Q1: Which of the candidates do you like best and why?
Prof. Dustin Byrd: I prefer Bernie Sanders. For almost 20 years I thought Bernie should run for president. He is what the Democratic Party is supposed to be, but sadly is not: a labor party, i.e., a party that represents the 200 million workers and poor of this country. He’s really a “New Dealer.”
Bruce Baker: I can’t say that I dislike all of them equally, but I can say I don’t honestly like any of them. Each candidate, on both sides, is too polarized to make any positive progress in a presidential office. It seems that our largest problem isn’t any of the key issues discussed in debates, but that our political system is destined for further gridlock. All that being said, Marco Rubio will receive my vote in the upcoming primary elections. Out of all the candidates he has a good, slight chance at being elected, and a good chance at working with both parties.
Q2: Based off of the recent projections about whom the primaries will be in the future, what do you think this means for both parties?
Byrd: This election cycle has demonstrated one thing: the two-party system is in trouble. The Democrats were always supposed to neutralize socialism; the Republicans were always supposed to neutralize the far-right: fascism. On the one hand, you now have a self-declared socialist who is leading in every demographic compared to his liberal counterpart, Hillary Clinton, who is NOT a progressive, and never has been one, although she likes to claim to be. On the other side you have a fascist, and I mean that literally, who is leading in the polls. If things continue this way, the two-party system will be gone in 50 years.
Baker: I’m excited to see a tighter race between Hillary and Bernie. The Democratic election will be healthier and more exciting because of this competition. By March, I predict we will have a good idea of who will receive the nomination. There is a lot of competition for these candidates, (and) they will be better for it, tried-by-fire before entering the final race.
Q3: What are your thoughts on Donald Trump?
Byrd: My grandfather fought on the beaches of Normandy to defeat fascism, (and) it would be a shame for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren to vote it in.
Baker: Good ol’ Donald. Trump is a master of attracting media attention, and he has some good ideas. Both consciously and subconsciously, Trump forces people to pay attention and listen to him. Let’s be honest, he’s terribly offensive and unkind. I want a strong, brave, intelligent and kind president. Trump is not a president, but he is a genius.
Q4: What do you look for in a potential president, and do you think that this year we will find someone to accomplish those views?
Byrd: What I look for in a president is one that actually cares about the majority of Americans, i.e., the poor, the working class, the middle class, the Christians, Jews AND Muslims, atheists, agnostics, gay, straight, foreign-born and native-born, the immigrant and the illegal immigrant. In other words, someone whose humanity has not been swallowed up by power, greed and hate. That is a tall order.
Baker: I look for intelligence, economic understanding, honor, strength, a shimmer of humility and leadership. I have little hope that a woman or man with all of these tributes would ever make it all the way to the presidency. The general public far prefers a shell of perceived honesty and integrity to the real thing.
Your thoughts? Write to ocecho.com