Forum

Both Dems, GOP offer unsatisfying candidates

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After Staffwriter Caleb Glickman’s response to my defense of the independent millennial, I continue to hold my stance that voting third party is a plausible choice that stretches far beyond what he describes as “idealism.” In fact, in many ways it could be a more rational decision than voting from the cesspool of choices that the two party system has provided us with.

Glickman credits the three branches of government as a solution that “brings many political dimensions and ideals to the table.” He continues, “...they do not form their own parties just because they disagree on a few issues. They find common ground with their fellow lawmakers.” In this sense, he is entirely correct. In fact, the rate at which they find common ground is so high, that the idea that they are representing multiple political dimensions and ideals is ludicrous. It has become taboo to vote against your party as a legislator. This is why our nation has become so polarized, and why according to a USA Today survey, despite the fact that Trump is all that Glickman has mentioned and more, he continues to be endorsed by all but 26 percent of Republican federal lawmakers.

Data compiled by the Washington Post from GovTrack puts into perspective just how often members of Congress vote along their party lines. On the House side, Republican Walter Jones leads with the most votes against his party, with more than 33 percent of his votes against the majority. In the Senate, this number is even less, with Democrat Joe Manchin voting against his party just over 25 percent of the time. This means that the most diverse-in-thought Democrat in the Senate votes with his party three out of four times.

If these numbers were the norm for most members of Congress, the argument could be made that this is not actually that bad. However, when only four senators and 11 Representatives voted against their parties more than 20 percent of the time, the idea that they represent a diverse crowd of thought and decision making could not be more false.

Glickman mentions that “parties can shift in their ideology when more lawmakers endorse a particular idea. If a voter feels left out of a coalition, he should support legislators in the coalition he most agrees with.” I agree that parties tend to shift towards more popular ideologies in order to win votes, but as I mentioned in my previous article, if you want to really change the way a party operates, withholding your vote from it is no doubt the most effective way. The power that a large group of people can have by withholding votes from a political party is much more than that of simply voting for a candidate you dislike that has already been placed in front of you. Because politics is their career, most members of Congress are not strictly tied to any political ideology and will shift positions on issues in order to win back large populations of voters that they have lost.

Perhaps the line that deserves the most attention in Glickman’s article is the following:
“On the morning of Nov. 9, how will you feel if your new president-elect is Donald Trump, a racist, misogynist, bullying, thin-skinned, xenophobic, ignoramus … who has boasted about being a sexual predator.” The length of the quote clearly depicts Glickman’s agenda through his articles, not in promoting even a system of two choices, but one with what he believes to be a clear-cut choice: Hillary Clinton or Hillary Clinton.

While I agree with much of this quote and am myself quite scared of a Trump presidency, a quick search through the WikiLeaks Hillary Clinton Email Archive will show you just how I will feel on the morning of Nov. 9 if Clinton is our new president-elect. Her responsibility for Benghazi, lack of understanding of how to handle classified information, close ties with Wall Street, and lies about her mishandling of classified information are as frightening, if not even more frightening than the junk that spews out of Trump’s mouth.

All of these actions that have caused obvious security threats to our country make it hard for me to believe that Clinton is “the only person in this race we can trust to lead the land of the free.” While a Trump presidency would be more than damaging, we’ve seen from Clinton’s time as Secretary of State that her presidency could turn out just as badly.

I can sympathize with Clinton supporters and their desire to keep Trump from the White House, but I can also understand why those in rural communities are equally as afraid of a Clinton presidency. According to a Reuters poll in August,
41 percent of those outside of urban areas supported Trump, and only 28 percent supported Clinton. This should be of little surprise when Clinton has directly called out rural blue collar Americans with quotes like, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” For the small-town American, as jobs are leaving and heroin overdoses and economic issues plague their towns, it is clear why the message “Make America Great Again” is so appealing.

My goal is not to stand up for Trump or any of his ridiculousness, but to put things into perspective. Trump and Clinton are both terrible in their own ways and present a polarization of this nation. I don’t wish to present alternative options like Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, or even Joe Exotic as ideal solutions to the problem, but I hope for you to open your eyes and look at the real pros and cons of all options available, whether it’s Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or candidates of any other political affiliation.