The Politics of Change

At the time of this writing, the primary elections are still in full swing. But already the early primary season has demonstrated clearly the limits of the pollsters’ predictions, the pundits’ prognostications, and the ability of politics to address our deepest problems.

The polls have gotten it wrong several times, on both candidates and issues. And the political commentators have wrongly told us what was going to happen or not going to happen so many times that many people have just stopped listening.

On both the Democratic and Republican sides, one candidate after another has been built up as the inevitable winner, only to lose the next primary. And the winners, who supposedly have momentum, have then confounded the pollsters by proceeding to lose. Candidates who were pronounced dead by all the political talking heads have won comeback victories.

Iraq was to be a big campaign issue, and then it faded. Health care was big early on, but not so prominent later. Then the fear of recession became the big issue: “It’s the economy, stupid” all over again. And all the pundits said the early front-loaded primary season would produce clear nominees by early February. Then they talked about what fun it would be for journalists to have nominations go all the way to the conventions. Maybe this is all about their fun.

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Sojourners Magazine March 2008
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