Down to Business: The Final Hour Comparison

Article originally posted October 18, 2012 at Choose Your Stance.

 

 

It’s the wire; less than a month ‘til ballot box time. Two candidates will enter but only one will survive and who gets to win is down to us. There are some big issues on the table for the next 4 years. Each candidate has their own approach to each of these challenges facing our country. Let’s review their positions, from the standpoint of our generation. (P. S. Worth noting that both parties use code words, words that sound innocuous but have very significant meaning to their base. Be sure to go and read the original plans so you get the exact meaning):

 

The Economy

The “E”-word has headlined the election for the past two years. Everyone plans to judge candidates about this issue before anything else. With unemployment still hovering close to 8% (and higher, closer to 12% for us… more in big cities), and people just going back to school because they can’t find work, the situation does not look any brighter. WSJ predicts that unemployment will still be at 7% in 2014.

Obama: The President has a 4-part plan he plans to implement in regards to the economy. 1. He wants to create jobs: Some of the ways he plans to do this is to give relief to small businesses through tax credits and reductions to encourage them to produce local jobs. 2. Provide Relief: Obama plans to provide a tax break to the middle class and extend unemployment benefits. 3. Assistance to Homeowners: NOT A BAILOUT – is repeated multiple times. But provide money to states to stop them from raising taxes, reform the bankruptcy code and give 90-day moratorium for those acting in “good faith”. 4. Responding to the financial crisis: Most of this is stuff we already offer that Obama wants to expand, and lots of stuff about being ready to offer credit to anyone who needs it, including government and businesses. Obama specifically cites wanting to create more energy-related jobs for young people.

Romney: Governor Romney has focused his economic plan almost exclusively on job creation. He has a list of ways to do this. 1. Taxes: Romney thinks reforming (simplifying) the tax will help stimulate jobs. Of course some people do not like that this means simplifying the code for everyone, including those evil rich people. 2. Regulation: Decreasing the red tape that keeps some businesses from running smoothly. 3. Trade: Opening up more markets for the US. 4. Labor: (Code word alert.) Pretty much pushing back against unions. 5. Human Capital: Creating programs that retrain the work force for what jobs actually require of them. These programs would be not be government run, but partnerships with the private sector. 6. Spending: Finally, cutting the coverall expenditures of the government. Romney does not list specific youth plans, but he does point out how the President has not followed through on his promises to young voters.

 

HealthCare

The runner up issue, hot the heels of the economy is question of Healthcare. One thing both sides can agree on: the current situation is bad and needs help. The response from the two candidates appears particularly polarizing though, leaving not much room for compromise. The question of repeal still remains very close, just this week Rasmussen did a survey on the new Healthcare Law. 52% of likely voters favor repeal.

Obama: The President is particularly proud of his contribution to Healthcare with his new law, The Affordable Care Act, nicknamed Obamacare. The law is supposed to hold insurance companies accountable, where they cannot drop you or change premiums. It would also keep Medicare costs low and help younger people stay on their parent’s insurance longer. ObamaCare also helps uninsured (a huge portion of which are under 30) get health insurance.

Romney: Governor Romney claims Obama’s plan will only complicate healthcare and raise fees. He also says it taxes all classes and hurts small businesses. His promise is to repeal the law when he gets into office. His plan would allow states more control and push up competition between them, so that each can state can find the best fit for them while still allowing people to purchase across borders. While Romney does not have provisions that directly affect youth, he does point that many people in their twenties do not actually need to have insurance and the government currently forces them to purchase it, therefore costing them extra.

 

National Defense

Overall, the question of defense spending has not been the highest priority in the elections. But the tragedy on September 11th and a number of US Embassy protests across the Middle East brought question of America’s protection back into the spotlight. While many Americans have opposed our troops in countries like Afghanistan, the majority do not support cuts to defense spending. So what do the candidates think about the security of America?

Obama: Obama’s security plan consists of four main points: 1. Bringing the troops in Afghanistan home by 2014. 2. Weakening Al Qaeda. (He killed bin Laden remember!?) This part of his plan may not be going so well. 3. A world without nuclear weapons. Which means to stop places like Iran and N. Korea from getting them, while securing vulnerable material in nuclear countries. 4. Restoring America’s Standing: which means generally being nicer to people, I think.

Romney: Romney’s defense plans include upgrading some of our severely out-of-date equipment and add a new ballistic missile defense system. He promises to reverse Obama’s defense cuts and return spending to the baseline of 2010 (core defense at 4% GDP). At the same time, Romney wants to cut down the defense bureaucracy, making sure we are using funds efficiently. He also discusses projecting a stronger America (the opposite of being nice, perhaps?) and then lists his issues by country which you can read more about on his website.

