In a few days, the people of the greatest country on earth will elect a new leader. While there are several candidates to choose from, it seems clear that (as usual) the race comes down to the nominees from the Democrat and Republican parties. Neither of them are ideal choices.
From the Democrats (in the spirit of full disclosure I will admit that I’m a registered Democrat) we have a woman who believes that it is her destiny to be the first woman President of the United States. The only problem is that she had a spotty record, both in terms of her political career and her moral compass. Hilary Clinton has almost assuredly lied and she has certainly made questionable choices when it comes to classified information. Her marriage has been marked by scandal. Her policies don’t seem to offer anything that will be more than a continuation of what has come before. Problems will probably not be solved under her leadership, divisions in the country will almost certainly deepen.
On the Republican side we are offered, for all appearances, a mad man. Donald Trump has said and done things as a candidate that go beyond a disregard for “political correctness” and have pushed the limits of human decency. He stands accused of sexual misconduct. He has said horribly offensive things about his opponent, women, minorities… the list goes on. Perhaps worst of all, he’s fanned the flames of resentment, hate, and anger. He’s even seemingly encouraged supporters to doubt the election process, going so far as to say he will only accept the election results if he wins. His proposed policies, the things he’s selling to has supporters, seem unrealistic to impossible. I don’t expect he has any plans of keeping most of his campaign promises. Finally, he’s been accused (and there is some circumstantial evidence that supports the notion) of being in bed with Vladimir Putin, a world leader who obviously does not have a pro-US agenda. Problems will not be solved under his leadership, divisions in the country will almost certainly deepen.
Neither of these candidates are the answer for what’s wrong with the country. They won’t fix the problems because the problems are only partly in the Oval Office.
So, what’s wrong?
As much as I hate to agree with Trump, he’s partially right. The system is rigged. Rigged to keep America focused on the presidential campaign and non-critical issues while the real story should be about how our two largest political parties will do whatever it takes to stay in power. Unfortunately, Mr. Trump is mistaken if he thinks he’s the solution to that problem. In fact, he’s just a new variation on the worst theme.
Have you ever wondered why it costs so much to run for President? Advertising, campaign staff, a campaign manager; those things all have a cost certainly. Hundreds of millions of dollars though? If certainly doesn’t HAVE to cost THAT much! Every election the cost goes up. What does this mean? How does it help the parties?
Well, what it means is that the candidates who have any chance of winning have to be able to raise enough money to mount an effective campaign. Those individuals, then, are not necessarily the best people for the job, but rather the most financially viable. A large portion of funding comes from donations to the two big parties. So, the candidates are likely to be individuals that are hand picked to keep things business as usual. Trump is able, to a greater extent than any other candidate in history, self fund his campaign but still has had to pull back his rhetoric to woo the Republican Party just to get on a ticket with any chance of winning… which AT LEAST partially negates his much lauded lack of strings. It also keeps the Republican Party relevant. We don’t even need to mention Hilary Clinton, love her or hate her she’s as mainstream Democrat as they come.
By cherry picking candidates and keeping anyone who may upset the status quo relegated to underfunded third parties, the big two make sure they are always on top. There is no incentive for THEM to want change. They get good salary, good benefits, and virtually no oversight. Who wouldn’t want that gig. To keep it that way though, they have to very carefully select leaders, not allow any real policy change that may upset their donors, and most importantly use media to perpetuate the myth that “this is just how it is,” and that we shouldn’t complain because so many people around the globe have worse.
I’m tired of comparing the greatest country in the world to a third world nation. That is not a relevant benchmark. After the election, stay interested. Hold you leaders accountable. Trump can’t really make America great again; but it’s citizens can if we stop getting distracted by issues that neither party really care that much about, stop seeing ourselves as two separate people, and take back our power.