Upcoming presidential election more vital than ever in determining future

Sean Bassinger, Forum editor

If you haven’t heard the news in politics, here it is: Donald Trump is now (basically) the Republican nominee for president of the United States.

I won’t say this marks the end times (yet), but we’re cutting it a bit close here.

The Indiana primaries Tuesday night offered up victories for Trump and Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders. Audiences then witnessed the concession speech of former Republican hopeful Ted Cruz shortly after.

In addition, there was—at the time of this writing Monday afternoon—whispers that John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, would be the next to throw in the towel.

No surprise there since he had about 150 pledged delegates compared to Cruz’s more than 500.

So what happens next?

First, the race is still likely to be tight against Trump and whoever wins the Democratic presidential nominee. Though the Democratic National Convention is said to be contested between Sanders and Hillary Clinton come July, the New York Times is taking a leap in assuming that Hillary basically has this in the bag.

Assuming this is the case, their interactive article titled “The Electoral Map Looks Challenging for Trump” predicts that Clinton could beat Trump, 347 to 191, if the poll numbers stay the same.

They offer a more extreme “what if” scenario if Trump happens to win, but even they admit that it’s rare.

In 1980, Jimmy Carter led Ronald Reagan in many polls this time of year,” the article reads. “He went on to lose by 10 points.”

Meanwhile, the latest Rasmussen poll stirred up a buzz when Trump jumped ahead of Clinton by two points in a national poll. Granted, this is one poll and only two points, but still something to keep an eye on.

So there’s a brief overview of the current situation.

We should be a little more concerned about the coming months for many reasons:

First, let us address the reality of a Trump presidency.

For those of you who have not yet seen, The Boston Globe ran a special April 9 front page mock-up that takes place in 2017. The issue, which a photo of Trump highlights dead center, features potential “what-if” headlines such as “Deportations to begin,” “Markets sink as trade war looms” and “Bank glitch halts border wall work.”

Might sound ridiculous at first glance, but so did Trump winning this nomination back in June.

It’s not likely that Trump could cause too much chaos as president since, as the GOP gridlock during Barack Obama’s presidency has taught us, the president does not have absolute power.

Still, they have enough power to do significant damage (see: Reagan’s anti-marijuana executive orders from the 80s) if enough of their constituency does not oppose.

I don’t necessarily believe that Trump supporters are bad or “evil” people, but I’m more than well aware of what media messages and marketing can do to someone who’s vulnerable—I say “vulnerable” as in sad, distressed or angry because of some personal shortcoming. They want someone to blame or something to yell at, and Trump gives many folks an excellent platform for this.

Second, the Democratic party, regardless of the nominee, has to find a way to unite so a if they want a more viable candidate to win this election. I know that many Bernie supporters would never think to vote for Hillary in their lifetime, and same with Hillary supporters if Bernie receives the nomination.

But regardless, no matter who we wind up with, they’re going to be the only shot this country has against a potential Trump presidency.

I want to especially make this clear to Bernie Sanders fans:

I understand that what he’s saying is more than what we need to turn everything around right now. I also understand that, for a lack of better words, that the system appears to be more rigged than it ever should be.

On the bright side, we now know this and should expect to see more from our politicians across the board.

I even saw a speech from Paul Ryan where he admits he was wrong about his first proclamations against the so-called “welfare queen” stereotype.

“Takers wasn’t how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, just trying to take care of her family,” Ryan said in his speech, according to March 16 transcripts from the official Speaker of the House website. “Most people don’t want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn’t castigate a large group of Americans to make a point.”

Hell, if he can admit this, imagine what Hillary would be capable of if she gets more of her crap together.

The bottom line: I know we want change and gratification from these people, but it’s not going to happen overnight.

The way this election continues to unfold is at least, on the bright side of things, a huge indicator that something needs to give in.

But protesting our own votes because a desired candidate did not win the majority will be a major setback if we’re not careful. Case in point: Bernie supporters who refuse to give Hillary a shot, or Hillary supporters that won’t support Bernie in a general election.

Personally, I want to see a system that works better. But with so much at stake, we can’t be obsessed with receiving some metaphorical ice cream sundae—something that may not even exist—while our political system continues to be held hostage.

Right now, we need to figure out the best solution for everyone—a solution the majority of us can agree on.

The opinions expressed in Bassinger’s column do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff.

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