Just when you thought there was a place on the Internet this week free of political opinions, you stumbled across this. Sorry. I've been successful avoiding politics on social media, at work, and at social gatherings. Everyone seems to have a strong opinion based on half the story, or something completely made up by the other side.
In order to figure out the candidates' actual views or platform I have to go do my own digging, because the campaigns and the media are 102% focused on defaming the opposition. While mud-slinging during any election has become a mainstay campaign strategy, it seems that's the only tool being used in this Presidential election. I can't wait for it to be over.
I so desperately want to see a female POTUS. America could truly benefit from an honest, trustworthy, experienced woman in the oval office. But Clinton, as far as I can see, is only one of those things. And gender alone is not enough to make me consider giving her my vote. If Hillary is guilty of just 1/10th the things that the GOP and cronies are accusing her of, she is not fit to hold the highest office in the land. What the FBI has confirmed she's done is enough to make me look elsewhere.
I also want to see my beloved country stop hemorrhaging money. We are dying from both internal bleeding and gaping wounds that will surely kill us if we don't get this under control. We need a savvy business leader who is not beholding to a SuperPAC, or dangling from lobbyists' puppet strings. Sure, he's a billionaire, but "The Donald" is not as astute as his bank account might suggest. He's lost his fortune twice and managed to claw it back. But I don't measure a successful businessman by their bank balance alone. A truly accomplished entrepreneur will have risen by bringing those who work with them and for them up alongside. I only see Trump himself getting rich. We can't expand that business model to the world. The US cannot return to solvency at the expense of all other countries. Trump's a spoiled child who's behavior has shown that he's incapable of becoming the statesman we claim to be "The Leader of the Free World."
So, if I can't vote the main party candidates for their own merits, how about voting for the constitution? The Supreme Court is now listing slightly to port with the recent death of Justice Scalia. With Justices Ginsburg and Kennedy both now in their 80's, it is likely that the next sitting president will nominate at least 3 new SPOTUS justices with ideologies to match that current administration. But nomination is one thing while appointment takes Senate confirmation. So, unless the President and the Senate majority are decidedly leaning one way or the other, candidates for these esteemed positions need be at least closer to the middle than the fringes. I don't see the free world tumbling if the Supreme Court shifts slightly one way or the other regardless of decisions I'd personally like to see for the health and safety of my family and friends. I can't envision a repeal of the 2nd Amendment or an overturn of Roe V Wade.
I'm left looking at the political landscape in general. The two party system has risen to power and has (along with our help, sheeple!) divided this country to the point we are today. The minority fringe rules from the extremes. The true majority of America, those of us who hold more moderate views and decide on issues not party lines, are left to choose between "the lesser or two evils" as we see them. So, for the long term, for the future of America, I'll be voting for a candidate that does not have a statistical chance of winning this election. "But Jim, you're throwing your vote away!" my conservative and liberal friends are all now screaming into their screens from both the left and right. My response is simply, "No, I'm hoping a third party can rise up and bring a voice to the 65% of America that has no candidate." If Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party (I don't agree with everything they espouse, either) manage just 5% of the vote tomorrow, they are recognized as a "major party" and begin to receive equal federal campaign funding, and a seat at the table for future presidential debates. I will cast my vote to help fill the chasm in the center of our current political landscape.
After all this has died down in a few weeks/months, we can go back to sharing silly cat videos and photos of our dinner plates. I never thought I'd pine for either of those, but here we are! With a little luck, we won't have to go through this same madness in 4 years, and my son might be able to cast his first Presidential vote for a candidate whom he actually believes in regardless of what that ideology might be.
And you still have a few hours this evening before the polls open in the morning. Take some time to learn about your local elections and figure out those candidates and referenda. They are likely to affect you far more than what happens inside the DC beltway.