By Charlie McKenna, Staff Writer
One of the things I love most about millennials is our disdain for the establishment. As a generation, we generally feel disillusioned with the "powers that be." This attitude shapes our view of big business, institutionalized media, Wall-Street bankers, and especially politics. We are no friends of the so called "Washington Establishment." The upcoming presidential election begs the question, who will get the all-important millennial vote? Candidates across the board try to claim us as their own, but the prospects of getting a candidate who will actually embody principles we prioritize seems slim.
The United States today is locked in an intense war between left and right. Two major ideologies which both form fairly consistent world views are battling for dominance in Washington. On one side are the conservatives, claiming as their base pure constitutionalism and hundreds of years of religious and philosophical tradition and learning. On the other are the liberals, advocating reform of an unfair economic system overly favorable to the wealthy, and social justice for women, minorities, and marriage rights. This is the invisible line, silently dividing our society in two, each supported by passionate and committed activists.
But why doesn't anything really seem to change in Washington? The culture of corruption runs rampant, with politicians selling their vote to the highest bidder, and breaking their promises left and right, then relying on their loyal media and PR team to clean up for them. Which usually works. This has formed abysmal dynastic politics. This is why we millennials despise Clinton and Bush. They are the same old, tired Washington business. Hilary Clinton, with all her baggage that we are supposed to disregard as right wing propaganda. Jeb Bush, who shapes his policy to whatever audience he speaks. Both of these with their sprawling career politician jobs and obvious dynastic connections. It's not new; for Washington, it's just business as usual.
What makes a good statesman?
In the US, a good statesman will fight for his/her voters. He/she is motivated by principles, and these will make his/her record consistent. Pragmatically, principles are important because they're the only way voters can be sure that the statesman will stay true to them. He listens to his voters, and takes what they have to say into account. He will "play the game" and make compromises, but he will never go back on his values. Principles are the most important part. Too often politicians just support the establishment. The only people this helps is the establishment. The two party system is a necessary part of our government in order to make it effective, but ultimately, a good representative will follow his well informed conscience, not his party. When faced with the current lineup of presidential candidates on both sides, we have to ask who's going to do this for us? What candidates have the chops to stand up to their own party, and not shy away from making themselves clear?
For democrats, we've seen a tremendous amount of support for one such candidate, Bernie Sanders. For Republicans, this disillusionment and desire for honesty and candor had manifested itself in Donald Trump, but the real candidate who embodies this desire is Ted Cruz. Why not Trump? Trump has funded both sides of politics to buy power for years now. He’s been the problem, buying votes from both sides of the isle with campaign donations. He’s not the brash, no nonsense extra-establishment man we’ve been told, he’s simply the establishment behind the establishment.
Cruz however, actually has a reference-able record, showing his commitment to certain principles for which he will put his political career in jeopardy. With both Sanders and Cruz, we can look at their records, their attitudes of uncompromising integrity, and regardless of what we think of their policies (we're going to hate at least one) we should be able to agree on their integrity and their personal qualification for the presidency. I firmly believe that's it’s up to our generation to change this problem in Washington. We need to make integrity the new minimum standard. Establishment party followers need not apply (And that means you Clinton, Bush, Christie and co).
Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz: The Ideal Presidential Candidates
Cruz and Sanders would be good ideal presidential candidates because they are manifestations of what each side thinks, at its deepest core. The only reason such outspokenly "radical" candidates like these two haven't been run before is because (you guessed it) the party establishment qualifies them as "unelectable." They say people will be frightened from voting for them. Instead, they propose candidates who will meld themselves to the largest, most lukewarm, chameleon umbrella they can find, and tow the party line for them. Then nobody will really like the candidate, but they can safely assume that people will fall in line and vote for the candidate because they have no other option. In this election however, we have the opportunity to assert our authority over our parties.
With Cruz and Sanders, we have reputable candidates with records we can access and reference. It is clear that they are driven by principles; principles which have shaped their careers, much to the consternation of the establishment. These two don't pull any punches. They have called out party leadership on lies, broken promises, and lack of commitment to principles. They are scathing critics of the Washington elite. According to the standard establishment media hacks, they should be the ones who people run from like a freak show. They aren't "good politicians" and they don't know how to "play the game."
Such unsophisticated political techniques as theirs should clearly be below an educated voter, they say. On the contrary, however, honesty and public integrity is far from being scary to us as millennials. It is what we crave more than anything. Ted Cruz proved his anti-establishment sentiment, saying on Jay Leno that "Washington is broken...the biggest divide we have is not between republicans and democrats it is between entrenched politicians and the American people." Sanders similarly has criticized the Washington establishment as "not able to make the changes we need" because they are simply too attached to their campaign donors. This is why these candidates are good for millennials. Even if we disagree with one of these, the principle of political courage is just the same. They don't back down, they don't chicken out, and they don't give in to the establishment. These two have the most enthusiastic and dedicated supporter base, despite virulent attacks from the media, specifically because of their disdain for the establishment.
These candidates are what we need. This is why America needs Cruz vs. Sanders for the 2016 presidential election. Bring honesty, clear goals, and integrity back to our nation's capital.