Here’s one way I have started to look at it: we have perfected the science of persuasion to such a point that it is now destroying us. Here’s what I mean:
In the world of CNN and YouTube, all questions, answers, comments and remarks are all very carefully honed with an eye towards what it would look like out of context, or as a soundbite in a commercial.
Each candidate has top notch advisers and trainers, the best in the business. They are like world class athletes at the olympics. Every move is rehearsed and practiced to perfection. No mistakes are allowed.
They make sure that whenever they open their mouths whatever comes out is what’s most effective (statistically, scientifically, whatever) to persuade.
To persuade who? Of what? That too is science. Who exactly, demographically, sociographically, are the folks who need to be convinced so that I win? What do they have to be convinced of?
The effect of all this is that every word we hear spoken by the candidates is programmed. Programmed to have certain effects on the electorate. We aren’t hearing the real person, their real beliefs or ideas, in either case.
Anyway that’s my interpretation of why campaigns and political speech has devolved as much as it has, and why we all shake our heads in amazement at what passes for political discourse.
We have created and perfected this weapon which I think of as the science of persuation and we are watching two parties engaged in what amounts to mutually assured destruction (“MAD”).