I’ve had the same conversation twice in the last few days. Two friends mentioned that I hadn’t blogged about the presidential candidates much. I have avoided it, in part because I think our presidential election cycle is too long, involves too much big money, and is producing too much regurgitated analysis from the sidelines and too little in terms of leadership and vision.
I can’t help but feel like this election cycle is part of some fictitious storyline. It’s kind of like the old “Newhart” TV show final episode — for those readers old enough to be Bob Newhart fans. In that episode, Dick, the innkeeper played by Newhart, wakes up in bed with Suzanne Pleshette, who played his wife in his previous sitcom, to say he had a dream about owning an inn in Vermont. The whole thing was a parody of the same scenario playing out on the television show “Dallas” after J.R. Ewing was shot.
As ridiculous as it sounds, part of me is hoping to wake up and find out this campaign cycle has been a dream, and not a good one at that. I keep hoping I’ll wake up and find that Mitt Romney and Joe Biden have secured their respective party nominations and are duking it out for the presidency. Instead in our nightmarish reality, we face the possibility that Donald Trump could win the Republican nomination.
I’m not sure, but wouldn’t Trump as a party-nominated candidate be a sign of a pending Apocalypse? It’s like picturing a spoiled, rich Paul LePage in one of the most powerful offices in the world. The horsemen may very well be saddling up their steeds in anticipation.
Our allies don’t seem too keen on the idea of a Trump presidency either — the Brits have even discussed banning the man. A petition calling for the ban gathered half a million signatures, forcing Parliament to debate the matter; a petition against the ban gathered a mere 43,000 signatures.
While no one is debating banning Hillary Clinton internationally, her candidacy is polarizing on the domestic front. Neither of the friends I referred to earlier, one unenrolled and one Republican, would consider casting a vote for her. I’m not too keen on the idea myself, but I’d do so resignedly if she wins the candidacy and Republicans go with Trump.
Besides wishing for a dream sequence involving Romney and Biden, my friends and I agree that the best possible scenario is Jeb Bush versus Bernie Sanders. I think Sanders would already be playing well with some moderate Republicans if he hadn’t slapped the word socialist in front of his name. I also think that there are too many folks, like my aforementioned friends, who are vehemently anti-Clinton and won’t swing her way even if the Republican choice turns out to be an extremist one.
Reverse that to the Republican side, and you have Bush’s appeal. With all the anti-Clinton sentiment, the Republicans would do well to put forth a candidate moderate Democrats and independents could handle in case Clinton secures the nomination. Compared with the rest of the bunch, Bush is shockingly moderate, experienced and, at times, well-spoken.
Though I appreciate the anti-establishment sentiment sweeping portions of the electorate, I fail to see how polarizing figures like Clinton or Trump will unite our populace. The challenges our nation faces will require majorities coming together to solve them. At the absolute least, Sanders or Bush seem like they attract the least amount of outright animosity toward themselves, and, in this political climate, that’s as close to unifying as we might get.
When one of my friends asked why I hadn’t posted about my Biden/Romney dream sequence, I said I didn’t think many people would agree with the idea that we need a redo on our candidate choices. And a bet was born.