We’ll (hopefully) know who won the Presidential election late Tuesday. Regardless of who wins, the nation must learn some of the lessons that have come out in this election. Three of them are old items that were highlighted this year. Two aren’t exactly new, but they definitely hit peak importance as a result of this election.
Before we get into the elections, let’s make one important point. At the end of the day, we’re all still Americans (other than those who aren’t really Americans, but that’s another topic). As such, we need to do what we can to bring order. There will be no unity even within the parties themselves. This election has proven to be too contentious to expect any semblance of unity. However, we can all attempt to remain civil. The nation is going to be a powder keg for weeks at the very least. Cooler minds must prevail.
Now, about those lessons…
Early voting must go
Absentee ballots are necessary and righteous aspects of our voting system. Those who are unable to go to the polls on election day should be given an opportunity to vote. That doesn’t mean that early voting should be used to allow us to be lazy or avoid lines.
Early ballot applications should be frowned upon. I’m not suggesting any form of test, but the things that came out for both candidates from the time that early voting opened until election day were pieces of information Americans needed in order to cast an informed vote. Ill-informed voters are a problem without early voting. Add ignorance-encouraging early voting to the mix and the sanctity of the election is no longer beyond reproach.
Voter ID should be considered by every state
If you have to show identification to buy cigarettes, board a plane, enter a bar, or get a Costco card, you should show identification to help decide the leaders of this nation. Any arguments of racism or voter suppression are feeble and completely untenable. The risk of voter suppression is far lower than the risk of voter fraud. Every state should consider it (and no, it is not a federal issue even for national elections).
Third parties have no idea what they’re doing
Love them or hate them (or both), these two major party candidates are arguably the two weakest in modern history. If there was ever a time when third parties should have been able to make a significant impact, this was the year. The Libertarian Party decided to put up a leftist VP candidate to run with an uninformed Presidential candidate. The Green Party stayed true to their goals of having bark with no bite, a position in which they thrive. If they ever had actual power, they would trip all over themselves trying to give it to someone else.
The Constitution Party was unable to find 55 people in the state of California to fill out a form so they could at least be a write-in. On down the line, we see a combination of poor strategies and poor choices from every party, top to bottom. This is why I’m so invested in forming a Federalist Party, but that’s a whole other topic.
Issues must make a comeback
In 2012, there was a lot made of the fact that the press focused so much on Mitt Romney’s personal shortcomings. Oh, if we knew then what we know now about how low campaigns could go. The press and the voters paid so much attention to the character flaws of both candidates that most voters can only speculate about where they stand on actual issues.
We need to be talking about issues. We need to be talking about how to solve problems. We need more than a tidbit or a Tweet and until society is ready to go all-in on internet research, the media still has to deliver information on television and radio. They need to start doing that. The only question is the source of this gossip-mag journalism. Do the people guide the media about what interests them or does the media tell the people who they want to be interested in?
Change everything about the debates. Everything.
I’m not going to dwell on this lesson. You all say them. Moderators were generally awful. Questions were baiting and irrelevant. Time was too short for the answers. Many candidates in the primary had no opportunity to shine.
I’d love to see completely different debate format. Imagine questions (on the issues) asked of one candidate at the time without the other candidates present. They’re given ample time to answer it: 2-10 minutes, depending on the question. No audience. Not played live. After all of the answers are recorded, the candidates are brought together to hear all of the answers to the same question played to them for the first time. Then, they’re given 2 minutes to respond. They could attack one particular candidate. They could attack several. They could defend their own position or even change portions of their answer depending on what they heard from others. It’s far. It’s based around the issues. It’s informative. It would be fantastic.
There are other important lessons to learn from this election, but these give us plenty to work towards in 2018 and particularly in 2020.
One thing is certain: this campaign season got out of hand and it wasn’t entirely the candidates’ fault. The media played their standard leftist decoy role. The people obliged and rewarded them by tuning in 24/7. Twitter and its 140 characters became the venue for serious discussions. This election turned into a debacle. Thank the Lord it’s almost over. Hopefully.