It’s been a crazy election season. I started to cover it as Ted Cruz announced his candidacy and lost my footing when a dozen other people announced as well (and that was just the Republican side).
I also refused to put Donald Trump on my site as anything more than a punch line. Everyone knew he’d never make it past Iowa. Right? Right? *cries.
Okay, I was wrong. Obviously.
Now we’re in this situation where we have choices to make. Ugly, disappointing choices that will make more than a few of us sick to our stomachs and decide what institutional disruptions we’ll be screwed by for the next few years.
I’m going to preface this by saying that it seems inevitable that a year from now we’ll be bitching about President Trump. (I’m so, so sorry)
If you want to vote for Trump, then you’re part of the reason he’ll win. His own party thinks he’s racist. He has to attack a judge’s character when his own is exposed, and he’ll probably face consequences from fraud over Trump University. If he gets jail time, that’ll prevent him from being president, and then it’s anyone’s game.
Hillary Clinton is extremely likely to have the Democratic nomination, although we won’t know for sure until next month. While she’ll probably get the closest to Trump of any other candidate, she’s unlikely to do well in the general election. She spent her campaign targeting “Berniebros”, a tactic that she used in 2008 with “Obama Boys”. After calling what were potential general election Democrats sexist frat boys and calling the ideas that allowed an old Jewish socialist to rival her primary support unrealistic, Clinton will have a long uphill battle to mend fences with those voters if it’s possible at all.
Plenty of people will write in Bernie Sanders. Some states (Alabama, Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Wyoming) count write-in votes. Most other states have steps that need to be taken by the Sanders campaign in order for his votes to be counted (this is unlikely. Sanders has said he would support Hillary Clinton if she won the primary). Several other states disallow write-in votes altogether. If you do not live in a state that allows write-in votes, writing in Sanders is a hollow gesture that will be lost on everyone but you.
Conceivably, Sanders could still win his home state in the general election, which is an interesting prospect.
Two third-party candidates are in the race. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, will be on the ballot in every state. He’ll pull voters from both Clinton and Trump, as the Libertarian party is a mixture of both Democratic and Republican ideas, depending on whether you’re focusing on social or economic issues.
Johnson is likely to push for medical marijuana and preservation of equality for LGBT people, but Sanders’ most popular positions on healthcare and education would be lost in a Libertarian economic platform.
The popular Green party candidate is self described badass Jill Stein, who has a Sanders-similar platform and has reached out to Sanders in hopes of adding him to a ticket, which could potentially win her party the election. Stein has run for president before, but with less success. She was barred from debates and was arrested for attempting to enter a debate in 2012 along with her VP candidate. Going to her social media pages shows a flood of users with similar messages to “I’ve given up on Sanders but hearing about your campaign gave me hope again.” Stein isn’t on the ballot in every state, so keep that in mind if you’re hoping to vote for her.
You can read the candidates platforms for yourself, but I think it’s fair to call this election.
Trump’s Issues section is a bunch of videos, the top one is entitled “Former Students Speak Out in Support of Trump University”. I could make a joke about whether or not Trump supporters can read but if they can they’ll be offended by it.
Most of his issues section is based on the things he speaks about constantly. The last section is titled “How Bernie Pays for His Proposals” where he almost exclusively focuses on closing tax loopholes and stopping corporate welfare. He plans to pay for Family and Medical Leave by raising payroll taxes slightly, about $1 per week for a typical American worker. That is the only tax increase proposed by the Sanders campaign.
Clinton’s Issues page reads like a copy-and-pasted title screen of Sanders’s. The difference is that when you read the proposals they’re not changing much from our current system.
Stein’s plans are vague, but her positions show that she at least recognizes the problems that we need to solve. She’ll pull much of the vote and will likely take policy leads from Senator Sanders.
Johnson’s platform makes it clear that he’ll preserve the progress we’ve made on social issues, but his promises on the environment seem to be weak and his views on government spending are exactly what you’d expect from the Libertarian party. This leaves the question of corporate personhood vaguely open as a free market wouldn’t impose restrictions to protect consumers.
If you’re wondering who I’m voting for, I can’t tell you because I don’t know.