You might find it difficult to sort out just what’s at stake in this year’s US general election. The media are distracted by side issues – Donald Trump’s hair versus Bernie Sanders’ hair for instance. And the public discourse has been – to say the least – confusing.
So let’s see if we can cut through the sound and fury, and determine what the real choices are.
Most obvious is Obamacare. The Republicans have made it abundantly clear that if they win the White House (and Congress), the Affordable Care Act will be repealed.
As I write this, the House is passing a bill that is sure to get to the President’s desk. He will veto it of course, and there aren’t enough votes in Congress to override the veto.
But, if the Democrats lose the White House and Congress in November, the act will be repealed, leaving millions of Americans without health insurance.
If either Bernie or Hillary becomes President, health insurance for all will be assured. Hillary has vowed to refine and improve the existing act. Bernie wants to replace it by expanding Medicare to cover everybody, regardless of age.
If the Democrats win the White House and Congress, their plans will be realized. Even if the Republicans win Congress, at least a Democratic president would be able to veto attempts at repeal, as Obama is doing.
Another sure bet is that the President’s executive orders on gun control will be revoked. The plague of gun violence will be left unchecked and thousands more will die. If the Democrats are in power, you can expect common-sense gun control laws and a respite from the bloodshed.
On immigration, you can be sure there will be no clemency for “illegal aliens” under a Republican regime. Republicans want all undocumented immigrants kicked out – plain and simple. As for any compromise that would provide a path to citizenship, you can forget about it.
The Republican candidates haven’t explicitly promised to outlaw abortion, but it’s easy to discern their intention if you examine the laws passed by Republican controlled state legislatures across America.
I predict that if conservatives win this election, a law reversing Roe v. Wade will go to the Supreme Court. And those five Roman Catholic justices will be licking their lips in anticipation. Even some forms of birth control would become illegal.
Another vital issue is the economy. With Republicans at the helm, America will slip farther into a Third World pattern, with a super-rich elite and a deprived underclass. Corporations and other powerful special interests will continue to dictate America’s financial policies and bask in ever more generous tax breaks.
With Democrats in control, the super rich will be expected to pay their fair share, tax loopholes will be closed and the poor and middle class will get relief.
If Bernie wins the White House and gets a favorable Congress, there will be radical restructuring of the financial system. The big banks would be broken up, for example.
With Hillary, the existing system will be tweaked to limit the predatory behavior that has become the hallmark of Wall Street.
You might think that the Republicans’ “free-market” policies would stimulate the economy, providing more jobs and opportunities for success. But these policies have done nothing of the kind so far. Instead, they have channeled the nation’s wealth to the top one percent, leaving most Americans struggling to make ends meet.
History has shown that prudent government intervention can create a more prosperous middle class and avoid the boom-and-bust perils of a corporate fiefdom.
There are other considerations, of course. Important considerations, such as the need for criminal justice reform, curbing suppression of voting rights, providing an escape route from the ghetto, making room for ethnic and sexual diversity, encouraging tolerance and good will instead of divisiveness and fear…
I personally believe these concerns would be addressed more appropriately by Democrats than by Republicans. You might disagree.
The choice is yours. If any of the issues I mentioned matter to you, I hope you will take the trouble to vote in November.