It’s now the second week of April, and I’ve recently been finding myself occasionally gazing longingly at my calendar for it to be July 25 already. By now, the metaphorical lines have been drawn into the metaphorical sand that stake out where one candidate’s support ends and where another begins. By now, it has been made abundantly clear to potential voters what it means for themselves and what signals are sent to others when they vote for their favorite presidential nominee.
This is my least favorite portion of the electoral season because we have internalized popular notions of what it means to vote for Donald Trump, or to vote for John Kasich. Take these last two candidates, Trump and Kasich, and imagine in your mind what a Trump voter believes, what they look like, how they live and where they live. Now do the same for Kasich voters. How did you picture both voters, and did they look, act, talk, work or live similarly? Probably not, because Trump and Kasich have very different plans on a variety of issues that would lead some to support Kasich instead of Trump and vice versa.
After six months of media coverage during which all the presidential hopefuls have talked up their plans as much as they could, created new ones, and changed old positions to new, what more is there to talk about, to think about? Like I said, the lines in the sand have been drawn. By now, it is clear what it means to be a supporter of The Don or a supporter of Basic Kasich. It is now the process of looking at each candidate, what they stand for, and determining whether a candidate lines up with your beliefs, your values.
Put simply, the election is now all about an internal debate on personal identity and no longer about a debate on ideas. There isn’t any talk about Donald’s wall, nor Ted Cruz’s plan to abolish the IRS, nor about Hillary’s plans for Wall Street, and nothing much about Bernie’s proposed tax increases either. In part this is because we’ve pretty much heard it all by this point; the pro’s for and the con’s against, who will be affected, and how this or that change would make the policy better. In part, it is because all we have left to do now is decide how we feel about what we learned, which further separates us into supporter groups.
For the next couple of months, all that is left to do is sit idly behind the line in the sand that marks your candidate’s space. After the conventions, there will be a big shake up on where people stand, especially after the future brokered convention for Republican voters, but until then we are in a kind of holding pattern. This is my least favorite part of the political season because I am bored of being a passive supporter of a potential presidential nominee. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait until I can be an advocate instead of just a supporter.