Have you heard? The United States will elect a new President this year. Barack Obama, our first African American President, will complete his constitutional term limit and leave the White House on Jan. 20, 2016.
The race to replace him is like none I have ever seen. It is coming right here to Virginia on Super Tuesday, March 1. Virginia will hold one of 15 primaries that day, thus the name Super Tuesday. By the end of the day, we will have a pretty good idea whom the two declining major parties will nominate. By then, we’ll also likely know if former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will enter the fray as an Independent and the second billionaire in the race.
A month ago, there were 20 “serious” candidates for President from the two parties—17 Republicans and 3 Democrats. As I write this, the total is down to eight—six Republicans (Bush, Carson, Cruz, Kasich, Rubio and The Donald) and two Democrats (Clinton and Sanders). Perhaps most amazing, given the sad state of our political system, is that so many would even want to run for the Oval Office.
Maybe the reason so many Republicans think this is the time to run is that Congressional Republicans are having considerable success throwing monkey wrenches into the cogs of government in order to assure that it grinds to a halt while there’s a Democrat/black person in the White House who might share the credit if anything were accomplished legislatively. It might be fun to be President with the prospect of getting the machinery going again along with one’s fellow plutocrats. There would be no end of cutting their own taxes and slashing programs serving the pesky poor, while filling the troughs of defense contractors, prison contractors and the Agriculture and Commerce Departments to dispense billions to corporate farmers and energy conglomerates, to name but a few.
Conversely, one can see why so few Democrats might want to compete to head the Executive Branch and have to deal with this Congress. If the Republicans have treated a black man so badly, imagine how they would likely treat a woman or a Democratic Socialist! You have to admire the courage of both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton who care enough about the future of the United States to stand up to the disrespect and constant vilification to come.
Voting is already underway for the March 1 primary during normal business hours at the Fairfax County Government Center (AKA the Taj Mahal). Other than having to fill out a silly form explaining who you are and why you should be allowed to vote absentee, it is relatively painless. Took me about 10 minutes.
After listening carefully to all candidates of both parties in the debates, for me it comes down to two people with positive policy ideas for investing in our people and country, and supporting friends and those in need beyond our borders.
Given the corrupted state of the polity, the system needs a jolt for genuine change. While I admire Hillary Clinton, I am troubled by her changing positions and closeness to the Wall Street corrupters. Bernie Sanders has a solid, consistent record of accomplishment in Congress as an Independent, and has a genuine platform for investment in our people financed by those with the trillions to pay the tab. Democratic Socialism works for whole societies overseas. It can work here!
The Republicans’ hate, greed, and guns recipe worries me for our future. I hope voters will think carefully before voting for advocates of building walls around the U.S.; barring people based on religion, race and refugee status; and disrespecting immigrants and foreigners generally. We are better than that.