2016 Presidential Election
Presidential election time is here. Who needs the Olympics or World Cup! Who knew this could be entertaining. For political junkies, 2016 beats (I won’t say trumps) the Super Bowl for the excitement and entertainment factor. Rarely has the choice for the presumed nominees in either parties not been decided by now (mid-April). This year, both party’s nominees are up for grabs, garnering tremendous enthusiasm in Las Vegas and elsewhere in the gambling world.
The plus side of this circus (as one TV program calls it) is a dramatic increase in voter interest. Traditionally voter turnout in primary contests ranges somewhere below 40% of registered voters. For this year, experts forecast a 50%+ voter participation by the time the primary season ends in June.
In the 2012 general election, turnout was a relatively high 55% with the clash of policy and ideological differences between President Obama and Governor Romney. For comparison, in 2000 (Gore vs. Bush) the turnout was 51%. In 1992 Clinton won with a 55% turnout. Kennedy beat Nixon in 1960 with a whopping 62% of voters partaking.
For 2016, some analysts predict upwards of an unheard of 65%+ participation in November. We can certainly thank the Trump factor for the extraordinary drama this year, with a little help from avowed Socialist Sanders. Not to mention the first viable female candidate Hillary Clinton. Oh, and an equal opportunity shout out to Cruz and Kasich.
Regardless of your political leanings, if ever there was a time to exercise your constitutional right to vote, this is the year. Ideology differences abound, so your personal principles must be counted.
It is important to understand that as divisive and polarizing this election cycle has been this year, democracy rules and the people will ultimately choose the direction of the country for at least the next four years. The key is getting out and voting. The potential for a far-right vs. far-left election is pretty high, more so than in several decades. The last time the options were this divided was in 1980 when Reagan won a landslide against incumbent President Carter.
Did the 80’s go your way? Whether or not it did, the people spoke loud and clear.
Center-left vs. center-right election is also possible. A relatively moderate Clinton (though Sanders keeps tugging at her left shoulder) vs. a similarly moderate Kasich is very much in the mix. Time and more drama will tell. No one knows what will happen in Cleveland if no Republican candidate walks in with the required 1,237 committed delegates. This will make for some fun after the Hockey and Basketball playoffs end. Cleveland very well may have the NBA champions and decide our next president.
The general election in November is different. Your choices will be clear then. Please consider that not only is the presidential selection at stake, so are the Congress and Supreme Court. A potential party swing in Congress dictates just as much about policy as the choice of president. And based on the ages of the current eight Supreme Court judges, as many as three new appointments may be available to the next president, greatly tipping the balance of ideology in the court.
So, if your state’s primary is still forthcoming, then please get out and vote your conscience. At the very least, vote in November, and tell friends, coworkers, and family to do the same. The future of the country depends on your voice.