Today I am going to early vote. I’ve decided to vote in the Republican Party primary. (Texas is an open primary state.) I have decided to vote in that party’s primary because I do not want to see a continuation of the Obama Presidency, which is what I see with both of the major Democratic candidates. (I’ve outlined my critique of Obama here: http://deancook.net/2016/02/20/the-obama-presidency-a-postmortem/)
I have looked at the three most likely Republican candidates at this point, and tried to seriously weigh the pros and cons of each one. These three candidates are: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio.
I have decided to vote for Marco Rubio because I think his views are the “least bad”. I don’t consider any of the Presidential candidates of either major party to be ideal, but if I am going to vote at all, I have to operate within the realm of these choices and not some other candidate who doesn’t exist at this time.
I generally consider my political views to be so far outside the mainstream of American thought that voting is always a “lesser of two evils” approach for me. I also think there could be good reasons to vote Democratic, depending on your particular personal context. I think this is particularly true for women. If I were a woman, I’d probably vote Democratic on the abortion issue alone. I am very “pro-choice”, but since I am not female, that issue is just not as “visceral” or “personal” for me. I think it could be a very important issue for a woman who thinks that she has a right to live her own life and make her own choices free from governmental interference.
I’ve also seen a lot of infighting between different Republicans over their particular preference for the Republican Party nominee, and I hope that this will not step on too many toes. Just like I could see good reasons for voting Democratic for certain people in certain contexts, I think it is possible that one could have a knowledge context or background that would make Trump or Cruz appealing for very personal, and not necessarily irrational, reasons. At the end of the day, I am not prepared to say that my voting choice is the best choice for everyone because I am not omniscient, and there may be facts that I am unaware of. I’ve just tried to make the best choice I could make given my knowledge and context. This is my best attempt to reason it all out.
(1) A certain “emotional appeal” with statements like “Make America Great Again”.
(2) He is willing to discuss “uncomfortable issues” like race relations and Islamic Terrorism and refuses to be “politically correct” about it. (By “politically correct” I mean speaking in euphemistic terms on those issues, to pretend like the problem isn’t there, or to fear offending people when addressing the facts associated with the problem.)
(1) He seems to lack any clear, express, guiding political principles. Trump seems to operate on an emotional level, and I worry that his emotions could change for the worse later down the road -without any rhyme or reason for why they have changed.
(2) Trump seems to support some of the same things that Bernie Sanders wants. For instance, Trump seems to support single-payer socialized medicine.
(1) Strong knowledge of the Constitution. Although I don’t agree with all aspects of his “originalist jurisprudence”, he would bring forth thought-provoking and challenging ideas when it comes to nominating judges for the Federal courts.
(2) His foreign policy seems to strike the right “balance”, in my mind, between being assertive in the use of military force to defend American interests while not becoming “the world’s policeman” or attempting to “right every wrong” out there. (This article seemed to set out the different Republican approaches on foreign policy in this election: https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2015/05/rubio-vs-paul-vs-cruz-on-foreign-policy )
(1) He is everything I hate about the Republican party -and I think he really believes it. He wants to erode the separation of church and state. In fact, I am fairly certain he thinks the very idea of “separation of church and state” is offensive. He is anti-abortion rights for women. Although they all claim to be “pro-life”, I suspect that of the three listed here, Cruz is the most opposed to respecting a woman’s right to make her own decisions when it comes to ending a pregnancy.
(1) He seems to be very thoughtful on many issues. I watched a Republican Party debate between Rubio and Cruz on foreign policy, and, although I tended to side with Cruz, I thought Rubio had well-thought-out positions on these issues.
(2) Immigration reform. Although I’ve heard compelling arguments from people that I respect on why immigration should be greatly restricted, at the end of the day, I think there probably is some sort of right to immigrate into the country consistent with the government ensuring that those coming in are not here to commit acts of war against the United States or its citizens. I too am concerned that people immigrating into the United States will want to make this nation less capitalistic and less free than it already is -and I don’t just mean property rights. Have any of you Democrats thought about what happens when mostly Catholic immigrants start voting to restrict abortion and birth control rights? Also, last time I checked, the Pope is opposed to gay marriage. However, I think there are ways to mitigate this “cultural dilution”. For instance we can allow automatic legal permanent residency, but not automatic citizenship. (This seems to be Rubio’s plan. https://marcorubio.com/issues-2/marco-rubio-immigration-plan-border-security-legal/) This will restrict the vote to native-born Americans, and hopefully, the children of immigrants will be more culturally assimilated than their parents. I also think that Hispanic immigrants can be reached and convinced that free markets and a government reduced to the protection of life, liberty, and property is best. All human beings have the capacity to think -so they can be reached. My, admittedly anecdotal, experience is that immigrants are very interested in working hard and making money -not on imposing international socialism on the United States.
(3) Rubio seems less strident on issues like abortion. He says he is “pro-life”, and I take him at his word, but I also don’t get the impression that it is going to be a major issue for him, whereas I think Ted Cruz would push that issue as President.
(1) He seems like more of a conventional politician. I think he is more interested in getting elected than he is in pushing any particular ideology. However, given the fact that I think much of Ted Cruz’s ideology is wrong, I guess I’d rather have someone who is more “middle of the road” or “pragmatic” like Rubio.