By Graham Glover –
We are less than 9 months away from electing the next President of the United States. After months of talk and preparation, the electorate and pundits are knee deep in the primaries. There are still a lot of votes to be cast, but I suspect that after the 15th of March we will have a pretty good idea of who the nominees are going to be for each party.
Like almost every other political prognosticator, I am at a loss for how the 2016 election is unfolding. The rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders is simply unexplainable. The demise of Jeb Bush and to a certain degree, the lack of inevitability of Hillary Clinton, is almost impossible to comprehend. I’m all but certain Hillary will prevail on the Democratic side, but the Republicans are a mess. Nobody knows what to expect over the next 3 weeks from the GOP. For starters, I cannot fathom how Donald Trump is convincing over 30% of the Republican electorate to vote for him. Regardless of how you fell about this man, he doesn’t fit the Republican mold in any way. Senator Cruz may well find a way to win, but the disdain so many of his colleagues (to include many Republicans) feel toward him is very Goldwater-esque. Senator Rubio is now the “Establishment” alternative to Trump, but tell me where and how he wins. Dr. Carson is all but forgotten and as much as I wish it weren’t the case, I can’t see Governor Kasich finding a way forward.
But no matter who wins the primaries and is ultimately elected as the next President of the United States, I have a simple plea for the next leader of the free world. I’m pretty sure my thoughts won’t ever be considered, but in the off chance my soon-to-be boss might be reading The Jagged Word, here it goes: Please, for the sake of our Republic, stop the madness. Stop the incessant partisanship infecting our land and guide our leaders to govern with those from the opposition party. Our democracy needs this. Our electorate, despite the rise of Trump and Sanders, truly wants this. Common sense pragmatism dictates it.
Regardless of who wins, the very first thing they should do is reach out to the other party. Instead of rallying their base and focusing on implementing their campaign platform, the next president should seek ways to work with the opposition, to include implementation of their platform. Crazy, I know. Unlikely, I’m sure. But it’s the right thing to do.
For the Democrats, this means having an honest conversation about fixing our health care system with those who wish to dismantle the hallmark of President Obama’s administration. I still don’t think Obamacare will ever be overturned, but it has a long way to go to meet the health care needs of our nation. It’s ok Democrats, to admit the system needs a lot of work. This doesn’t make you a bad Democrat. It’s also ok to reach out to private insurance companies to help make it better. Speaking of private industry, the vast majority of private business owners are honest, hard-working Americans, just trying to make a living. So stop vilifying those who succeed in the private sector. I know you don’t really believe your campaign rhetoric about those who have done well for themselves, but the class warfare you sometimes espouse on the stump only exacerbates the emotions of an already volatile electorate. So invite business leaders, many of whom are hard-core Republicans, to help design your economic package. Encourage them to be a part of the process instead of the popular image that you want to punish them for their success. It would also be worth your time to sit down with the pro-life movement. I know, I know, Planned Parenthood will lose their minds when you do this, but what could be more “democratic” than looking out for life? And even if you don’t think life begins at conception, you can’t possibly think that the encouragement of this great evil is a good thing for women? Don’t believe me? Try talking with the grass roots members of a movement whose only purpose is to support life.
For the Republicans, this means entirely changing the focus of your tax strategy. You can’t have the foundation of your economic plan geared toward the betterment of the top 1% of the wage earners. The super-donors of your campaigns should be uninvited from any conversation you have about the economy. They don’t deserve to be part of the political process. However, you should invite some of the most socially and culturally liberal activists you can find to your conservative White House. I have in mind members of those groups who support redefining marriage and sexuality, as well as the throngs of college-aged students who are feeling the “Bern”. Instead of rallying the religious right against the “sins” of these folks, why don’t you take the time to listen and learn what it is that inspires so many to rebel against the norms of our society. You’ve also got to take a deep breath before you think about getting in another war. Look, I get it, there is a lot of evil in the world and the United States is and will remain, the lone super power. With great power comes great responsibility. But this doesn’t mean we go to war with our every enemy in the world. Military strength is great, but so too is patient diplomacy. Finally, you might want to reconnect with some of the truest conservatives out there, those of “The Front Porch Republic” type who have a love of locality, the environment, and a simple populism. The neoconservative movement is over. It’s time to turn the page.
Can you imagine the possibilities?
That’s my plea. That’s my hope. For Hillary, the Donald, Senator Cruz or Rubio.