Election 2016 Round Table Discussion: Donald Trump has recently been under attack for open mic comments made in 2005. Hillary Clinton has been attacked for defending a rapist early in her law career and comments made in speeches to Wall Street firms. Does this really matter? Should the debates focus solely on policy issues rather than character issues? Would third party participation in the debates help to better manage the dialogue?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Character issues always matter when electing leaders, especially those in the federal government, but they are not as important as policy issues. The government is made up of humans who are fallible and have a wide variety of shortcomings. Character plays a role with voters because most voters at least subconsciously need to “like” a candidate enough to vote for that candidate. But voters should focus more on what policies the candidate will advocate for because those policies will more directly affect voters than will the fact that the person for whom they voted is a womanizer, or an alcoholic, or said some nasty things about someone years ago.

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Election 2016 Round Table Discussion: What are your thoughts on early voting and voting procedures in the US? Is it time for reform?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-This country’s voting procedures are adequate but rapidly falling behind the times. An upgrade is needed in when to schedule elections, how and when to allow voting, how to tabulate votes, and whether the time has come for ranked-choice voting. Continue reading

Election 2016 Round Table Discussion: Donald Trump stated in a late September Council Bluffs, Iowa campaign rally that if elected president he would “take on the special interests, the lobbyists, and the corrupt corporate media that have rigged the system against every single American.” How would he go about tackling these monumental tasks?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-The first and best way to rein in the special interests that have turned congressional votes into a commodity to be bought and sold is to run the lobbyists out of the process.  No matter how you slice it, using money and influence to get close to legislators is bad business.  We have to get the foxes out of the henhouse.  There are, of course, First Amendment issues to be dealt with here, but if Trump is elected and allowed to appoint a couple of right-thinking justices to the Supreme Court, perhaps sanity will prevail.

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Election 2016 Round Table Discussion: Briefly, what are the top five most important issues that you believe the next president should address and why?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-The top five issues the next president needs to address are the domestic economy, foreign policy, immigration, the tax system overhaul, and resolving the coming entitlement crisis (which includes health care and health insurance). Continue reading

Election 2016 Round Table Discussion: In the second presidential debate, Donald Trump indicated that, if elected, he would have a special prosecutor investigate Hillary Clinton and her private e-mail server. If Trump wins, should Barack Obama step in and pardon her and others involved in the scandal or should he remain neutral?

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-In the interest of the country, Barack Obama probably should remain neutral concerning Hillary Clinton’s scandal ridden career, particularly in reference to her actions as Secretary of State, and he is fully aware of her e-mail transmissions, her access to a private e-mail server and her Clinton Foundation solicitation of foreign donations. Continue reading

Election 2016 Round Table Discussion: Regardless of the outcome of the election, has the Republican Party been irreparably damaged by the Trump candidacy and its effect of alienating members of the party?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-I think the GOP will be quite a long time recovering from Trump’s candidacy, win or lose.  Decades of catering to ever more outlying groups is coming home to roost, as the “big tent” is turning into a straitjacket.  There’s no more room for compromise or modernization since the far right goes into screaming hissy fits at the mere suggestion that the opposite side might have a good idea.  Similarly, the various factions go to war with each other over the smallest points of conservative doctrine, much akin to an old-time church going to war within itself with members trying to out-pious each other. Continue reading

Election 2016 Round Table Discussion: Donald Trump has advocated an energy policy that will rebuild energy production in America as well as deliver jobs to blue collar workers in a number of critically important states. His policy stands in sharp contrast to Hillary Clinton’s. What are the stark differences in Trump’s policy as opposed to Clinton’s, and what will the possible ramifications be of both?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Trump’s main thrust seems to be the goal of energy independence from the rest of the world, particularly independence from OPEC. He advocates more exploration and utilization of reserves on land and offshore. Clinton’s focus is on mitigating climate change as the sole reason to have an energy policy, so her proposals center on cutting pollution, promoting clean energy sources, and advocating conservation and stewardship. Continue reading

Election 2016 Round Table Discussion: Chaos and disruptions throughout America have reached fever pitch and continue to raise concerns as to what can be done to maintain the law and appropriately deal with law breakers at all levels. What kind of policies should be implemented under a Clinton or Trump administration to solve the challenges in law enforcement?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-We have got to make a bold and decisive statement of faith in law enforcement at the national level.  Our president must support the police rather than calling their integrity into question at every turn. Obama’s conduct in this matter sickens me.  There is always massive media coverage when a police shooting occurs, but the presses fall silent when the shooting turns out to have been completely justified.  The public picture that the police are to be hated, feared and spat upon is abhorrent and a complete work of fiction. Continue reading

Election 2016 Round Table Discussion: Foreign policy has steadily and dangerously regressed and eroded under the leadership of both President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. What has to occur concerning foreign policy to turn the tide in understanding the issues that America faces, whether in a Trump or Clinton administration?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-If elected, Clinton will probably maintain the policies begun during the Obama administration and give us more of the same unsteady world leadership. She may surprise the world by veering off course from her script while Secretary of State, but the safe bet is she will not change dramatically from her leadership style on display since she was FLOTUS. Continue reading

Election 2016 Round Table Discussion: With the economy and jobs being two of the hottest interrelated issues of the 2016 campaign, what will be the solutions to bolstering a stagnant economy and returning Americans to work?

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-The solutions to bolstering a stagnant economy and returning Americans to work lie in the reestablishment of a number of institutions and policy approaches that will strengthen the economy and return Americans to work.

With the number of businesses, companies, corporations and organizations leaving America in record numbers and corporate tax rates remaining at high levels, the demand for lower waged workers, and lower priced products and services have driven significant numbers of companies and jobs overseas. In addition, jobs have disappeared or have been significantly diminished to the point that entire industrialized sectors of the American economy have been driven out of existence. Continue reading