How Not to Choose a President
Much has been made of Donald Trump’s surprising success in the polls concerning the 2016 Republican nominations. Despite making a number of highly controversial statements, Trump has risen to the top of the Republican polls, even overtaking political veterans such as Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Understandably, many, including Wisconsin Governor and recent election-dropout Scott Walker, are worried that if Trump succeeds in attaining the presidency, he will run the country with the same ruthlessness and impracticality exhibited when making some of his outlandish, derogatory statements about women and minorities. These statements include calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” in a speech in June, saying Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly “had blood coming out of her wherever” after Kelly questioned him during the first GOP debate, tweeting in 2012 that Huffington Post founder Ariana Huffington is “unattractive inside and out” while engaging in a feud with Huffington’s publication, and saying in a campaign interview that German model Heidi Klum is “no longer a 10”. While it remains comforting that Trump is devoted to tackling such important topics, there is no denying that Trump has absolutely zero regard for speaking appropriately and/or respectfully towards people who either challenge or disagree with him. Many essays could be written about why a man who feels the need to bully anyone who disagrees with him (or anyone else) should never be the president of United States, but in truth, the problem of a potential nomination for Donald Trump is much greater than his hostile personality. The biggest problem with Donald Trump getting nominated is that from a practical and technical standpoint, he has said almost nothing about what he would do if he were elected president.
Trump, like many other candidates, has relied on blanket statements and unclear generalities in describing his plans if he is voted into office. In truth, it’s almost a guessing game as to what his policies are towards issues that are actually important in American politics, such as healthcare, the crisis in Syria, (about which he has actually stated outright “I don’t want people to know what my plan is” - at least that doesn’t sound suspicious), gun control, and global terrorism (about which he was unable to identify several key figures when questioned by journalist Hugh Hewitt). Additionally, despite his financial background, Trump has failed to actually share his strategies for fostering economic growth in America, instead saying things like “I will be the greatest jobs president God ever created” (whatever that means) and “I beat China all the time”. In not being either knowledgeable or upfront about these topics, or both, Trump is showcasing a trait that many people fail to criticize him for: incompetence. Trump has attained his popularity by saying a wide variety of outlandish statements, none of which have any practicality for a politician, let alone the president, to actually do while in office. Even though we know now that Trump hates immigrants and Megyn Kelly, we still have absolutely no idea where Trump stands on the majority of key issues.
Unfortunately, the issue of vagueness is prevalent among other players in the election as well. Another candidate, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, has been rising in the polls after strong showings in both GOP debates. Ms. Fiorina, while lacking a background in politics, has achieved some success in the polls by bravely calling out both Trump and Hillary Clinton, (particularly in the latest GOP debate) as well as making a variety of well-meaning statements, such as her correct claim that “women are not a special interest group”. While a statement like that is true , it also shows very little about what she actually is going to do while in office, if elected. Other examples include Jeb Bush saying that America “Cannot do it (compete in the world) by lowering expectations and dumbing down everything,” Dr. Ben Carson’s claim that “there is no such thing as a politically correct war,” and Marco Rubio’s recollection of how he was “raised paycheck to paycheck”. While these remarks are not nearly as bad as Trump’s blatant offensiveness, they still fail to actually provide insight into what these politicians will actually attempt if they are elected, which is what, at the end of the day, will define their presidency. By making vague statements about what they hope to achieve in office and putting focus on less relevant aspects of their lives, these politicians are creating an environment where the public is essentially voting for whichever candidate they seem to like most as a person, which is ultimately the wrong reason to chose a President.
Many people may dislike Trump because of his remarks, but that’s not why he shouldn’t be the president. Trump shouldn’t be president because he is an uninformed bully who has yet to prove he knows a single thing about politics, what the president actually has to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Other candidates, like Bush or Rubio, who actually have successful backgrounds in politics, should be open and up-front about what they will actually plan to do if they are elected, because we as citizens will be voting for them on the basis of what they have done and will do, not who they are. Even if it’s been the common practice in the past, it is simply unacceptable that the presidential election of the United States be little more than a popularity contest, where the candidate who gets the most people to like him or her wins. On any given day, the President will have to deal with any number of complex issues in any area of politics. Whether or not the President is liked by the public has little to do with actually dealing with those issues effectively in terms of actual political actions, because there is much more to politics than simply getting elected. There is simply no way of knowing who the right candidate is until all of the candidates become open about what their plans are if they attain the presidency. Until that point, the only thing we’ll know about a candidate like Texas Senator Ted Cruz is that "If you're looking for someone to go to Washington, to go along to get along, to get -- to agree with the career politicians in both parties who get in bed with the lobbyists and special interests, then (he) ain’t your guy.”
Candidates need to be upfront about their policies, so the public can elect them on that basis alone. Until they do, voters are playing a guessing game as to what each candidate actually brings to the table, and may end up with a president who’s better at getting elected than actually accomplishing things in the political arena.