#NeverTrump + #NeverClinton = #GoLibertarians

I was disappointed this week when Donald Trump mathematically eliminated the chance of having a contested convention because of his dominant performance in the Indiana primary. I have been even more disappointed by seeing people who hate Clinton and hate Trump saying that they’ll hold their noses and vote for either one or the other.

If you are morally opposed to both Trump and Clinton, it seems to me that the only moral choice left is to vote for a third-party candidate. Please check out the Libertarian debate hosted by John Stossel and ask yourself if any of these candidates aren’t head and shoulders above both Trump and Clinton.

Also, try taking the quiz at isidewith.com and see whether you side more with a Libertarian candidate on the issues than with either Trump or Clinton. Personally, I found that I had more positions in common with all of the libertarian candidates than I did with either Trump or Clinton.

I’m planning to vote for a third-party presidential candidate this year for the first time in my life. If you are also part of the #NeverTrump or #NeverClinton crowd, you should seriously consider doing the same.

Please don’t throw away your vote by voting for someone you hate.

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Open Letter to John Kasich

Dear John,

If you haven’t noticed, it’s high time you dropped out of the race. Your continued involvement in the race is – if anything – more likely to allow Trump to win the Republican nomination than to achieve your stated objective of forcing a brokered convention.

Look at the latest Wisconsin poll results, for example: Cruz 36, Trump 35, Kasich 19. The only possible role you can play there is as a spoiler. Are you trying to get Trump elected as the Republican nominee? If not, then you need to evaluate the math and recognize that it’s time to drop. I don’t think I’m anywhere near being the only one who is growing less favorable to the idea of you being selected in a brokered convention, since you seem to be working so hard at preventing a brokered convention from happening.

Let’s take an honest look at how you’ve done in the contests to date. Displayed graphically, it looks like a tally of reviews for a really bad book. You have the smallest number of good finishes and the largest number of bad finishes. Admittedly I left out your 8th place finish in Iowa in this graphic, but, the key question from this data is clear: how can any of us take seriously a candidate who has more 5th place finishes than 4th place finishes, more 4th place finishes than 3rd place finishes, more 3rd place finishes than 2nd place finishes, and more 2nd place finishes than 1st place finishes?

Kasich Placement

Did you notice that you even managed to place 4th in Arizona in a three-man race? If that doesn’t give you a sense that it’s time to read the writing on the wall, it’s hard to know what would. Perhaps the fact that you’ve earned less than 10% of the vote in 19 of the contests held to date would give you pause.

Kasich's Percentage

Admittedly, you did win in one state (your home state of Ohio). Congratulations. But have you also noticed that, even in your home state of Ohio, people are either mocking or skeptical of your continued presence in the race :

Your strongest argument for your persistence in the race is your electability. You claim that polls show you faring well against Clinton, which is true. But have you thought about the possibility that the only reason you fare well in polling against Clinton, is that you are so irrelevant that nobody has bothered attacking you yet? It’s a pretty big stretch to assume that if you have 10 fifth place finishes (and 19 finishes at 10% or less) while competing only against Republican colleagues that you’ll be able to defeat Clinton in the general election.

Maybe it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, because it certainly looks like the longer you wait the less pleasant the smell will be.

 

 

#4: Romney Has Crossover Appeal

Artur Davis, formerly a Democratic Representative from Alabama, spoke at the Republican National Convention this year. In 2008, he gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention seconding Obama’s nomination. And he was a co-chair of Obama’s national campaign in 2008. But this year, he attended the Republican National Convention to support Romney.

Davis spoke of his reasons for changing allegiance and challenged Democrats and independents to compare the two candidates and decide which one better measures up to their vision of America.

