Democalypse 2016: You can’t always get what you want

The Mac Weekly

With November 8 fast approaching and the 2016 election kicking into high gear, you can sense the excitement not only on campus but across the country. Two candidates have been selected in a fiercely fought primary season and voters have never been posed with such visionary options. Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders of Vermont promises a long overdue political revolution while Republican nominee Marco Rubio aims to restore the promise of the American dream for all.

That’s what I wish I could write. Instead, I have to work with a lying criminal and an absolute psychopath. You decide which is which.

My name is Cody Olson, I’m a junior here at Macalester and an unapologetic Republican. Republicans at Macalester are a severe minority, with conservative opinions and ideas often ignored, pushed aside or at times attacked. I began writing my Democalypse column a year ago to offer a conservative take on the election, current events and Macalester in a rational and well-thought-out manner. The goal is to promote an environment of discussion and productive debate as well as to make Mac a true community containing a multitude of differing beliefs and values.

I hope to make an impact and to give the Republican Party a face at Mac so we as a community can recognize that, although political differences exist, we all have one goal and that is to improve the country and the world for ourselves and future generations. This column is a tool to open up discussion because I believe we can’t grow as a society unless we debate important issues with those who have different opinions from our own. It’s why I chose Macalester, the most liberal college in America, and it’s why I encourage readers to contact me with disagreements or topics of discussion.

Now that I have properly introduced myself, let’s get back to the circus we call the 2016 presidential election. Hillary Clinton is currently dominating in the polls nationwide and even putting historically red states such as Georgia and Arizona into contention. This is despite Secretary Clinton’s 67 percent untrustworthy rating (NYT/CBS poll) and a divided Democratic Party following a primary season of favoritism and corruption by the DNC.

The reason Clinton is winning an election despite being such a toxic candidate is that the Republican Party nominated someone much worse: Donald J. Trump. It’s almost as if the Clinton campaign handpicked who her opponent would be. Instead of the energetic and inspiring Marco Rubio or the serious and level-headed John Kasich, the Republicans nominated a man whose campaign is built on celebrity, fear-mongering and race-baiting.

If it’s not obvious, I am not a Trump fan. I worked extensively with the Rubio campaign, but that is now beside the point. The GOP nominated a man who does not reflect the values I believe represent the Republican Party and in doing so cost itself the easiest presidential victory since 1980. Had Republicans learned from their mistakes of 2012 and taken rebranding and inclusivity seriously, I believe the GOP would have won in a landslide. America is not performing at the level it had in the latter half of the 20th century. Yes, rights have expanded, medical and technological improvements have been made and comparatively the world is a much safer place. But the issue is that the United States is in poor standing in the competitive global arena in math, science, healthcare efficiency, education, free press, child well-being, etc. We do top the world in a few areas, however, including homicides and incarcerated persons.

The United States needed fresh ideas and that wasn’t/isn’t going to come from the criminal nominated by the Democrats. Hillary Clinton, while immensely qualified for the presidency if only a resume and cover letter were required, lacks the integrity to be President of the United States. Her involvement in the Whitewater affair, the Jones & Lewinsky scandals, Benghazi, foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of state and of course her “damn emails” are all examples of why she should be disqualified from being president. Here at Macalester, we talk a lot about privilege. How about this for privilege: if anyone of us so blatantly jeopardized the national security of the United States, even if we made an honest mistake regarding our email, we would be in jail right now. Secretary Clinton will likely become president.

Now with both major parties in turmoil, third party candidates like Gary Johnson and Jill Stein have begun to see their numbers rise beyond expectations. Granted, these expectations are low. However, they continue to amass support that negatively impacts Clinton and Trump as well as possibly, dare I say it, puts some states in contention for third party victories. While I do believe that’s a long shot, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility considering how strange this election season has been. Gary Johnson has been polling very well in western states like New Mexico, Utah and Nevada and, while I’m still not fully convinced he will win these states, the last 12 months have shown us that stranger things can happen.

As we approach election day, opinions on the candidates will sway back and forth. You may hate both Trump and Clinton, you may think a third party vote is a waste, and you may decide that you don’t want any part in this trainwreck of an election. Don’t sit this one out. Don’t let anyone tell you how to or how not to vote out of fear for the other candidate. Remember that the Senate and House could switch hands and local elections are even more important to your daily life than the presidency. Decisions are made by those who show up. Vote your conscience.