The 2016 Presidential Election race has become quite the spectacle. We have a 4 man race on the Republican side with a Billionaire Real Estate Developer / Reality TV show personality leading the way. On the Democratic side we have a woman with a very strong chance at becoming the first female President in US history followed closely behind (yes closely…) by a self proclaimed Democratic Socialist.
With all the madness going on in the media and the misinformation flying back and forth across the bow from the Democrats to the Republicans and even within the same parties, I wanted to take a stab at understanding what the facts are and how we got to this point in the race for the White House.
The Changing Political Landscape
Right now the United States has more people registered as Independent than in any other time in history. Independents now account for 43% of the registered population followed by Democrats at 30% and Republicans at 26%. In 2008 when our current President was elected the balance was 35% Independent, Democrat 36% and Republican at 28%.
What this tells me is that since 2008 more and more people have become either dissatisfied with the views and actions of their political party or are simply becoming more open minded and avoiding direct affiliation with one party or another.
Whether you’re a strong conservative, a life long liberal or somewhere in the middle there is always information out there to support your opinion if you look in the right places. One thing that almost all of us agree on however is the unfair role that money plays in current politics as shown in a Sept. 2015 Bloomberg poll:
Even with the 3.1% margin of error that is an overwhelming majority of people who are in agreement on the issue of money in politics and this is the issue that has set America on fire.
The Fire is Lit
More and more people are beginning to understand the role that money has played in politics. We all want to believe that everything a candidate says is really their personal opinion and that they will fully pursue their positions on the issues if elected but in reality it would be very easy for someone to sell themselves as one thing on stage and then pursue a different agenda once elected.
I think the two questions you have to ask yourself when listening to a candidate speak are:
Is there any conflicting interests that would make me skeptical to their belief in what they’re saying?
Has someone recently been slamming the fossil fuel industry while taking massive donations from oil companies? If that’s the case, I think we have some reasonable doubt as to the true intentions of this candidate.
What has their position on this issues been over time?
This question is important to me when electing a public official. Yes, we all have the right to change our minds but when I am voting for someone to represent my interests I don’t want someone who just started saying things that I like to hear at the debates and their rallies. I want someone who has believed in these ideas for a long time and has fought hard for them their entire career.
I believe that the American people have been asking themselves these questions lately and when they look at the majority of the options left standing on the stages they see few who past the test.
Why You Should Feel The Bern
When evaluating the remaining candidates based on these questions you can see why Trump and Bernie have developed such large followings. Both candidates are avoiding the traditional path of aligning with Super PACs who fund campaigns with massive donations made by corporations and unions. Trump is mostly self-funding his campaign while Bernie had received over 2.5 Million individual donations by Jan 2nd which broke the record for most in history.
When it comes to standing behind your positions for a long period of time, no one compares to Bernie. Trump actually made contributions to Hillary’s campaign in 2008 so it’s hard for me to believe that he is the true conservative he paints himself to be.
Maybe you don’t agree with all of Bernie’s policies or maybe you only agree with a few. I think at this point in our countries history it is more important to elect a person of character and ethics than just a person who speaks to your opinion on the issues.
The matters of character and consistency is where Bernie stands head and shoulders above all the rest. Here is a photo of Bernie fighting for equality in 1963:
And here he is in 2001 urging us to not invade Iraq:
And there are many more examples of this man saying much of the same things for a very long time. He does not change his opinion with the political wind and he is not being funded by groups with alternate motives than the message he is spreading. He has always been a man for the people and is not motivated by greed or being funded by special interests.
In summary, I believe that Bernie is the candidate of choice for these reasons:
- Trump will do what is best for his businesses and personal interests
- I can’t trust Hillary because of her record of poor decisions and donations she receives from Wall Street
- Bernie represents the desires of the majority of the population
- Bernie has extremely detailed plans laid out for all of his positions at his website while the other candidates have vague statements without implementation plans
- Bernie has stood by his beliefs for decades