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Trump or Clinton or What?

Updated on May 6, 2016
Bobby Shanahan profile image

Robert is a freelance writer/researcher in the Seattle, WA area. He covers current political, economic, and geopolitical news.

Does the Libertarian Party have a chance to make some waves?

Get ready for Trump vs. Hillary!

Now that America is waking up to the reality of a Trump v. Clinton general election in November, it’s time to take a deep breath and reflect on why these are our only two choices.

Don’t know where to turn? I’ve been at that hopeless crossroads before.

I voted in my first presidential election in 2008. While in college taking my one and only political science class, I could not stand to cast my vote for McCain the RINO or Obama the Socialist. So, I voted third party -- Bob Barr, Libertarian, and former Georgia Congressman. Some say I threw away my vote, but voting as a libertarian conservative in California is pretty hopeless as the state has picked the blue side for president since 1992. Almost as long as I’ve been alive!

Then, in 2012 I voted for Mitt Romney, thinking his private sector experience was exactly what we needed. I also deeply believed Obama needed to be taken out of office before he did more damage to the country and racked up even more debt. Unfortunately, the electoral map is working against Republicans considering the current trends in demographics and election results. So, Obama soundly defeated Romney, a terrible defender of conservative values.

Just because something has always been done a certain way does not mean it should continue that way forever. Though, that is what leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties would have the general voting public believe is the case.

Founding father John Adams foresaw the threat the two party system posed to a fully functioning republic: “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.” Politicians go to D.C. and do nothing for their constituents back home. They get inside the Beltway bubble and subsequently obsess over power, status, and getting reelected. That is why Mr. Trump has gained such a groundswell of support throughout his 2016 campaign.

People are fed up with politics as usual.

John Adams knew way back in the 18th century how bad a two party system would be.

The third option...

As Mark Twain once said, “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.” However, it now appears that Republican primary voters, fed up with sending so-called conservatives to D.C. and getting nothing in return, have propelled the outsider to victory. The primary election process seemed rigged against the Donald for a second there, but after Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich dropped out of the race after Indiana, democracy is looking alive and well.

It’s still scary as hell though. No one knows what will happen next. All predictions can be thrown out the window. We’ve never been here before. It makes one wonder, is this the best way to select the leader of our country? But, as the great Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Who would’ve thought it would come down to a Trump v. Clinton contest? Prediction markets have been all out of whack during this presidential political season. Trump himself would not even have predicted that he would have won the GOP nomination. So, we are now left with Hillary Clinton, a shifting say-whatever-it-takes-to-get-elected politician and Donald Trump, a Manhattan liberal who has been a politician for only ten months.

Is Trump a defender of conservative values? Absolutely not. Is he a defender of the American people? It’s appearing that way.

Why is there not a third choice? There actually is.

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee for President in 2012 and former Governor of New Mexico, is your guy if you can’t go for Clinton or Trump. He is the likely nominee for 2016 for the largest party behind the big two. In the second nationally televised debate for the party in April, Mr. Johnson pointed out, “When I was governor of New Mexico, I didn’t create a single job. Government doesn’t create jobs. The private sector creates jobs. But government can create a level playing field, and I think I contributed to that.” The Libertarian Party’s message of free market values and a lighter military footprint around the world will certainly resonate with a growing number of Americans alienated by both parties.

Voters are upset with the Republican and Democrat politicians and their respective parties in general. This voter frustration might push up the Libertarian candidate’s share of the vote toward relevance. The highest vote count for the odd party out came in 2012 when Mr. Johnson got 1% of the votes cast nationwide. However, many are likely to vote “R” or “D” as they always have, thinking that is the only way forward.

Once again, it's not.

Mark Twain on the grip government has over its people.

The Two Party System

Do you think the two party system is healthy for the future of America?

See results

The impossible choice.

John Stossel of Fox Business illuminates American voters’ disgust with the two major parties and its two presumptive nominees:

“Both want to limit our freedom. Hillary wants to micromanage every inch of life, and police the world. Donald wants to punish me for buying things from foreigners, or having the wrong religion. I want to be left mostly free, and all the libertarian candidates want to do that, and all would be better than the major party front-runners.”

Deep down, Americans desire to be free. Both Trump and Clinton propose ways to grow government power and to limit freedoms.

Unfortunately, Americans will remain entrenched on their own two “teams” throughout the summer through to early November, constantly hurling insults at the other side. The major political parties barely stand for anything anymore. Democrats enjoy taxing and spending us into oblivion, putting faith in government programs to change people’s lives, while Republicans claim to be the party of small government, but then get to Washington and unabashedly grow government along with their liberal pals. Voters need to wake up and realize your government is taking advantage of you. There is a third way. It does not have like this.

Like Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park hilariously portrayed in one of its best episodes ever, in 2008, the choice then, as it is now, is between a “giant douche” and a “turd sandwich.”

I’ll let you decide who is who in today’s matchup.

