Farm Progress

Is there a presidential candidate you feel good about voting for?

Mike Wilson, Senior Executive Editor

November 1, 2016

4 Min Read

Last March, as I returned from voting in our state’s primary, I used this space to lament the status of the 2016 election. Back then I had a candidate who came somewhat close to filling the minimum requirements to become leader of the free world.

As it turns out, that person is no longer on the ballot. But Hillary, Donald, Gary and Jill are. One may be indicted, one bragged about sexually abusing women, and another doesn’t know where or what Aleppo is (bone up on foreign policy, Mr. Johnson). And Jill Stein? Well, she wants to create a ‘human-based economy.’

‘Nuff said.  

Back in March, I realized that the candidates that come closest to my values and political views don’t exist. Unfortunately things haven’t become any clearer since then. They’ve gotten worse. It’s never good when debates and the political news make you feel like taking a shower afterwards.

Now, if it was just me and I had some unusual wishes for our next leader, I would go back to writing about farmers. And I promise you, I will – it’s much more interesting. But there’s about 100 million more like me who simply can’t find a candidate they feel good about voting for.

What do you want in a president? These are the kind of characteristics that would get my vote:

Someone who will actually care about the economy. According to CBS analysts, the U.S. economy is weaker than it looks.  A recent surge in growth could spur the Fed to raise interest rates.

Someone who knows how to compromise. When Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill were in office, things got done. Those two were at opposite ends of the political spectrum, but they put their differences aside when it came to Congress and making sensible laws for our country. That hasn’t happened in, oh, nearly eight years.

Someone who can gain the world’s respect with a gentle voice and stiff resolve. Things aren’t getting easier in the Middle East, Africa, or countless other global hotspots. Could the next president get respect by bullying other countries? It’s a rhetorical question; you know the answer.

Someone who has a vision that includes the shared values of the majority of Americans. If you’re on Facebook, you might think all your friends are wildly left or wildly right on the political spectrum. Most of us are somewhere nearer the middle. I don’t think my values are that far out of line with others. I would like smaller, less intrusive government with sensible regulations – regulations that make people feel safe and give people confidence in the products and services we use every day. I want a government that takes care of the people who can’t take care of themselves. I want my government to do what the constitution says it is supposed to do – protect us, build our infrastructure, invest in our children’s education – not invade our privacy or restrict our freedoms. I want free enterprise – give people opportunities to be rewarded by their hard work and work ethic. Do those sound weird to you?

Someone who does not pander for political favor. I’m tired of candidates trashing businesses. Those businesses provide paychecks, and those paychecks produce tax money that pays the politicians’ salaries. Yes, I agree we should close loopholes that provoke companies to move headquarters outside of our borders. But anyone who thinks businesses are evil doesn’t understand capitalism or the role entrepreneurism played in building this nation’s wealth.

Someone who wants to find common ground on Capitol Hill. There are plenty of issues that divide us, but there’s a ton we can all agree on as well. Should we rebuild our crumbling bridges? Yes. Can we streamline the federal government so that it’s not so wasteful? Why not? The next president should focus on the things we can accomplish together.

Someone who will fix Obamacare. President Obama’s signature domestic program has become the Unaffordable Care Act. People are losing coverage even as premiums are jumping 25 - 50% in some states. These higher costs are weighing on consumer spending and economic growth. The next president – and Congress - must set aside politics to help find a solution.

I’ve voted in a lot of elections over the years. Is there anyone on the current list who is vote-worthy? Let me know what you think.

About the Author(s)

Mike Wilson

Senior Executive Editor, Farm Progress

Mike Wilson is the senior executive editor for Farm Progress. He grew up on a grain and livestock farm in Ogle County, Ill., and earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural journalism from the University of Illinois. He was twice named Writer of the Year by the American Agricultural Editors’ Association and is a past president of the organization. He is also past president of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, a global association of communicators specializing in agriculture. He has covered agriculture in 35 countries.

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