We are in the midst of the dog days of summer, and the futility of campaigning is on full display. In a world where leaders on both sides of the aisle seem impotent at governing, it is perhaps appropriate their ineptness applies to politics, too.
Consider this: In recent moths, President Obama has spent hundreds of millions of dollars, merely to tread water. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney’s efforts, coupled with favorable environmental factors (such as a still-struggling economy), have also failed to move the numbers in his direction.
This is the political equivalent of trench warfare from the First World War — a game of inches.
Both sides have immense resources. Lacking grand ideas, and with voters seemingly more interested in gaffes and grandstanding than policy proposals, they have mastered the technocratic arts. But as they are equally-matched, additional resources reach a point of diminishing returns.
Meanwhile, a lost generation of activists, committed to protagonists’ cause because of entangling alliances as much as a genuine affection for the principals, struggle daily for each extra inch of terrain. While both sides believe they are on the side of the angels, the lines are blurrier than in past skirmishes.
If this all sounds depressing, it is — but there is good news. In Orwell‘s 1984, the sides were equally-matched, ensuring the war would never end. At some point, of course, this stalemate will end. We are fortunate that there is an election day. Somebody has to win, right?