Candi-Dating 2016

When it comes to electing this nation’s leaders, it’s not about substance. It’s about ‘spin.’ If you’re like me, you’re already dizzy. Protracted campaigns should be declared unconstitutional: this is cruel and unusual punishment for candidates and voters.
        If it’s so painful for all the participants, why do we endure it? Listen close: that isn’t the Liberty Bell—it’s the ringing of cash registers, the ka-CHING of campaign spending and influence peddling. November is a long way off, and we have, for months, been plastered with partisan promises, threats and accusations .
        This process is dangerous to the stability of American democracy. It implies we don’t have to make tough changes now, because it’s easier to blame the next round of elected officials later.
        The nation’s problems are getting worse. The world is more volatile, and politicians waste time posing and pointing, while their Political Action Committees pull out all the stops with side-swiping insults.
        Though we’re constitutionally entitled to face our accusers if we’re suspected of a crime, the law of the land allows anonymous, unlimited political spending under the guise of “free speech.”
        It’s a sad, sick cycle: before they take their oaths of office, winners are planning re-election campaigns. Losers may worry they just weren’t mean enough—or rich enough—to win. Meanwhile, voters are misled, carrot-and-stick style, to think that quick solutions to entrenched issues are only one election cycle away.
        Don’t count on TV stations, print shops, newspapers or radio stations, all starved for revenue during this digital age, to ratchet things down. They thrive on juicy stories, not nuanced, bipartisan solutions.
        What’s a voter to do? Pin down politicians who agree most closely with your perspective, cast our ballots and… hope for the best.
        Fortunately, there’s an easy, unbiased, public resource to help figure out, in less than three minutes, which presidential candidate deserves your vote. It’s like speed-dating for candidates.
        Project VoteSmart, www., offers an Internet portal where voters answer a series of simple ‘yes or no’ questions. Candidates whose positions align closer with the voter’s answers get larger, onscreen. Answer as few or as many questions as you like. If you’re a one-issue voter, it will take 10 seconds.
        Unfortunately, ALL presidential candidates are labeled with a yellow banner to indicate they “lack courage.” It will surprise no Montanan that politicians tend to be mealymouthed.
        Still, if more people logged on to Project VoteSmart instead of listening to baloney-filled, billionaire-funded sound bytes, at least we’d have a shot at electing people who believe in the same things we do, instead of candidates who get sore fingers from pointing and sore feet from kicking cans down the road.

Claire Baiz

Claire Baiz is a writer who divides her time between Big Sky Country and the Big Apple. She’s been published in the USA Today, Untitled Magazine, Molotov Cocktail, and the Jewish Magazine. Contact Claire through her blog,