A word from the caucuses on this election

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Libertarian

By SAM WATERS ‘18

With an election looming that will be anything but standard, Americans have once again been subject to the choice of “the lesser of two evils,” or so they will say.

The Republicans have nominated Donald J. Trump, the outspoken billionaire who has defended sexual assault, challenged the core democratic principle of a peaceful transition of power, and threatened to jail his opponent if he wins, all in one month. According to the New York Times, this has resulted in three-quarters of Americans believing Mr. Trump is unworthy to claim the role as President of the United States.

The Democrats have named former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as their nominee who, by many standards, is no better. Undoubtedly, Mrs. Clinton’s extensive political career has been soiled by scandal at every turn. Between reports of her misconduct toward alleged rape victims of her husband, her private email server that may have allowed top secret information to be leaked, and the conspicuously questionable dealings of her family charity, her legitimacy as a candidate is no doubt in question.

Perhaps never has there been two major candidates so awfully unfit to be President, so unlikable and unrelatable, and so disappointing as these two are. Unfortunately, because these are the nominees of the two major parties, we are seemingly limited to these two unappealing options.

So, then, why would one knowingly vote for a candidate who not only fails to meet our standards and expectations for the leader of the free world, but also if convicted of these actions, would not even pass the background checks to be a teacher at a Catholic high school?

According to the views of many citizens, the election is a two-candidate race, and the lesser of two evils must be chosen, one way or another. However, this is not the case.

Gary Johnson is a candidate of whom we can be proud. A truly principled option in an election that is severely lacking of any kind of virtue, Gary Johnson has had a career of fighting for individual freedom for all. As the only candidate of the three not to be an alleged felon, he served as the Republican governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003. In this time, he reduced the state’s spending significantly while still improving education across the board. Furthermore, he was one of the first major elected officials to call for the “war on drugs” to be treated as a health issue, not as a crime problem that today consumes more than half of what the government spends on police, prisons, and courts.

On a campaign centered on military non-interventionism and reducing the size of our massive government and national debt, Governor Johnson is far and away the most prepared and viable candidate in this election.

His leadership was proven in 2000, when New Mexico experienced the devastating Cerro Grande Wildfire. He received accolades not only for knocking down the barriers of bureaucratic limbo to get help from state and federal agencies, but also for apparently knowing more about the situation than many Forest Service officials. He even went as far as to put out some of the fire with his feet, as he stomped out some stray flames he spotted on a drive through a town ravaged by the fire.

Now, in 2016, Gary Johnson is the Libertarian nominee for president of the United States. On a campaign centered on military non-interventionism and reducing the size of our massive government and national debt, Governor Johnson is far and away the most prepared and viable candidate in this election.

So, if you can vote, vote for a candidate with real principle, a candidate that America can be proud to call Mr. President. Vote for Gary Johnson, Libertarian nominee for President of the United States.

Republican

By JOHN DRAVES ‘17

I think we can all agree that this is one of the craziest election cycles ever in the history of our democracy. The two major candidates running for our nation’s highest and most prestigious office have equally blemished and unsettling résumés, a fact that makes the decision in voting for the next president so difficult for many well-informed, well-principled, and reasonable Americans. From what we know of their pasts, both Clinton and Trump are far from being perfect, virtuous citizens and role-models, and many of their previous actions make so-called crooked politicians look like angels, which is saying a lot. Their pasts convey images of individuals lacking in character, integrity, and substance—all traits required of the President of the United States, much less any leader—and numerous controversies further muddle the track records of each.

Despite all of this though, however scary it may seem, on November 8, one of these two will be crowned the victor of the election and begin his or her countdown to Inauguration Day. As citizens of this nation, we have the duty to vote and to determine our own future, and so we must choose Clinton or Trump, one or the other, no one else. Since in retrospect, neither is more appealing than the other, as voters, we must rely purely on prospective voting and choose that candidate whom we feel would produce the change we want to see in America over his or her term.

Thus, under the leadership of President Trump, there would be the hope for positive and beneficial change in this country, as opposed to certain and unavoidable decay.

For me, that prospective candidate is Donald Trump, as he will appoint judges to the Supreme Court who will uphold, respect, and defend the Constitution in its original context; he will ensure that all parts of the First Amendment are applied equally to all citizens and not just to those who shout the loudest; and he will stand for the right to life in this country, where now and in a Clintonian America over 3,000 human beings are and/or will be senselessly and lawfully murdered each day.

