Brendan Burke, Associate Editor-in-Chief

This story appeared in Issue #2 of The Prospector

Another four years had passed and it was time for our country to jump back into another election year after two treacherous primary seasons — and the stage was set. A former First Lady, senator and Secretary of State would be running against a reality TV show host to win the highest office in the land: the presidency of the United States. At first glance, anyone would say the reality TV star with no political experience had any chance against a multi-decade public servant. While those people should be right, the 2016 presidential election proved them wrong … kind of. 


I say that President Donald Trump’s election “kind of” proved these people wrong because while he is the president, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than three million people. Trump performed well in three states — leading to an Electoral College victory — and that is why he is sometimes sitting in the Oval Office. I say “sometimes” because the golf course and the offices at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center do not count.


Yes, joking about how incompetent and childish Trump is can entertain many for hours on end, but the 2016 election indicates a shift in America that many politicians are refusing to come to terms with: people are sick and tired of traditional politicians. Trump was an outsider and still is an outsider. He was the first person to assume the highest office in the land without any political or military experience.


Instead of serving as a congressman or a governor, Trump decided to cheat on his taxes, run his businesses into the ground and become a reality TV star. Instead of willing to serve his country and fight in the Vietnam War, he insisted “bone spurs” prevented him from doing so. Instead of starting a business all on his own, he received a “small business loan of $1 million” from his father. Anyone reading this information and calling him a phony who never worked for anything in his life is sugarcoating it — yet he is still our president today.


The only reason Trump’s election happened is because over 62 million Americans were saying that they were sick of Washington insiders. I agree with this viewpoint, but the election of Trump was not the answer. Unfortunately, the Democratic electorate was suffering from what I call “post-Trump syndrome” and was too cautious when electing this year’s nominee. 


Former Vice President Joe Biden was chosen as the nominee for one clear reason: he was the safe choice. Voters were too scared to elect someone based on their ideas or their record. They instead voted based on the made-up, non-measurable idea of “electability.”


The Democratic nominee could have been Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar or even former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg — candidates that ran with bold ideas but were put at stand stills due to their “electability.” 


Do not misunderstand me, electability in broad terms is something that should be discussed with polarizing political figures, but when traditional Democrats or Republicans are running on their ideas, the only question of electability is whether their policies have a vast array of support.


It is time for Americans to stop voting for what is safe and instead vote for logical, doable policies that they are passionate for. The 2020 election is a battle between two extremes: a Washington outsider with minimal political experience and a Washington insider with decades of political experience. I do admire Biden and I am happy to support him this fall, but I had plenty of other personal choices for the nomination.


Non-career politicians should be the people serving us. Trump was not the answer, and Biden is not the solution.