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Auchter's Art: Is this great?

John Auchter
Michigan Radio

I'm not typically one for "things are worse now than they used to be" arguments. I see people as fundamentally the same over time — lots of good, lots of bad — but in general pretty consistent from one era to another. For instance, you'll hear the posit that society today is becoming more violent. Well, I can remember some pretty nasty behavior on the school playground considered to be a rite of passage when I was growing up that would never, ever be allowed today. And we aren't all that far removed from times when actively enslaving other human beings and displaying decapitated heads on spikes were societal standards.

But one "things have gotten worse" argument that I'm fully on board with: Voting. Specifically, how people determine their votes. Instead of simply picking the most decent, reasonably intelligent candidate who best aligns with our views, we are encouraged, nay, indoctrinated to think like political operatives: What candidate is most electable? What candidate is going to excite certain key demographics? What candidate is going to deliver exclusively for our side?

I blame cable entertainment. (They call themselves cable news, but it's really more of a sideshow than anything else.) They have to fill gobs of time and keep viewers hooked, so it's an endless stream of nattering talking heads. Spice it up with generous portions of anger and fear, and eventually we're all pundits. (Or at least we think we are.)

All of which leads to situations like in Michigan's 3rd district where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee helped a very Trumpian candidate, John Gibbs, win the Republican nomination for the U.S. House because they hope he is more "defeatable" in the November election. It's exactly that sort of misguided strategic thinking that helped Trump himself get elected President in 2016.

John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.

Since 1995 John has created Michigan-based editorial cartoons for the Grand Rapids Business Journal, the Grand Rapids Press, and MLive Newspapers. His cartoons are currently featured at MichiganPublic.org and are syndicated to newspapers through the Michigan Press Association. John is an active member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. You can view an archive of his editorial work and other cartoons at Auchtoon.com.
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