The ReThink Blog

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The Candidates 2016

The Candidates 2016 and My Vote

The White House
I'm not wholly comfortable giving anyone this much power, if I'm honest
Now that I've gone through many of the core issues, examined each candidate's stated proposals, and weighed them against my own beliefs, I have a much clearer vision for who I will vote to be our next president and why. However, even though I went with a numbered "scorecard" method this time around, I want to stress that the raw number is not a perfect encapsulation of my feelings for a candidate: some issues are more important to me than others, and no doubt you will also have your own biases and priorities that do not line up with my own. Indeed, you might have a very different scorecard from mine, and that's the way it should be. Using my scorecard as a guide, though, let's examine each of the four candidates individually, from the lowest to the highest score.

Before I begin, however, let me address one of the more important side issues facing this country, one that I didn't have a natural space for in my previous articles: the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has gotten more and more partisan ever since the Bork nomination, and I'm not convinced we can ever go back to a time when the court was actually applauded for being fair and unprejudicial. With self-inflicted Legislative ineffectiveness and Executive overreach undermining two of the three branches of government, I wish I could have more hope for the third. Alas, I do not, and I don't see how a Trump nominee or a Clinton nominee would change that. It is telling that, when asked about their Supreme Court nominations at the most recent debate, both major party candidates talked about the necessary policy positions of their selections, not their objectivity. Sure, if I had to have a biased judge, I'd rather have a "conservative" one than a "liberal" one, but let's not forget how many times a Supreme Court judge has been far different from what was first imagined. Therefore, I think it is foolish to vote for a president solely based on the potential make-up of the Supreme Court. It's important, to be sure, but it's not important enough to override the many other policy positions a presidential candidate is taking. If it were the only issue of the election, I might honestly consider voting for Trump on the selfish hope he'd elect a right-leaning justice to balance out the extremely left-leaning ones already seated at the bench, but then I'd probably have to go with Johnson in the end, the only candidate of the four who seems to understand the constitutional purpose of the Supreme Court, which is to be non-partisan and true to the language of our founding document and its amendments.

Jill Stein
- 02 -

It's very difficult for me to take Jill Stein seriously, but if I were to contemplate a country run by her policies, my brain would collapse in utter terror. Declaring everything a right to be given to the masses by government, rapidly dismantling our infrastructure from the top down and believing it will end all war and not completely devastate the economy, criminalizing dissent from scientific consensus, believing that groups of people no longer have the protections of the constitution because they've become capitalist monstrosities and corporate boogeymen responsible for everything that ails the world, ending unemployment by government mandate, and eliminating private ownership of healthcare, education, political activism, and more, would turn America into a failed third-world socialist cesspit where everyone not in the privileged political class gets an equal share of misery, poverty, and a sense of self-reighteous entitlement to the fruits of other people's labor. Far from being the utopia of green energy her true believers claim, a country built on Jill Stein's stated principles would be unrecognizable from the prosperous--albeit imperfect--America that free enterprise, individual liberty, and limited government has built. Even worse, it would be a country dominated and exploited by other powers all too eager to take up the slack of polluting the atmosphere and to commit the worst human rights violations ever conceived.

Donald Trump
- 09 -

I'll say one good thing about Donald Trump: he's better than Jill Stein... but not by much. He's a crass ideologue with views on policy that are as inconsistent as they are vague. When he's not talking about creating trade wars with our biggest economic partners or building ineffective walls to keep foreign rapers from crossing our southern borders, he's using his Twitter account to defend his fragile ego and hurl insults at anyone who dares to question him about anything. In just one short year, he has changed both the Tea Party movement and the GOP from movements built on conservatism, smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and constitutional separation of powers into obnoxious, hostile, and overly defensive cults of personality meant to enlarge one man at the expense of everything else. Make no mistakes: though they have many of the same passengers, the Tea Party Express and the Trump Train go in opposite directions. Trump is demonstrably racist, sexist, and immoral, and it is utterly shocking to me that so many self-described evangelicals and Bible-thumping religious righties are okay with that. Sure, he gives good lip service to a handful of important issues like gun rights, energy policy, and religious freedom, but that's not enough to make up for his poor takes on science, economics, drug policy, police brutality, the budget, and foreign affairs. Even if he had a sunny, intelligent, charming, and trustworthy demeanor, I would oppose him quite vehemently on substance. Thus, I cannot in good conscience give him my vote.

Hillary Clinton
- 09 -

If this election were between just Trump and Clinton and I was forced at gunpoint to vote for one or the other (which, I feel the need to remind people, is not the way it works at all), I would vote for Hillary Clinton. This is not to say I think she's qualified to be president or that I agree with her on very many things, policy-wise. Indeed, I honestly believe she belongs in prison, or at least nowhere near a position of authority or a security clearance, and it disturbs me greatly that so many Democrats are willing to overlook her crimes. I also don't understand how so many self-described "progressives" who obsess about money in politics and defense spending can stomach pulling the lever for Hillary Clinton, probably the Democrat most likely to nurture the politics of cronyism and military aggression. Still, I would take this dishonest, demagoguing, divisive, cronyist, egotistical bully of a woman over Trump, because at least I'd know what I'm getting, and because I know the cause of conservatism will survive four years of her in the Oval Office. She may be a liberal with whom I disagree on all kinds of issues (especially economic ones), but at the end of the day, she has experience and a realistic understanding of what it takes to govern. She'd make a better president than Barack Obama has been, even though she'd be just as condescending, arrogant, and unpleasant to listen to. What it really comes down to, ultimately, is foreign policy, because she would fight for American interests far better than any of the other candidates.

Gary Johnson
- 18 -

Gary Johnson is not my ideal candidate. He is awkward and at times weirdly unfocused, doing his level best to bolster the stereotypes of his party. This makes him an imperfect messenger, and it is one of the core reasons he is not doing better in the polls despite the overwhelming unpopularity of his competition. Perhaps one day, the Libertarian party will nominate a charismatic leader capable of making principled arguments without talking with his tongue out. Nevertheless, on substance, I agree far more with Johnson than I do any of the other candidates. He has consistent principles, which separates him from both Trump and Clinton (but not Stein--I just don't agree with her principles), and those principles are limited government, fiscal responsibility, and constitutional separation of powers, things the Republican party claims to stand for but proves again and again that it doesn't. I firmly believe it's time for a sea change, lest we crash the American ship onto the shores of bitter partisan division and sink under the weight of our own bloated government and extreme debts, and despite his flaws and his naïve views on foreign affairs, Gary Johnson is far, far better than Trump, Clinton, or Stein. It's not even a contest this year, really.

So there you have it. I'm not telling you who you should vote for (or even if you should vote), because that's your choice to make. No matter what else I believe or think about politics, the one thing I hope above all else is that everyone who wishes to take part in the democratic process can do what I have done here over the last few months: look carefully at the issues important to you, acknowledge your own biases, and act according to your conscience. If everybody was capable of doing that, I think the world would be a much better place than it is today.

-e. magill 10/13/2016

  • The Candidates 2016: Preamble
  • The Candidates 2016 and Science
  • The Candidates 2016 and Domestic Policy
  • The Candidates 2016 and the Economy
  • The Candidates 2016 and Civil Rights
  • The Candidates 2016 and Energy
  • The Candidates 2016 and Foreign Policy

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