Will the 2016 election offer a viable presidential choice?

“We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.” – George Washington


By David Rogers
By David Rogers

I wonder what George Washington would think if he were viewing the electoral process today and assessing the level of understanding and participation by the average voter? Have we learned anything at all over the last two electoral cycles? It begs the question of voter ignorance and lack of lessons from history, namely just how dumb has the American electorate become?

If the primaries are any indication of the mood currently sweeping America, the 2016 elections could make 2008 and 2012 look like child’s play. Barack Obama was a rock star in 2008. His charm and appeal were undeniable. But his dubious background, left-wing affiliations (which were greatly underplayed or ignored by the supposed watchdog media) and lack of any real world experience should have been red flags to any modestly informed voter. And those concerns have played out succinctly over time. America is by almost any measure in a far more tenuous position today than it was before the Obama presidency.

In 2012, after four years of the Obama administration’s bumbling and left-wing idealistic nonsense, a three-legged horse should have beaten President Obama in the election. The fact that Mitt Romney – perhaps one of the nicest, most real-world experienced, moral, god-fearing and outright patriotic men to ever run for President – faced him should have made the election a runaway for the Republicans. Yet, somehow, we re-elected an incumbent with perhaps one of the worst records ever for sound policy, constitutional support, and financial management. This outcome remains a truly an enigmatic political mystery and perhaps a serious ultimatum for our country in general.

If Hollywood were to make a movie about the proceedings of the primaries so far and the prevailing mood of the American voter, the title might be Dumb and Dumberest: Lloyd and Harry go to Washington. Let us examine where we are so far.

Donald Trump is running away with the Republican primaries and a large segment of public enthusiasm so far, never mind a close second in Iowa. Momentum for the Donald continues to grow. His antics and salesmanship get him more media time than the latest action movie hero. His sound bites are everywhere. He has a seat embroidered with his name at Fox News. Yet, his complete lack of substance and outrageous and impractical statements that would never translate to real policy defy any rational political gravity. The maddening throngs just devour his hollow rhetoric as if it were gospel. And his upward trajectory continues despite any rational explanation. It is not even clear if he is a true Republican.

The only redeeming factor is that Mr. Trump has a chance, a big maybe, of actually formulating rational policy towards issues that could restore some semblance of order. Can he check his New York sized ego at the door and wield the most powerful office in the world without being swayed by personal biases and do what the country really needs? Is there any redemption here? Hard to say, though some experts think so. He is struggling so far on the eyeball test, without a doubt, despite his seeming outrage at the “establishment.” If he can soften his innate political buffoonery and rise above adolescent vendettas on the media and other candidates, he stands a slim chance of actually amounting to something. Exactly what remains a mystery still, though he seems to be evolving.

The Democrat’s race is even more puzzling. Hillary Clinton finally takes a state in Nevada, but is being pushed by an aged, socialist kook with less practical real-world experience than Obama, who is really not actually a Democrat. Mrs. Clinton should probably be exploring the stylishness of an orange federal jumpsuit, (Alex Jones is selling a boatload of t-shirts that say “Hillary for Prison 2016” – they are showing up at Republican caucuses everywhere) but continues unmolested to position herself as an advocate for everything she despises once the microphones are turned off. She is as phony as a three dollar bill, yet liberal advocates continue on in unfeigned devotion. Benghazi, e-mail scandals, the Clinton Foundation and general distrust follow her everywhere, yet she is poised to win the nomination. It stretches the bounds of credulity.

The Bernie Sanders phenomenon is even more concerning. A ranting, aged socialist nut job that has earned almost every paycheck in his life from a position in public office, Mr. Sanders stands little chance as the super delegates all line up behind Hillary, who is as “establishment” as it gets (and is perfectly representative of the darker aspects of said establishment) as she continues to trumpet a faux anti-establishment message. But his far-left socialist message appears to be resonating with a large swath of Americans who somehow have been convinced that socialism might be a good idea. I guess none of the massive failures in socialist states across the globe register in young or naïve voters’ world view.

Never mind that a majority of Sanders’ spoutings from the podium are either constitutionally illegal or financially impossible. His income equality message and the blame put on “one percenters” for America’s problems are old, oft-disproved Marxist nonsense. But it all sounds pleasing to the undisciplined ear. What lazy, irresponsible slug would not want free everything? But as a real and viable candidate, it stretches the imagination that Sanders could gain any momentum at all. Yet here he is, the new (old) rock star in the eyes of young voters, pushing Hillary Clinton in terms of the popular vote.

And that is the major concern. Any combination of these three candidates facing off in a general election currently threatens to leave America without a legitimate choice for true principled constitutional leadership for the next four years. At a time when our country faces issues that translate into the very survival of our Republic, we may well feel like we are seeing some twisted re-run of “Dumb and Dumber” on our ballots this November. And that would suggest we are indeed a vast confederacy of fools. And should we come to November with a choice for either less or more vacuous leadership, we will have chosen and earned any further misery that comes our way over the next four years. Honestly, George Washington and many of our other founders must be literally spinning in their graves.

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