As the election is now less than four weeks away, there is a lot of consternation about the choices in the 2016 presidential race – for good reason. Donald Trump is vulgar, Hillary Clinton is incorrigibly dishonest, and Gary Johnson is embarrassingly unprepared. But one way or another, either Trump or Clinton will be our next president. That begs the simple question – Does it really matter who wins?
I hear it all the time. “I can’t believe these are the best candidates the two major parties could come up with!” Newsflash – neither party “came up with” Trump or Clinton – we did! We, the voters, put them on the ballot. And one of them will win.
But does it really matter? Yes and no.
Why it matters who wins
The next president will pick three or four justices for the Supreme Court. They will change our trade policies. Their tax policies will have a great impact on our economy, unemployment, and retirement accounts. If Trump has his way, a wall will separate the United States from Mexico. If Clinton has her way, God-fearing, Bible-believing, life-defending Christians will, for the first time in American history, pay for the taking of unborn lives through abortion. No other Democratic candidate – Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, or Obama – has taken this offensive position.
Clinton and Trump will take a different approach to defeating ISIS. They will take a different posture toward Russia, Iran, and Iraq. They will bring differing views about religious freedoms and gun control. One candidate sees climate change as a bigger threat to our national security than global terrorism. The other candidate has big ideas, but few details. But make no mistake – these two candidates have vastly differing views on almost every issue. So yes, it matters who wins.
Why it doesn’t matter who wins
To quote journalist Leon Wold, “This country is great enough to survive either of these two clowns.” The truth is, while both political parties like to pretend otherwise, the President has a relatively small impact on the American economy. When all is said and done, America will still be a place of impressive natural resources, abundant skilled human capital, and an economy that is supported by the relative stability of our government system. America’ s fundamentals are strong enough that four or eight years of mismanagement won’t be able to permanently alter that.
To the extent that either candidate does something truly disastrous, mechanisms exist within our system of government for the American people to remove them after four years or to elect a Congress that will impose corrective measures in two.
The choices in this election are not great. But we all are lucky to live in a country that is blessed beyond measure with natural and structural advantages, and that won’t change, regardless of which of the bad choices this country decides to make President.
So don’t let yourself be depressed and unhappy that it’s come to this. Sure, it’s not a great reflection on us as a country that this election has come to this, but a lot of bizarre and unpredictable forces played into that, and if you’re looking for a silver lining, this is probably the last time a Baby Boomer will have a serious opportunity to ruin this country.
Here’s the good news. We are only voting on a President. The King is not on the ballot. But he is on the throne – not for eight years, but all eternity. And we are better off having the right King and wrong President than the other way around.
Either Trump or Clinton will win. On November 9, we will wake up to a new President. But we will wake up.
So does it really matter who wins? Yes – and no.