Hard Decision 2016

Presidential Election 2016

Picture by DonkeyHotey

Who Should Be Our Next U.S. President?

So, here we are.  I have not posted for the past several months because, quite frankly, I felt a little tired of politics.  I know that is hard for a political blogger to say, but I am tired of listening to email scandals, and ugly presidential debates, and biased press reports…. But I felt like I had to weigh in a few weeks before this 2016 election.

To be clear, I have rarely had the luxury of voting for someone I actually wanted to be president.  Instead, I seem to vote for the better of two candidates that make it through our flawed primary election process.  And 2016 is certainly no different.  In full disclosure, my favorite candidate was Rand Paul.  So, now it comes down to Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.  I want to share my thinking on this challenging decision.  I created a list of my personal positive and negative aspects of each candidate below:

Hillary Clinton – Positives

I believe that Hillary Clinton is the most experienced candidate we have had as a presidential candidate for quite some time.  While, I am not overly impressed with most of Hillary Clinton’s accomplishments, I do believe she has been a part of the political system in the U.S. for 40-years; and this can be a benefit.  I also think that Hillary Clinton is much more experienced than Donald Trump in legal matters, and general intelligence.  She has also demonstrated much better self-control and tempered speech when talking about political matters.  I believe this would make Hillary Clinton’s responses to dramatic occurrences more deliberate, well thought out, and diplomatic.  As far as policy matters, I believe that Hillary has a better approach than Donald Trump to military intervention, better thought-out investments in infrastructure, and a stated attempt to remove current tax loop holes.

+ Experience
+ General Intelligence
+ Legal Understanding
+ Self Control
+ Decrease wealthy tax loop holes
+ Good ideas on infrastructure investments
+ Reasonable military intervention

Donald Trump – Positives

The fact that Donald Trump is an outsider to the political process, is a great attribute in my opinion.  As a person who feels our political system is deeply flawed, I believe it requires someone who is not aligned with either party’s influence; and is not bought by any special interest.  I like Donald’s stance against free-trade.  I believe we have been taken advantage of for quite some time with the trade deals that we have promoted.  We don’t currently have fair trade as we levy taxes and regulations on domestic companies and have no jurisdiction to do the same in our free trade agreements for foreign companies.  An import tax is the only way we can enforce a reasonable trade balance; and we need to use it.  I also agree with Trump’s stance on immigration.  I do not necessarily believe the wall is the right direction, but I do believe we need to enforce laws that we create.  If it were up to me, I would dramatically increase immigration quotas and make it easier to migrate to the U.S.  We need more immigrants, not fewer.  We do need to enforce our laws… and I think Donald is willing to back up law enforcement.  I also think that Trump is a better negotiator and will make better deals with foreign governments.  I do believe he is right when he says that the U.S. is picking up the tab for everyone else’s defense; and not getting much in return.  This goes for NATO, the UN, and many other international dealings.  Because of this, our military budget is larger than the next 8 countries combined… and Americans are going into major debt to pay this cost.  I believe that Trump has selected a better Vice Presidential running mate than Clinton.  Considering either one of these candidates is an impeachment target, I think this VP pick is an important consideration.  I don’t like Trump’s overall tax plan, but believe his desire to reduce corporate income taxes is a good one.  There is simply no other way corporations will bring profits back into the U.S. unless they can rid themselves of a high tax rate; and double taxation on profits.  Probably the largest benefit for Donald is his selection of Supreme Court Justices.  Our next president will most likely replace three justices currently sitting on currenly tied 4-4 Supreme Court.  Donald has listed justices he would pick from; and most are constitutionalists.  In other words, they would support the current law as it was intended; and not create new law and new interpretations based on political bias.

+ Outsider
+ Not allied with either political party
+ Right position on free trade
+ Right position on immigration control
+ Better negotiator
+ Good VP pick
+ Reasonable approach to Corp. Taxes
+ Law enforcement
+ Constitutional Supreme Court nominees

Hillary Clinton – Negatives

Although, Hillary has a lot of experience and understands Washington DC’s political systems, this can be a negative.  In fact, it turns out that it is a huge negative in my view.  The Clinton’s have become wealthy by simply being in politics.  Although this is the way a monarchy and dictatorship is supposed to work; it is not the way a Democratic-Republic is supposed to work.  I believe this seeking of wealth in public service is the root of all public sector evil.  Hillary is supported by three organizations that ought to give every voter pause: 1) the press; 2) large banks; and 3) political insiders.  I also strongly disagree that we should approve the abortion of a baby in the third trimester of pregnancy.  I am not a proponent of abortion at all… but this late term abortion is simply too much.  Hillary has also stated that she doesn’t really care if we have border control or enforcement at all.  I believe she will be the worst president we have ever had in enforcing laws she disagrees with, next to President Obama.  I believe that Hillary will continue to drive the wedge of ethnic disparity and animosity; as well as drive political polarization.  Although, I do believe in publicly funded higher education, I believe that Hillary will create a complicated system that will further disenfranchise the middle class in the U.S. by forcing the middle class to pay for higher education for the poor; when they cannot afford this luxury for their own children.  I believe that Hillary Clinton has the exactly wrong ideas on how to fix our currently broken Affordable Care Act.   She wants to expand the ACA… acting as if nothing is wrong with the current system.  With support for all free-trade agreements and increase regulations on domestic companies, Hillary will permanently eliminate a blue collar skilled workforce in the U.S.  Hillary’s loyalty to teacher’s unions will continue the stranglehold these unions have on our education system ensuring that we fall even lower in international education rankings.  Although, I do believe that Clinton will make a better commander in chief than Trump, I do not like the way she acted in Benghazi; and has yet to take responsibility for the deceitful reporting of this incident; and poor tactical decisions.  I fear that any future military mistakes will simply be ignored or covered up.  Most concerning about Hillary’s election would be the Supreme Court justices she would put on the bench.  If elected president, judicial activism will be the norm for the next 20-years.

