On an Election Day Primer

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Tuesday is Election Day … and day that many of us have been anticipating for a long time. In my opinion, our process is too long and too expensive. That aside, it remains an important day. I encourage all to vote with their head.

To many people – a mixture of independents and partisans – this election has been a national embarrassment. One of my fears is that this may become the new normal. Even though embarrassing, I encourage people to vote, and not leaving their ballot blank. If that means holding your nose in the voting booth, just do it.

This election has been so goofy, so undignified, so disrespectful, …. there is only one way (for me) to post a primer leading into Election Day … and that’s with The Onion! Enjoy!!!! … Combos are welcomed! … Any favorites?

The Onion looks back with this timeline about the election …. and a few headlines for a laugh. After all, many of us can use one.

Nation’s still-undecided voters: “Help! We can’t get our car seatbelts off.”

Trump makes last-minute push to appeal to whites

Michelle Obama tosses a bunch of Barack’s old number 44 jerseys

Undecided voter waiting until he hears the same responses for the seventh time before making a decision

Trump raises concern over members of urban communities voting more than zero times

Anthony Weiner sends apology sext to entire Clinton campaign

Intergalactic law enforcement places energy shackles on Hillary Clinton

Trump complains entire personality is against him

New heavy-duty voting machine allows Americans to take out frustrations on it before casting vote

Teary-eyed Tim Kaine asks Clinton if his hair will grow back before Election Day

Mike Pence visits small town hit hard by kids seeing R-rated movies

Nation puts 2016 election in perspective by reminding itself some species of sea turtles get eaten by birds just seconds after they hatch

Trump hold strategy meeting with campaign’s top militia leaders ahead of the election

Clinton delivers stump speech in Moscow warehouse in effort to appeal to Russian hackers

Election Day is the only time most Americans in same room with person support other candidate

Anthropologists discover isolated tribe of joyful Americans in remote village untroubled by 2016 election.

On the Day of the Last

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The last Trump-Clinton debate is later today. As a matter of fact, many are readying themselves to watch … especially the partisans. To my non-U.S. audience, excuse this lengthy post about US politics, so I understand if you switch to my previous post about Walktober, which you will probably find more interesting and satisfying.

I’ve enjoyed following politics for a long time. I liked conventions because of the good speeches. I watched debates out of curiosity and being informed to make a judgment. I started this blog in August 2008 around politics and sports. I’ve morphed since then, but politics is still in my gut – although I’ve been more silent this year than in the past.

The 2016 election is (unfortunately) different. I didn’t watch either convention. I didn’t watch any of the debates during the primaries of either party, nor any of the debates in the past few weeks. The list of why not was always longer than the list of why. Tonight isn’t any different because I’m going for the shutout.

One reason to not watch is simply because the chances of a candidate answering the question is (at best) remote. The moderator will ask a question, then the candidate figures out a way to segue from the question to the prepared talking point. (In my debate rules, the microphone would be turned off and the candidate would enter the Cones of Silence.

Candidates have been doing this for years, but that doesn’t mean we the people don’t deserve better. Because I’m tired of it, watching would be a waste of time – so, instead, I’ll probably spend my time writing a future post about my recent trip.

2016 is also interesting in other ways. It seems that Hillary Clinton was proclaimed the nominee-in-waiting many years ago. I wonder what the Democrats would have done if she didn’t seek the nomination? After all, I never got the impression they were grooming anyone.

Nonetheless, she is the nominee – she’s also smart and experienced. On the other hand, besides being a polarizing figure to many, I don’t trust her. Although the email issue is mainly an issue for her partisan opponents, it’s a non-issue for me … but, it is an example of why I don’t trust her. Deep down I sense that she means well, but the Clintons are who they are. (Note: Overall, I think Bill Clinton was a good president.)

Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. When he announced his candidacy way back when, I stated (and repeatedly stated) that he wouldn’t be the nominee. I admit missing that one, but I’m still amazed he did so, thus wonder, why have Americans lowered themselves to that standard?

