Friday, August 21, 2020

Consider This – The Election Cycle

When last we visited the keyboard, it was February; before the pandemic took hold, the mismanagement of crisis after crisis, the 175,000 dead (and still climbing), protests, demonstrations, riots, and continued struggles of We the People as this presidential election year winds down to the final months and weeks until the ballots are cast.


When last I put thoughts to words, I admitted to making a mistake in 2016 – that of voting for a third-party candidate (Libertarian) instead of one of the two popular parties. While I still don’t think of my personal protest as throwing away my vote, and if the popular vote had more weight the outcome four years ago would have been profoundly different, I still consider what I did as a mistake, even though I didn’t really agree with the Democratic nominee. If the choice was truly between only two candidates, then Ms. Clinton was arguably the better of the two by a slim margin at least (and a 3-million vote popular lead). The Electoral College had different plans, and we ended up with Trump.


While there are more than two parties, or even three, in our electoral system, it truly only boils down to the top two which control the government – and have for many, many years. There is no coalition of Libertarian/Green/Constitutional/Communist or others which can begin to match the power and reach of the Democratic or Republican Party. For this to change, there needs to be a much stronger grassroots effort to promote the lesser known parties – or even just one party which could truly unite people against the dichotomy of our current government – two sides of the same poorly functioning machine. Such an effort needs to start at the local level, make a strong foothold into the mainstream system from there. Move to a state level, then spread to other states until it is an unstoppable force for change against those other two parties. This sounds like an impossible task, but it is actually something which can be accomplished given enough time. It certainly won’t happen overnight, though, and that brings us back to the two parties currently sharing power.


After these last three and a half years, the country truly needs a drastic change. Granted, when Trump took over, there certainly was a lot of transformation of government; much of it can be expected at the beginning of one’s term in office, but Trump certainly took it to a new level, not just with personnel, but basic policy changes which had been de facto standards in government for much longer. While he certainly did shake up the establishment, it is very questionable whether he actually did it for the nation, or just himself. As his final weeks for this term continue, there are more questions than answers about his actions and those who have supported him through his deeds (and misdeeds). It will certainly take another major change to recover the country’s standing in the world, let alone our economic and societal well-being.


I won’t make the same mistake this time as I did in 2016.


In 2016, I ended up a “Bernie or Bust” supporter, and when he was snubbed so harshly, it was a slap in the face by the party I believed to truly be for We the People. While I had hoped I might have still been able to support Ms. Clinton in the end, I could not reconcile myself to it, so made my protest vote instead. Many others did this as well; over 6 million votes went to the “other candidates” and took away from Trump and Clinton. In the end, it was the Electoral College which did the nation a raw deal, and gave us what we have today.


Now it’s another presidential cycle, and we started with one of the broadest groups of candidates ever seen for any party. There were over 20 people vying for the Democratic nomination, and I think if the pandemic hadn’t taken over so much of our lives in the middle of the primary cycle, there would have been a narrow divide between some of the top candidates entering the Democratic National Convention.


The way things turned out, I do wonder about how the deals were made to get the others to drop out and support Joe Biden – who else was in the room where it happened? But there is more and better support within the party for Joe and his historic pick for VP, Kamala Harris. This time, the Democratic Party has a stronger pair to head up the charge and take this all the way to the White House.


For those who still think voting for a Libertarian, or Green, or any other party’s candidate for President is better than the choice of Biden or Trump, reconsider. While I still will be looking closely at these other parties and their candidates on local and state positions, there truly can be only one choice to stop Trump before he irreparably damages our nation. We cannot allow him to continue to dismantle the federal systems which have been in place for 240 years, throw out the basic tenets set forth in our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and run rampant over our courts and legislature. The world has already shut us out from their borders, and while Trump may believe he is the best thing ever, nations around the world are laughing at him – and by proxy laughing at US – while he continues to mismanage our nation.

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