I only bring this up because I even heard the phrase on the BBC news coverage of last night’s primaries. Of course they’ve been using it for a month already on the American network and cable news. Last I looked there were 50 states in the US. So far there have been primary contests in 10 states (11 if you count the beauty pageant in Missouri; they have a caucus in March where they will actually elect delegates). So yes, it’s dragged out all the way to where one out of every five states has participated in the democratic process! And none of the biggest states other than Florida have voted yet.
What disturbs me about the overuse of the idea of dragging it out is the idea that our elections should somehow be decided definitively by an even smaller minority of voters than they already are. If we really like democracy, shouldn’t we be looking for ways to ensure that more voters have a say before it is decided? Apparently not.
What I find hilarious about the overuse of the phrase, particularly on the cable news shows, all of them, Fox, CNN, and MSNBC, is that they use the phrase constantly and nearly beg for the race to be over. Really? I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything more disingenuous. Their ratings all depend on the race continuing. The last thing they want is to see it wrapped up. Which tells you that, for them, whether on the conservative or the liberal network, it’s much more about the show and the performance of the hosts than it is about anything else. It certainly isn’t about honestly reporting on the primaries.
In other news, the second ranking Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer, is making noise again about working out a “grand bargain” with the Republicans to cut the deficit. Something to keep an eye on. Democrats have been burned so many times lately, my first reaction is to cry make it stop! And we’ll wait for details to emerge. And because we have to be reminded of this every time it comes up, Social Security had nothing to do with the deficit or financial crisis, and it shouldn’t be cut to let off the hook those who were responsible for the crisis and the debt. Medicare is more problematic, and we need to save money there, and that doesn’t mean simply cutting benefits. Remember, we pay more than twice as much per capita for health care, with worse outcomes, than any other developed nation. If we paid what other countries did for our health care, we would have budget surpluses not deficits. And if we followed any of those plans that work, we would not only save money, we would also have better health. (The problem in America of course, is that those who make the huge profits control the discussion and the reality of health care in America, making our using any of the methods of other developed countries very unlikely, at least in the short term. That fact doesn’t require me to pretend real solutions–other than massive cuts to benefits–don’t exist.)