Regardless of “knowing more about ISIS than the generals”, Donald Trump’s candidacy has never been about issues and never been about substance. The man lacks intellectual depth that a U.S. President requires. Several times he promised to be more presidential and talk issues. Each time he failed as he reverted back to his ways. That’s simply him being him.

His candidacy is based on fear and shallow promises. His based his candidacy on making fun of people as low-energy Jeb – let alone other unnecessary personal attacks on individuals and groups. His candidacy is based on false information, misconceptions, and misleading statements. His candidacy is based on saying anything – even contradictions of his own words – all in the name of exciting his base that gives him a free pass on most things he says simply because he isn’t Hillary Clinton.

Interestingly, Hillary Clinton’s candidacy really wasn’t a secret or a surprise – and she was very beatable. The Republicans countered by nominating:

  • A candidate who is finding it difficult to beat a beatable candidate.
  • A candidate who stoops low.
  • A candidate with pathetic moral fiber, yet flying under the banner of the party of family values.
  • A candidate who used his personality to effectively use the media to get the nomination, but one who now blames the media for his current troubles that he brought on himself.
  • A candidate who claiming the election is rigged. (For the record, states run the election … and most states have Republican governors, officials, and legislatures.)

Elections shouldn’t be about likability because the major question in 2016 (now more than ever) is who is most fit and capable of leading this country? Election 2016 much less about ideology. Likability aside,and given the choices, the answer is more than obvious. Whether one supported Mitt Romney in 2012 or not (and I didn’t), there was no question in my mind he was fit to serve.

Fortunately for me (and others), two alternatives exist in Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. The latter had no chance of my vote, but I listened to Johnson as I looked for an alternative. To me, he lacked substance during a time when I was looking for substance.

I’m having a difficult time understanding how so many people can support Donald Trump. The two main reasons (in my opinion) must be blind partisanship and a total disdain for her. The sheer numbers raises my concerns about my country much more than the concerns I have about each candidate.

The Arizona Republic (Phoenix newspaper) have never endorsed a Democratic presidential candidate in its 126 year history. This year their endorsement headline was the following: Endorsement: Hillary Clinton is the only choice to move America forward.

Because of their stance, the newspaper received many threats. So many that it wrote a second op-ed responding to the threats. This column is worth reading (and the endorsement is linked within it).

Under normal circumstances, I would leave my presidential spot on the ballot blank. I’ve done it before and am willing to do it again – but in 2016, the stakes seem too high for me. On Election Day 2016, Hillary Clinton will get my vote – but it is more of a vote against Donald Trump than it is for her. She is unquestionably better than the alternative.

Back to me watching the final debate. No, no, no … I’m still not watching because the odds of something changing my mind are between slim and none. Besides, I would rather watch this clip from Ellen.

Voting Tidbits on Election Day

Yes, today is an historic day in what has been an historic election process. However, I’m still bothered by those making a decision (either way) based on race or gender instead of issues and positions.

My voting line took 45 minutes; mainly due to the inefficiency of my county’s board of election – NOT the poll workers. Good news is we use the second most reliable voting method; the use of optical scanners. Believe it or not, the most reliable method is the lever-machine booth.

Call me old fashion, but Election Day is today – not yesterday or last week. I just don’t get the open, early voting stuff. Because elections are run by the government, they are naturally inefficient. Given the craziness of registration and early voting, there are simply too many opportunities for fraud.

The high turnout is great, but it’s a shame that high turnouts are limited to presidential races.

Given crowding polling places, early voting option, unprecedented voter registration, and the special interest of each party, the lawyers are licking their chops.

I feel much better about either McCain or Obama than my choices in my congressional district (Ohio District 2). Both Republican and Democratic candidates are equally pathetic. Fortunately, we have an independent candidate. Unfortunately, voters generally find not voting for a Republican or Democrat difficult.

Real Change

There’s no doubt in my mind that we overestimate the value of a presidential election as well as the president’s job; and at the same time, underestimate Congress’s importance. Doesn’t Civics 101 tell us about the three branches of our government and how they intertwine?

