Choosing a Third Party Candidate

With news that Donald Trump has fallen into a tie with Hillary Clinton in Utah, and considering how historically unpopular both major party candidates are, it is suddenly a very real possibility that a third candidate could win our state. There have been discussions about which third party candidate(s) deserve any support at the ballot box. Let me explore the only two who have any traction here and how I make my choice. Those two candidates are Gary Johnson with the Libertarian Party and Evan McMullin who is running as an independent.

First off, neither of them has any chance of capturing 270 electoral votes (although both are on enough ballots to make getting 270 technically possible) so they both have the same path to the presidency (have no candidate reach that number). Therefore, functionally there isn’t an inherent advantage for one of the two over the other.

When choosing which candidate to give your protest vote to I would argue that you should pick the candidate who most represents what kind of person should lead or nation. On that score, I look at Gary Johnson and he has shown over the last few months that, while he isn’t completely morally bankrupt like Trump, he is like Trump in that he is clearly unprepared to be taken seriously as a president and comport himself in a presidential way.

When Evan McMullin announced his candidacy I wondered how prepared this unknown latecomer could possibly be. As I have reviewed his history and his positions I have been impressed with his solid background and his considered policy ideas.
I find it easy to choose Evan because he seems capable of handling the challenges of the office without looking like a juvenile pretender.

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A Time for Contrition

{Billy} Bush apologized for his language and behavior in the tape on Friday, saying he was “embarrassed and ashamed.” “It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry,” he added. (via USA Today)

“Embarrassed and ashamed” – that’s exactly what Billy Bush should be and saying so suggests the possibility that he has matured in the 11 years since this recording took place. It’s exactly what Mr. Trump should both feel and say. At (then) 59 he should have matured past that point long before the video happened but I can allow someone to be a late bloomer morally. Unfortunately for the nation, Mr. Trump seems incapable of maturing or feeling remorse. The best he can manage is to be “not proud of it.” (via Washington Post) In offering a perfunctory apology he simply dismisses it as “locker room talk.”

Of course it’s locker room talk – in all too many locker rooms* (and apparently buses) – but that doesn’t mean it should be accepted even in those venues. If an adult finds that the hormonal teenagers in their locker room are engaging in any talk like that the response should be to teach those youth to elevate themselves and become better – not to tell them it’s okay to say such things as long as they keep it within the locker room.

While he assures us (in response to the repeated inquiries by Anderson Cooper) that he has never engaged in the kinds of actions that he talked about, he failed to offer even a hint of recognition that such talk is degrading to the person speaking and to any person being spoken of, and that acceptance of such talk – even under the guise that it is limited to locker room situations – is degrading to our society as a whole.

This man who claims that he has never asked God for forgiveness has just given the nation further evidence that he was telling the truth on that score. Anyone who has ever engaged in such talk, not matter how young or hormonal they were, should be embarrassed, ashamed, and contrite whenever the subject is brought up and should, in unequivocal terms denounce their past behavior. Doing any less than that is to become guilty again – no matter if more than a decade has passed. To knowingly elevate such a man to the nations highest office is hardly better than trying to repeal the Nineteenth Amendment and openly relegate women to a second class status.

* In fairness to all those who regularly frequent locker rooms – especially professional and collegiate athletes – “too many locker rooms” should not be taken to mean “most locker rooms” and there have been many athletes stepping forward to point out that none of the locker rooms in their experience have included such vile talk.

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Gardening from the Ground Up

The concept of gardening from the ground up is that I start by creating pure compost in a worm bin which I then use to make compost tea which is circulated through an bioponic system. The system should require no fertilizers or chemical additives to grow vegetables in a dirt-free, weed-free environment.

I have decided to document the process of building the system, cataloging what works and what corrections I have to make to keep the system working.

This week I received the works I ordered (500 red wigglers) and placed them in the worm bin I had prepared. I expected that they would settle in comfortably but after the first day I found that roughly ten of them had escaped to seek better accommodations (and died on the ground in the attempt). I realized that I had too much course material in the worm bin and added about a gallon of peat moss. Twenty four hours later I checked on the worm bin and found that none of the worms had left so we may have a good bin situation now. I will keep monitoring over the next week to be sure.

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Expanding the Big 12

As a BYU fan, the news on Wednesday that the Big 12 was openly exploring candidates to expand by 2 or 4 teams in the near future was very exciting. For years I’ve hoped that BYU could get into the Big 12 and there could never be a more obvious opportunity for them to do so than this.  I have long believed (and possibly even publicly stated – I can’t remember right now) that the Big 12 needed to get to 14 members, both to be level with the SEC and Big Ten and also to have some wiggle room if the power conference landscape shifts in the future.

Looking at the current landscape I identified what I believe to be a very good expansion scenario. Here are the four schools I think they should add as full conference members (in order of strongest to weakest addition).

Continue reading

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Trump is a master manipulator

Donald Trump didn’t have time for political correctness. That being the case, neither do I. I’ll summarize my message by committing the PC crime of declaring that Donald Trump shares a key trait with Adolph Hitler. I’m not suggesting that Trump would incarcerate or attempt to exterminate Jews or any other sect of the population, nor am I suggesting that if we make the mistake of electing him he would invade or annex Canada. What I am saying is that, like Hitler, he is a master at manipulating people and working the media to simultaneously display and distort his public image.

In wanting to understand those who support Trump I decided to buy his book and pay more attention to what he was saying rather than what was being said about him. What I found was disturbing because it became clear to me how deft he was at manipulating his image and his message to sound appealing despite his obvious personal deficiencies (like the most basic level of human decency).

I no longer wonder how people can support Trump but I’ve also read Mein Kampf, and while Hitler’s worst traits are fairly obvious in that work when read in 2012, they would have been much less obvious to the people of 1932 Germany who were suffering economically and angry from the fallout of WWI, who nearly elected Hitler to lead their nation that year.

I am absolutely confident that if we choose Trump in 2016 those who supported him will find themselves consistently disappointed by what he does, both in those things where he deviates from his campaign rhetoric and in those things where he sticks to his campaign positions.

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Similar Posts -- Donald Trump - Real solutions require internal change - A Time for Contrition