A certain kind of disruption is sorely needed for our political system that is rigged to represent the billionaires and politicians as opposed to the millions of Americans who are barely scraping by. Whether or not the Sanders movement or the Trump revolution end up being the change our system needs, I guess we’ll find out. But didn’t Obama promise to usher in the start of an new era in Washington in 2009? Calling for an end to divisive politics and bringing “the most transparent administration in history” to the seat of ultimate power.

Jim VandeHei, CEO of DC-politics-all-the-time site, Politico, has an idea. He has spent the past two decades in the capital, building up his company and seeing firsthand how politicians operate. In contrast to the Beltway, VandeHei recently wrote, “Normal America is right that Establishment America has grown fat, lazy, conventional and deserving of radical disruption. And the best, perhaps only way to disrupt the establishment is by stealing a lot of Donald Trump’s and Bernie Sanders’s tricks and electing a third-party candidate.”

Every four years it seems many yearn for a valid third choice for President between the two stale, old, and usually unappetizing choices the donkeys and elephants offer us. The logistics of a third party rising to relevance, however, are not hopeful to lovers of liberty. But, the Libertarian party is trending upward in the political ranks as people are attracted to its blending of conservative and liberal values.

Have Trump and Sanders given us the blueprints?

How the GOP created Donald Trump, their nominee

How to get a third party going?

According to VandeHei, the ideal candidate for this third party must come from outside the political system. The way to win with this type of candidate is pretty much the way Trump has risen to prominence. By railing against big government, big business, and the establishment, this outsider candidate can ride a wave of voter anger into the White House.

VandeHei continues with another trait for the ideal candidate: a social media presence with direct and candid conversations. Trump has utilized this part of his arsenal throughout his campaign. His ability to connect with the common American while going around the media has been amazing. Being a billionaire, yet maintaining the aura of an everyday man, Trump has appealed to a wide swath of the Republican base, proven by the fact that he has taken down 16 other prominent candidates over the past year.

Yet, Mr. VandeHei believes both Trump’s and Sanders’s campaigns rely on anger too much. Somehow Trump and Sanders have been able to translate that anger into real and rising movements. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has nothing propelling her campaign besides her inevitability, presented to her by the cavalcade of “superdelegates” she owns. All that attracts voters to her is her extensive experience in the government (accomplishing next to nothing) and the fact that she is a woman. Her inability to be authentic and connect with the liberal base has been her deficiency throughout her campaign. She, like Ted Cruz, doesn’t know how to be normal in front of the camera.

Are we living through a breakdown of the traditional divides between the Left or liberal half of the country and the Right or conservative half? We are starting to already see this play out in some cases. For instance, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump agree on a handful of issues, such as trade and foreign policy, when in the past, a Republican and Democratic candidate would be opposed on just about everything.

Some have called the rise of Trump the end of politics as we know it here in America. He has certainly upended all our assumptions on political campaigns, but I do not think he will bring about the end of the world. If Trump continues to the White House, democracy will crumble and we will wall ourselves in against the endless waves of illegal immigration. The bigotry and hate coming from President Trump will offend everyone else so much that we will get invaded by a coalition of countries!

At least that is what mainstream media types have been stating since Trump has become the man to beat. They never seemed to take him seriously.

They are now.

Christian Caryl in Foreign Policy detailed the tense nature of liberal democracies across the world. In Europe, bombastic nationalists are capitalizing on the precarious nature of the migrant crisis, winning elections in numerous countries while pragmatic conservatives head for the hills.

Just as American Republicans are tearing themselves apart over the nomination of Trump, British Conservatives are divided on the issue of the U.K. leaving the European Union. The Republican party was always bound to fracture, pulling in groups of folks from all walks of life, loosely united by a vast array of beliefs. Yet, perhaps Trump does not appeal to many in the Republican party because he is not really conservative at all.

Some have called the rise of Trump the end of politics as we know it here in America. He has certainly upended all our assumptions on political campaigns, but I do not think he will bring about the end of the world. If Trump continues to the White House, democracy will crumble and we will wall ourselves in against the endless waves of illegal immigration. The bigotry and hate coming from President Trump will offend everyone else so much that we will get invaded by a coalition of countries!

At least that is what mainstream media types have been stating since Trump has become the man to beat. They never seemed to take him seriously.

They are now.

Christian Caryl in Foreign Policy detailed the tense nature of liberal democracies across the world. In Europe, bombastic nationalists are capitalizing on the precarious nature of the migrant crisis, winning elections in numerous countries while pragmatic conservatives head for the hills.

Just as American Republicans are tearing themselves apart over the nomination of Trump, British Conservatives are divided on the issue of the U.K. leaving the European Union. The Republican party was always bound to fracture, pulling in groups of folks from all walks of life, loosely united by a vast array of beliefs. Yet, perhaps Trump does not appeal to many in the Republican party because he is not really conservative at all.

Trump and Bernie are closer on the issues than you think.

Would you rather stump for Trump or will Hill to victory?

Trump has torn down the traditional divides of our political ideologies. The New York billionaire has spent much of his life with the Democrats, though you kind of have to living in that city. Trump’s desire to shake up the system is attracting voters of all political stripes.

