Do people search for excuse not to vote for someone?

This was a point raised by a friend tonight. Hilary Clinton was touted as a possible Democrat candidate in the 2016 election but would probably suffer due to the fact she would be 69 during the election and probably 'past it' in terms of being able to run the country.

However John McCain was 72 during the 2008 election campaign and (from my memory) no issue was raised about his age.

Is there an idea of attributing traits to candidates (age, ideology, etc.) that try to portray them as unsuitable for the role instead of the truth? (e.g. we don't want a woman as the POTUS) Is the idea of moving the excuse of why a candidate is unsuitable just a way of deflecting from racist/misogynistic accusations?

McCain's age was one of the biggest issues with his nomination because a lot of people didn't think that he would survive the full term. His age most certainly was made a big deal of.

Random source, but you can find a crapton by just googling 'McCain age concerns'

http://www.gallup.com/poll/108712/mccains-age-seen-more-problem-than-obamas-race.aspx

Karma168:
However John McCain was 72 during the 2008 election campaign and (from my memory) no issue was raised about his age.

It was mainly a concern for certain strategically-minded political operatives until the week before the convention, and we all know why people started asking then...

More often, it's the discomfort of something new. No one could imagine Barack Obama as president in 2004 when he first was on the US political stage, and yet he's your president now. With time comes acceptance (or, in the case of extreme elements of the Republican base, rejectionism to the point of delusion), and in the hopeful event she is elected, comfort will come with the idea as well.

I believe Mccain also had at least 1 prior heart attack as well, so that was a legitimate fear. Imagine him during a state of the union address just keel over and die.

That whole "one heartbeat away from the Presidency" caused a lot of fear regarding Palin. In that sense, McCain's age and his choice of VP-pick combined may have cost him the election.

That said, recently there was an interviewer asking Nancy Pelosi whether or not she should step aside to let younger people take on leadership roles in the Democratic Party. The reaction by her and the people with her was telling: There does seem to be a bit of (maybe even unaware) Sexism going on in that regard because "stepping aside" is rarely asked of the older male leaders. I'd imagine this double-standard has to do with the whole idea of the elder, wise and leading patriarch.

I think that these things, as long as they are not idiotic (a WOMAN PRESIDENT?!?!?11111ONEELEVENANDSTUFF?!), are good for democracy. You should be picked over so much by the electorate that you're lucky to have skin left. Any little reason for people not to vote for someone should be examined, and given a deserving weight. As should all the reasons TO vote for some one.

I do take age into account when voting, but that's also because of a generation gap. Someone who's well into his 50's is highly unlikely to understand the lives and situations of someone of my generation.

Something that for instance shows in remodelling the education system to American standards where you need to borrow yourself deeply into debts and spend half your life repaying those, in order to attend university. That coincides with universities trying to hamper and dismiss students because universities are pressured to show better grades. So on one side the government makes studying more expensive and punishes heavily for any delays, on the other hand universities encourage delays and unsuccesfull endings to education careers.

Janus-headed policy if ever there was.

The cause of this, if you ask me, is that the policians making those policies were the ones who attended university when it was free, unlimited, and you could study for 7-10 years on something that's supposed to take only 4. That's the mental image those politicians have in mind when making decisions about education, while that image has become wholly untrue over time.

Back in those days, you had for instance 2 resits of any exam, without any requirements. So (according to the faculty head I interviewed for a student magazine) half the students wouldn't show up at the exam, and a good part of them only had a look at the test and then left. All were counting on making it through the resit. And in those days, studying allowances were so high, and student housing so widely available, you never needed a to have a job while studying.

These days, resits are bound to heavy restrictions and most people who fail a subject don't get one. Also you need to work next to your studies to be able to afford living.

So basically due to that age gap, you have politicians still thinking that students have an easy life and can easily be made to both pay more and work harder, while they're the poorest members of society and if you catch a bad break with your housing, you need to put in 50-60 hours a week in studying and work, and all the stress and health damage that comes with such conditions.

So am I going to vote for someone in their 60's or 70's? No. Not unless they can prove they understand what's going on.

Karma168:
This was a point raised by a friend tonight. Hilary Clinton was touted as a possible Democrat candidate in the 2016 election but would probably suffer due to the fact she would be 69 during the election and probably 'past it' in terms of being able to run the country.

Well, this is something of an issue. Not simply for her, but for all elected officials - look at how things like video games and the internet tend to be treated by lawmakers, particularly elderly ones. More often than not they simply don't understand, and make knee-jerk decisions for fear of change.

We have this strange idea that age brings wisdom and a cool head, where in reality it often brings on reactionary conservatism and means our lawmakers are out of touch. Not every old person is wise, some of them have just been stupid for a long time.

Karma168:
However John McCain was 72 during the 2008 election campaign and (from my memory) no issue was raised about his age.

Um...wasn't that one of the major issues of the election?

Karma168:
Is there an idea of attributing traits to candidates (age, ideology, etc.) that try to portray them as unsuitable for the role instead of the truth? (e.g. we don't want a woman as the POTUS) Is the idea of moving the excuse of why a candidate is unsuitable just a way of deflecting from racist/misogynistic accusations?

Yes and no. For some people it is, but some people may have legitimate concerns. F'rinstance, right now in England we're run by a coalition of very, very rich men. Is this sufficient grounds to claim they don't make good rulers? Not exactly. However, when they start making claims that they understand the life of the average person (they haven't the faintest idea), tell us that we're all struggling together (them in their mansions, everyone else unable to pay exorbitant rent) and then cut essential public services and benefit to the desperate...well, you tell me - do you think the fact that they're extremely rich men really effect their governance?

It isn't just about disliking the policies or the people, it's a legitimate grievance.

 

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked