Opinion Article: This Time You Are Not Choosing a Candidate. You Are Settling For One.

Politics is changing, or, should I say, national politics has changed. Political marketing, social networking and buzz-words like “the perfect candidate” are now of greater significance in today’s political discourse than any focus of the past, be it on the form of government, political compasses or “the survival of the strongest.” Politics is, an ever-changing subject. It is not like mathematics or physics with objective truths and results. Politics, instead, depends on the era it is found in, and, to evaluate politics in this era, we must understand where we come from. 


The 2020 U.S. Presidential election on November 3rd will be decisive for both the Republican and Democratic Parties’ fates. I believe one thing that can be agreed upon is that, throughout U.S. history, there have been far better candidates than those in this year’s election. If you disagree with this, I ask you to read the rest of my opinion. This is where the title of this article comes into place: you are not choosing, but rather settling for one of the two candidates. The most common argument I’ve heard for voting for Biden this year is along the lines of this: “Vote for Biden to get Trump out of the office.” The whole Democratic campaign for this 2020 Election is built upon this statement. But, what does this command mean? Even if you don’t like Biden, you must settle with the idea that he is the best option because we have to ”get Trump out of the office.” I’m not making a case for Biden nor for Trump; I personally dislike both as I personally am not pro either candidate because I like neither their platforms nor their personalities. This is precisely where the trouble begins, as there are no options other than Trump or Biden. So what should people do? Not vote? Is that an option?


We haven’t understood yet that the American presidential system is somewhat rigged. Why Bernie Sanders left the presidential nomination or why Ted Cruz didn’t have a better campaign to run against Trump, with some Republicans calling him “The Real Republican,” remains a mystery. Unlike Hillary Clinton, there was no unanimous support for Elizabeth Warren or even Kamala Harris, the current vice-presidential candidate, to become the first female president of the United States (something that I personally believe is necessary at this point). Just see the facts: Biden and Bernie Sanders are both, in profile, very similar. They both are in their late 70s, white, with liberal political viewpoints and years of experience in the Senate and Congress. Let me be clear here: there was no place for both of them in this 2020 election from a political marketing point of view (and here is where our first term comes into the game). If the Democrats chose to keep both candidates for the election polls and the DNC, then people would have had problems in choosing between Biden or Sanders, which would have diminished the Democratic Party’s goal of achieving the presidency for this 2020 election. 


When I started my opinion, stating that politics have changed, I was doing it from facts. When we evaluate history, which is possibly the best teacher for humans and one that we don’t often assess, we encounter different representations of politics throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. We started the century with two poles of attraction: nationalism and globalism. We had some extreme nationalist countries like Germany, Italy, Turkey and Iran, which closed borders, grew tireless militaries, supported state companies and consolidated one party governments. We also had some extreme globalist countries, such as the US, France and the UK with massive colonial expansions or even some fast-growing Latin American countries, such as Venezuela or Argentina, which saw an emergence of natural resources such as silver and petroleum. Then, in just a few years after the Second World War, politics took a massive turn. The ideas of nationalism and globalism were no longer important once the Axis powers dismantled, leaving a vacuum for two new magnets of political control: capitalism and communism, which were filled by the USSR and the US. Both victors of World War II, they began allying with countries to spread their respective forms of governments as they attempted to apply a “survival of the strongest” strategy. Of course, nationalism and globalism never completely died, but they became economic currents instead of political ones, marking a slow political fall for both theories.

Later, in the early 80s, two new, opposing political ideas appeared in the US, both of which remain today but are currently dying. Liberalism and conservatism governed politics for almost 35 years, beginning with the election of Reagan and continuing to the latest election of President Donald Trump. Because he was a non-politician, for some,his candidate was and still is “the perfect candidate.” He had a reputation not cursed by politics; he was a manager and, for the Republicans, that was essential for the party’s survival. A manager was crucial to increase the investment from technology companies in the party, to stand against China in economic policies and to manage the US’s massive public debt. Additionally, I believe that for Ted Cruz (with his new politics to face socialism, increase conservative values and manage bipartidism in the House of Representatives) to become a future candidate for the republicans, someone like Trump should have managed the presidency before.  Republicans aimed to change the current sphere of politics that rests on conservatism and liberalism and re-introduce the real form of government, which is grounded in nationalism and globalism. “The perfect candidate” to do this was indeed Donald Trump, as he did change the world of politics since he took office in January 2017. 


Republicans recognized that there were two reasons that resulted in the need to shift from a liberalism/conservatism-based government to one where nationalism and globalism prevail. First is that, though liberalism and conservatism divide society, they are mostly social conducts, not political ones. Second, socialism is rising and growing inside liberalist borders, and the Republicans are not going to let that happen. The whole division of America is proof of this. But, sectors of society and even sectors of politics haven’t adapted to this change yet, or at least don’t want to. However, don’t confuse the idea of a perfect candidate with the candidate itself , as it is an idea of achieving a goal and not one of personality. If we evaluate Trump for his character, he wouldn’t be anywhere near a perfect candidate, but rather the opposite. Which political party would choose Trump as a candidate for the presidency considering his massive ego, big mouth and lack of social empathy, among other things? 

  Now, the article’s real idea: how will this shift from liberalism and conservatism to nationalism and globalism occur? The motion of choosing either Biden or Trump is one more about party ideals than choosing the individual itself. On one side, people that tend to vote for Biden have progressive ideals, as the Democratic Party has been the leader in that area for the last few decades. On the other side, people tend to vote for Trump because they believe in conservative values, as the Republicans have carried along their history. For me, the change was essential to the survival of both parties, especially the Republican one. A rebirth of socialism conjoined with the idea of liberalism, the strong cultural policies being applied by the current administration and political tribalism in America are examples of the great division and fight between both ideologies. It’s also worth noting that all of these phenomena are being placed upon a generation, like the millennials and Gen Z which find socialism (as liberalism) appealing as it offers opportunities to things conservatism may reject. 


This panorama of politics, fueled by cultural liberalism, tribalism and socialism, has purposely finished in, what I call, the annihilation of American politics. Mark my words, even if your preferred candidate wins, he will take American politics to a place we have never seen before. If Trump wins, he will not be only preparing the next four years for a new Republican candidate, but he will make his only task to destroy liberalism in society as we know it, which is sure to happen considering the Supreme Court, the Senate (as they might get the chance to win it) and the presidency will be in Republican control. If Biden wins, societal limits will, in some sense, be simultaneously eliminated and imposed on those who do not share those values. This will lead to the party’s control (not only Biden’s) over both the Congress and the presidency, leading to a stronger Democrat Socialist America. I’m not going to tell you who to choose, as the system didn’t provide as many options as in other elections. It is either bad or bad, and, for me, that is not choosing, that is settling.


If you want to learn more about this subject, I would recommend The Suicide of The West by Jonah Goldberg and Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do by Andrew Gelman.

          -Santiago Vidal


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