Therefore, because of his stance of these hugely important issues, I would, no, I must vote for Donald Trump even though his rhetoric and many other stances are less than ideal. As Ronald Reagan once said, “Status quo, you know, is Latin for ‘the mess we’re in,’” and so, I see a Clinton presidency as the passing of the torch of status quo from Barack Obama to Mrs. Clinton, where the country would certainly continue to be besieged by its current problems; however, I see a Trump presidency as the extinguishing of that same torch, where the country would either survive and succeed or continue its path toward doom. Thus, under the leadership of President Trump, there would be the hope for positive and beneficial change in this country, as opposed to certain and unavoidable decay.

Democrat

By JOSEPH SIERPUTOWSKI ‘17

The choice in this election, between Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton, is very stark. Luckily, it is also an obvious one. Usually in this sort of editorial, one must wade into an ambiguous and very disputable debate about which of two reasonable policy platforms would help the country more, where answers are very unsure. This year is different. Mr. Trump’s policies, where they exist, are laughable. From a ruinously expensive and ineffective border wall that would endanger America’s vital alliances with its closest neighbors, to a tax plan that, according to research groups including the left-leaning Brookings Institution and the ardently libertarian Cato Institute, would lead to an immense rise in national debt (through a mix of tax cuts and huge entitlements expansions); Mr. Trump’s platform is a lesson in simplistic, bad economics. But unfortunately, this must not be the focus here. Instead, it must be Mr. Trump’s fundamental lack of the fitness to govern due to his historic rejection of some of America’s core founding values.

Mr. Trump entered this race maligning Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “drug dealers” (though don’t worry, “some, [he assumes], are good people”), signaling that he would use racial and ethnic dog-whistling to show his disdain for “other” people. Mr. Trump then followed with his promise, often repeated during the primary, to ban an entire group of people from America based on religion: something only ever attempted before, of course, against Catholics. Though often brought up, these facts bear repeating because they contradict the commitment to pluralism and tolerance that are essential to our American political system. Protection of the minority against the majority is why our Founders created a Bill of Rights and a court system. To reject this is to reject the principles which make America what it is.

But Mr. Trump rejects not only pluralism, but the rule of law, too. He has acted against this principle in his attempt to decry the impartial judiciary. His willingness to denigrate the legitimacy of our democratic system because he is losing. When questioned on some of the possibly fraudulent practices at his Trump University, Mr. Trump did not just do the normal thing, and steer clear of talking about it; instead he attempted to de-legitimize the legal system investigating him. Arguably the core belief of our Founders was the rule of law over rule of man. By attacking the fitness of an Indiana-born judge presiding over his case based on how he was “Mexican,” Mr. Trump showed his utter disregard for the impartial legal system he claims to uphold when he shouts “law and order!”, a la Nixon, at police-reform activists. A legal system must be held as impartial and fair to work, all parties must agree that they will listen when those with the power to decide do so. Mr. Trump attacks that impartiality to the detriment of all Americans.

Mr. Trump has decided that his vanity is more important than the need for a populace to trust its democratic government as legitimate.

To add to this, he wishes to jail his main political opponent, to employ the justice system as a political weapon, something seen in frequently in countries sliding toward autocracy (see: Turkey). These incidents serve only to undercut the legitimacy of the justice system, which ensures a fair and nonviolent conflict-resolution system. That, of course, is not the only institution Mr. Trump has disregarded. He also has claimed for some time, since he started losing badly, that the entire electoral system is rigged and always has been (unless he wins, of course). Mr. Trump has decided that his vanity is more important than the need for a populace to trust its democratic government as legitimate. This is disgusting and improbable given that in America elections are run by the states, so Republican-controlled ones like Wisconsin and Ohio would need to throw the election to a Democrat they despise.

At its core, America is a country based not, like most others, on a common race, ethnicity, language, or religion, but rather on a core set of principles. America exists because a great group of leaders 240 years ago decided that to defend the ideals of liberty, rule of law, pluralism, democracy, and equality of opportunity they must form a new nation. Thus, this country exists not based on our original Anglo-Saxon identity but due to those core values, they are the basis of our nation. A candidate who rejects these is, more than any Black Lives Matter protester or disgruntled quarterback, Un-American. If he seeks to deny those values which have embodied and sustained our republic for more than two centuries, he cannot and must not lead it.