The majority of Americans will go into the voting booth Nov. 8 shaking their heads when it comes to choosing a president. Our editorial board members will be shaking their heads along with them.
This campaign has done nothing to advance the cause of democracy in the world, ease fears of widespread violence and terrorism, help to bring disparate sides in Washington, D.C., closer together, or instill confidence in the Quad-Cities and elsewhere. Regardless of the outcome, political gridlock will only get worse, and a large swath of the American population will believe it is not being represented in Congress or the White House.
The Republicans have nominated Donald Trump, who many believe is unfit to be president. He has deliberately alienated large groups of Americans he is seeking to represent, while taking pokes at world leaders. He decries the loss of manufacturing jobs overseas while his companies sell products made in 12 foreign countries. He is a thin-skinned bully. He has outlined his platform in 140-character Tweets but provided little detail including how he would pay for and get them through Congress. He represents few basic Republican ideals.
The Democrats chose Hillary Clinton, a former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state. She has done a better job of outlining her proposed programs and how she would implement them, but the result would be an ever-expanded federal government paid for by significantly higher taxes on Americans. To appeal to Bernie Sanders supporters, she positioned herself even further to the left on several issues.
But more significantly, we are concerned she’s not as much a leader as a politician prone to saying one thing to get elected while planning something different. She doesn’t think the rules apply to her. Given her richly documented political history, how can we trust her to follow the law, to do what she promises, and to tell us the truth? Mr. Trump has also lied repeatedly during his campaign.
Both major candidates have made promises they can never hope to keep while dragging this country through the mud bath of this presidential campaign. They’ve pushed the Republican Party so far to the right and the Democratic Party so far to the left millions of independent voters and moderates from both parties are left out.
The campaign has become more about technology than ever before -- old video, old emails and Twitter battles. We can sadly expect only more of that in the future and wonder how anyone will ever have a clean enough past to run for public office.
The country needs a way to encourage moderate candidates to run. If this means a groundswell of support for a third party, we can support that. Without some action, Americans will abandon the political process.
Our editorial board could reach no consensus on which candidate would be best to lead the country. That includes Libertarian Gary Johnson whose election would likely close the Rock Island Arsenal, bring a hefty national sales tax and who has demonstrated no foreign policy knowledge. We also cannot support any of the 18 approved write-in candidates in Illinois because we simply don’t know enough about them.
We feel duty-bound to provide some direction, but at this point in the campaign we just can’t, other than to urge residents to study the candidates carefully and. most importantly, vote.