I’ve moved this blog post up in the order I originally intended, because given the general election campaign season will be getting into full swing, I wanted to get my thoughts out there early on the candidates, and who I will be voting for this election; either Donald Trump, Secretary Hillary Clinton or Governor Gary Johnson. My answer to this question is simple: none of the above. To my personal disappointment, for the first time since I started voting in 1996, I will leave the box for president unmarked in the November election. Why? Find out below in my detailed analysis of each of the main candidates. (And bear with me; this is a long article, broken down into three different posts).
Candidate #1: Donald Trump. When I think of the qualities that define a president, I envision someone who inspires, who unites the people to believe in the potential of this great nation and to encourage their fellow citizens to reach for the extraordinary in their lives; to embody the American spirit. The individual seeking this high office brings a sense of decency, decorum and honor to the office. School children around the United States should aspire to be just like their president. Thinking of the presidency often brings up memories of figures like John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Regan, who have each guided our nation with a steady hand through tumultuous times in its history, and have each left behind their own unique mark on history and on the world, doing so with grace and dignity. Donald Trump, throughout his current presidential campaign, has shown none of the same traits of love of country, love of the American people and optimism as these past presidents, instead engaging in harmful politicking that has proven to be brash, obnoxious and coarse, and has only served to tear apart the American people.
With Donald Trump, he has done nothing to be inspirational, and has brought no sense of decorum or dignity to his campaign. In fact, it is just the opposite. He has viciously attacked the media and called them ‘absolute scum,’ has called protesters ‘babies,’ has called people ‘stupid’ and has repeatedly attacked individual media personalities for asking the tough questions about things he has said in the past about women. Trump has used the name ‘Pocahontas’ in a derogatory manner to attack a U.S. Senator, offending Native Americans in the process. He even attacked a federal judge not even remotely connected to the issues of the election based on his ethnic heritage. Trump has consistently acted petty, disdainful and condescending, acting in ways no serious presidential candidate ever should. This is not the example we want to set for the next generation about how to conduct political discourse in this country, or what we should expect from our national leaders. He has never once shown that he could be a statesman, and elevate the debate of our national issues to a higher level. He has pledged to be a unifier, even as he still continues to alienate people with his rhetoric, including attacking the previous Republican presidential nominee and a sitting Republican governor. The only thing Trump has accomplished so far has been turning those that should have been his allies into adversaries.
In his campaign, Trump has used profanity-laced tirades to get his points across; instead of choosing a reasoned and balanced approach to influence people and win over hearts and minds to his cause. Some of his primary speeches would have to be redacted for language to be age-appropriate for school-aged children. Trump has never shown he could rise to the occasion and be a man worthy of a place in presidential history. Instead, he has shown himself to be far more interested in how people or organizations treat him; whether they have treated him “badly” or “fairly.” To be a president this country needs, you have to be so much more than that. As president, you have to be capable of dealing with criticisms in a thoughtful and measured way, and put the concerns of the nation above your own petty concerns about your image. Yes, the media and certain segments of society may not like you and may do unfair and unflattering things to you during your term in office, but that comes with the territory of being a president. This is a price you pay for seeking high office. Donald Trump, from how he has carried and represented himself throughout this campaign, represents the very worst of our political system with his belligerent and personal attacks that taint any message he is trying to convey. He should absolutely not be given the keys to the people’s White House.
Trump’s style of campaigning threatens to only make the existing, deep partisan divisions within our country even worse. For years, we have suffered as Congress has refused to work with the President, and a President that has worked hard to try and advance his agenda without the consent of Congress. As it is now, our system is broken. If Donald Trump cannot even unite his own party, what chance does he have of uniting Republicans, Democrats and Independents as Americans, and governing the United States over the course of four years as “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all?” He continues to bash Republicans for not falling in line with him, but he never holds himself accountable for giving them numerous reasons to reject him and his leadership, including the fiery rhetoric he has used in his speeches that has also provoked violence in the protests outside of his events. When a presidential candidate visits a city, the police in that local venue should not have to don riot gear to make sure that the peace is kept. The United States and its citizenry would be severely harmed if we had to live through that type of toxic climate that Trump incites for four long years.
Donald Trump wants to make America great again, but fails to reflect any greatness in his own words and actions. I think all he sees is the glamour of being president, but doesn’t realize what the president is; that above all else, the president is a public servant. A president is a public servant that serves the will of the people; a people of all races, creeds, political leanings and backgrounds. A president must visit the troops, give them comfort and raise their morale. He must be able to be their commander-in-chief to instill in them strength and confidence. He must take interest in citizens’ problems with the federal government, and try to resolve them with constituent services. A president must be source of solace and reassurance during times of tragedy. He should be able to take the people’s feedback and criticisms to heart, and be able to adjust his policies accordingly to what the people need. In short, he must be willing to listen and serve the people with great humility and utmost respect, not bully them into a silent complacency.
Donald Trump may be a successful businessman with billions of dollars in assets (far more than what I will ever have), but that fact alone does not make for a great or natural leader of the free world. His political policies appear to be haphazard at best, trying to voice whatever he thinks are the right things to say at the time to get elected.
As a Republican who has formerly served in a congressional district office as a Constituent Liaison for over five years, I feel it is my responsibility to speak up and to denounce Donald Trump. He has not approached running for the presidency with a sense of reverence and decorum that I expect from a presidential candidate, has treated his fellow Americans disgracefully and I am deeply ashamed by the abrasive behavior he has engaged in up to this point, and I will not be marking my ballot for him come November. I know people like Chris Christie will decry me because they say my non-vote for Trump is a vote for Secretary Clinton. But I will not be bullied into supporting someone I do not believe in, and bullied into voting for someone who is not deserving of the office of the presidency or of my vote. America deserves better.
Post Script: I have sent a shortened version of this blog post to the Albuquerque Journal as an editorial column, so I am trying to get this message out beyond just my blog. I thought that would be important to let people know that.