Keep the fear, give us hope

What are people looking for in their darkest hour, when they are frightened, angry, frustrated and uncertain whether the coming years will be better or worse?



They want something to believe in, a message that will lift their spirits and rally them to a vision of a brighter future.

Good luck finding that in this election season. With the nation still dealing with the aftereffects of crushing inflation, crises at the southern border and abroad, hateful protests on college campuses and a conviction by 68% of voters that we’re on the wrong track, what they’re being offered is fear and division.

The presidential election is playing out like a Grumpy Old Men sequel. Neither President Joe Biden nor Former President Donald Trump is talking about the future and how they’ll make it better should either be returned to the White House this fall. Perhaps that’s because, at age 81 and 78 respectively, their own futures are so limited.

Instead of trying to inspire us with big ideas and long-term plans for getting out of the mess we’re in, the worst two presidential candidates to ever appear across from each other on a ballot are non-stop fear mongering.

Every message from the mouths of Biden and Trump starts with, “If my opponent is elected …” and ends with dire warnings of the disasters that will occur should that happen.

I suspect I’m like most voters in that I don’t need to be further frightened about four more years of Trump or Biden. I’m already plenty scared.

What I need is something hopeful to cling to. I’d like to know how they plan to bring peace and prosperity to America and bring its people together.

We have started the process at The News of interviewing candidates for endorsements. This year, we’ve put in place a firm rule: Talk about yourself and what you will do if elected, and not about your opponent. We won’t endorse anyone whose only case to the voters is that they aren’t as bad as the person they’re running against.

What we’re looking for are candidates who can articulate positive ideas for moving the country forward, and I believe most voters are looking for the same. So why aren’t we getting it?

Because the brimstone messaging “resonates with their bases,” says pollster Richard Czuba of the Glengariff Group. “Both presidential candidates have problems with their bases, and they’re trying to motivate them.

“Who it doesn’t resonate with is independents and centrist voters. Elections aren’t about the past, they’re about the future. Centrist voters want to know what’s the plan for the next four years.”

Count me in that group. I’m most of all looking for something I haven’t heard much about this cycle: optimism.

“Most successful presidents have optimism at their core,” Czuba says. “Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama were all optimistic leaders.”

Some of those presidents Czuba mentioned I voted for, some I didn’t. But I’d take any one of them over the two gloomy doomsday purveyors we have to choose from in November.

Optimism, hope, inspiration — call it what you will. But it’s what voters are looking for. And right now, as Czuba says, “they don’t see the future in either of these candidates.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email