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Davis, California

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Guest opinion: Leading Republican candidates are as bad as they seem

The scrutiny brought on by the arduous campaign process has exposed the flaws of the top contenders for the Republican ticket this coming November, and with good reason; a president needs to express discretion and execute policies that benefit the U.S.

The candidates are disappointing but not as disappointing as their supporters who cheer uninsured deaths, boo gay soldiers and defend racist comments. The candidates aren’t just far from perfect; their values and policies exacerbate the economic and cultural divide that exists today.

Newt Gingrich is an adulterous fool with sensationalist sound bytes for a country that needs a more serious candidate. Starting a colony on the moon during your second term is a grandiose idea, but it’s probably not enough to win over an electorate that speaks “the language of the ghetto.” (Yeah, he actually said that about Spanish.) Not only have Newt Gingrich’s remarks toward the Hispanic community been arrogantly ignorant, but so have his suggestions that children work as janitorial staff or about Americans who can’t marry respect the sanctity of marriage just like he has.

While Ron Paul may have some insightful, albeit draconian, suggestions for U.S. foreign policy, his domestic stance is as woefully disconnected as Mitt Romney’s. Paul’s blind support of states rights could have grave implications for women’s right to choose, and his history of fraternization with white supremacist groups is nothing short of troubling. He appears on the surface to lack hypocrisies, but upon closer examination of his constitutional interpretations regarding the powers granted to states, many of the social liberals that support him would be concerned.

Rick Santorum is consistently homophobic and backward-thinking. His disgraceful attacks on the LGBTQ community should be enough to show that this man lacks the compassion to be a community leader, let alone president. Giving Rick Santorum the benefit of the doubt is akin to his suggestion that rape victims “make the best of a bad situation” and “accept what God has given [them].” Rick Santorum may mean well, but his bigotry is unfitting of a president.

Mitt Romney may be a flip-flopper, but the most distressing thing about his proposed agenda is that it preserves the status quo — the exact policies that lead to our current economic predicament. It doesn’t take a degree in economics to realize that a consumer-driven economy cannot survive with supply-side economics. Rising education costs, foreclosures and layoffs are all that has trickled down since Reagan’s presidency.

We cannot afford to elect a candidate that is “not concerned about the very poor” when the median income in the United States has decreased 1.35 percent since 1997 while the 95th percentile’s income has increased by 5.48 percent. Income inequality is not just a demographic issue; without disposable income in the lower income brackets, demand implodes, making income inequality detrimental to the societal health of the U.S.

Romney’s economic future is one in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Inequality is an inherent part of our current socioeconomic reality, but we are all supposed to share in the benefits and the sacrifices. Instead, the entirety of the economic hardship of the last 15 years has been endured by the lower classes while the rich have enjoyed relatively vast wealth expansion.

Corrupt beltway legislators obstructed President Obama’s efforts to reverse supply-side economics and increase demand. Instead, Romney’s congressional ideologues continue to support policies that funnel tax dollars into the coffers of the one percent. Not that Obama’s efforts were all effective, but many of his failures on the Hill and around the country can be attributed to poor cabinet and staff appointments.

There is one Republican candidate that doesn’t keep me up at night. While I don’t care much for the Republican narrative, he doesn’t scare me as much as the rest, and a couple of his issues speak to me. Buddy Roemer, the former governor of Louisiana, is refusing to take donations larger than $100 and is using his campaign as a soap box for much-needed campaign finance reform.

More and more, electability depends on wealth and sensationalism. The Obama campaign is expected to spend over $1 billion this election season, and that does not take into account his campaign’s recent backpedal on 501(c)4 “super PAC” non-profits. Buddy Roemer has made the rounds on TV spreading his message and has found some resonance on shows like the Colbert Report.

I know that whomever I vote for this election season, they won’t be supported by Wall Street.


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