Thoughts on the 2016 election season

A bit late, I know, but I want to get something out there for many reasons.

As alluded to in the previous entry, I have not ignored the goings on with the 2016 presidential race. I voted in the Democratic primary for Bernie Sanders. Though he did not win Texas, and eventually conceded the nomination to Hillary Clinton, I still feel Bernie would have been a far better choice for president.

When I read Bernie conceded the nomination, it was the biggest letdown I have ever felt over a candidate in the primaries. That day was the first truly sad day of a pretty sad week. It became obvious, of course, that those in charge of the Democratic party wanted Hillary to win at just about any cost–something which sparked outrage within the party, and which led to the eventual resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and not a moment too soon.

As bad as that may have been, what happened on the Republican side is far more terrifying. I have never in my lifetime seen a candidate so obviously unqualified to be president actually win the nomination. I noticed Donald Trump running for the Republican nomination, and I thought it was one of those joke campaigns that had no realistic chance of winning, and that we’d at least see the Democratic candidate (this is before Hillary won) face off against someone remotely qualified to run the country sitting in the White House come next January.

And then, excuse my French, the shit really hit the fan. Mr. Trump showed he was a jerk with no regard for the law on so many occasions it’s hard to remember them all. The “highlights”, some of which happened before Trump actually won the nomination, include inciting a riot in North Carolina, the infamous “grab ‘em by the (genitalia)” tape leaked, instructing security to eject protesters out into subzero temperatures without their coats, and demonstrating a terrifying lack of understanding of foreign policy by asking “why can’t we just nuke Russia”. There’s also building a wall at the Mexican border, his anti-Islamic statements, and last but certainly not least, Mr. Trump has refused to release his tax returns sparking all kinds of speculation. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is, Mr. Trump is the personification of everything that’s wrong with the Republican party as we know it today.

I’m not even going to get into the whole emails debacle. I’ll just say there’s a huge double standard, and that when the Republicans do what Hillary did with emails, they have no problem with it. Yes, that’s ludicrous and hypocritical. No, it doesn’t surprise me anymore.

Adding to the frustration is that the system is horribly broken regarding third-party candidates. When I feel more like diving into details, I may go into this more in another post, but suffice it to say that today, the way presidential debates are organized, only the Republican and Democratic candidates are invited. They are organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is run by leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties. Worse, so many states do a “winner take all” allocation of electoral votes. Meaning, in theory, if Donald Trump has one more popular vote than Hillary Clinton in a state like California or Florida, it’s the same as if he wins by a 90%-10% margin or a 60%-40% margin.

And the rest of the world wonders why the USA is so messed up sometimes.

Perhaps the worst part about it is, the polls showed that Bernie would have crushed Mr. Trump in the general election. Yet Bernie is not who the Democratic Party put out there; Hillary is. Granted, at least Hillary has some idea what the job entails, having been in the White House during her husband’s two terms, and is somewhat qualified having been a senator and Secretary of State in the past. The flip side of that is the awkward truth embodied in the old joke that Bill Clinton is the best Republican president we’ve had (he ran as a Democrat). I wasn’t eligible to vote yet in the 1992 election, and honestly I’m not sure who I would have voted for even if I did. (I used to lean much farther right than I do today.)

I’ll be honest, I don’t like Hillary Clinton a whole lot. But I really, really, really don’t like Donald Trump, and I’m horrified he’s made it this far and that the Republican Party has given him this long of a leash. The presidency is not a damn reality TV show! This is not a four-year-long taping of The Apprentice! Sheesh! (Yeah, I voted for Hillary. I could not risk voting a third party with some of the last polls saying Texas was effectively a toss-up or swing state.)

So, why did it take so damn long for me to write this post? The few times where I had time to start writing a post about the election season, I actually got a bit queasy. It was still difficult getting it all out there today. I’m not sure how to fix this hot mess we call the presidential elections, but I do know there’s a lot that needs fixing.

If anyone has any good ideas on where to begin, feel free to comment below.

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