About a year ago I wrote about the science fair project called HI-SEAS. The project put people in a dome on a Hawaiian lava slope to see if they could live with no outside resources for an entire year.

The participants were practicing for life on Mars. I’m not sure if they learned anything from Matt Damon or not.

This week, the six “astronauts” who lived through a year of simulating life on the red planet came out of their two-story high dome and found themselves in 1952.

Unfortunately, the 2016 Presidential campaign is very reminiscent of the race from 64 years ago.

The names change, but the tactics and types of issues remain the same.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”

That is true in many ways and politics is one of them.

Let’s compare the 2016 race to 1952.

In 1952, everyone was scared of communists. They were everywhere if you listened to politicians.

There was even “extreme vetting” where alleged communists were called before Congress to prove their American allegiance. Many in the GOP must really believe those were the good old days.

In 2016, all illegal immigrants are rapists, drug dealers, and killers. It seems odd that with at least 11 million of them here, that campaigns keep using the same five families to show how horrible illegal immigrants made life for their families.

I’m not sure, but I bet you are statistically as likely to be raped by a Stanford University swimmer as you are an illegal immigrant.

As I have said several times, there is no more popular television interview than the member of a group who is discriminated against who will go live on television and agree with the racists who hate him but appreciate his acceptance of it.

This week’s best example of that is the founder of what is I’m sure a small group called Latinos for Trump. Marco Gutierrez said he agreed that illegal immigration must be stopped. Mexican culture, he argued, was far too dominant to be assimilated. If they are allowed to stay, they will destroy America.

“My culture is a very dominant culture,” he said. “It’s imposing and it’s causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner.”

One man’s nightmare is another man’s fantasy.
Those poor people who came out of the dome in Hawaii may wish they were back on fake Mars soon. When the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton ads take over the airwaves, we may all want to join them.

This race is scary for a lot of reasons, but the biggest problem is that you have the two least popular candidates ever highlighting each other’s many faults constantly.

That will not help either candidate’s public perception.

Think about how this ends.

Sometime late in the evening on Nov. 8, the biggest selection of voters in United States history will immediately feel a sense of doom and despair because the one of the least favorable candidates ever has just been elected.

I don’t know about the doom and despair, but America will elect one of these two and the lesser of two evils will make a reservation for four years in the White House.

We need to start now in thinking beyond 2016. How can each party develop and promote better candidates? Trump and Clinton may be horrible but both parties used a pretty extensive process to select them.

If horrible is the best you’ve got, maybe it is time to change the system.

Six participants survived for a year in a fake Martian habitat in Hawaii. America survived the Red Scare in 1952. We will survive the presidential election of 2016.

It is time for us to learn from our mistakes and begin building better political parties and processes.

— Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at kent.bush@news-star.com.