A lot of election rhetoric will naturally and logically focus on candidate platforms. President Barack Obama supports social health care, while his opponent, former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., stands for cutting spending, etc. You know what I mean – the stuff we get beat over the head with by advertising.
These platforms should, of course, be what citizens base their ballots on. But there’s another argument I have yet to hear advanced: policy consistency.
Whether or not you support Obama, I think we can agree he hasn’t messed up majorly. Sure, he’s enabled the enactment of legislation you might strongly disagree with, but the economy is recovering slowly but surely and we haven’t entered into any new wars. Obama also faced a pretty unstable world during the past four years when it comes to foreign relations. But he hasn’t screwed up in a serious way.
If Romney were elected president, he probably wouldn’t screw up majorly either. Even if he did, it would probably happen only once or twice and would be something the nation could recover from. But here’s the thing – our country has been, and still is, in the process of a slow economic recovery. Both Democrats and Republicans can point fingers and blame the other side for the lethargic state of the recovery, but it’s nearly impossible to prove any cause and effect relationship because of how complex and convoluted the economy truly is.
So if neither candidate is going to royally screw up, and because let’s be honest – politicians in the U.S. are basically just different shades of gray when compared to the full color spectrum one finds in other countries – then why does it matter who wins the presidency?
Economic policy consistency.
One of the worst possible courses of action is to stop in the middle of one road to economic recovery and back-track just so you can take another road. Sure, both will lead to the same place. But doesn’t it make sense to continue down the one you’ve been on for the past years if back-tracking will lead to, well, back-tracking?
See, a good way to create economic instability, especially during a period of recovery, is to say, “Remember all these business regulations that you’ve been spending time and money to adapt to? Well, just kidding, we’re going to change them all again now.” Suddenly changing economic policy will absolutely be detrimental during a recovery.
“But Reggie,” you say, “that’s not true. What if the new policy was better”? Better is subjective. Sure, you can point to studies showing how conservative trickle-down economics have worked in the past, but I can point to studies that show how it hasn’t.
The economic policies of the past four years have begun the process of healing the broken economy Obama was handed. And the economy is slowly getting better – slowly, but surely. Why risk another recession, or even depression? Our president hasn’t screwed up. The economic policies he’s enacted haven’t crippled us in any way.
Of course, your vote should be cast based on your political beliefs and the candidates’ platforms. But if you consider the two candidates to be pretty much the same – which in many aspects they are – it would be wiser to vote for Obama in order to keep consistent economic policy, especially because he has proven he won’t screw up.
Reginald Young (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior majoring in legal studies and Scandinavian studies.