When Donald Trump announced he was a candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 2016 most Americans ignored him. He’s done this before. In 1999 he declared himself a candidate for the Reform Party, though he dropped out after a few months. After a few flirtations for the 2012 election he ended his candidacy.
But two months ago he announced his candidacy and it’s different now. It appears he’s serious and thinks he can win. The polls seem to back him up: as of right now he garners the support of 24% of Republican voters (Jeb Bush is in 2nd place with 13% of the vote) and in a head to head competition with Hillary Clinton he’s only 6 points behind.
We are a year away from the nominating conventions and fifteen months away from the election but already there is copious amounts of chatter that the Donald may be our next president. I have to confess a certain amount of amusement over this. Fringe candidates like Donald Trump and Rand Paul feed into the general discontent many voters feel. Fifteen months out it’s easy to express anger and frustration without having to worry about actually voting for these tangential candidates.
But the 24 hour news cycle is benefiting from this energy and projecting that our next president may be one of these. It won’t. The long journey to the White House demands a candidate who reflects the values, hopes, and dreams of the majority of Americans. It’s no coincidence that Ross Perot in 1992 and John Anderson in 1980 garnered more interest than votes.
These candidates and many others believe that a momentary spike in the polls will translate into a belief in their leadership. We American voters respond to pollsters in different ways: fifteen months out we express our fears and frustrations, and in the voting booth we vote for our dreams.
Many voters worry about the direction of our country and most of them are expressing their fears. But at the end of the conversation they’re not willing to entrust our future to someone who expresses only anger and no leadership. In November of 2016 we will all vote for the candidate who best expresses where we want to be in the future.
I believe most of us want a future where all of us have what we need, where we welcome those who want to join us in building a more perfect union. Where anyone who wants to advance has the opportunity to do so. Where all of us recognize that our ancestors came to this land with a determination to work and a hope to provide for us, their descendants. When we vote in November, 2016 we need to remember them.
I believe that all of us who will vote for our next president will recognize the candidates who share our values and support our descendants as much as our ancestors.
And more to the point I hope all of us will look at Donald Trump and the rest of his supporters and recognize that our nation will do well by choosing someone who will lead us from fear and toward inclusion. Donald won’t do that.