Winners and losers on the political battlefield

The local business community cannot complain too loudly about the outcome of local political races. Sure, there were disappointments, but BIZPAC had a very good election, with only three of our endorsed candidates losing.

The federal contests, though, were not so reassuring. BIZPAC does not endorse in federal races because we can’t affect outcomes very much in those contests. Many business leaders use a victory gauge in federal races that’s often different than in local elections. Federal elections affect political ideologies and beliefs far more than county elections.

I have come to look on winners and losers in federal elections not so much as “who” won or lost, but more so on “what” wins or loses on Election Day. For me, individual candidates were less important than the issues and ideologies they champion. When viewed in that light, federal wins and losses were darkly troublesome for our nation. Some examples:

LOST: Values that made America great

Half of America rejected the foundation of beliefs, precepts and values of its founding, and the country doubled down on political types that produced the current financial crisis. The U.S. Constitution lost. And the electorate’s decisions were a quiet acceptance of the ridicule of our international friends and the growing strength of our enemies.

WON: A culture of dependence

The left succeeded in painting dependence as OK and success as something that, rather than being admired, should be the object of revenge.

LOST: Accepting personal responsibility for your own lot in life

With promises of more handouts to the “give me” crowd, threats of revenge and penalties, and pointing the finger of blame at Wall Street and millionaires, the left purchased a lot of votes. Leftists excused the failures of the individual to achieve success by blaming others, and collected votes in the process. Failures like to be told it’s not their fault. Meanwhile, self-reliance and self-determination suffered severe wounds.

WON: Class warfare

This immoral, emotional political gimmick, employed successfully by the left for generations, was trotted out again to leverage envy over untold millions of voters. Identity politics and the tyranny of the majority had a field day.  To the left, “paying your fair share” means this country is still being unfair when 48 percent of the population pays no income tax, and 10 percent of earners pay 71 percent.

LOST: Personal freedom

Every new incremental boost in government power spells a decline in the freedom of individuals to choose to succeed or fail, erosion of a free republic and free enterprise, and a diminishing of personal freedom. More government power rewards those who want free stuff from government.

WON: Demonizing success

Too many election winners demonized successful individuals and wealthy people to justify confiscating from them. The left’s term for it is “social justice.” The electorate was told, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Millionaires were made into monsters and plantation owners who needed to be slain. These kinds of lies were told to make it acceptable and moral to separate successful people from the fruit of their labors.

LOST: Hope for getting back on a winning track

As the sun set Tuesday, the future turned dim also. Wednesday morning’s light showed fiscal bankruptcy staring us in the face, and America’s vitality and leadership destiny sidetracked. Instead, we awoke Wednesday to a nation that had slipped into overdrive, accelerating toward the same fate as western Europe’s failed socialist states.

WON: Nastiness

In many cases, campaign decency lost. In many Florida races, nastiness won by default, as both sides resorted to deplorable, in-your-face, non-factual offensiveness. Too many campaigns went beyond hard-hitting facts and aggressiveness, and embraced over-the-top ruthlessness.

Last week, our country may have embarked on the river of no return. There may be no going back to what we were. And apparently that’s OK with large numbers of people. But they may be in for rude shocks when they see the health care they will be given, the size of the soda they will be allowed to drink, the obliteration of their savings and retirement accounts, and the future tab they and their children will pay the nanny state.

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About John R. Smith

John R. Smith is chairman of BIZPAC, the Business Political Action Committee of Palm Beach County, and owner of a financial services company.