First things first, no one understands politics in the United States.
That doesn't mean people don't understand how to manipulate others so they or the candidate of their choice can be elected. There are plenty of people who know how to manipulate other people. Manipulating people can pass for politics in a democracy, but, it really isn't.
In the end who cares if a candidate is manipulated into office if they can't address the political issues.
Imagine a giant word search without a list of words to find. When people first look at this giant jumble of words they can't see any patterns. After a while people begin finding patterns. Some of these patterns, "abortion", "gay rights", "national security" are focused on to the exclusion of others. People feel over whelmed searching for these patterns so when they find one or two they concentrate on them and ignore other patterns and how they interrelate.
This is a lot like taking care of one side of the front lawn of a house and feeling really pleased about it. Yeah, that one little area might look good while the rest of the house falls apart so no one cares about that one little section of lawn.
Politics is like looking at this entire, huge word search and seeing how all the patterns relate to each other. Only with politics we don't have the nice limitations of a word search. There are an infinite number of symbols making up these patterns. These symbols are piled on top of each other using inconsistent layers. One layer might have several million, another layer only a few hundred thousand. The "symbols" are not stacked on top of each other, they are not offset with any regularity.
Politics deals with what people need and want. People are fairly random so the distribution of patterns in the giant mess we call politics is random.
I didn't think John Cain had a chance at winning and I didn't think Mitt Romney had a chance of winning. I told people that Obama would be re-elected 4 years ago. I could see the patterns that defined this eventuality.
But patterns change. I could have been wrong. I wasn't and the race wasn't any where near as close as the networks made it seem. They have their ratings to think about and an early winfall for Obama turns televisions off at 8pm which destroys profitability. The race had to look close right up to the end. Besides, the loser always feels better if the race was "close".
Once people can admit that politics has nothing to do with manipulating people the way network news and many politicians do we can start focusing on real politics. The holistic view of all of the issues. We can put together groups to study specific issues and how those issues interact with other issues until we have a much more complete understanding of how everything inter-relates.
The first thing people have to grasp to do this is that while it is possible to grasp that the big picture exists and to step back far enough to see the entire picture it is impossible for any one person to see how all the different patterns or issues relate to each other.
Suppose I had a word search with 10 million words and it took 30 seconds to solve each word that makes 5 million minutes or 83,333 hours or 3,472 days or about ten years. If we put that word search solver on a standard 5 day, 40 hour work week the time increases to around fifty years.
In those fifty years the dynamic issues that are the politics in the United States would have changed so the solution acceptable fifty years ago is no longer acceptable today.
Supposedly we have congress with a bunch of people working with special interest groups to address these issues, BUT, these are not holistic solutions. They are solutions that always present the special interests issues first and foremost.
People starving? Who cares we are the "World Wild Life Fund" and we have our priorities. People starving isn't one of them. Okay, so I am picking on this group, but, every special interest thinks the same way. We can't ignore animals because people are starving. We can't outlaw something because some people misuse it. the War on Drugs is killing millions in second and third world countries. The War on Drugs is a total failure and we refuse to accept that. Holistically does it make any sense to continue fighting a failed war that is causing more problems than it solves?
People are incapable of seeing the interrelation between all of these problems and most want to pretend that they can and that their problem is the important issue.
Essentially as long as politicians and new media spend most of their time manipulating people to increase their power and wealth we are screwed. As long as people want to pretend they understand everything we are screwed.
Somethings are easy to see, Obama's recent victory 4 years ago for example. Outlawing a product will create a black market. If there is a huge demand for that product there will be a huge supply regardless of the legality. Easy prediction. Other things are not as easy to predict. Some people pretend they are and often those predictions are in conflict.
We need to work together while focusing on as much of the interrelation between issues as possible to achieve an actual working solution. Otherwise we continue to fail.