Opinion | Susan Knopf: Ballots have arrived! | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Susan Knopf: Ballots have arrived!

Susan Knopf

Our ballots arrived. I opened mine. I’m an active Democrat. I thought I knew what was inside. I read down the list. I felt some confusion. Why are candidates who dropped out on this list? Who are some of these people?

Then I focused on the people still in the race. People have asked me for weeks, “Who are you supporting?” I’m not ready to say. I’m not ready to decide. I’m not ready to vote. And then the panic set in.

I’m not ready to vote. It’s not just the competing ideas and policies, it’s the muckraking and the character of those who support each candidate.

One of the things that bothers me most about the Trump presidency is those you always see standing behind him. How much could you care about your pet political issue — be it no gun control, no universal health care, keep out immigrants, kill abortion rights — that you could vigorously support a powerful, rich man using all his personal and political power to bully individuals? The things he’s said. The things he’s tweeted. The public servants he’s fired for doing their jobs. The justice he’s denied each of us. How can I consider voting for someone with the same legion of haters?

Sen. Bernie Sanders supporters viciously attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren supporters and Las Vegas culinary union members online with profanities. I cannot sign up for the same thing again, just lefty. It’s not Sander’s fault, but it’s his responsibility. His leadership is at stake. In the debates Wednesday night, he said he “disowns” anyone who engages in such behavior.

He said his staffers also have received “vicious, racist, sexist” tweets and emails so despicable he would not discuss the content on air. He suggested that such behavior might not be linked to any candidate’s staff or followers. He suggested it might be the same Russian interference we experienced in the 2016 election cycle. He quickly added he had no proof, but the suggestion was there. So how are we to assess character when the waters are so murky?

Those of you who continue to support Trump, think long and hard. The president has resisted all security attempts to do anything about the Russians. The Mueller report indicted more than a dozen Russian nationals and three entities found to be guilty of election interference. But the president has been resistant to any action to secure our elections. Democratic presidential candidate Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar introduced a bill that requires paper backup in all state elections, but will Mitch McConnell let the bill come to the floor?

Mike Bloomberg seems to have engaged in much of the same misogynistic behavior for which Trump has been faulted. The New Yorker describes a myriad of issues and settlements with former female employees. We all thought he’d be the knight in shining armor, riding in on his white horse to save the centrist Democrats from the lefty revolutionaries.

Pete Buttigieg joked Wednesday night that Democrats should focus on electing “somebody who’s actually a Democrat” as opposed to Bloomberg, a former Republican, and Sanders, a historic Independent and self-proclaimed democratic socialist.

What’s a voter to do? Focus on the issues. Go to the candidates’ websites, and read what the candidates say. Make a decision based on your assessment of the candidate’s skills, abilities, values and positions. If I thought there was a clear choice, I would tell you. I think the water is murky. Swim cautiously.

The candidates seem to largely agree on the environment. That’s good. Better than the alternative climate change deniers.

Health care seems to be the biggest bone of contention. Sanders and Warren are advocating “Medicare for All.” Klobuchar, Buttigieg and Joe Biden say keep your private insurance if you want. Wharton Public Policy Initiative compiles a range of economic analyses vigorously demonstrating that economists disagree as to whether a “Medicare for All” system will solve the issue. There is no question we are paying twice the international average and we are the only developed nation without universal health care, thus we settle for unacceptable health care outcomes.

For the record, our ballot reflects anybody who qualified to get on the ballot and did not ask to be removed by the deadline.

Susan Knopf’s column “For The Record” publishes Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Knopf has worn many hats in her career, including working as an award-winning journalist and certified ski instructor. She moved to Silverthorne in 2013 after vacationing in Summit County since the 1970s. Contact her at sdnknopf@gmail.com.

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