This has never aspired to be a political blog, but Clement Eaton has made some observations that certainly contain facts and point out a deeper truth.
The voters failed to elect their superior men to office. To obtain the [votes] of the people it was not necessary for a politician to have a superior education or a brilliant mind. Rather, he must be able to sense the common man's discontents, his economic grievances, his prejudices, and his dreams. The successful politician was, as a rule, a vigorous or eloquent speaker, a man who could devise popular slogans and organize political workers, and who gave the common people a feeling of their own importance. As party warfare developed into violent partisanship and as sectional tensions arose, the politician who had strong convictions and had taken a courageous public stand on issues was often pushed aside in favor of a candidate of availability.
In the spirit of Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story, it may surprise you to learn this is a quote from the book, Henry Clay and the Art of American Politics, and is talking about the voters of the 1830s and 1840s.
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Truth is...What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV)