We have just watched the circuses of our two major political parties. Some performers and performances were noteworthy, but few viewers were sad when these conventions were over.
The first party convention focused on the future, and the need to address major issues of: managing the pandemic with science to reduce deaths; addressing racial disparities; returning the economy to its ten-year growth curve; and setting a path to reduce environmental catastrophe. They painted a scene of a united and more equitable America for the 21st century.
The second party convention focused on the fear of what might happen if the opposition was elected – those who they claim were mysteriously controlled by the “radical left-wing mob” and uncontrolled looters. Any shortcomings of their candidate’s performance as president for three and a half years were due to opposition by the other side and the influence of “fake news.” They painted a picture of a return to the 1950s.
They each described a dark future if the other party won the election. Perhaps this has always been the case, but I seem to remember elections when both were positive.
One party is led by a man who has been a public servant for almost 50 years. He is a skilled political practitioner dedicated to making government a servant of the people. Some would see him as the epitome of the dreaded Washington elite. He is not skilled at public performance and could be accused of being too timid in using government power to push boundaries. He might increase taxes for those who benefited most from the 2017 tax cut.
The other party is led by a man who struggled with a series of business failures until he achieved success as a reality TV show star. His superb communications and marketing skills have driven the media coverage for five years. He appears willing to push any traditional or legal barriers and believes that the power of the president should have no restraints. He might reduce taxes, but any reduction is likely to go to the same 10% who benefited most from the 2017 tax revision.
Neither candidate is likely to reduce the budget deficit nor the country’s growing debt. In the first case, the resulting deficit will go toward social improvement. In the second case, the deficit will go toward business investment and, perhaps, to eventual job growth.
I do not envy the one who we eventually elect as president. The economy, healthcare, racial tensions, law enforcement, political rights and global warming must be addressed by whoever wins. I hope the vote will reflect the will of all the people. Either will face huge problems and we should give the winner our full support, even though this is difficult for the opposing major party and other more minor parties who fight for a cause. This election should not be based on a single issue—it must be focused on the long-term good of the nation.
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