The 2016 election cycle update: hopeless or hopeful?

Conor O'Bryon

Five candidates were left in the 2016 election. They embodied American values. They were trustworthy, above reproach and worthy of office. The elections happened, the winner celebrated, and America restored to its place in the world system. If only. There really are just five candidates left in the race for president, yet none are entirely satisfactory.

I hear students talk about the election in the halls. I hear annoyance, anger and mixed viewpoints, but underlying all of that is a sense of apathy and a feeling that “it’s out of our hands.” True, only some seniors can vote. Freshmen, sophomores and juniors all watch from the sidelines, discussing with some interest, but pulled away by school and other everyday activities. Who can blame them? This time, the candidates really do seem hopeless. Who should we support in our discussions, if not in our votes?

There’s the Republican side, where Donald Trump looks poised to win the nomination. Suddenly Republicans don’t seem so appealing, which is unfortunate due to the fact we could use some of their financial sense and foreign policy skill. Is Ted Cruz really the best alternative? Is a first-term senator really what the country needs again? Is the Republican establishment really grouping around him? For goodness sake, what’s wrong with John Kasich? I get that some say he isn’t “presidential enough,” however that’s a bit hypocritical compared to Cruz. At least Kasich doesn’t talk with an air of superiority about him. Also, let’s not forget that Kasich knows his economics, works well with everyone, and has executive experience as governor of Ohio. And he beats Clinton in polls. Guess everyone missed the memo titled “Important Qualifications for Presidents.”

Moving along, there’s the incumbent Democratic Party, struggling to overcome the current president’s missteps, while battling among itself in deciding if it wants the U.S. to become the Democratic People’s Republic of America. No? I guess we could become the People’s Republic of America. Still not right? I guess all the good socialist names are already taken. Hillary Clinton, though I hate saying it, would be an acceptable alternative to Trump, and maybe to Cruz, but it is a hard thing to say, given her character issues and share of missteps on foreign policy. Then there’s Bernie Sanders, or is it Dear Leader? I guess people also missed the memo “Socialism and Why It Doesn’t Work” by the U.S.S.R. Too bad, because we have enough problems without trying to engineer our own financial collapse. Also, when would it be wise to step down from leading the world in ideas of freedom and democracy? It’s rhetorical, by the way, and the answer is: not for a long time. We have problems, such as the 2016 elections, but that doesn’t mean we have to remove ourselves from worldwide political leadership. It is America that people look to for examples of freedom, capitalism and opportunity. Let’s not let them down by turning our backs on them.

So, as is obvious to most people, our situation could be better. The clock is ticking. It’s time for America to make a choice. Who will it be?