I am a political junkie. That means I am one of those people who watch debates and stays up late to watch primary results.

My addiction has infected my wife and my sister who lives three states away. My wife has a solid knowledge of all of the candidates and will happily give you her view on any of them. My sister will catch something on the news and call me to discuss the latest blast from one candidate or another. She lives in the greater Washington, D.C. influence zone so her opinions are somewhat tempered.

For a political junkie, this year has been absolutely fascinating. The feeding frenzy surrounding the race to replace the current President has brought the most unusual field of candidates the nation has ever seen. Sure, there have been peculiar characters from time to time in the past but I defy anyone to find a more unique field than we have this year.

In 2016 we have former governors and governors, former senators and senators, a former business leader and a current business leader not to mention a brain surgeon and a former secretary of state! In addition we have an ultra conservative and a Democratic Socialist!

This is not some reality show these people have engaged in. This is hard knocks politics. If anyone were under illusion this was anything else, tune in almost any one of the debates. I am surprised there is not blood on the floor in the wake of them. The Republican debates were not civil from the start. The Democrats were at least cordial in the beginning but, as the race intensified, the kid gloves were replaced with boxing gloves.

Unlike the debates of yesteryear, today’s debates are not only televised but streamed to millions of people around the world. Every word, every movement is scrutinized, dissected, discussed and often ridiculed. How anyone can withstand that type of exposure is way beyond me.

There is also the matter of money. Someone did the math and found that some candidates were spending hundreds of dollars in campaign funds for every vote they received. This spending spree goes on in state after state. It is no wonder some of the candidates bow out of the race simply because they do not have the money to continue. Essentially a system has been created that allows only the wealthy or those who attract great wealth, to become President. I seriously doubt if a homely, backwoods candidate like an Abraham Lincoln would ever be able to survive a modern Presidential race.

We have seen one state caucus and one primary. That means there are some 48 states left to go before the parties actually meet in a convention and choose their candidate.

Pennsylvania does not hold the primary until April 26. By that time one, or both, of the parties will have selected a nominee. That is both bad and good. That means Pennsylvanians will be spared hours of TV time touting one candidate or another and we will be spared robo calls and junk mail. That also means that, once more, the opinions of Pennsylvanians will be rendered moot.

For a political junkie that is bittersweet. I want to know who the candidates are but I also would like to have my voice actually mean something.

Bart

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