There was a day when it was considered rude and awkward to talk about your political convictions. I know for a fact that my grandma and grandpa never told each other who they voted for. Clearly that day is long gone. Nevertheless, I started out this political season with the intentions of walking quietly through the minefield of political opinion, minding my own business, and only offering an opinion if I’m asked. I’ve not been entirely successful, but that said I’ve for sure kept silent more than I’ve spoken. There have been many moments where it was so tempting to jump into the fray and offer some pointed opinion, but I chose to refrain.
Well folks, this is my shot across the political nose of this election cycle. At the moment, I plan to write this one piece because I’m going to lay it all out there and let you decide if I’m sane or insane. Up front, I know that some of you will automatically classify me as insane, regardless. That’s fine, as far as I’m concerned we can still be friends.
I consider myself an Independent, although I am registered as a Republican. Why register as a Republican if I’m an Independent? In Colorado I had to register with a party in order to vote in primary elections. Apart from that, I think your party registration is meaningless for the most part since you vote by which ballot you choose, not by your registered party. I did the same thing in Missouri.
Why am I an Independent? Mainly because I find both major parties to be detestable. However, there are some things about Republicans that I can support, and there are some things about Democrats that I can support. That said, I have never encountered a candidate who is that perfect mix of values from both parties and I probably never will. Here’s a sampling of some of the issues I support (not an exhaustive list).
- Energy independence (D) – to be fair, I’ve heard Republicans support this as well.
- Renewable Energy (D)
- Environmental Protection (D)
- Pro-life (R)
- Fair Tax (R)
- Balanced Budget Amendment (R)
To be honest, on the scale of issues, the Republican side is heavier for me than the Democrat, so I vote Republican, but with a lot of angst.
Typically, during the primary season (especially during this one) we form our tribes around our favorite candidates and we fire our arrows at each other in a war of attrition. The last man standing is the one who had the most resources at his or her disposal for winning. Most of the time, those resources are financial. But in this election, there’s a wildcard resource found in the anger of conservative Americans. In this primary election, the person who channels the anger and disgust of the Republican base most effectively seems to lead the pack – never mind if they’re actually a good, qualified candidate.
Beyond their platform, there are things you must consider for any Presidential candidate. First of all is that person’s potential for leading people who are in disagreement. This is one of the elementary qualities for governing. If you cannot unite people across their differences, then you’re an ineffective leader. That is a tall order for us at this time in our history. America is polarized like never before. Therefore, our President must be exemplary in this area. In light of that, there are only three Republican candidates who have the capacity for doing this – by my estimation, of course.
- Marco Rubio
- Ben Carson
- John Kasich
Donald Trump . . . I’m not going to enter into a bashing of Trump. Let me simply leave it at this. Trump hasn’t even been elected and he’s caused great division. Plus, he’s a bigger candidate for being the Anti-Christ than anyone ever thought . . . wait, I said I wouldn’t bash. Trump will not be receiving my vote. He may be the most divisive individual to ever seek the office.
Ted Cruz is interesting, but my discernment just isn’t jiving with him. I like that he’s a defender of the Constitution, I like his tax ideas, but I simply cannot see this man governing very effectively. I have some friends who are staunch Cruz supporters, and if you’re reading this I’m pretty sure you’re ready to barrage me with stats, articles, and other stuff about Cruz that might ease my mind. Feel free to do that, but I’ve already done a fair share of reading about him from supporters and critics. I’m going with my discernment on this one.
Second, you must consider which candidate might fare the best in the general election. Regardless of which party you will vote for, your primary election choice has to weigh out whether or not they can defeat the potential candidates in the opposing party. In a war of ideologies, no one is a perfect candidate. Therefore, what many call a vote of conscience, is just as easily labeled a meaningless vote. If you’re like me, and you don’t support abortion or universal healthcare (in it’s current manifestation), or whatever, then the long game means that you should consider which candidate will have the best odds of defeating candidates who support those issues. Perhaps that’s too pragmatic for your conscience. I understand. For me, the candidate I vote for in the primary is going to be the one whom I believe has the best chances in the general election against the opposing party. By voting that way, I forfeit some of my issues for what I deem to be a greater cause. That’s where my angst comes from in the voting booth.
Finally, what if Trump becomes the Republican nominee? May I suggest to you, that if that’s the eventual case, our country may be screwed no matter who wins. How do you pick between two equally horrible candidates? It’s usually the lesser of two evils, but not in this scenario. If I told you to go with the devil you know and vote for Hillary Clinton, it would be akin to a third Obama administration because she wouldn’t necessarily depart the course he has set. Or if it happened to be Bernie Sanders, he shows no indications of stopping our steady march toward a completely democratic socialist state. But if you voted for Trump, you would be opening a huge can of machismo and bullying with a side of xenophobia, foreign policy disaster, and a growing list of former allies.
My hopes are for a Rubio/Carson ticket. I believe these two men can win. I believe they present the best hope for repairing some of the rifts that exist between Democrats and Republicans. When I say repairing some of the rifts I don’t necessarily mean compromising positions. What I mean is there’s something to be said for being winsome with people. Don’t be an elitist or arrogant, but start from the position that we’re all imperfect with imperfect understanding, and work together toward the goal of restoring America’s greatness. The greatness of America has been hijacked by Trump’s campaign. Let’s reclaim it.
What does a great America look like? Quite simply, America has been greatest when her citizens have been the least selfish. If that’s going to happen, it must happen from the top down. There should be no place for selfish-ambition, greed, or lust for power within our leadership. That’s going to take more than electing a new President, but it’s a good start. For me, I think Rubio and Carson are our best hopes for beginning that change from the top down. I know the future is unclear on whether they’ll be the eventual nominees, but I hope you’ll join me in helping see that reality come to life.