I don’t usually use this blog to write about things besides startups, business development, and technology but considering tomorrow is Election Day- I figured I should put a few thoughts down. I don’t care who you vote for, but you should vote tomorrow.
1) Obama v. Romney
I’ll be voting for Obama. I don’t think talking about who I will be voting for will affect anyone else’s decision but I wanted to put it out there. I think Obama is the best bet for this country to keep moving in the right direction.
I think that Romney’s plans, while great for affluent individuals, is not realistic in helping improve the economy. Aside from the data and facts behind the math Romney is touting- think for a moment about what would stimulate the economy more. A small subset of weathly individuals taking home more money (Romney’s plan) or a large portion of the economy (the middle and lower class) getting a little more money? The truth is that wealthy people stay wealthy by saving and investing- not spending. This is great for them, but doesn’t help the economy as a whole. Middle and lower classes actually stimulate the economy by going out and spending. To me, it is mostly logic, but the economic stimulating and jobs growth plans of Democrats is backed up by data from the last few decades. This US News article is pretty unbiased piece, laying out the data.
Israel is a very important issue for me. As a Modern Orthodox Jew, US support for Israel is critical. I’ve, unfortunately, seen many Orthodox Jews share very negative (and baseless) sentiments about the President and his administration (which has left me disheartened). However, this is a small subset of overall Jews, as most Jews vote Democrat. The problem is that many Orthodox Jews believe that this president is bad for Israel. I’ve seen numerous circulated articles and videos saying that Obama is going to partner with Iran, Syria, Egypt, and others, to leave Israel to fend for itself. When in reality the exact opposite is happening.
There is no better way to value Obama’s commitment to Israel than to look at the US’s military aid involvement. President Obama has intensified that engagement by increasing security spending for Israel every year since he has taken office. This included nearly $10 billion in aid over the past three years. Colin H. Kahl, in a piece about Obama and Israel on the Foreign Policy website, wrote “To put this in perspective, this is about 20 percent higher than the remaining six dozen recipients of U.S. FMF (foreign military financing) combined.”
While military assistance is the most important aspect for evaluating a president’s relationship with Israel, there are other indicators in Obama’s favor. Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, former Israeli Mossad Director Efraim Halevy, and Israeli President Shimon Peres (all pretty important guys) have all made statements in support of President Obama, saying he is a true friend of Israel (even the highly critical former NY Mayor, Ed Koch, came out this past week with the same sentiment). What’s more, President Obama has vetoed anti-Israel resolutions at every turn in the UN, has supported and pushed the most critical sanctions on Iran, helped save the lives of Israelis trapped in the embassy in Cairo, and most impressively opposed the Palestinian bid for statehood. Does this sound like a President that is throwing Israel under the bus? I’ll answer that one for you, NO.
3) 118,599 votes
Moving past the topic of Israel, other issues such as the economy, health care, immigration, foreign policy, education, abortion, same-sex marriage, climate change, gun control, and more are high on the importance spectrum in this election. The race is neck and neck in many battleground states, but no more so than in the state of Ohio. The Jewish community there has never been more important, at roughly 150,000, or about 1.3 percent of the state’s 11.3 million residents. How important is the Jewish community there? To give you some perspective, in 2004, when George W. Bush was elected, he won by 118,599 votes.
4) If Romney Wins vs If Obama Wins
If Romney wins, I think the presidential campaign process will forever change for the worse. A candidate will be able to continuously change their stance publicly and know that they can still win. This will allow the anti-intellectualism, that is overtaking the US, to continue to prosper. Don’t think he is changing his mind? Watch this.
If Obama wins, he may end up going down as the GOAT (greatest of all time) for presidents. It is clear we are on the road to recovery and that jobs are coming back (people just debate on if they are coming back fast enough). You know that 12 million new jobs number that Romney keeps telling people he will bring if he is elected. This is the number of jobs that most economists predict will spring in the next 4 years- via President Obama’s policies- regardless of who is president.
So let’s say Obama wins- The economy will come back with unemployment going back down to normal, he will implement Obamacare giving access to healthcare for uninsured individuals, he will probably go ahead and legalize gay marriage in a second term (pulling a Lincoln in the 21st century), not to mention having ended the war in Iraq, having give the order to assassinate Osama Bin-Laden (among other high ranking leaders in Al-Qaeda), and winding down the war in Afghanistan. That’s like pulling a quadruple double in Game 7 of the NBA championship in your rookie season- Points, Rebounds, Assistants, and Blocks. Just killing Osama is like putting up 50 points at Madison Square Garden.
5) Low Information Voters
I think it is a little scary that this election is coming down to a bunch of low-information voters. Yes, undecided voters are people who probably don’t know who the two candidates are for this election, or even what day the Election Day is. It may be a bit harsh but I think we should implement two things to fix this problem in America:
a) Compulsory Voting: According to Wikipedia- this is a system in which electors are obliged to vote in elections or attend a polling place on voting day. If an eligible voter does not attend a polling place, he or she may be subject to punitive measures such as fines, community service, or perhaps imprisonment if fines are unpaid or community service not performed. While a bit on the extreme side, it is implemented in Australia, Argentina, and other countries. This would combat voter suppression and if mandatory, I believe people will seek more information before they vote.
b) A short quiz when voting: Not so different than going to the DMV and taking a test to get a drivers license. It should be 10 questions. Very basic stuff for the first five, i.e. how many states are in the US? What state are you voting in right now? etc. The last five would be a bit deeper and more complex (but again, nothing that crazy). You need to get the first 5 right and at least one of the next 5, i.e. you need to score a 6 out of 10 to have your vote count. I know this sounds extreme as well, but you need to pass a test to drive in this country, you should have to score a certain level to elect individuals who will create policies that will affect the country, not just the people on the road.
Two final thoughts:
If you are a Romney fan- this is a pretty strong video against him from Republicans. Any Romney supporters reading this- please comment below. I’d love to understand how you reconcile his back and forth on most issues/topics.
I’m not proud to say, but I sat on the sidelines in 2008. I justified it by telling myself that I’m a New Yorker, so obviously my vote doesn’t count. I don’t feel this way anymore, I will be an active participant on Election Day 2012.