What Are Voters Thinking?

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We are still over a week away from the first national convention by one of the two major parties and four months away from the General Election on November 8.

At this point in the race for the White House what is on the mind of voters? Pew Research set out to find out.

What was found is that most Americans are not happy with the current state of the race nor with the choices being offered up for their consideration.

w704As you can see from the chart only 43% of Democrats and leaning Democratic are satisfied. Even fewer, 40% of Republicans are satisfied.

When it comes to the question of interest of which party wins, a big majority of Americans think it matter and even more Americans are or have been thinking about the election.

w704aSo who at this stage is getting more voters leaning their way?

w704bAs you can see at this point Hillary Clinton has a 9-point advantage over Donald Trump. Gary Johnson, Jill Stein and other 3rd party candidates trail far behind.

Yet this election cycle more people are voting against a candidate than they are planning on voting for a candidate.

w704cWe have been watching a reality show play out on the national stage, but Americans actually do have real concerns and issues.

w704dTopping the list is (it’s the economy, stupid) followed by terrorism. Rounding out the top 5 issues closely are foreign policy, health care and gun policy.

Of the two major candidates, Clinton and Trump, which is better suited to deal with issues?

w704eClinton has the edge over all, but not by that much. The exception is primarily dealing with race relations, which are back in the spotlight after two police shootings resulting in the death of two black men in two days.

All the rhetoric this campaign cycle is changing the way Washington conducts business to be more in tune with working men and women.

But which of the two major players will change Washington?

w704fAs you can tell from the chart, Trump is most likely to change Washington – but – not for the better.

With the conventions starting on July 18 for Republicans to be followed soon after by the Democrats, all the talk is about uniting the party behind the presumptive presidential nominees.

w704gTrump still has a lot of work to do. If all goes as is speculated, rival Bernie Sanders will lay his campaign to rest and get behind Clinton next week in New Hampshire.

The full Pew Research survey: http://www.people-press.org/2016/07/07/2016-campaign-strong-interest-widespread-dissatisfaction/

From the Cornfield, I am not yet sure for whom I will cast a vote.

I am certain there are two candidates I will not throw my support. I disagree on too many issues and have too many concerns about one of those candidates.

This has me considering two other candidates.

How much faith do I really have in our system of checks and balances to rein in anyone in the Oval Office attempting to push the envelope too far?

Am I willing to vote for a candidate, who most likely has no chance of winning, only to maintain my integrity?

I am a firm believer in voting or keeping my mouth shut for the next four years. Thus, I will cast a ballot for someone – not sure whom.

Trump 3rd Party Threat – Historical Evidence

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Donald Trump is once more threatening to bolt from the Republican Party and run as a 3rd party candidate for the presidency in 2016.

But historically, how have such bids fared?

As you can see from the chart below, since 1832, no third party candidate has come close to grabbing the keys to the Oval Office. Historically, third party candidates have been spoilers, often give the White House to the party least associated and often in direct opposition to the major party which the candidate’s views are more aligned.

Such, if we are to believe history, will be the case with Trump should he embark on an independent run.

Currently he is running in the GOP primary/caucus system. Should he negate his pledge to support the Republican nominee, one can based on the statistical past, reasonably believe that the Democratic nominee, most likely Hillary Clinton, will be a shoo in come November, 2016.

See for yourself the historical evidence:

3rdpartyAs you can see only John Breckinridge in 1860 running against Republican Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 running against Republican Howard Taft, managed a second place showing. In all likelihood,

Trump would take away the best shot, historically, for the out-of-power party (Republicans) taking the reins from the current in-power party (Democrats) after two, straight terms in the President’s chair.

This would mean we would wake up the morning after Election Day to Madame President-Elect Clinton.

From the Cornfield, unless Trump wants to see Clinton win, his best bet is to stay with the GOP and support its nominee – even if that nominee is not Donald J. Trump.

 

Campaigning Versus Reality – Rhetoric Can Be Dangerous

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Most Americans realize that candidates, no matter the office, will say anything to get elected to office. This is very evident with the 2016 presidential campaign – especially with Donald Trump.

Trump’s most outrageous statement to-date is calling for a total, but temporary, ban on allowing any Muslim to enter the US of A – which would be patently unconstitutional. But reaction from his supporters is, “Do it!”

Trump is tapping into the phobia – irrational fear – of anyone who happens to be followers of the Islamic faith. It is not unheard tactic in US politics.

George Wallace, in this third party bid in 1968, used it. He garnered 13.53% of the national vote and won five Southern states giving him 45 electoral votes.

But – he lost the general election.

Trump and his supporters should take note.

The rhetoric on the campaign trail can be harsh, can be borderline insanity, but can also cause rifts and scars on the American psyche. The words spoken can pierce to the marrow of the American spirit.

Most Americans surely know by now also that what candidates say and pledge when faced with the reality of governing usually come to naught.

Take for example President Barack Obama, then Senator, vowing to close the military prison at Guantanomo Bay, Cuba. With a year left to be President, Obama has finally admitted Gitmo will not be closed on his watch, if ever.

What one promises on the campaign trail and what one is able to do once in the job often become empty words spoken in the heat of the race.

Should Trump emerge as the Republican nominee to run for President in 2016, if history is an indicator, the GOP will hand the keys to the White House to the Democrats in an unprecedented outcome.

Should Trump defy history and be elected, he will learn quickly as did Obama, that being President and running for President are worlds apart.

From the Cornfield, while I strongly denounce much of what Trump has said, I also know that the institution of the Presidency will and can survive even a Donald Trump. It has survived and will survive a Barack Obama.