At the present time, our Congress has a lower approval rating than our president. Considering President Bush’s low rating and popularity, Congress’s much lower approval is quite the accomplishment.

Depending on poll, Congress’s ratings over the past six months are in the following ranges: Approve (13-23%) and Disapprove (67-81%). Of course the topping on the cake is the fact that slightly over 50% of those polled approve the job of those representing them. Now let me get this straight. The far majority of the electorate disapprove of Congress, but also have the “but my reps are ok” attitude.

Personally, three points about that contradiction:
1) That’s pathetic!
2) We the people are getting what we ask for.
3) Being that 60% of voters are partisan oriented anyway, many people are clueless about change.

Fortunately, the presidency/Executive branch is one-third of our government. Unfortunately, many voters over emphasize the presidential vote and underestimate the importance of selecting representatives and senators. After all, Congress (not the Oval Office) serves as our policy makers.

Let’s see. All 435 House seats and 34 senators are up for re-election this year. I guess 80% of more of incumbents will win. Given Congress high disapproval rating, is that acceptable? Is something wrong with this picture?

In the 90s I told people that there were two problems in Washington and it wasn’t Bill and Hillary. Again, the two major problems that past eight years are not GW and Chaney. It’s the Democratic and Republican parties! Both parties are greatly influenced by special interests, and both parties apply pressure to their members to vote certain ways. Both parties can withdraw support for anyone bucking the party. One could argue that the Democratic and Republican parties are the two biggest special interest groups in Washington serving as a conglomerate for other special interests.

So it’s this simple. A Frank Angle’s solution for those desiring change: Vote the bums out! If they vote 80% or better with their party, vote the bums out! If they vote for earmarks, vote the bums out! If they participate in wasteful spending, vote the bums out! If they violate ethic standards, vote the bums out! What is so difficult?

My story is straight forward as I practice what I preach. I will vote against my incumbent representative (for the challenger) on the first Tuesday of November. And, if the challenge wins, I will be against the challenger on the first Wednesday of November saying “get the bum out.” Not giving the challenger a chance is simple: it will take several purges for Washington to get the message and start working for the people instead of working the party.

In a classic film, character Howard Beale best sums up my feelings.

It’s Great Being an Independent Moderate

Independent moderates view bumper stickers, laugh, then shake their heads.

Independent moderates see the best and the worst of the two parties at the same time.

Independent moderates view the political landscape as a football field, thus never let the ball cross either 30 yard line.

Independent moderates know all media is naturally biased, thus pick their preferred network on other factors.

Independent moderates honestly criticize or praise both sides.

Independent moderates have a better understanding of issues and positions because they study and don’t automatically side with a partisan party.

Independent moderates don’t jump on a party bandwagon because they don’t trust where the wagon is going.

Independent moderates don’t like nick-picky bickering, campaign BS, nonanswers to questions, and lack of specifics.

Independent moderates not provoke fear if candidate X in party Y is elected.

Independent moderates balance government programs with fiscal responsibility.

Independent moderates listen and reflect.

Independent moderates see through campaign BS.

Independent moderates are the ones who change the direction of the political pendulum.

Independent moderates listen to new ideas (such as President Bush’s social security reform) but also ask the tough questions about financing the transition from one system to the next (a subject the Bush administration did not address).

Independent moderates have a clear, grounded view that is a response of the far left’s heads-in-the-clouds view and the far right’s head-up-their-butt view. (Or visa versa.)

Independent moderates prefer a Supreme Court balanced with different legal ideologies rather than a court dominated by one.

Independent moderates do not vote based on red or blue, gender, race, or a single issue.

Independent moderates disapprove of negative campaign ads by either party, and despise special interest ads.

Independent moderates know legislation dealing with morality, patriotism, civic responsibility, and faith-based issues are doomed for failure.

Independents trust our country’s election outcomes more than party partisans.

Independent moderates long for campaigns based on issues.

Independent moderates favor people-driven, country-first solutions over party interests.

Independent moderates want the victor to be successful – no matter how they voted.