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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

US Presidential Campaign

Well, with the Indiana Primary results in, it looks like it will be Donald Trump as the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee.  And I don't see anyone mounting a credible 3rd party campaign.

That's too bad.  I respect Clinton; breadth of experience, thoughtfulness, and a progressive approach suit me.  I would have been OK with Sanders; I like him personally, I completely agree that money has too much influence in politics and sometimes some radical approaches are needed, but I just don't see him as "Manager of The Executive Branch".  Hey, maybe he would have been a genious at it, but we will never know.

But Donald Trump deeply worries me.  I don't mean for this to be a screed, but the man has more holes in his psyche than swiss cheese.  He lies outrageously, he unashamedly repeats proven falsehoods, he makes promises that he could never keep, he detests almost everyone, he wants to start fights with both opposing and friendly nations, and he seems to have little concept of how government works (3 equal branches of government, constitutional restrictions, law in general, etc).  He approves of torture as "effective", he wants MORE nations to have nuclear weapons, and he would expect the military to follow "illegal" orders.

Trump would make an excellent dictator in a small nation.  He has openly admired Vladamir Putin and Benito Mussolini.  Oddly, in a very dysfunctional small nation, he might even do some good.  I don't think he is "evil", he's just sort of nuts.  He wouldn't be vicious like many dictators and would probably forcibly implement some economic improvements.  But that won't work in any developed democracy.

If Trump were elected, the  Congress and Supreme Court would probably just block him out of governance for his single term, but even then he could probably cause enough confusion and chaos to damage the economy, destroy our international influence, and divide the nation domestically for a decade.  Whatever he could effect, he would make worse.

This is not to say that Clinton would be the best President we have ever had.  She would work unbelievably hard, bring in a lot of international good will, appoint qualified but not historic Supreme Court Justices, and improve many continuing domestic problems.  But she isn't going to excite and stimulate the nation, and she isn't going to solve The Big Problems (but she sure won't make any of them worse). 

This Presidential campaign will be best for political commentators and comedians.  I saw one statement that the Republicans had 3 major candidates; the grandson of an immigrant (Trump), the son of immigrants (Rubio), and an actual immigrant (Cruz) all competing to claim to hate immigrants the most!  Ah, c'mon, ya GOTTA laugh about THAT!

Another good one was that Sanders had a good motto ("Feel The Bern") but Clinton's was not as good ("Trudge Uphill"). 

I vote for Clinton without any hesitation.  Experienced/hard-working/good intentions beat a lying/bullying/megalomaniac nutso EVERY time.

But this election may be the best argument against the 2 term limitation.  I would gladly take a 3rd Obama term.  Heck, I'd take a 3rd Bill Clinton term.  But maybe that is just fear of uncertainty.  I'll bet Hillary Clinton is going to be a good President (and I can hope, better).

The most hopeful possibility is that a Clinton victory over Trump is so overwhelming that the Democrats regain control over the Congress.  I think that would be good for the nation in general terms.  But also, that divided government is not working these days (with the "just say no to anything" Republicans) and at least it might be good to get SOMETHING done.

I know that a lot of you out there are Republicans.  I used to be one too.  I don't mean anything negative to Republicans in general.  We need 2 functioning parties, competition of ideas is good, and the times in our history when one party has controlled government for too long have not been good.

This election suggests a blowout.  I've experienced 2 of those.  The Goldwater landslide defeat in 1964 and the McGovern landslide defeat in 1972.  In fact my (50 page OMG it killed me writing it) senior political science paper compared the 2 campaigns.  From opposite sides of the political spectrum, the nomination campaigns were surprisingly similar...

So, prediction:  Clinton will get more Electoral College votes than Obama did, the Republican Party will finally (after 36 years) move toward the center, and the Democrats will stay where they are...

1 comment:

Megan said...

There's been a lot of coverage of the primaries in our press over here Mark. I thought one comment made in recent days that American politics would benefit from implementing Australia's compulsory voting was interesting. Yep - ya gotta vote in Australia or face a hefty fine. Mind you, it's made very easy to vote, with elections always held on Saturdays and polling booths in lots and lots of places - school halls, church halls, community centres etc etc. (That means that there's virtually no queuing to vote - in and out in 5 minutes - and you don't have to look very hard to find somewhere to vote.) In addition, with advances in technology, more and more people are choosing to use a 'postal vote', which in practice, typically means voting online rather than using snail mail.

Anyhoo, the argument was that American politics would be pushed back to the centre (from both sides) if politicans/candidates understood the need to appeal to every adult member of the community - not just those motivated to go to the trouble of voting.

The same writer, however, said that compulsory voting would never happen in the USA as there was such a deeply entrenched view opposed to 'compulsory' almost anything! LOL

Sydney, Australia