 

These three issues will most likely stay at the forefront of the election until November, no matter what October brings. Other small issues may come and go, but these top 3 will probably make the decision point for most Americans. Now that you have a quick overview, arm yourself with knowledge and exercise your American right to VOTE!

 

This article was originally written for Choose Your Stance a project that sought to educate college students on political issues. “Politics Made Easy.” The project has since closed and the articles are republished here

Romney Wins Florida, Loses America

Photo by Aaron Webb

My experiences during the Florida Primary left me doubting a Republican win for the Presidency. This morning, Romney reassumed his role as the inevitable nominee. Newspapers called it his “Big Win” in Florida. Taking 41% of the vote in the Sunshine state, with a close Iowa and New Hampshire in the bag, his victory in the primaries does look more likely than any of the competing candidates. But a win in the White House might not be in the cards.

Romney took off hi nice-guy face in Florida, throwing himself and all his money into an unabashedly negative campaign. And like my mother says, “You can’t drag someone through the mud unless you’re already down there yourself.” The ads in Florida were brutal and constant, bombarding voters with twists, speculation and outright lies, from all sides.

Palin told Fox News that this kind of campaigning hurts the image of the Republican Party. “A lot of that negativity didn’t paint the party and cause in very attractive colors. I think that hurts the electorate, diminishes the energy to head into a general. Hopefully everybody will start to focus on what is important as we go forward.” It turns off Independents and Republicans alike and gives fuel to the opposition. (Don’t think the Democrats aren’t taking notes.) And it might have been this behavior that will hand Obama the presidency.

Despite Romney’s flaws, before yesterday, I would have said Romney was still electable. In the end, conservatives would vote for whoever had an R behind his name just to get rid of Obama. But this morning, my confidence is badly shaken. As I stood outside my polling location yesterday, I got the first wave of doubt. A group of Gingrich supporters had gathered to wave signs. They confided to me, “I just can’t vote for Mitt.” The reasons varied from his behavior in Florida (a strong contributing factor), to Romneycare, to his inconsistencies as a conservative, to overall electability. They told me they would consider protest voting for an independent or maybe not voting at all. Only a handful responded that they would absolutely vote Republican no matter who won the nomination.

These answers surprised me. But then, after Romeny’s numbers started coming in, I saw the response from my conservative connections online. Paul, Gingrich, Santorum and none-of-the-above supporters slammed my Twitter/Facebook/Blog feeds with anger and resentment. Many of these people came right out and said they would do the same as my sign-waving friends: not vote for Mitt, one way or another. Instead of the Big-Tent Republican feeling, they swore revenge on the Party by refusing to vote for a candidate they couldn’t believe in.

There aren’t numbers on this reaction. The numbers we do have, look like this: Romney won Florida, but over half of voters wouldn’t put him on the ballot. Romney topped at just over 40%. And a little over 50,000 Republicans (about 3%) didn’t even vote for a candidate still officially running. The overall turn out in Florida was depressingly low, with only 40% voting, the majority of Republicans didn’t even bother.

This leads me to believe that Romney’s victory for America looks farfetched and many Republicans will choose to sit at home rather than vote for him. I don’t have a poll to back up this claim, I’m basing it off of what I heard from connections in my town, my state, my organizations and my political party, and what I heard came through loud and clear: “We won’t vote Romney.”

Welcome to another 4 years of Obama; reset 2016.

SRLC’s Impact on South Carolina

Besides giving candidates yet another platform to interact with South Carolina voters, SRLC will give out-of-state influences the opportunity to affect the primary. The Southern Republican Leadership Conference draws not only other Southern states but participants from across the U. S. who want to watch the process and interact with nominees.

So far, I have met only a handful of South Carolina voters participating in SRLC and most of them are with some form of Republican leadership in the state. Among the SRLC volunteers and staff I met only one. I’m sure there are more, but based on the first day of the conference, there is an obvious outside influence on this event.

South Carolina voters can either embrace these outside opinions, or plug their ears and vote their original intention, but as I said earlier this week, many Republicans in South Carolina aren’t dead set on a candidate and will be open to persuasion. Who does this help? Gingrich obviously, and possibly Santorum. In fact, this gives an advantage to anyone not named Mitt Romney. Romney has to hold on to his lead, and any shift in the political wind will probably take votes away from him. I met a seasoned activist from North Carolina who was happy to share his point of view on the race, “I like Newt.” When I asked him about Romney he replied, “As far as I know, Massachusetts has never elected a conservative.” With enough comments like this, South Carolina could be shifted.