Friday, November 4, 2016

Referendum


The election Tuesday isn't about Jobs or Personalities or who is the more Honest.  It is about the issues.  Issues that affect you personally.


It sort of bugs me that some young folks are moving their vote from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump.   They can't see a difference between the two candidates, they say, and they claim that Trump will "create more jobs" in an economy that already has record-low unemployment.

How could he create more jobs when unemployment is already below 5%?

But that is not the real point.   The real point is policy, and with one Supreme Court vacancy waiting to be filled, and several more looking to become vacant in the next 4-8 years, who in in charge at the White House and who will be appointed to the Supreme Court becomes the vital issue.

Because of gridlock in Washington, a lot of "law" has been made at the Court, much to the chagrin of Conservatives, who consider this "legislating from the bench" unless, of course, they legislate in their favor, in which case it is called "wise jurisprudence".

In addition to the Court, the President, as Chief Executive, has a lot of leeway in deciding policy issues.   How laws are enforced is often as important as what laws are enacted.

Thus, Tuesday's vote is a Referendum of sorts on the following issues.   If any of them are important to you, you might want to think about how you are going to vote.

1. ABORTION:   This may be the most obvious one, as Donald Trump has promised to appoint more conservative justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade while Hillary will appoint more liberal justices who will preserve it.   The anti-abortion league has pulled out all the stops this time around, pretending that third-term abortions are commonplace and inventing gruesome things that don't exist, like post-birth abortions. 

2. GAY MARRIAGE:   This is not talked about by either candidate, but if you want to "go back" to the "good old days" and you have very conservative justices in the majority, it is not hard to see that the legalization of gay marriage would likely be walked back.   What would happen to existing marriages would be anyone's guess.   But given the rising tide of anti-gay sentiment worldwide, things would likely get ugly if the Court decided that the States should regulate marriage.

3.  LEGALIZED MARIJUANA:  Despite being legal at the State level in a number of States, Marijuana is still illegal at the Federal level.   If President Obama decided to, he could shut down every marijuana dispensary (even medical ones) in the country overnight and jail the operators and employees for a very, very long time.   It is only the "hands off" approach of a Democratic President that has prevented this from happening.   A conservative Republican President would likely do otherwise.

4.  FREE TRADE:  If you still believe that your job was "taken away" due to free trade, I can't help you.   If you think you'll get it back through protectionism, you are even worse off.   The reality is, however, since so much of what we consume today is imported, the cost of all goods would skyrocket if we went back to a protectionist tariff scenario.   If you vote to abolish free trade, I suggest you buy that big-screen television and new smart phone shortly.

5.  IMMIGRATION:  If you think our country is being overrun by Mexicans, well, I guess we all know who you are voting for.   Of course, the net migration of Mexicans has been negative in recent years - as the Mexican economy starts to prosper through.... free trade.  But it is true that migrants from other Latin American countries do continue to seek a better life in the US.   And it is true that nearly every farmer relies on this source of cheap labor to harvest our crops.   And every suburbanite relies on them to mow their lawns and clean their bathrooms.   If you want to "build a wall" don't expect Mexico to pay for it, and moreover, expect the cost of goods to increase even further.   Myself, being the great-grandson of immigrants, I am less afraid of them and also more respectful.   The immigrants I know are hard-working people who have sacrificed a lot to obtain very little.   I am not sure why they are a punching-bag for the far-right.
  
6.  HEALTH CARE:   Granted, Obamacare has its problems.   I will find out shortly what the real cost is to me, once I do my taxes.   Although I pay over $1000 a month for coverage (and the cost will go to more than $1300 next year with the same plan) once I get my tax credit back, the cost may be more in line with what I paid before for a $10,000 deductible plan.   And the benefit of universal coverage and no pre-existing conditions limitations make it worthwhile.   On the other hand, if you want to see it abolished with no substitute plan put in its place, well, you know who to vote for.

7.  WORLD POLITICS:   Engaging the world is a messy business.  Countries jostle for influence and power.   You can play the game and get bloodied on occasion or go home and cry in your soup.   One candidate wants to continue to engage the world, as difficult as it is.  The other wants to fold up shop and stay home.


Those are the real issues.  Both parties want you to think the election is all about Hillary's e-mail server or Trump's shitty track record as a businessman.  They want you to think about "character" issues instead of real issues.   And let's face it, both Trump and Hillary have made some bad choices and maybe even done things that are illegal - but nothing like the hysteria that the extremes of both parties allege.   And no, some partisan movie (on either side) isn't going to change that fact.

There are real issues at stake this election.   Your vote does count, and it will change the course of this country.   Saying that the candidates are "both the same" or "it doesn't matter" is kind of dumb.

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