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Mon Jul 8, 2013, 06:18 PM

Political Issues Are Tools


When you seek an idea of "happiness" you usually don't find it.

In Buddhism and Hinduism it's called Upādāna and is the Sanskrit and Pāli word for "clinging," "attachment" or "grasping". I'm sure many will know, it runs opposite to what most experts on happiness will tell you brings contentment.

Be happy with what you already have and you will want of nothing, wisdom keepers and philosophers the world over have counseled for centuries.

Ideas like the one above are tools we use to manage our individual internal and behavioral lives. Political issues are also tools which give rise to political coalitions that propose ideas to manage the lives of large groups and societies.

In the 2012 election campaign, Republicans selected Mitt Romney but before that they were desperately seeking a better candidate that never came, one of their imagination rather than one that actually existed as a candidate or the current political landscape made possible. When Romney was nominated, their force had been granted to the wrong candidate and they lost. The Republican constituents were not united under the momentum of a solid political trend. Their loyalties were divided between a field of candidates that represented a scale from the extreme to Republican-lite and, as a consequence, they got the watered-down nominee of Mitt Romney.

The trend, building for some time, in Democratic circles right now is Women's issues.

The trend, the fight, the energy, the outrage and the Republican mistakes are predominately around the struggle of the traditionally Democratic voting block of women.


And most probably in 2016, if it isn't diluted with false hopes for non-existent candidates, all that energy will be brought to a sharp focus behind a woman Democratic candidate for president.

In 2012, the Republican vote got sidetracked on a quest for an optimal candidate and what Republicans got was the weak candidate of Mitt Romney.

In other words, the energy was diffused, their nominee for president just wasn't inspiring enough and he lost.

(On a related side note, I believe the candidate representing the Republicans strongest trend for the 2012 election (and a trend is not necessarily the smartest or most logical) was Sarah Palin but, for various reasons which we all know, she was weakened by her own handling of her image and was a no show as a candidate for the 2012 election anyway. Furthermore, I submit Sarah Palin's failure to enter the 2012 Presidential race left the Republican constituency without a trending candidate and ultimately led to the infighting and indecision that gave them Romney and lost them the election.) But that's another discussion.


Politics is not always about forcing a win with sheer effort.


I contend it is mostly evolutionary in nature and at the mercy of the random fluctuations of the strongest coalitions in the present moment. We, for the most part, and much like in biological evolution where certain physical traits are unconsciously favored by our environment, don't have as much control over what trends or issues form large coalitions around them.

The strongest trend, the strongest coalition at this time in the nation (and the world) right now is women.

Women's rights are the issue. This is our current strength. This is our trend.

We can either back this trend until it comes to a sharply focused battering ram in the face of the 2016 Republican opposition....

...Or we can distract and dilute it like Republicans did in 2012 by seeking candidates that never appear. Candidates of our imagination and fantasy rather than the ones reality and the political trends presents to us.

Hillary is here right now and, unlike Sarah Palin, with continued support, she will probably show up in 2016 and show up with the strongest coalition.

The trend for women's rights is here right now, is encompassing the planet in a perfect wave and will be here in 2016...awaiting Hillary.

The success of any coalition is not only dependent on those with a vested interest in its success but also depends on the support of those who stand nothing to gain themselves but to see their long suffering compatriots and comrades succeed. That is a genetic principle or law of group cohesion. We have an instinct to help each other.

In human evolution, the technological advancement of any group didn't all come at once through the guidance and instruction of a single genius. It came one tool and innovation at a time being applied and used, by large numbers of the group, to adapt to whatever environment or scenario we randomly encountered.

Political problems work the same way.

P​olitical change happens when a single innovation is being applied across the greatest number of coalition members, one issue at a time.

Modern Women's Rights is our adaptive tool and repeated hard-line conservative encroachment into female coalition territory is the environmental threat being presented.

Hillary, being a woman with a history of advocacy for women, is the best representative around which to organize a coalition in order to employ the use of that tool amongst the greatest number of coalition members.

​To make the claim that a trending issue is not the issue to reinforce a coalition around, while there being no alternatively stronger coalition to rally behind, is to deny the circumstances one is working under.

To illustrate this point, imagine the only tool a construction crew has at its disposal is a hammer. One cannot successfully advocate for the use of laser guided nail guns as a replacement unless they exist and are distributed to the majority of your construction crew.Just because you imagine or hope for a laser guided nail gun to appear because you know it is better than a hammer, doesn't mean it will materialize to replace the hammers you discarded.

The same principle applies to a political issue or a political candidate.

Unless you can replace a trending political issue or candidate with another issue or candidate that has a stronger coalition already attached to it, it doesn't make much sense to withdraw support of the former for a non-existing or weaker latter that will lose.

All this doesn't mean you can't support your favorite candidate or issues, but it is merely a way to help you predict when such support may result in reducing the effectiveness of a political coalition instead of strengthening it and allow you to adapt and consider your choice with that added information.

You can certainly sometimes pick the candidate you want for an elected office but I believe it is much harder to pick the issues that the strongest coalition will rally around and bring to the forefront of the political stage at any time due to it being a largely social evolutionary transformation mostly out of our hands.​ We like to think we can control the predominate issues but, at best, I think e can only strengthen or weaken the ones at the forefront of the public's consciousness and attention.

You may not have a personal stake in what may prove to be the dominant issue in 2016, but by supporting that coalition you strengthen the wider coalition that is the Democratic base and party and ensure it will be there to support you when an issue you find personally important becomes the dominant cause of the next largest coalition.

It would be great if someone came along, as Obama did in 2009 to subsume all the energy behind Hillary or any future candidate into a "better" candidate and nominee, but if you are thinking about trying to divert some of the energy from the women's movement, or whatever might be the trending issue confronting us, into an issue without a candidate or larger coalition, I ask you to please give the consequences a little bit more consideration.

Shank

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