2016 will be a big year. According to The New York Times, the American political scene has never been more polarized, even prior to and immediately after the U.S. Civil War. The election of a Head of State is always a momentous occasion and an invitation for alternate history writers to go wild with divergences, but this year features a situation that could lead to four entirely different political realities and destinies for the United States.
In evaluating candidates for an office such as the President of the United States, I look for one thing: what (or who) are they in it for? Policy is important, of course, but one can hardly hold a candidate to their stated policies before they are elected, as political situations can block them from being implemented. Candidates can rattle their swords and promise the closing of a prisoner camp in another country, but eight years later, it still might be open. What are they in it for? Fame? Fortune? Glory? Fatherland? The poor? Justice? I can sense the general motivations of the four leading candidates. Granted, I cannot read minds, but from their words and actions it can be deduced with some level of confidence.
Senator Ted Cruz is a shrewd politician, unlike the blunt and easily read Trump.
Donald Trump is an interesting character, and with all of his bellicose ramblings, sexist sneers and racist threats and insults, he seems to be in it for the Fatherland (a fittingly Fascist term for a neo-Fascist candidate). Warped and twisted as his moral compass is, he seems to be in it for something besides himself. Whoop-dee-doo, he still proposes a near-dystopian future for so many millions of human beings the world over. I’m not particularly afraid of him, however. At least, not compared to one of his Republican competitors. Senator Ted Cruz is a shrewd politician, unlike the blunt and easily read Trump. He orchestrated the 2012 Government Shutdown as a freshman senator. His policies stop at nothing short of a racist theocracy bent on reestablishing an old-world patriarchy (the lingering effects of which we’re still working through today) based on martial might and self-righteousness. He is, frankly, terrifying. I hope I never live to see a superpower lead by a man such as him.
Unlike the previous three mentioned, the senator is quite clearly fighting for something bigger than himself while also maintaining the rights and liberties of our most beleaguered citizens.
Hillary Clinton is nakedly ambitious, and her pandering is more obvious than a skyscraper in an open field. She seems to be entirely in it for herself (she’s lusted after the office for more than a decade now) and her corporate interests. If it came to it, I’d vote for her but only reluctantly, and I won’t be able to bring myself to do anything for her campaign. This leads me to the last of the Big Four, Senator Bernie Sanders. Unlike the previous three mentioned, the senator is quite clearly fighting for something bigger than himself while also maintaining the rights and liberties of our most beleaguered citizens. His foreign policy is one that eschews the American unilateralism that has plagued vast regions of the globe for so long and replaces it with an internationalism that would mend fences with our allies the world over. We need a diplomatic person in office right now, and of the four candidates, Sanders stands in the best position to ensure international tranquility from the side of the United States. Is he perfect? Obviously not. I, along with the rest of the College Socialists, believe for the most part that he doesn’t go far enough in some regards and that the system itself is flawed (the method of counting votes is pretty dodgy in itself, and he is not a “proper” Socialist). But as a huge, fundamental change is unlikely before November, pragmatism must reign over ideology. Thus, I shall be placing a check next to Sanders’ name in the Virginia primary.
Disclaimer: this does not represent an official endorsement of Sanders by the College Socialists nor does it represent the entire group’s opinions.
Email Billy Bearden at firstname.lastname@example.org