In the spring of 1998, my AP American History teacher asked the class to pick the three best presidents that America has seen. Most of the class was pretty unanimous with the first two: Abraham Lincoln and FDR.
The third choice however proved more difficult, and after much debate, we settled on the incumbent Bill Clinton. After all, he was overseen the past 6 years of geopolitical stability and economic prosperity and he had basically been in charge for a third of our young lives. We were charmed by his charisma and amazed by his sheer audacity to debate the definition of the word “is”! There was no doubt about it, Bill Clinton was cool! However, looking back on the memory 22 years later, i can’t help but be amazed at the prescience of my teacher when he chided us by saying if history would remember President Clinton so fondly.
I have since voted in 4 presidential elections and have voted Democrat each time. Democratic winners have relied heavily on the cult of personality and the promise of hope when running successful campaigns.
While there are many policies differences in President Clinton and President Obama, they both possessed that je ne sais qoui that enraptured a nation. Blessed with a commanding oratory authority they were brilliant at articulating a wonderful vision of hope and promise. More often than not however, these same candidates flattered to deceive in delivering the real substantial change they promised of the campaign trail.
Republican success in turn, has come when the Democratic candidate doesn’t possess this charisma.
Data indicates that while President Trump is often credited with “energizing the Republican base”, raw numbers indicate that Mitt Romney had more absolute votes in swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania. Difference between 2012 and 2016 was that Hillary Clinton was just not able to connect with her constituents as her predecessor, Barrack Obama.
So looking forward to the election this November, I can’t help but wonder if I should consider voting Republican for the first time. President Trump is difficult to like as a person. He is rude, loud, and lacks all sense of grace. He is the embodiment of boorishness and isn’t shy about making comments that have fragmented this nation. His comments after the riots in Fayetteville showed a disturbing acceptance of the alt right. Conversely, the First Step Criminal Reform Act passed in 2018 has done more to help the disenfranchised urban community. It is the first step to ending the war on drugs that unjustly targeted minorities. He has taken on the Pharmaceutical lobby and passed legislation to curb the skyrocketing price of prescription meds(Something Obamacare didn’t fix) and now, has brokered a treaty between the UAE and Israel that can become a harbinger for peace in the Middle East. President Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 on the expectation of what he would bring. What he did was to redefine he concept of war by overseeing 7 surgical strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Libya.
If President Trump does in fact create the first salvos of trade between the Arab world and Israel in half a century, it does merit a discussion on who deserves the prize after all.
I don’t like President Trump’s tweets, and I disagree on his polices on climate change, the environment, gun control and immigration but I begrudgingly tip my hat at his success at shaking up the establishment. While his reverence to Russia is baffling, his war on China’s unethical trade practices has been a refreshing change. in other words, while his first term has been far from perfect, President Trump has got a few key wins on the board that will make America stronger in the long run.
Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Isn’t that what I would be doing if I voted for Biden? Vice President Biden has been in Congress for longer than I have been alive. What has changed now that will enable him to make the sweeping changes he is promising? Will he have the gumption and fortitude to unite a divided nation and a divided Congress to push forth an agenda that truly makes us better?As insane as it sounds, right now President Trump might just be the safer bet!