It is the official election day in Illinois, and so far early voter turnout is (or is reported to be) setting records. I suspect that, unlike other cycles, this one has people worried. And with good reason. At no time in my life have I ever cast a vote that was as much against a candidate as for one.
And it feels dirty, you know?
So I wanted to get some thoughts down on this primary, and on the state of the campaign as a whole. It is my opinion, and I don’t expect you, the reader, to agree. I hope you think, and hope even more that your candidate of choice was considered, and not just ‘X is winning on the Y side, so I vote for them’. But then, if that is the case, honestly, you likely will never see this.
I also want to say that I value the fact that friends are all over the spectrum – it is important to know and engage with people you can disagree with. We all need more of that, and need to remember that we are all after the same basic things in life, and life politic. We simply disagree on process. Disagreement is not a sign of deep corruption of the soul – it is just a difference of opinion.
That said, let’s look at the Democrats. Clinton and Sanders. Clinton has a lot of magical thinking attached to her – a sense that since things were not so bad last time a Clinton was President, that will happen again. Wrong, of course, but understandable. The sad reality is that Clinton is a relic of an older time, and does not see it. I know a lot of people like to equate saying negative things about Clinton as sexist (or racist if said about Obama), but the simple reality is that she has some problems, and her gender has nothing to do with them. As an aside, why are similar attacks on Sanders not antisemitic? The main problem is the potential indictment for her private server and other actions around that whilst Secretary of State. Since others (men) have been charged for far less, and had their lives ruined, this is by no means a sexist issue. This is a serious national security issue, and symptomatic of a level of arrogance that is hard to explain away.
Sanders is another issue altogether. He has the best ads I have ever seen from a politician, and seems to focus on being positive, without the weirdly exploitative Clinton ads. His main issues are economics. Yes, there is a lot of social benefit in European systems that we don’t have here. There is also a much higher tax level, across the board. And yes, your taxes would increase under that system. Maybe as much as double. The European system was also purchased with American defense commitments. Since we were there to blunt a Soviet attack, other nations didn’t need to spend on defense themselves, allowing that money to funnel into unsustainable social programs. Simply put, the European system does not work in a long run. Further, by ‘making the rich pay their fair share’, Sanders demonstrates a misunderstanding of two things – first, the richest Americans pay the majority of the tax bill already, and second these are the people most able to leave should things be cheaper elsewhere. Keep that in mind – if moving to Canada results in a lower tax bill, I can’t do it – I don’t have the money or ability to not work for a year. Only the ones Sanders refers to as needing to pay more can pull that off.
All in all, despite Sanders’ real problems with economics and history, were I to vote Democrat, I would be voting for him. Positivity counts.
Now the Republicans. Let’s get this pared down some – Rubio, Kasich, please just drop already. We get it, you believe in yourselves or something. So did the Black Knight.
You won’t. Let. It. Go.
Cruz – no one’s first choice, not even Cruz’s. But in a primary focused on tossing out the establishment, somehow Cruz became the best (least worst at least) choice. Cruz is an outsider, and anti-establishment. He is, despite it all, the best remaining choice for a Republican candidate. It isn’t the best choice we have ever had, but it could be worse.
It could be Trump. Ah, Trump. The hell of it is, I like some of what he is doing. I like the refusal to bend into a pretzel apologizing when someone is offended. We do that too much – and it makes one think that the original comment was not meant – which leads to distrust. And enough already. But refusing to apologize or admit you are wrong, even when you should, is a sign of a weak individual. I like Trump taking and espousing unpopular positions. I wish I believed he believed them. But I don’t. What I do believe is that Trump is speaking to a lot of anger in the population. People tired of being taken for granted, of the government trying to ‘save’ them as the same government actively works to destroy them. Of being mocked by politicians (Obama’s ‘bitter clinger’ comment comes to mind). Trump speaks to that anger, but has no specifics, and no real plans. As I have said before – he wants to win the election, not be the President. Trump acts a lot like the poor kid fighting to prove he is as good as everyone else.
As an aside, if you think that Trump supporters are automatically racist/sexist/x-phobic (and kudos to the left for using people with a psychological condition as a synonym for ‘hate’), you have a serious stereotype problem. That is no more or less offensive than assuming all blacks vote Democrat, all Southerners are inbred, or all homosexuals are sex fiends. Grow up. If you can’t figure that out, get out of political activity until you do – you and your rabid intolerance and hate are what is hurting this country.
In the final analysis, however, we have a system that has lasted centuries, with bad Presidents, and disputed elections that left people feeling oppressed (Japanese internment camps for 100 Alex), left out, and generally angry. No matter who the next President is, we all need to remember that there was an election, and people voted. Maybe we disagree with their choice, but in the end, the people had their say. If that is so very unpalatable to you, then you have my pity. Wait four years. Trump/Cruz/Sanders/Clinton won’t destroy the country in four years. If you really believe that to be a possibility, grow up.