My View: Are we voting for the presidential candidate we dislike least? (opinion)
With both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump now the official candidates, we are quickly moving along toward the November elections.
The political rhetoric and focus will reach its peak in the coming months. In what I can only call a crazy election cycle so far, I am certainly entertained, although I am still not quite seeing the clarity I would like from both candidates on what they will actually do should they become president.
Both parties have done their best to win support for their candidates. Both sides have been doing their best to present their candidate as a person.
For the Democrats, there has also been a lot of focus on trying to get the restless batch of Bernie-crats to support the party. Easier said than done when we have emails fueling their fear of a rigged nomination process.
Despite both parties trying to accomplish the same goals, what strikes me is the difference in approach.
The Republicans are focusing on how awful everything has become, while Democrats are taking a more optimistic tone. For the Republicans, our society is failing, our culture is dying and the only person who can save us is Donald Trump. The obvious question is, “whose America are they saving?”
The challenge with the Republican Party is that they have focused on middle age white men as their base, leaving out the vast majority of the population. It seems that for many of them, their fear of migrants and of diversity is driving an isolationist sentiment.
On the first night of the Republican National Convention, the focus was on making America safe again. In the speeches I listened to, you would think that we are falling back to the ideology of the America Party, commonly known as the Know Nothing party, whose policies in the 1850s were anti-immigrant.
Their targets were the Irish and German immigrants who were flooding into America at the time. They stood for nativism and for support and a push to limit foreign-born citizens from participating in the political system — and I can see some parallels with Donald Trump’s tone and message.
Here’s my view: While we do need to have security, we won’t get there by blaming a group of people for the actions of a few.
For me, the comments of winning back America, and the party’s seemingly whitewashed understanding of the term “American,” are problematic. We are a diverse nation. We always have been and hopefully always will be. We do best when we are diverse, when we have new ideas and new thoughts. The reality is the Republican Party has some good ideas; the issue is they present them in a way that alienates many prospective voters.
For the Democrats, the United States is a shining beacon on a hill and one that has grown in strength over the last eight years. They are pushing a message of unity and acceptance. This serves as a great counter to the Republican message of fearing the other.
In the speeches at the Democratic National Convention, we have seen a focus on acceptance and on inclusion. The Democrats’ approach has been to focus on bringing their party together and countering the Republicans’ more fractured message with one of cohesion.
This is a common trend in our politics, and a common trend throughout history. If you can make your competition seem radically different from you and can showcase all the ways that you are not alike, you build additional loyalty and support for your cause. This is great for winning votes, but it also creates rifts and scars that we will need to heal after this election season wraps up.
The issue comes down to the fact that neither party has truly outlined how they will make anything better. Instead, they point at each other and tell us all how horrible they must be.
Unless things change, we will be casting votes for the person we dislike least. That is an unfortunate place for us to be.
I am looking forward to the presidential debates, to the speeches and the election. I remain optimistic that our nation will continue to thrive and that we will make the best choice for our next president. We have great things ahead for us and we need a leader who can bring together our nation and show us the way.
Ben Rogers is the co-general manager and advertising director of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. He can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.