Do you know why so many of us believed [in Obama in 2008]? We led with our hearts and our dreams that we could be more inclusive than America had ever been, and no candidate had ever spoken so beautifully. But dreams meet daybreak. The jobless know what I mean, so [do] the families who wonder how this Administration could wreck a recovery for three years and counting…. Remember, my friends, the President saying of negative politics and untrue ads, “Not this time?” Who knew “not this time” just meant “not unless the economy is stuck and we can’t run on our record?” Remember when the President said of his own election this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal? Who knew the plain English version of it was, “Middle America, get ready to shell out 60 bucks to fill up your car?”… So, this time, in the name of 23 million of our children and parents and brothers and sisters who are officially unemployed, underemployed, or who have stopped looking for work, let’s put the poetry aside, let’s suspend the hype, let’s come down to earth and start creating jobs again. This time, instead of moving oceans and healing planets, let’s pay our bills down and pay down the debt … so we control our own future. And, of course, we know that opportunity lies outside the reach of some of our people. We don’t need flowery words about inequality to tell us that, and we don’t need a party that has led — while poverty and hunger rose to record levels — to give us lectures about suffering…. Bill Clinton, Jack Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson reached across the aisle and said, “Meet me in the middle,” but their party rammed through a healthcare bill that took over one-sixth of our economy without accepting a single Republican idea, without winning a single vote in either house from a party whose constituents make up half of this country…. This is the dawn before we remember who we are. So, may it be said of this time in our history: 2008 to 2011, lesson learned. 2012, mistake corrected.

If the man who seconded Obama’s nomination has come out in support of Romney, it may be worthwhile for Democrats and independents to evaluate Obama’s promises and his track record and decide if there is a better source for hope and change.

#7: Mitt Romney Doesn’t Pretend to Be Poor, although He Is Frugal

I can’t quite figure out why it’s so offensive for Romney to admit that he owns Cadillacs. Would it be better for him to pretend that he didn’t? The media coverage of those comments seem unfair to me.

Let’s look at the experience of Corrine and Hal Prewitt as a counterpoint to the media coverage of Mitt Romney. The Prewitts are independents who vote for both Republicans and Democrats, they are not Mormons, and they did not support Romney in 2008. However, in 2009, they purchased Romney’s house in Park City, Utah, and they learned a great deal about Romney in the process.

The linens in Romney’s house were good quality, but not from fancy stores, while the pillows in the master bedroom came from a discount store. When they went to the mud room, they found that Mitt had duct-taped the holes in his gloves.

His indifference to appearance demonstrated his confidence, true character and priorities. Good qualities, but easily misunderstood because they are quite different from those displayed by many famous people and certainly politicians, who highly protect and prize their appearance.

Mitt personally showed the house to the Prewitts at closing, he explained how to use and service the appliances, and he gave them his contact information in case they should have any problems. Romney rented a truck, loaded it with the help of family and a friend, and drove the truck himself to his new home.

Mitt and his family are much more in-touch with average Americans than many people realize. They had a home of faith and family just like many of us…. Clearly he is more like most Americans than not. We learned many things about Mitt Romney that contradicted what we have been told. He is not aloof or out of touch…. It is not beneath him to roll up his shirt-sleeves and get the job done.

Romney is clearly frugal, Romney even used to live on a constrained budget when he was a student, but it’s fine with me if he doesn’t pretend to be poor.

On the other hand, Michelle Obama visited Zanesville, Ohio in the last election cycle. Zanesville is located in a county that had a median income of $37,000, and she told a group of women she met with:

I know we’re spending — I added it up for the first time — we spend between the two kids, on extracurriculars outside the classroom, we’re spending about $10,000 a year on piano and dance and sports supplements and so on and so forth…. And summer programs. That’s the other huge cost. Barack is saying, ‘Whyyyyyy are we spending that?’ And I’m saying, ‘Do you know what summer camp costs?’… We don’t complain because we’ve got resources because of our education. We’ve got family structure…. So I tell people don’t cry for me.

In a county where 12% of adults have a college diploma, Michelle went on to talk about the difficulties of paying off student loans when they should be saving for their kids.

Call me a contrarian, but I’ll take Mitt Romney’s admission that he owns Cadillacs over Michelle Obama’s comments in Zanesville. Remember, Romney never complained about how expensive it was to service his Cadillacs, he just admitted he owned them. To me, it seems more out-of-touch to complain about spending $10,000+ on extra-curricular expenses for your kids in a county where that represents over one-fourth of the median income than to admit you own Cadillacs. And I certainly wouldn’t mind having a rich guy in the Oval Office who still knows how to be frugal.

It seems to me that the independent voter would do well to read the Prewitts’ experience of buying a house from Romney and see if that doesn’t provide a new vantage point for judging Romney.

Election Diversity: We’ve Come a Long Way … or Have We?

