“Who are you supporting for President, Dana?”
I’m asked this question – a lot – and the truth is that this Presidential election will be (as so many elections before it have been) a choice between the lesser of two evils.
On The Republican Side
It’s impossible for me to take a party seriously when their two top candidates are a wholly unlikable, smug and disingenuous religious nut, or a loud-mouthed, self aggrandizing opportunist who has no discernible principles or ambition other than self promotion.
In my opinion, these are the preferred candidates of bratty children who have no understanding of the immense complexities associated with the Highest Office in the Land, governance and the world that exists beyond our borders.
Or that a party so beholden to the religious right – who have actively sought to suppress the rights of women, homosexuals, minorities, immigrants, the poor and non-Christians – realistically still believe that there will be anyone left to vote for them in the future other than Christian white men.
When recently asked, “Gun to your head, who would you vote for in the GOP field?” my response was, “Gun to my head? Pull the trigger.”
My honest answer – after putting on my politico cap – is that (regardless of ideological differences) Jeb Bush is the only legitimate and serious candidate in the Republican field. Marco Rubio is only being embraced by the establishment because he is young, “diverse” and (likely) easily manipulated.
I venture to guess that the political assumption is, because he’s Cuban and young, that he’ll magically close the gap with Hispanic and younger voters…a notion as ridiculous as assuming that conservative women would abandon their own principles, in order to support a woman, any woman, like Hillary (pls see: McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin after it was clear that Obama would beat Hillary for the Democratic nomination in 2008). Or that Hispanics would vote en masse for a party whose recent platform proclamations include building walls to keep out Mexican rapists and repeated threats of deportation.
If I truly had a choice, my preferred Republican candidate would be Gen. Colin Powell.
On The Democratic Side
In Hillary Clinton, the Democrats have a woman so hated and reviled by conservatives, that she’ll be a ridiculously easy target in negative ads for everything from her husband’s Presidency and affair, to Benghazi and her email accounts…or, in Bernie Sanders’ case, a “schlepy looking and frail old man” who will be easy to hang the Socialist moniker upon. In fact, he even refers to himself as a Socialist…a term that has proven to play so well in past elections. < /sarcasm>
As a nation, we don’t historically make a habit of electing “schlepy looking and frail old men” to the Presidency (pls see: Ralph Nader, John McCain, Bob Dole), and he’s become an alternative for Progressives and Liberals who can’t quite pull the handle for Hillary. I’ll admit that Sanders has a nice populist message that appeals to the Progressive heart…but the head says it’s just not going to happen.
However, since I tend to exist in a pragmatic and reality based world, I know that Bernie has a big “Hill” to climb (pun intended) and would only have a realistic shot if the GOP alternative is as laughable and divisive as Ted Cruz or Donald Trump.
From a campaign strategy standpoint, the nomination of Hillary would create an interesting hurdle for the GOP to clear, namely:
“How do we attack this woman, without seemingly attacking a woman or women? We tried to attack Obama and his “otherness,” only to create an underlying perception of racism within the Party, the embarrassingly childish “birther movement,” along with fueling and essentially condoning overt racism against the nation’s first black President. We already have the perception of being against Women’s reproductive rights, and attacking the nations’s first female Presidential nominee would further solidify that perception of misogyny.”
When it comes down to qualifications, both Clinton and Sanders pass muster, far more than any Republican candidate:
Hillary Clinton: Attorney, First Lady of Arkansas (9 years), First Lady of the United States (8 years), US Senator (8 years) and Secretary of State (4 years).
Additionally, a Clinton win would mean having a former President – who is still popular among Democrats – back in the White House as a potential adviser. Since former Presidents retain their security clearance, it’s highly unlikely he’ll sit on the sidelines as the dotting “First Husband” …just keep him away from the interns.
Bernie Sanders: Mayor (8 years), House of Representatives (26 years), US Senator (9 years).
My political instinct and experience says that Bernie will be nothing more than a fun ideological diversion for Liberals, but that the Party’s desire for a realistic chance to win will prevail. This is also the case for Marco Rubio in juxtaposition to Donald Trump or Ted Cruz… the latter being fun to flirt or fool around with, but you’ll never actually take them home to meet your family.
It’s a cynical view, I know, and if I had a better candidate to endorse I would, but with the field currently available to us, my gut says that it will likely come down to Clinton Vs. Rubio.
Early on in the cycle, I honestly thought Jeb Bush would eventually become the establishment candidate for the GOP, but a number of campaign blunders and an inability to separate himself from the crowd of crazies appears to have done him in. He waited too long for the “Trump bubble” to burst, and couldn’t have realistically anticipated that the Trump Circus would last this long.
I guess you just don’t get much traction in the media if you don’t talk about carpet bombing cities, banning an entire religion from entering the country or believing that our rights come from God, and not the Constitution.
Other candidates have “risen from the dead” to capture their Party’s nomination. For example, Bill Clinton in 1992 received only 2.8% of the votes in Iowa and his campaign declared “dead” by the media… and he later went on to win the nomination, election, and re-election.
Which Evil Shall It Be?
Personally, I’m not officially endorsing anyone right now, but simply sharing my thoughts and what I think the political reality is.
I also believe that if Joe Biden had decided to run – looking at the current field of candidates – that he’d essentially be a lock. He’d provide cover for those who won’t vote for a Republican, but are not enthusiastic about Hillary, either…helping to eliminate the Election Day malaise people feel about standing in line to vote for someone they aren’t particularly excited about…and Hillary now has that, “been there, done that, the other guy won the last time she ran, and now she’s back again for another try” cache.
I had a candidate that excited me, and I actively helped to get him elected, twice. Maybe that opportunity will come around again some day. We’ll see.
So, for many, it will likely come down to simply casting their vote against the other Party’s candidate, and not necessarily for their Party’s candidate.
Case in point: I can say with 100% certainly (as a registered Independent / NPA), that if the GOP nominates Cruz or Trump, that it won’t matter who the Democrat is, the Blue Team will get my vote.
As I admitted previously, it’s a cynical point of view, but until people and the media stop elevating ridiculous candidates because it’s “funny” or “entertaining,” and actually focus on issues over ideology, these will continue to be the kinds of candidates we’ll have to choose from.