Why do I vote as I do?
At the current time I see the priorities of our political requirements as being 60% economic, 30% foreign policy, and 10% social issues. Why?
The economic issues includes other domestic policy initiatives such as education, but our ability to fund our welfare state, any necessary military and foreign policy initiatives, and so many other demands and requirements depends on our ability to pay for them. We need to generate wealth before we can distribute it. The progressive wing of the Democrats, which dominates them more than the Tea Party dominates the Republicans, has sacrificed economic growth to a host of progressive dreams with the bill now coming due. Calling an expense an investment does not make it so, and it creates an expectation that will not be fulfilled. The reason that so many of both parties are so disappointed in their political leadership and that they have been promised more than their leaders can deliver.
Large systemic changes such as the ACA create disappointments, but are seductive political objectives. Solving component problems (access, insurability, cost) can be more effectively addressed individually, but this requires real problem solving rather grand political gestures. Real problem solving is not subject to effective sound bites and electioneering.
The Progressive Democrats believe they have political solutions to economic problems, and they hide true costs behind Rube Goldberg mandates and Kafkaesque regulations. Even when a problem is apparently partially solved it is at far too great a cost.
While there is much I do not like about the Republican front runners on some issues and while I abhor the boorish style of a Trump, and the inexperience of a Carson, I find the Democrats so sorely lacking on the economic and domestic policy issue, and since I weigh that portion so heavily, it is unlikely that I will find a Democrat I can support. The Democrats complain about the effects of their policy of the last eight years as if they had nothing to do with it.
I do not think either party has a lock on foreign policy, although I think the reign of Obama and Hillary has been a disaster. Bush for all of his controversies at least had a policy, well-formed and thought through. Parts of it may have been proven mistaken and misguided, but at least such a policy can be adjusted to unfolding realities, however uncomfortable they may be.
Obama’s policy is wishful thinking and leading from behind. He is so afraid of military power that he negotiates from severe weakness and we see the result. Foreign policy is difficult and he is not up to the task. Other Democratic candidates have not presented any change, and apparently the statute of limitation on blaming Bush for every wrong on the planet has expired.
The GOP must get beyond Neocon blustering, but I do not see any Democrat superiority on this issue. There used to be a much greater consensus between the two parties on foreign policy and this was critical because effective foreign policy cannot tolerate dramatic changes every election cycle.
I disagree with the Republicans on some social issues but even if I disagreed with them strongly on every one, I weigh those issues relatively small compared to the importance of the other two. There is just not much that I think would change as a result of their coming to power. Yet this is their weak spot with the electorate.
Our modern history has been one of increasing progressive power punctuated by exhaustion and a retrenchment of government power, This happened after Wilson , and after Carter and after eight years of Obama I believe we are at that point again.
In choosing a candidate I place their governing philosophy and principles first and their character and competence second. Who would want a competent politician effectively enacting disastrous policy? Hillary is clearly not to be trusted on anything and her only guiding principle is whatever brings her the most power and money. Bernie can be trusted to try his best to add our country to the long list of socialist utopian failures in recent history.
There are several GOP candidates that have promise, but as a group they are killing the party. There is much I do not like about several of them and they are as prone to gaffes and singularly stupid comments as any other, but compared to the last 8 years and the promise of the Democrats to continue down that path, selecting a candidate should not be so difficult.
As bad as the Republican candidates can be on any single news cycle, the Democrats so far have still managed to be the less desirable choice.