With the four leading candidates in this year’s presidential contest having been an African-American, a female, a Mormon, and a 72 year-old, the diversity envelope was certainly stretched this year. A USA Today/Gallup poll reported last year on the willingness of present-day Americans to select a non-traditional candidate for the presidency compared to responses to a similar survey 40 years ago. The results indicated that the percentage willing to vote for a black or a woman had increased signficantly in the last 40 years, moving from 53% to 94% for a black candidate and moving from 57% to 88% for a female candidate. Given that an African-American candidate and a female candidate were the top Democratic contenders this year, it would seem that we’ve come a long way.

The poll also delved into questions relevant to the Republican ticket, asking voters about their willingness to support a Mormon or a 72 year-old for president. The survey results indicated that the Republican front-runners also faced significant demographic obstacles, with only 72% of the respondents indicating willingness to vote for a Mormon and 57% indicating willingness to vote for a 72 year-old. Gallup reported that the sentiment about electing a Mormon was “essentially unchanged” in 40 years, which seems to indicate that maybe we haven’t come such a long way after all. Add to that the way the topics of race and sex played out during the primary campaigns and it would appear that even the poll numbers from the Democratic primary mask some uncomfortable realities.

Let’s look at some presidential trivia for starters. How many Americans know the middle name of any of the four front-runners, other than Senator Obama? (The other middle names are Diane, Sidney, and Mitt). How many Americans can name the former pastor of more than one of these presidential contenders? Or how many Americans can name any biographical facts about any candidate’s great-grandfather other than Mitt Romney?

Or, if you want even more ridiculous trivia that hopefully fewer Americans can actually answer, what brand of men’s underwear did one journalist claim had been spotted in Mitt Romney’s master bathroom? And, if that seems a bit too ridiculous to believe, a Washington Post staff writer treated us to a discussion of Senator Clinton’s cleavage, and an MSNBC anchor speculated that McCain would be comfortable switching from a discussion of the economy to a discussion about “buying more Depends.”

While we’re on the topic of age, how many Americans can correctly answer the question “Who was the oldest major-party presidential candidate?” If you go to WikiAnswers, you might think it was McCain, though it was actually Ronald Reagan. Or, how many Americans could name the last election in which the president who was elected died before reaching his 80s? (That would be 40 years ago, when LBJ was elected: Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and G.H.W Bush all lived long enough to reach 80, though in fairness, the jury is still out on whether Bill Clinton and George W. will live into their 80s).

Of course, we have debates to help keep candidates focused on substantive issues, right? The only problem is that our debates are a bit different from the old-fashioned variety. One hundred fifty years ago we had politicians such as Lincoln and Douglas who, in their famous Senatorial debates, gave lengthy speeches on the pressing topics of the day – including slavery and its relationship to both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, states’ rights, the Dred Scott decision, and racial equality. Lincoln collected these debates into a book of more than 250 pages which was published in advance of the presidential election of 1860. Today, by contrast, we allow for sound-bite answers in response to questions chosen by moderators or audience members. Questions this year have included ones such as the question posed to the Republican candidates regarding whether they believe every word of the Bible, even though one would think it might be more appropriate to ask a presidential candidate whether they believe every word of the Constitution or, even more simply, whether they would defend all the rights guaranteed in the Constitution. I think Clinton had it right when she proposed switching from moderated debates to a format more reminiscent of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. We can only hope that McCain and Obama adopt that idea during the general election.

A snippet from a John Quincy Adams campaign song shows the venom that played a part in historical elections:

Little know ye who’s coming if John Quincy not be comin’ … fears are comin’, tears are comin’, plague and pestilence are comin’, hatin’s comin’, Satan’s comin’ if John Quincy not be coming.

So, how far have we come? If the Voting for Satan website is used as a yardstick, it seems we haven’t entirely outgrown the type of political venom in the John Quincy Adams campaign. Admittedly, that website was not an officially endorsed website. However, through the miracle of modern technology, that website probably had more hits than the John Quincy song had listeners. But perhaps there has been some progress after all: our modern electronic media do allow far more people to be reached by debates and written content. Now, if we can only figure out how to spend more time on the Constitution, civil rights, and the economy than we spend on briefs, Depends, and cleavage.