ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Comment on the 2016 Election

Updated on October 18, 2016

It’s said that someone encountered Benjamin Franklin outside the Constitutional Convention at its close in 1787 and asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” According to notes made by Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Convention, Franklin answered “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

How we got where we are

That’s an apt comment, given the current state of the 2016 Presidential election campaign with just three weeks left until November 8th. “Do we keep the Republic intact, or not?” A narrower focus requires a follow-up question: “Can the Republican party be saved?”

Given all the infighting among Republicans during their primary battles and subsequent jockeying by down-ballot candidates to craft a winning stance on the salient issue for each of them—‘Are you for Trump, or against him?’—keeping the ‘Grand Old Party’ together will be a gigantic task, it would seem.

To describe how far things have deteriorated, we have to go back to the founding of the Republican Party, usually dated to a meeting on March 20, 1854, in Ripon, Wisconsin. The GOP, as it’s now known, began as an outgrowth of the anti-slavery movement. Following that small gathering in Wisconsin, more than 10,000 people gathered outside “under the Oaks” in Jackson, Michigan, and an organizing convention was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on February 22, 1856. Most of us are much more familiar with the Republican party’s winning candidate for the presidency of the U.S. in 1860 when a lanky, plain-speaking man from Illinois—Abraham Lincoln—was elected to the nation’s highest office on November 6th that year.

The current situation

Since then, there have been others elected President who were members of the GOP—some famous, some infamous—but all of them were party loyalists who espoused the basic tenets of the Republican party: smaller government, limits on federal control, conservative fiscal policies, strong national defense, a commitment to individual liberties and responsibilities, not to mention tolerance, inclusiveness and optimism! (italics mine).

And then along came Donald Trump, who seized on the name ‘Republican,’ gave lip service to party affiliation, and campaigned for a year and a half on positions that have not only angered many voters, but disgusted many in the very party he claims to represent.

This isn’t just the opinion of the present writer. It’s a notion voiced by any number of Republican strategists and observers, as well as the editorial boards for dozens of normally conservative and even Republican newspapers—including the local paper in the area where my wife and I reside each summer, a normally solid Republican county!

A definitional look back

Why is that? Why does the 2016 Republican candidate for the presidency seem so un-Republican? Maybe it goes back to the place where this article began, and that word Benjamin Franklin used to describe the patchwork government the Constitutional Convention created: a Republic. That form of self-rule dates to around the year 1600, and is described by one online dictionary as a “state in which supreme power rests in the people via elected representatives.” It comes from the Latin word for “commonwealth, state, or common weal,” and aims for what advances the ‘common good.’

Our Founder's notions

Our Declaration of Independence uses a different phrase to describe the aims of our United States government: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and that basic objective is outlined by the Bill of Rights, ten amendments that protect individual liberties and privileges.

A closer look at the present

Yet this year we’ve had to endure the comments and behaviors of one major party candidate who’s violated most, if not all, of those “unalienable rights” by attacking immigrants, a world religion, disabled persons, Hispanics, and women. In addition, he’s encouraged violence among his supporters and sowed the seeds of rebellion in the past few days by falsely claiming there’s massive voter fraud (“1.8 million dead people still on the rolls”) and also charging that the national elections are “rigged.”

Some concluding thoughts

I shudder to think how Abraham Lincoln would react to the current state of affairs in our country and in his political party, or Dwight Eisenhower and Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan for that matter.

The Republican Party has drifted away from its original principles, and its current candidate is dangerously close to tearing to shreds the first principles on which our nation was founded. We need people of all political persuasions—Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian and others—to work together in support of a more balanced approach to governing, and we need leaders who will encourage that kind of cooperative effort.

It’s time to reclaim the vision that all great presidents and legislators of the United States have held—a country where freedom is cherished for all, and where diversity and inclusion are seen as strengths of democracy, not threats to our existence.

I encourage all who read this to vote on or before November 8th, 2016, and do so with the above thoughts in mind. Let our voices be heard, but always without rancor or hate.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      2 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Great hub. Sharing everywhere.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)