The Donald has further stepped out of line with traditional Republican views on economic and foreign affairs. He has called the Iraq war a grave mistake, resists interventions abroad, and speaks of Vladimir Putin as a friend. He has said that free trade is not working and our borders can no longer remain wide open. Yet, his most attractive trait appears to be his straightforward non-political speech that promises to “Make America Great Again,” by maintaining its dominance economically and militarily.

How he aims to do that has been pretty murky over this last year. He emphasizes how much “winning” America will have, though he really has been short on specifics. Caryl clarified the effectiveness of this ambiguity, “the intellectual blurriness of those new populists, whose popularity owes more to tribalism and gut feeling than coherent programs, leads one to wonder whether they’ll really manage to come up with better answers.” If he has run his own billion dollar business for some time, isn’t he qualified to be President? Or will his lack of political experience doom him to accomplishing nothing if elected? Trump’s blurry policy positions allow voters to project their beliefs onto the candidate they see in their eyes. This can certainly lead to getting duped, as voters were in 2008.

The fact that Mr. Trump has not been involved in the political world and has been a successful job creator is a majority of his appeal. He also has not been beholden to billionaire barons or special interests, funding his own campaign, at least up until this past week, when he announced he would not self-fund his general election campaign. The billionaire claims he started out with $1 million and turned it into over $10 billion net worth. Does this qualify him to be president?

Paul David Miller in The Federalist does not seem to think so, writing that we are all more qualified for president than Trump or Clinton. “A random citizen picked from the phonebook would make a better president than either of them.” Thinking presidents should have military experience, he is right to point to the fact that three-fourths of our presidents over the years have had a military background. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the last U.S. president who did not hold political office before being elected. But, he obviously enjoyed a heroic military background, facing down the Nazis in World War II. So there’s that.

Donald Trump’s lack of political bonafides is probably why he is so popular. Leading a movement filled with hate and anger, according to Miller, Trump does not offer anything substantial to our country. Clinton, on the other hand, is leading a party that “has become a hectoring, quasi-authoritarian movement to impose an alien cultural blueprint on America through bureaucratic and judicial force.” The scariest thing about both of our main party candidates for president is their comfortability in using the police power of the state to achieve whatever means they desire.

Clinton would likely overreach overseas and grow the welfare state at home. Trump meanwhile, would likely grow the police state by increasing our border patrol. What he would do with the debt or with America’s involvement around the world, is the billion dollar question. Amazingly, Clinton, the Democrat, could be more hawkish with the use of America’s military as opposed to the more dovish Trump. Strange times we are living in, my friends.

Will he build the wall? Trump says absolutely, but of course he would. At the end of the day, both candidates could be dangerous for the future of our country, especially in regards to liberty. At least Trump is seemingly transparent and not under investigation by the FBI.

Hillary’s go-to move is to blame Republicans in order to distract from her chameleon-like principles and the fact that all she has going for her is her gender.

Will Trump be the end of the Republican Party or the beginning of something else?

Eliot A. Cohen, who served in both the Defense and State departments in both Bush administrations, wrote in The Washington Post why he thinks it is time for a third party. He believes an experienced politician with a center-right political ideology is a paramount pillar to be installed for the future prosperity of our country. He seems to believe Hillary is the lesser of two evils. Though what Cohen really fears is the end of real conservatism in America.

The Trump candidacy, Cohen believes, is a disgrace and has done more than enough damage at home and abroad already. However, “the longer-term question is larger than one demagogue, dangerous though he is. It is whether the cause of free, limited and constitutional government will have someone to speak for it and to represent it now and for decades to come.” As of this point in time, there is no presidential candidate fighting for the cause of liberty, freedom, or small government. Neither Trump or Clinton appear readily able to defend limited government in any way, though Trump might install a new culture in DC that leads to some rolling back of the bloated bureaucracy (probably wishful thinking though). Remember, Obama was supposed to heal all of the wounds inflicted by George W. Bush just by being elected, while in his off time, he would recede the tides of the oceans. Our country is leaning hard to the Left and has accelerated that way under Obama.

And there does not seem to be much we can do to stop it.

Enter, Mr. Gary Johnson. Polling at 11% nationally versus Clinton and Trump, his name has been searched on Google at an increasing rate lately, a sign that Americans are searching for a viable third option. The Libertarians will be represented as an option for the presidential ticket in all fifty states. Too bad no one knows they even exist.

The Libertarian Party is the true party of freedom, federalism, limited government, and fiscal responsibility. The Republican Party is a shell of its former self, whatever it was before. Gone is the party of Lincoln, fighting to defend black slaves in the South. Farewell to the stoic success of Reaganism, standing down the Soviets.

The near future will involve a bitter and divisive 2016 general election. Let’s hope America grasps its future by the horns by giving the Libertarian Party a chance.

It’s worth a shot.

© 2016 Robert Carbery

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    • chris7800 profile image

      Christopher 19 months ago from Northridge, CA

      Good article. Gary Johnson would certainly be a better President than either Trump or Clinton. However, I don't think a third party can gain enough momentum by November to become a viable alternative to the Republicans and Democrats. It may happen eventually, and I hope it does, but it won't happen in time to save the 2016 race.