obsolete, reactionary post-war era union complex for the vast majority of its financial support and the terminally-ill welfare state for the loyalty of its primary voting bloc. We’re moving into a technological age that will eventually sweep Hollywood, the unions, the public schools, and welfare programs off the face of the Earth.

    I think the trial lawyers will outlive the cockroaches, unfortunately.

  28. And yet, disillusionment with electoral politics seems to be growing in all the Western democracies.

    After the recent presidential election in France, there was much speculation in the media about the missing 20% – the one in five of the electorate who did not vote and who obviously felt the outcome was irrelevant to their lives or their concerns.

    One wonders if this pattern of abstention will be repeated in November.

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