QUESTION: What Makes This Presidential Election So Significant?

September 2, 2016

The 2016 presidential elections are approaching, and as is often heard every four years, this election has been described as “significant.” On the one hand, this could be the year that we make history and elect the first female president. Meanwhile, Trumpites are salivating at the prospect of “Making America Great Again.” Many of those who describe this election as significant do so with the assumption that both candidates differ greatly in their policies and outlook. However, what is truly significant about this election is how nothing could be further from the truth.

On the surface, there are some superficial differences between Clinton and Trump. Clinton is the ultimate political insider, while Trump has no prior political experience. One of them half-heartedly embraces the Black Lives Matter movement, while the other vehemently condemns it. One candidate is strongly anti-second amendment, while the NRA has endorsed the other candidate. I think just about everyone knows which candidates hold the positions listed above. But digging beneath the surface, one finds that one candidate is extremely anti-trade, while the other a bit less so. One candidate wants to bomb more people “over there,” while another candidate has in fact already bombed people in the Middle East, many of them civilians. One candidate says that Edward Snowden should be executed, while the other says he should have gone through “proper channels”—knowing full well that this would have resulted in imprisonment and no pushback for reform. Both candidates love the NSA. Both candidates love the Fed’s easy money, both candidates want to raise the minimum wage, both candidates love the war on drugs, both candidates love government infrastructure spending and both candidates love government deficit spending—so much, in fact, that if either were elected, the deficit and debt will skyrocket, and entitlements on autopilot will remain unreformed. Above all, both believe in imperial presidency—that the president can do as they wish with the stroke of a pen.

If anything, this election is significant only in that it highlights how low we have dropped the bar. In a nation such as ours, these are really the two best candidates we could come up with? One who many view as corrupt and untrustworthy (for good reason!), the other one a crazy snake-oil salesman? On top of that, they are nearly identical on the major issues of our time. To quote Thomas Sowell, “When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy.” For once, there is not even a semblance of a major party candidate advocating for more liberty and less government.  Most Americans have drunk the Kool-Aid and embraced the interventionist state. It is significant that only now this has become apparent for all to see.

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