The nomination process for the Presidential election has been at the forefront of the political news. As it should be. We are choosing the individual who will be the face of the nation. We are selecting the keeper of the nuclear codes for the next four years, eight years, or until he or she blows the world to Kingdom Come. Who we elect President is a big, BIG deal.
But there are issues which inform the Presidential campaign without being specifically at the top of the ballot. What are these issues? How do they merge with the Presidential race and how do they stand separately? Gildshire dug into the lot of them.
• The Economy: The 2008 and 2012 election cycles were dominated by the health of the economy. A look at the history of this country tells us that’s a “same as it ever was.” The economy is always first or second in the mind of the voters. Who could find an advantage this year? Well…both and neither. Democrats can point to a jobless rate that has fallen to a tick under 5%. The underemployment rate (that’s folks who have jobs but the jobs aren’t paying the bills) is down to 10%. Those are the best numbers in recent history. But Republicans will point to stagnant wages and an actual reduction in household wages. So both sides have room to crow…and reason to quail.
• Environment and Science: Climate change. Two words which send the two sides of the political spectrum to their separate corners, ready to fight to the death. The Democrats point to overwhelming science showing climate change to be real. Republicans use the party line “I’m not a scientist” as a way to feign ignorance. Other members of the GOP acknowledge climate change but deny mankind’s involvement and influence. Who will win this exchange? In the long-term it will likely be the Democrats who prevail when the last polar bear sinks into the Arctic Sea. But in the short term, which is all that matters to most politicians, it is hard to say.
• Health Care: What? You thought this was a settled issue after the passing of The Affordable Care Act? Don’t be silly. The GOP is determined to dismantle the program. The Democrats are determined to sustain and expand it. When will this particular debate end? None of us will be alive.
• Education: Specifically the spiraling cost of higher education has been the engine of political discussion on education. Bernie Sanders’ insurgent (and surprisingly successful) run through the primary season brought this issue to the fore. His stump speech decried the debt college graduates face upon leaving school. It moved Hillary Clinton to the left on the subject. The GOP doesn’t have much to say on the issue, believing the free market will work it all out and the government shouldn’t meddle.
• Social Issues: While not at the forefront of much of the debate, social issues loom as a factor during the election season. The vacancy on the Supreme Court after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia is bringing this part of the debate front and center. President Obama has nominated a successor to Scalia. But the GOP refuses to entertain the nomination, even to vote it down. Is this a winning strategy? It appears the GOP doesn’t care, as their worst nightmare is that this President put someone on the Supremes. If Hilary Clinton is the next President, the Republicans may wish they had accepted Merritt Garland, President Obama’s moderate choice.
How will these issues turn on the election of the President? The question may not be as apparent as the question of who wins the Presidency in November. But they will have a far-reaching effect on the direction of the country.