– Corrupt behavior
– Supported by large banks
– Inaccessible by press
– Press is biased toward her
– Pay for play with Clinton Foundation
– Wrong stance on partial birth abortion
– Wrong stance on border enforcement
– Continue wedge on ethnic divisions
– Highly polarizing
– Complicated & exclusionary program for free college
– No good ideas on fixing ACA
– No strategy to limit damage of free trade
– Continued increase in regulatory environment
– Highly unionized education systems
– Disloyal commander & chief
– Activist supreme Court nominees
– Lacking law enforcement

Donald Trump – Negatives

Trump has a huge share of negatives that rival Hillary Clinton’s.  First of all, he seems to make idiotic statements and seems to rarely take advice of wise counsel.  A president needs to be able to pick great people to surround himself; or herself; and then listen to their advice.  Like Clinton, Trump is highly polarizing.  I believe his polarization comes mostly by accident; but nevertheless, he tends to divide people like Clinton.  Trump’s tax plan is almost laughable.  It is quite attractive for him to say that he will reduce taxes; but he is reducing the marginal tax rates at the top without a true understanding of how this will effect our overall economy and current deficits.  I agree with his plan to reduce corporate taxes as already stated.  And I would agree with reducing rates on the wealthy; if he would simultaneously eliminate loop holes; but he has not stated he will eliminate any loop holes.  I believe on some level, Trump actually does care about this country, and most of his actions do tend to favor the U.S. over concessions to other countries; however, he seems to still be quite self-absorbed and is easily offended when someone comes after him personally.  He needs to develop a much thicker skin if he wants to lead.  Trump has recently been exposed in a few announcements about his womanizing.  Although some of these allegations have not been proven; it is not hard to believe that they are true.  While we have had several presidents in our past who have been womanizers, I think that this is a negative character trait; and should be something that we stop tolerating in our elected officials.

– Idiotic statements
– Doesn’t seem to solicit and listen to wise advice
– Highly polarizing
– Tax breaks for wealthy
– Very self absorbed
– Womanizer

Issues Not Addressed

Probably the most disappointing aspect of both of these candidates is the complete silence on a few of the most critical issues facing this nation.  Here is the list:

Social Security & Medicare

We need to do something about Social Security and Medicare in the next presidential term; and these two funds which are forecast to go insolvent have not even been addressed.

Health Care

The Affordable Care Act is an admitted disaster; and nether candidate has put forth a viable solution to solve this mess.  Americans are now forced to pay a lot for a poor healthcare system… unless they decide to become unemployed.  Kind of backwards, isn’t it?  We need to either remove all public sector influence on this market and let the free-market drive down prices; or we need a public single-payer option that can operate like the Scandinavian countries… but we cannot afford to keep the disaster we have currently.

National Debt

We saw our national debt climb to $10 Trillion under George W. Bush; and then to $20 Trillion under Barrack Obama; and both presidential candidates have completely dodged the question about trying to gain some fiscal discipline with government spending.  Clinton claims that she will invest in education and infrastructure, but is silent about what this will do to our national debt.  Trump claims that he will bring so many jobs back to the U.S. that we won’t have a debt problem.  But neither is really serious about this problem.

Uniting our Country

Both of these candidates are polarizing figures.  I guess that is a remnant of a broken primary election system.  We don’t need to think like: Blacks vs Whites; or Citizens vs Immigrants; Rich vs Poor; or Gay vs Straight; or Man vs Woman; Business Owners vs Wage Earners.  We need to have serious dialogue about self-governance… and what it truly means to be Americans.  I don’t see either candidate providing this kind of leadership.

What are the Non-Issues?

A lot has been made of Hillary Clinton’s email cover up; and Donald Trump’s ethnic bias.  Ironically, I believe these two issues are exaggerated by the press; and are non-issues.  Every time I’d hear these two items surfaced, I’d brace myself for the spin from both sides.

Let’s take the email first.  Clinton used a private email server for top secret and government business.  While this may seem appalling to many, this seemed to be quite normal protocol for other Secretaries of State.  We shouldn’t have allowed this for any of our government officials; but should not now place a higher standard on Hillary Clinton just because she decides to run for president.

Now the racism charges against Trump.  Trump has made some clumsy statements, but I am tired of every time a person says something wrong, we jump all over him/her and get offended.  And then exaggerate what they said… and make it into more than it is.  There are real racists out there… There are white racists, black racists, brown racists, and we ought to call out real racism; or ethnic bias wherever it exists… but Trump is not one of them.

Who Should I Vote For?

I am going to vote for either Trump or Clinton as president this November.  I really am not that attracted to Jill Stein; or Gary Johnson.  Although tempted to support a third party; neither one of these candidates are any better than Trump or Clinton.

I understand that some who read this will disagree with what I believe is good or bad.  That’s fine.  I am not a narcissist.  I know that I’m often wrong.  The reason I wrote this post was an effort to try to surface some issues that don’t seem to get much play in the press.  Whether you agree with me or not on my statements, I do encourage you to vote.  Even if you are turned off by both of these candidates, it is likely that you can find some issues that you like on one side or the other.

And… regardless of who wins, I will pray for our next president to do the best they can for all Americans.