I think its safe to say that both Presidential candidates as well as the American public would agree that there has never been such a huge difference between two platforms. Indeed, the 2020 Presidential Election stands to be one of the most consequential in the nation’s history. One would have to go all the way back to the 1864 Election between Republican Abraham Lincoln and Democrat George McClellan to find anything even remotely close to the present circumstances. In 1864, the Democrats adopted a peace platform, which meant they would have ended the war and let the Confederacy continue to exist had they won. Had that happened, who knows what the United States would look like today. I seriously doubt we would be the most powerful nation on Earth.
The United States is the most powerful nation on Earth. It is the wealthiest nation on Earth. The Land of Liberty. Over the course of its 244 years, a group of colonists on the East coast ultimately built an empire that extended all the way to the Pacific Ocean. It is a nation that has survived a Civil War, two World Wars, the Cuban Missile Crises, and many other threats over its long history.
Nevertheless, I’m left with, and bothered by, one very disconcerting question: Does the future and well-being of this country really rest on the shoulders of a single person? Does our freedom depend on the outcome of an election?
Despite all this nation’s accomplishments, is our future contingent upon President Trump winning a 2nd Term? If we are such an exceptional nation, how did things get to the point where everything hinges on the outcome of a single Presidential Election? Is our nation that frail or our we letting our fears get out of proportion?
Within my own lifetime, I think its safe to say there wasn’t a large difference between Bush Sr. and Clinton or Bush Jr. and Gore. There probably wasn’t even that big a difference between McCain/Romney and Obama. No one painted any of those races as showdowns between vastly different ideologies. Those elections didn’t present any doomsday scenarios. I don’t remember Romney repeatedly telling the voters that a vote for Obama was tantamount to a vote for socialism (though he would have been correct had he said as much). I remember the media and popular entertainment criticizing George W. Bush. They even released a movie entitled ‘W’ that portrayed George W. Bush as being Neanderthal-level stupid. However, in hindsight, W. was treated quite well by the news media. While not necessarily friendly towards him, they didn’t portray him as the very embodiment of evil and corruption, which is how they portray President Trump.
The big difference between President Trump and the above-mentioned individuals is that Trump is not a conventional politician. The Clintons, Bushes, Obama, Dole, Gore, McCain, and Romney all act/acted like conventional politicians. The followed certain etiquette and unwritten rules. They stayed within certain bounds. As such, the media, while obviously biased towards liberal politicians, nevertheless didn’t drop all pretense of impartiality. Whether liberal or conservative legislation was passed, the backlash never got out of hand. The Republicans and Democrats basically adhered to an uneasy truce. Society operated as normal.
However, in 2020, the future course of our nation could not be more uncertain. Trump is the champion of capitalism and law and order. He also puts America first in negotiations with the rest of the world and is committed to ending American involvement in foreign wars. Most importantly, Trump isn’t afraid to speak of God and God’s Hand in the American experiment. If you are a supporter of Trump, listening to the man speak evokes strong patriotic emotions. Chants of “USA! USA! USA!” regularly break out at his campaign rallies.
In stark contrast, Joe Biden stands for socialism, godlessness, lawlessness, cancel-culture, open borders and the subordination of American interests to foreign interests. Further, Biden seems to be in dotage. He appears to be physically weak and his mental acuity seems, by any objective analysis, to be in decline.
If it were not so terrifyingly real, Biden’s candidacy would be laughable. He boldly declared the other day that 200 million Americans had died from COVID-19. Really? That is roughly 2/3 of the American population. The actual number (which is subject to scrutiny) is only 200,000 deaths. How could anyone justify voting for a man that can’t distinguish 200 million from 200 thousand? Biden can’t even say the Pledge of Allegiance correctly. Is this the man we want as the chief executive of our country?
I think if nothing else, this election highlights a disturbing trend in the government of the United States. The Presidency has accrued more and more power. It has now reached a point where the person who holds the Office of President has the power to by and large, unilaterally determine the course and direction of the country. If the Oval Office is occupied by someone whose policies you support, you are likely to be happy with their actions. However, if the Oval Office is occupied by someone whose policies you strongly oppose, you will be very disturbed by their actions.
There must be a head of state in any government. Someone has to make the final call in some matters. For example, the President as Commander-in-Chief is a necessity. When it comes to military matters there has to be someone at the top who makes the final decisions. In terms of foreign policy however, would it be more prudent for representatives of Congress in conjunction with the President to make decisions? What about Executive Orders? I opposed Obama’s Executive Orders and I support Trump’s but should the President have the ability to issue such powerful decrees? It’s a double-edged sword.
There are 3 branches of the U.S. Government. Congress is supposed to enact laws, the President is supposed to enforce the laws, and the Supreme Court is supposed to interpret the laws to make sure they are consistent with the U.S. Constitution. Congress has ceded too much power to the other branches. Should a President be able to establish laws with Executive Orders? Should the Supreme Court be able to legislate by making decisions such as allowing gay marriage?
As the Presidency accrues more power, it creates more and more tension every 4 years. When Trump took office, his policies were a radical departure from Obama’s. I welcomed the change, but I also feel uneasy about it because the Democrats will eventually regain control of the White House. What will happen then? The polls show Biden winning the election easily. Of course, they showed Clinton winning easily as well and we know what happened then. Nevertheless, I am afraid of a Biden victory. If for no other reason than the possibility of election fraud perpetrated by the Democrats.
So, back to the original question: Does my freedom depend on a Trump victory? What if Biden actually wins–what is the worst that can happen?
If the Republicans maintain control of the Senate, there would be some checks on a Biden Presidency. If they lose control of the Senate, we are in serious trouble. Further, another reason why a Biden Presidency would be so detrimental is the fact that the most left-wing extremists in the Democratic Party seem to have the most influence over him. Whomever is elected President should be a person of very strong will. This doesn’t mean we need a person who will ignore advice, but we need a person who won’t serve as a puppet for others to control. Biden is almost 78 years old and doesn’t seem to have the stamina to hold up to a campaign, let alone the demands of the job. Is it really Trump vs. Biden or Trump vs. Harris or even worse Trump vs. Harris-Sanders-AOC?
A lot of damage could be done over the next 4 years if Trump is defeated, but I don’t believe 4 years is enough time to dismantle our freedoms entirely. There are too many laws and mechanisms in place for something like that to happen overnight. If nothing else, the stakes of this election should prove to everyone that the powers of the Presidency should be reduced or better-regulated.
Regardless of who wins, I hope that Congress will, in a non-partisan manner, seek to reclaim the powers it has surrendered. If it doesn’t, then long-term, yes…our freedom may very well be in the hands of a single individual. We are heading in that direction. I don’t think this election is freedom’s last stand, but if we don’t become more vigilant the day will come when our freedom is truly on the line.