The old saying that “Controversy sells” has never been more apparent than now as the U.S. goes into the Presidential Election of 2016. Many have noted that Donald Trump is an extremist with a political perspective that is irrational, while on the other side of the spectrum Bernie Sanders has generally been regarded as a socialist with ideas that aren’t feasible in practice. While the controversy has possibly raised the intensity of political debate and opinion, it has also allowed for certain issues and problems to be brought to the attention of the American public.
While many Americans still see the president as a position where change will occur upon the promises made during the election, it is important that there is both a regard for the rapport of Congress and the interference of foreign affairs intruding on the political agenda of the president. One famous example of this is made clear in Flawed Giant by Robert Dallek. As the book indicates, during Vietnam when Lyndon Johnson was unable to see his “Great Society” expand into something more as Vietnam not only required his undivided attention, but Vietnam also apprehended the amount of funding available for “The Great Society.” Promises made by politicians can’t always be fulfilled, and depending on one’s political beliefs as it relates to the winner of the election, this might indeed be a good thing.
What is important is that the issues being raised are being brought to the other branches of government for debate and possibly solutions by those other branches in that action is taken. What is commonly known among Americans, the issue of lowering tuition at universities or possibly making college education free for students has been raised. While nobody can be sure that it will become free, that is tomorrow or beyond my own life time, it is an issue that has been raised. With the issue becoming relevant to media reports and to politicians the issue at hand may be resolved, but of course this is assuming that the voter turnout sees a dramatic increase. Whether it is Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton that settles in the White House, problems cannot be addressed if they aren’t brought to the attention of the right people.
Politicians are just like human beings, and as we all know human beings respond to incentives; politicians will respond to who is going to vote for them. Many have said this before, but how can one be critical of the government, but refuse to participate in the democratic process that is the simple act of casting a ballot. If one truly desires to see the issues that are impacting their own lives resolved then why not write to local politicians? Of course everyone is entitled to conduct their lives in whichever manner they please, and not everyone will cast ballots or call their senators. Because of this, I would posit that it voter turnout is imperative to seeing the government take action on the problems of the public, but it is more important that the issues being raised are enough to put pressure on politicians to put them towards the top of the list, if not on top, of their political agenda.
Donald Trump can make promises to build a wall around the U.S. but he still will require congress to do so, just as Bernie would require congress to make any progress on raising minimum wage or creating a free tuition system for universities. Although Hillary Clinton might be able to just shoot an email to the house whip to get a bill passed. On a more serious note, the public has the duty of pressuring politicians into addressing problems, and even though not everyone wishes to vote, they can still create movements to grab the attention of politicians. In the end, controversy will not only win this election, but the rest of elections for whichever issues raised on the presidential election have no choice but to expand into local and state elections. Only then can people pressure those running to be in the House of Representatives and Congress to act upon the issues brought to the table. Controversy creates delegation amongst the public, and spreading ideas all the way up to Washington D.C. is where it will count.