I've gone through 14 presidents in my lifetime. I had not reached voting age for many of our great presidents.
In fact, at the time, I was not sure which state or midterm election was my first.
The Change in Voting Age
The first year I could vote in any election was 1965 at 22. Why didn't I vote a year earlier when I was 21? Because my birthday falls after Election Day each year.
So, I had to wait until the 1968 election between Nixon and Humphrey for my first vote.
In 1971 Congress lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. It would have been nice of lawmakers to do that sooner.
Non-Elected Presidents Have Run The Country
We've had a few non-elected presidents in my lifetime Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson were Vice Presidents to presidents who died while in office.
Gerald Ford became president after Nixon's resignation.
Gerald Ford was also the only person not to be elected to the office of Vice President or President by a vote of the people.
Ford, the speaker of the House, became VP when Spiro Agnew resigned and then President when Nixon resigned.
TV Elected John F. Kennedy
The 1960 election was historic when the first televised debates occurred between Richard Nixon and John Kennedy.
People hearing the debate on the radio thought Nixon won the debate. Those watching on TV felt just the opposite.
Seeing Nixon sweating while JFK seemed relaxed and calm swayed many voters. Did personality and appearance trump issues and political positions?
In that election, it did.
How Are Candidates Elected Today?
Today thanks to TV, spin doctors, pollsters, marketers, and campaign experts and advisors, the issues have left the building.
All that's left are the candidates' pearly white smiles and their handlers' robotic replies. Whatever the question does not deviate from the message.
What can we find to crush the opponent? Now it's all about personalities—personal attacks, negative ads, and uncovering the scandals of the past or present.
Gary Hart, Herman Cain, and John Edwards were political rising stars that had those stars snuffed out by affairs.
Howard Dean's candidacy was sidetracked by something as silly as his screaming campaign speech that went viral online.
Make the wrong gesture, upset the wrong group, be on the wrong side of a controversial issue, and you can be dead in the water by the following day.
All's fair in love, war, and politics. But the last one takes no prisoners.
Even if you can raise the money, be found by pollsters, and connect with your party and voters, that one misstep can end it all.
Some Final Thoughts on Stupid Politicians
We continue to elect career politicians—people who have never signed the front of a paycheck.
Eighty-six percent of incumbent politicians are re-elected to office. Why?
Most of these folks have nothing in common with the American electorate.
They've never lived paycheck-to-paycheck.
They've never brought home the bacon but are great at passing out the "pork."
Everyone says they want honest, sincere candidates. People who will tell it like it is.
Stand up for their principles, and their critics be damned. That's a sure way to sink any political campaign.
It would be so nice to find someone like that, but the chances of them being elected are slim and none.
We say that's what we want, yet most of us vote in our self-interest when we blacken that oval in the voting booth.
We only care about the poor if we're poor, the sick if we're sick, and entitlements if we're getting them.
Whoever can get us the stuff we want will get our vote. Unfortunately, our votes are for sale.
"A" students teach, and "B" and "C" students work for "D" students. It's a fact of life.
There's an old saying among professional speakers, "No one will remember what you said or what you did. They will only remember how you made them feel."
If you can make 'em feel — you will get the office.
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About the Creator
Author, Radio Talk Show Host, blogger, YouTuber, Vietnam Vet, half-fast guitar player, average cook, and a really nice guy. I read all my articles; you should too and subscribe. Thanks very much.