Why Do People Want To Be President?

Why do people want to be President?  I used to think they wanted the job because they had a visionary solution to fix the problems we all face – but that’s naïve.  We’re polarized instead of unified.  Each Republican claims they are the unique true conservative as if their rivals were deviating from a script that defines the ideal American. 

The Republican candidates make no effort to appeal to all Americans but to the extreme conservatives.  I’d like to know how many people are very liberal, liberal, middle of the road, conservative and very conservative, but finding that breakdown is hard.  Help will be appreciated.

The U.S. POPClock stands at 312,789,991 Americans.  Anyone wanting to be President must represent all those people.  The reason why politics is so polarized is only a fraction of that number get a candidate that matches their political beliefs.

Finding statistics on party affiliation is hard.  I did find out in 2010 there were 137,263,000 registered voters or about 59.8% of those eligible.  Here is a report from the U.S. Census on the 2008 voter demographics.  It covers age, sex, race, education, income and other statistics, but not political parties, but is a good snapshot of American voters.  Infoplease has a chart of voter turnout for the years 1960-2010 that suggest about half the people registered to vote end up voting for Presidents.  In 2008 132,618,580 people voted, or 56.8 percent of the voting age population, which is very close to the population of registered voters above.

So in 2008 there was about 300,000,000 Americans, with 231,229,580 eligible to vote, with only 132,618,580 voting, and so the winner actually represented less than a fourth of the country.  And if that winner is extreme conservative or liberal, it means a large hunk of American citizens are unhappy.

The Occupy Wall Street movement points out that 1% of the population holds most of the wealth.  The rich can’t politically get what they want on their own.  Republicans claim we need a smaller government, but isn’t that to acquire the federal wealth?  California went to a smaller government and now people hate it.  If you shrink the government who gets that wealth?  Everybody or the 1%?

Is there any candidate that tries to appeal to all the people?  Or do they each campaign to get just enough votes to win knowing that votes from the largest subgroup wins the game?  Are conservatives really the largest subgroup in America?  The 1% can’t elect who they want on their own so they’ve allied themselves with radical conservatives.  Do they actually represent America?

There is something terrible wrong about a leader that appeals to such a small segment of the population, especially when it appears to be for greed.  Evidently people want to be President not to help the country, but the most vocal subgroup.  Is that really democracy?

JWH 1/2/12

3 Responses

  1. Interesting stats. I was also thinking of something related to this narrow representation of the whole country earlier. Why all the focus on Iowa or the the midwest for that matter as “real America”? Isn’t real America also NYC, New Orleans, Flagstaff, AZ, Seattle, WA? It seems the whole of the country is only loosely considered America and is only associated with it as the rest of us circle an apparent moral core anchored in the midwest.

    Is that accurate?

    • I want to know why those candidates in all their debates never tried to speak to all of us? Right now they are speaking to the extremes of the Republican party, but come November they have to appeal to all those cities you list and all the rest.

  2. The Republican base is extremely, even frighteningly, right-wing. But those are the people who are the most active in the party and, more importantly, VOTE. So those are the people the Republican candidates must appeal to, if they’re to win the nomination.

    As I’ve said before, it reminds me of the French Revolution. When extremists take control, you can’t be too extreme. To extremists, the worst thing you can be is moderate. Even people who were considered very right-wing years ago are considered too moderate these days, as the whole party rushes like a bunch of lemmings to the right.

    Luckily, unlike the French Revolution, people are only losing their heads in a figurative sense these days. And this is still a democracy, so after someone wins the nomination, they’ll have to change their tune a bit. They’ll still need the fanatics behind them, but it will be more important to appear moderate, so to attract the vast majority of voters who just don’t pay much attention.

    That’s when you’ll start to see the television advertising that seeks to tone down the right-wing rhetoric of the primary season. Well, as I say, most people aren’t paying much attention now. They tend to have a low opinion of politicians in general, and the ignorant just shrug and say that they’re all the same (and that “both sides” are equally at fault).

    This is how a democracy destroys itself, through apathy, ignorance, and gullibility.

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