This post is based largely on A Thinking Person’s Candidate published by me in an earlier blog on 1/24/2016, seven years ago. The only things that have changed are that our problems have become more serious and the names of presidential candidates have changed. Nothing has been solved, and the fiscal situation has gotten much worse thanks to irresponsible and over-enthusiastic COVID spending.
Candidates and Egos
In January 2016 Mr. Donald Trump came to our town for a Wednesday evening rally at a Christmas Tree Farm about 20 miles west of my house. Though not a supporter, I was fascinated by him, by his candidacy, by his rock star status, and by the far-right constituency awarding that status. I had not seen him in action as a president or seen his reaction to losing an election. But I was not going to show up at his rally and help boost his ego.
It is disturbing to see any presidential candidate enjoying rock star status. When they look out at the crowds facing them, they should see crossed arms and frowns of concern rather than raised arms of worship and big smiles and should hear tough questions rather than cheers. They are not running for the position of savior or king and are in no way qualified for either position. And their egos do not need boosting. If we had either a faux king or a faux savior, it would destroy our representative democracy, and we have no business looking for or considering such a person. The Germans learned that from Hitler.
It is essential that our leaders keep us out of the ditches on the political spectrum far left and far right, and we need to elect a president who can close the gap between those two extremes and work with both.
Voters and Problems
It is troublesome to see voters locked in on a candidate based on some single issue or on a particular ideology. The candidate is a woman, or is not a woman, or the candidate is an evangelical or a Catholic, or the candidate is either pro-abortion or is waging war on women. The candidate is a war-monger or a pacifist or maybe a socialist or a fascist. The candidate is for equality or is in the pockets of the rich. The candidate promises to appoint liberal judges or conservative judges. Most issues are not so simple, and we really don’t know how a particular person, if elected, will react to situations that may arise over the next four or eight years. Wisdom, leadership, flexibility, and compromise will be required for success.
We need thinking voters searching for a thinking candidate, a person with broad managerial and leadership experience interested in leading a team of like people and senators and representatives of both parties in solving five major problems we face.
1. To avoid fiscal disaster down the road we have to find a balance of revenue, spending, and GDP growth that will bring our debt as a percent of GDP back down to 20% or so. That is going to require a deep understanding of business and competition and global economics and will have to include competitive tax rates on corporate profits. Strong support and promotion of investment in the USA will be required.
2. We need to recognize diversity among the states and quit trying to pound all fifty into the same Washington, DC fabricated mold. Competition among the states is a very good thing, and the winners will be rewarded with increasing business and growing populations. The losers will have to figure out how to shape up and be competitive and will learn from watching the winners.
3. We need to recognize diversity among the citizens and allow all to freely express and practice their cultures and faiths within the broad bounds of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. That includes business owners who must be free to discriminate, not on the basis of who people are, but on the basis of the choices people make and the behaviors they exhibit.
4. We need to recognize our leadership responsibility among the nations of the world and remain the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” welcoming “the tired, the poor, the huddled masses,” etc., but taking names, fingerprints, and DNA samples and enrolling them in English and citizenship classes upon entry. We must remain a “melting pot.” And we have lots of room.
5. We need to get the money out of politics and simplify the tax code and regulatory environment to prevent the buying of favoritism and special treatment. We need term limits and citizen servant senators and representatives dedicated to much higher goals than re-election.
Readers may be upset that environmental issues didn’t make the list. Global warming is a reality but I am not convinced that we are wise enough to control or manipulate the environment without unintended and destructive consequences. We have big egos and tend to forget that we are only 5% of the world’s population. If sea levels are rising, the wisest reaction is to move. So, I leave that real concern off of our to do list.
If I were going to add a sixth problem, it would be crumbling infrastructure. I believe that thinking persons will realize that Problem 1 solutions, increasing our fiscal responsibility and competitiveness, will require that improved infrastructure.
Is there a thinking candidate on the scene? Jeb Bush and Rand Paul seemed to me to be such persons eight years ago, but both were eviscerated, in the minds of voters, by bully champion Donald Trump. I’m not going to begin analyzing the current long list of candidates, but I will say that you will not find me cheering or worshiping any of them no matter how much I like and support them.
I do like Mrs. Nikki Haley and believe, based on her background, experience, and intelligence, that she would be a good person, a thinking candidate and leader, and a public servant, a person well qualified to be the first woman, based on merit alone, to serve as POTUS. And she is 51 years old, in the prime of life.