Warning! Boring Subject Matter Ahead
Allow me to talk about big data for a moment. Briefly, "big data" is a data analytics term that refers to datasets that are so large and/or complex that most data processing applications are inadequate to deal with them. A simple example of a big data set would be "nationwide hospital treatment of flu symptoms over the past five years". Analytics on big data are a challenge at best, and analysts are often surprised that the numbers come back different than what was expected.
Another example of big data would be "the opinions of the public on the issues that matter to them". Politicians and their analysts, especially those on a national stage, work very hard with this big data set to understand which issues matter most to the people. That way they can talk about the issues that matter most to you (personally) and win your support at the ballot box. The larger problem is that, according to the big data analytical results, the issues that seem to matter most to you, like the economy, are not the simplified issue topics that are easily addressed by politicians and/or reported on by the media. Politicians don't want to talk about subjects like economics because the subject is both complex (too many moving parts) and boring (yawn). What they want is your attention for as long as they can keep it, so they pivot to more simplified issues that they can address quickly.
"Wheels within wheels in a spiral array, a pattern so grand and complex."
Candidates no longer have measured discussions on topical issues attempting to find workable answers like they did a few decades ago. Now, they already have all the answers, heavily crafted into simplified position statements whose intent is to evoke one singular emotive response: outrage. The various media outlets would rather pontificate on these 'incite-ful' topics because it's this "manufactured outrage" that gets people to watch their show, read their paper, or click on their blog. No one seems to care that these answers are usually some form of idealized nonsense that would have a perfect failure rate if they were ever applied to the real world. That's because "outrage" itself requires a simplistic world. After all, if we could just get rid of welfare, pollution, immigration, hydraulic fracking, corporate greed, religious extremists, abortion, transgender bathrooms, guns, and Common Core, life would be perfect.
"Opinions all provided, detached and subdivided in the mass production zone."
What's unfortunate for us is that politicians and the media both play on the emotions of their respective audiences, working simultaneously to garner sympathy for themselves and to promote antagonism for their adversary. And because it makes for good ratings, this manufactured outrage of the candidates vehemently spewing their dogmatic position statements at each other in a generalized melee continues to be broadcast "in prime time [while we're] soaking up the cathode rays", and the really sad part of all of this is that we fall for it ... every time ... and usually don't realize that we've been had until it's all over.