What an interesting morning I had on a ‘day off’ from my normal routine of looking for something constructive to do with my day. While distributing Kris Anne Hall workshop flyers and soliciting donations for the D1 fundraiser, I stopped at a friend’s home and the coffee cup discussion immediately became local and State politics. The bane of the discussion was a phrase I have become increasingly disgusted with…”the way the ‘GAME’ is played”…Like it or not, to WIN…we have to PLAY!!!
At this point in time, honesty and transparency have no place in the political arena. In order to achieve any progress in the process, you must understand what the rules are: THERE ARE NO RULES!!! Once this concept has been fully digested, we are ready to join the game as complete (nearly) novices. Thinking that principle and ideas will win the hearts and minds of the general electorate is noble in theory…but in reality, MONEY wins elections. This unfortunate fact puts purists at a distinct disadvantage. For the most part, a “purist” can be defined as anyone thinking the truth will win out in the end…
Back to this morning. I received quite the education as to the plausible landscape of the political cash jockeying for position in a State Rep race. As I am not well connected with the various and sundry political power players in Michigan, I had several questions about the reasoning behind the motivations of the several primary candidates in Republican race. At the end of the discussion, I was left with the distinct feeling I have experienced this before…only on a quite different field of play, gambling!!!
Anyone who has felt they were worth their salt on a professional or near professional level in any individual sport or game will know what a “horse” is. For those not aware, a horse is the individual money (or bank) behind the player. Whether it be cards, pool, bowling or other game of skill; when talent is equally matched, the player with the largest bank (strongest ‘horse’) will generally win the day simply by outlasting his opponent’s moneyman as the bet gets larger and larger. “Money talks”…you know the rest. Some horses have conditions or rules set on the acceptance and use of their money…some don’t. In politics, strings are ALWAYS attached.
So, hypothetically, this particular race resembles a poker game. The candidates are the players at the table, but the money ( or lack of it) behind them dictates the rules of the game. A conservative player with a small bank will be less likely to bluff, or call someone else’s, in order to preserve his capital for a winning hand. As the game progresses, his more aggressive opponents take note, and use his caution to their advantage. One might think the ‘money’ would migrate to the cautious player; but the objective is to win the table stakes, and caution seldom does anything but hold its own. It is the successful bluff that generally rules the day.
Campaigns take money, lots of it. It is the way “the game is played”. The ‘horses’ line up in the background; in a separate game of their own; using the candidates as pieces on a chessboard. Think of a 3 dimensional chessboard; as politics is layered, so is the money involved. One campaign, winning or not, leads to another and yet another. So is born the ‘career politician’. The candidate may win the elections, but the prize goes to the bankers. This game tends to corrupt even the noblest of public minded individuals who dare take to the political stage. The question is: How do we change “the game” to eliminate the corruption without playing? We can’t, not peacefully at any rate.
So instead of looking at the candidates as the center of our political attention, let’s look at the money players behind them…and then pit them against each other. The possibilities are endless, and the outcomes become clear and achievable if the matchups are created correctly. Pandering to the ‘horses’ is an inevitable part of “the way the game is played’, as it stands today. Using that fact to advantage just may change the rules. The only other possibility is to have enough money to ‘buy’ your own election…that’s how we got our Governor.