How Did Politics Get So Awful? MTV, of Course!

Jim Geraghty (senior political correspondent for National Review) has a guest column today in The Washington Post Opinion section titled “How did politics get so awful?? I blame MTV circa 1992,” in which he lays the blame for today’s political dysfunction in America at the feet of MTV’s “Rock the Vote” campaign, which used celebrities, humor, and sex appeal to encourage young people to vote. This has led, according to Geraghty, to ignorance, crassness, publicity chasing, and short-sightedness in today’s generation of pundits and elected officials. Here’s my response:

Oh, yes, encouraging young people to vote has brought us to the brink of destruction.

It has nothing to do with conservative televangelists telling us that their political and social opponents are in actual league with the actual devil. If not being actually the actual devil.

It has nothing to do with grasping politicians like Newt Gingrich who espoused zero-sum politics and taught one major party that the name of the game is not policy, but pure power for its own sake.

It has nothing to do with blathering conservative talk-show hosts who howled into the ears of truckers and commuters and reclining retirees about the socialists and Marxists and communists who are taking over the country.

It has nothing to do with ambitious governors and prosecutors who tell suburban moms that LGBTQ+ people are groomers and pedophiles and want to turn your toddler into a transgender cyborg.

It has nothing to do with the fundamentalist evangelicals who have given their full-throated support to a toxic narcissist who’s not only not a Christian, but also a tax cheat, a rapist, a swindler, a proto-fascist (at least), and a liar. (And who wears more orange make-up than the cattiest drag queen.)

It has nothing to do with redneck militia poseurs and conspiracy theorists who decided it was a good idea to take pepper spray and zip-ties and riot gear, and storm the Capitol in order to disrupt a legitimate count of a legitimate electoral result.

No, it has to be encouraging young people to vote.

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