You’ve never seen a House member elected president. Neither have your parents — nor, in all likelihood, their parents. The last time it happened, there were 38 states and electricity was a novelty.
The year was 1880, the congressman James Garfield. The 14 decades since are littered with the failed campaigns of House members who thought they could replicate his feat.
But that hasn’t stopped six more from trying this year, a full quarter of the Democratic field.
As for what Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, the most recent addition to the candidate throng, is trying to do: Well, no onehas ever done it. Never in American history has a sitting mayor been elected president, or even received a major party’s nomination. But three — Mr. de Blasio, Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and Wayne Messam of Miramar, Fla. — are running now.
In 2016, when Republicans had a field almost as big as the Democrats do now, it included no House members or mayors. Of the 17 candidates, nine were sitting or former governors, and five were sitting or former senators.
But, of course, all those governors and senators lost to Donald J. Trump, who had no political experience at all. Before Mr. Trump was elected, no one had ever become president without a background in government or the military. Now, it’s harder to say what the bar is — or whether voters care.
Personally I do not believe a majority of Americans really do care today about the experience or actual track record of a candidate. What the majority seems to care about is what the candidate promises they will do for them. Whether the candidate actually has the ability or power once elected is of little concern to most. What is important are the promises. If they sound good and or make the voter feel good that’s all it takes.
I acknowledge the cynicism of my thoughts. But I believe my cynical outlook is justified. When was the last time you heard any candidate speak about our crushing national debt? About balancing or even attempting to balance the national budget? Or identifying opportunities to eliminate unnecessary and wasteful spending. When was the last time any candidate has discussed fiscal responsibility and restraint?
Candidates talk about all the stuff they gleefully promise. Always without providing any specifics as to how all the stuff will be paid for. I can’t help but believe the electorate simply no longer cares about the nuts and bolts of how the government works, OR, how it is funded. As long as they perceive they are getting their stuff.
Conservatives and republicans long ago, think the Reagan era, abandoned their long held reputation as the party of fiscal responsibility. Reagan actually exploded the national debt outspending the former Soviet Union militarily in what can only be termed as an effort to break the Soviet Union and bring it to its knees economically.
Since the Reagan heydays the nation has essentially been on a slow steady train expanding fiscal irresponsibility. Both republicans and democrats in their effort to deliver the promised stuff have simply stopped acting fiscally responsible. We The People are as much responsible as those we elect to represent and lead us. And, we ask for more, and more, and more.
Chickens eventually come home to roost. We just don’t care.