Which candidate best represents America’s priorities?
America is about to choose either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as President of the United States. That’s a surreal sentence to even write, but it is the choice we’ll all be faced with come November. In the meantime we’ll be treated to spin designed to make us to vote on emotion rather than fact while the Media studiously avoids analyzing any position in favor of their daily dose of mud and venom. Do either of these people, or the coalitions they represent, actually reflect America’s priorities? That’s not a rhetorical question… either of these people (or their parties) might have positions worth consideration, but how do those positions line up with the priorities (right or wrong) of America at large? We think the best way to know is to get the story straight from the horses’ mouths. Not just from the two horses running for President, but from a third horse as well…
This month we bring you the positions of the Presidential candidates and their parties with as little punditry or partisan hackery as possible. For the two major candidates you’ll find links to their Party, the Party’s official platform, and the nomination acceptance speech of each candidate. If you want to check out some of the other competitors, we also have a little information from the second, third, and fourth tier contenders. But then dig a little deeper… what are America’s priorities, and how do they differ from those of any political party? You’ll find several links to what actual Americans want from their government and their representatives.
We seem to be faced with two of the worst possible options in this election cycle, but we can still make the best possible choice. Here’s a small slice of the information we need to win the Big Game…
The Main Contenders
There are, of course, two main players when it comes to political parties, and barring an act of God our next President will come from one of them…
Running Mate- Tim Kaine
Running Mate- Mike Pence
The Scrappy Underdogs
In the spirit of fairness though, there are two parties are on the ballot in enough states to theoretically have access to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the Presidency…
Candidate Jill Stein
Candidate- Gary Johnson
The Cinderella Stories
There’s another level below that; parties with access to less than the 270 electoral votes needed to win but more than 50 electoral votes total…
American Delta Party– Rocky De La Fuente
American Independent Party– Wiley Drake
Constitution Party– Darrell Castle
Peace and Freedom Party– Gloria La Riva
Reform Party of the USA– Ed Chiapowski
Party for Socialism and Liberation– Gloria La Riva
The Enthusiastic Amateurs
Finally, there are several parties with access to fewer than 50 electoral votes…
American Party America’s Party American Freedom Party
Better for America Constitution Party Independent American Party
Nutrition Party Prohibition Party Socialist Workers Party
Veterans Party of America
The Gritty Sports Reporters
The Media has abrogated its duty to inform the public as well as entertain us, so it’s up to us to find the unbiased information we need. There are some very good sites out there, but here’s one we’d like to recommend to you today…
Project Vote Smart– “just the facts” on over 40,000 politicians
The Cheering Crowds
So that’s 20 different groups (21, if you count the Media) with their own ideas of where they think the country should go. What do We The People think? In a country with 324 million people it may be impossible to get a precise answer, but there can be clues.
For a general look at America’s priorities we offer an excellent survey from the Pew Research Center, one of America’s most respected polling groups. This is the most recent such survey we found, so it hopefully reflects the most up-to-the-minute thinking of the American citizenry. The Americ an Majority Project Polling aggregates issue polls into one-stop shopping.
The Public’s Policy Prioritie s For 2016 by the Pew Research Center, Jan 2016
The American Majority Project Polling on Campaign For America’s Future, ongoing additions.
Drilling down on some specific hot-button issues leads to some interesting observations…
Poll: Voters want Social Security expanded, not cut, Elias Esquith on Salon, Nov 2013
Majority Still Support Single-Payer Option, Poll Finds by Sarah Ferris in The Hill, Jan 2015
People are noticing the Parties’ priorities might not reflect the Citizens’ priorities. Some of the links below look at the changing electorate in general, others have suggestions on how to move forward on issues where there’s broad agreement…
According To Polls Most Americans Are Socialists Like Bernie Sanders by Rmuse on PoliticusUSA, Jun 2015
News Flash: Americans in Broad Agreement About Pot, Abortion, Homosexuality by Nick Gillespie in Time, Jan 2014
Democrats, Republicans Agree on Four Top Issues for Campaign by Frank Newport on Gallup.com, Feb 2016
But why is there such a discrepancy between what WE want and what THEY want?
Critics Argued With Our Analysis Of US Political Inequality. Here Are 5 Ways They’re Wrong by Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page in The Washington Post, May 2016. (also, here’s a link to Gilens’ and Page’s original groundbreaking research)
How Policymakers Ignore The Public’s Priorities by Matt Grossmann in The Washington Post, Mar 2014
Public’s Policy Priorities Reflect Changing Conditions at Home and Abroad by the Pew Research Center, Jan 2015
If it’s such a bleak situation out there, is there ANYONE working for America’s priorities?
National Priorities Project, website “Fighting for a U.S. federal budget that works for all Americans”
Working Families Party, “Fighting for a brighter future for America”
So that’s it… if you can’t tell the players without a program, you now have the program to know them all. It may be a depressing time to be a citizen but our fellow citizens are counting on us to make the best of a bad situation. Take what you know, keep digging and learning, and try to make the Big Game work to all our benefit. As Thom Hartmann would say, “Democracy is not a spectator sport. Tag… you’re it!”