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Sunday, June 5, 2016

My Presidential Election Thoughts

I have previously written about why Presidential candidates such as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have gained a following. We're nearing the end of the primary/caucus period of the Presidential election and the process of selecting Congressional members, governors and state officers will get underway.

As far as where I stand on these things, I'll summarize my thoughts on the Presidential election.

* While I understand the frustration that Donald Trump supporters feel, I am not going to vote for Trump for any reason. Trump is an orator who may say the right things at times, but they get drowned out in silly or vulgar rhetoric. While I am glad that Trump's candidacy has exposed the bulk of Republican candidates for being out of touch with voters, Trump's oratory methods aren't going to work once he gets into office. A good President understands not only how to win a Presidential election, but can hone political skills to get the United States population to back his or her ideas, even among some of those who did not for that person. Trump has certainly energized his supporters but he's not showing himself to be someone who will get the population in general unified behind his ideas... ideas which are all over the place and seem to be based on whatever strikes him at given moments.

* I remain lukewarm to Hillary Clinton and am highly unlikely to back her, either. My issues with Clinton is that her foreign policy is too hawkish and she seems uninterested in trying to advance new ideas. She's not doing an effective job communicating her vision and seems unwilling to challenge the status quo. I have my doubts she would be an effective President, not because I don't think she's qualified, but because she isn't a very good politician. If we look at past Presidents who were considered to be ineffective, those Presidents had experience in government and understood how processes worked, but they were unable to get the majority of people unified because those Presidents were ineffective communicators. And an ineffective communicator doesn't make for a good politician. The perfect example of this is Herbert Hoover. Hoover is inaccurately portrayed as a President who didn't attempt anything -- he did try some things, even though they didn't work as he may have expected. Also, he had experience in government. His problem was that he couldn't communicate his vision to voters well when he needed to the most. Compare that to Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was strong in communicating to voters and gained large support, even if the effectiveness of his policies is debatable.

* I have been more interested in the candidacies of Bernie Sanders and Gary Johnson. I don't agree with them on every point they make and I do find some of their ideas to be unworkable. However, I have found Sanders more effective in empathizing with the plight of the common voter and to point to areas that, at the very least, merit a lengthy discussion as to why those areas are the way they are and how they got to that point. Simply ignoring those areas and portraying them as "we have always done it this way" isn't going to help matters. As for Johnson, I think he understands enough about the issues that America is facing that he will steer discussion in the direction it needs to go. I think Johnson is the most effective politician among the candidates I've discussed, even if he's not drawing the most attention. And while I don't believe it's possible to eliminate the income tax and corporate tax, I believe Johnson would get to the heart of the matter regarding the tax code, which is far too complex and confuses many people. A simplified tax code would work better and I think Johnson would get things going in the right direction. At this point, I lean toward Johnson, although I would consider backing Sanders if he does win the Democrat nomination.

* One thing American voters need to remember is that no President is ever going to get every single thing he or she wants. That's how it should be. It may see like certain Presidents always got their way, but if you go back and look and their tenures, they didn't. This is why I'm not going to reject somebody because I don't agree with everything he or she says. What I'm looking for is somebody whose overall vision I can get behind, even if not everything is sound.

* With that said, I'm not going to drum up support for whoever I eventually back in the upcoming election by attacking the supporters of another candidate. Nor am I going to support somebody just to keep somebody else out of office. Both are losing strategies because they do nothing to sway voters who haven't decided who they want to back, while further energizing the voters who have made up their minds. By all means, attack the candidate you don't like, but if you focus too much on the candidate's supporters or simply back one person to keep another out of office, you are more likely to wind up with a bad taste in your mouth after the November election.

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