By Taylor Aikens
The democratic electoral process in America in recent years has been exposed as an archaic, sedentary and at times a corrupt system. Yet through faithful participation, the process still seems wholesome and trustworthy.
The 2008 presidential election certainly boosted the general publics’ view of our democracy. However with all the controversy that surrounds electing political leaders in this country, certain races go by unnoticed.
On Nov. 3, there was a gubernatorial election in Virginia between Democrat and current Creigh Deeds, a state senator, and Republican Bob McDonnell, attorney general of the commonwealth.
Deeds had the support of the charismatic President Barack Obama yet still lost.
McDonnell swept Virginia handily; he won by a 59-41 percent margin. Eighty-seven percent of Virginia Beach, McDonnell’s home base, voted for him.
So why was it that when I asked my Hampton University peers “Who is Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell?” I was met with blank stares?
I was only truly able to speak with one other individual who truly had anything intelligent to say. Akija Trotter is a political science major: “Creigh Deeds is such a stick in the mud. He is so uncharismatic it’s appalling.”
That was Trotter’s assessment of a YouTube video of a recent Deeds rally. “He’s so bland and dry he’s the white toast of politicians.”
She’s right. He was bland, boring, and virtually unmarketable on the glitzy and greasy campaign trail that is American politics.
“Too be honest, he does not show up on a flat screen very well,” said Trotter. His feature did look distorted and his skin was flabby and pale. “Bob McDonnell,” she said, “looks better.”
McDonnell is a Republican, a member of the GOP. In some circles these letters are almost synonymous with bureaucracy and negligence. However, the candidate took one of the toughest and largest regions of Virginia by a landslide.
“It’s not what you say anymore,” said Trotter as we watched a McDonnell rally. His fervor was synonymous with Obama’s at times, and with a ring adorning both his ring fingers he was a GOP shoo-in.
“He’s wholesome,” said Trotter. “Ugh it’s almost sickening to watch him fondle these votes out of people.”
As she comments on the jovial bouncing of McDonnell; I cannot help but compare this election to the last presidential election. Not so much on the platform or the tasks that awaited the winner of this seat of power, but more of who can get a rise out of people; at least enough so that these people will remember their name and to vote for them on a certain date.
It appears that this is what democracy is reduced to when boiled down through the reporters, sound bites, and rallies. It’s nothing but a big popularity contest.