Opinion: The Primary of the Anti-Establishment Candidates

[Statements, opinion, and views expressed in this column are those of the author named and are not necessarily those of the EllwoodCity.org and Thought Process Enterprises team.]

Tuesday is an exciting election here in Pennsylvania. By this time, the primaries in both parties are usually decided but come Tuesday, voters in either party have a choice between two candidates still running pitched campaigns. If we match the national trend, there will be a larger than average voter turnout, which in a democracy, is an essential aspect of government.

This will be the first primary I vote in and first election as a registered Democrat. I still consider myself an independent but I had to join the ranks of about 200,000 Pennsylvanians who switched parties to vote for their candidate in the state’s closed primary.

After New York’s results, Bernie Sanders has only a slim chance of securing a nomination, although I’m hoping he’ll campaign until the end as the competition strengthens the Democratic Party.

Polls show Hillary Clinton has a significant lead in Pennsylvania. For the Republicans, Donald Trump also has a large lead.

It appears Clinton will be president, as polls show her defeating either Trump or Cruz. Ironically, the only candidate that polls occasionally show defeating Clinton is John Kasich, which isn’t overly useful to the Republican Party at this juncture.

Clinton’s eventual victory isn’t that surprising considering that out of the four main contestants, she’s the only one that is a member of her party in both spirit and name. The success of the other three candidate’s platforms is what makes this an interesting primary.

I think we’re all sick of the two parties bickering back and forth and not getting anything done. We live in a state that’s been profoundly impacted by the inability of the legislature to do their job and pass a budget. That’s why three of the four successful primary candidates are outside of what is referred to as the “establishment.”

On the Republican side, Trump and Cruz are hated by their party.

Cruz, a former banner man of the Tea Party, represents those conservatives who feel the Republican Party isn’t conservative enough. He also has more of a conventional Republican stance on social issues than Trump. He saw just enough of the Ark of the Covenant to slightly melt his face. Although he’s seen an increase in voter support,  this has more to do with the fact that Trump is running against two people now instead of 2,000.

As for Trump, I don’t know what to make of him. He changes his stance on issues every five minutes, he doesn’t appear to have solid policy plans and his biggest debate tactic is insulting people. He faced about eight legion of primary opponents, many of them accomplished politicians, and knocked them down one by one by making fun of them. Yes, Kasich is still in, but unless there’s an undemocratic brokered convention, he doesn’t have a chance.

However, the dominant reason Trump attracts followers is that his rhetoric excites socially conservative, predominantly white Americans who are afraid of groups different than them. This includes his free Mexican-border wall and advocating war crimes.

On the Democratic side, Sanders also has an anti-establishment message. He’s a left-wing independent running on a Democratic platform. While I don’t think all of his policies are realistic at face value, he’s honest, shows genuine care for all humanity, has never been afraid of making unpopular choices when he felt it was right and has a strong record of supporting the middle-class and minorities.

There are serious economic challenges facing American including the campaign finance reform, decline blue collar jobs, dependence on fossil fuels, rising costs of college and decreasing wages in proportion to the cost of living, and Sanders isn’t afraid to challenge corporate lobbyists, Wall Street and the mainstream media to tackle these issues.

Clinton, on the other hand, will probably run a just-to-the-left of center administration. I don’t care that she’s changed her stance over the years. That’s the mark of an open-minded individual. However, when she acts like she’s always had the values she currently espouses, it destroys her credibility.

While she has shifted to the left on some issues in order to match Sanders, it remains to be seen if these will be actually policy changes or an attempt to trick people like me.

Regardless of how the the primaries and general election go, I hope it’s marked end to the status quo in both parties, and we can re-emerge next election cycle with a system that better represents all the people, not just the super wealthy.

1 Comment on "Opinion: The Primary of the Anti-Establishment Candidates"

  1. Francis Ramsden | April 26, 2016 at 4:24 am | Reply

    Jonathan my man, come on now brother. I shouldn’t have to go through and be the one fact checking the reporter for Pete’s sake.

    1. The United States is not a democracy, it is a republic. A representative republic in fact. Your point remains – voting is important.

    2. The legislature did pass a budget, in fact multiple budgets….Gov Wolf vetoed them.

    What is up with the self white hate? I 100% reject Donald Trump, but no way would I ever insinuate that his supporters are all racist/xenophobic. That is moronic. So now it’s xenophobic to secure our nations borders? Securing the border is one of the few responsibilities that the federal government actually has.

    Your favorable view of Sanders is unfortunately a plague of our generation. Young people overwhelmingly support Sanders, who is a Marxist through and through. You want to paint this picture of a compassionate man, when in reality he is dangerous. If he were to ever be elected President, he would dramatically shift our great nation away from capitalism and take us in the direction of the turmoil we see in Europe. He loves to cite Scandinavian countries as gold standards…..did you know Sweden went from 4th wealthiest nation to falling out of the top 10, once they turned away from Capitalism and embraced full on Socialism?

    Our generation has a lot to learn.

    Not your best stuff Jonathan….not even close.

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