My ballot arrived, and unlike a Cabbage Patch doll it derives its value only when it's been used. Herewith my choices for the presidential ballot, and why.
Eight years ago, when Senators Clinton and Obama were campaigning for the Democratic nomination and the race had not yet been decided by the Oregon primary, I wrote:
Antonio Salieri, born in 1750, was a first-rate musician and composer, author of more than 40 operas during his long career. Prominent during his lifetime, he has nevertheless been overshadowed by the younger and more talented Wolfgang Mozart, whose operas caught the imagination of the Viennese public and pushed those of Salieri to the side.
Hillary Clinton is a talented politician, who did everything by the book in preparing, over the last eight years, her campaign to win the Presidency. Senator Clinton has nevertheless been overshadowed by the younger and more talented Barack Obama, whose campaign has caught the imagination of the American public and pushed hers to the side.
Senators Clinton and Obama don't have many policy differences, at least, not so many that Democrats can choose between them on policy grounds alone. Throughout their battles this winter and spring, they have both handled their victories graciously. Where they have differed is in how they have handled their defeats. On this score Senator Obama has the decided edge; he gives the impression that he sees the Presidency as an honor to be earned; she gives the impression that she sees it as an entitlement to be ratified.
As with the 2008 primary, the two contenders agree on much more than they disagree. They maintain sharp policy differences on a few important issues (for example, fracking, financial regulation, and foreign military adventure) but they are generally aligned on the matters of domestic and social policy that affect our ordinary lives. I am voting for Senator Sanders for two main reasons. First, he is more aware than Secretary Clinton of the painful consequences that financial deregulation (a.k.a. "Let the greedy run free") has brought to Main Street America, and he has grasped the idea that financial institutions that are too big to fail should be made smaller, not stronger. He knows what he wants to do and he is focused on doing it. Second, he is a much stronger campaigner than Secretary Clinton. She is deft at policy but deaf at campaigning. Two simple examples illustrate my point. First is her answer when asked why she accepted $675,000 to give three private speeches at Goldman Sachs: "That's what they offered." Second is the juxtaposition of the overseas trips that her finance chairman (Gary Gensler) and Senator Sanders took a few days before the New York primary. Senator Sanders went to the Vatican to attend and speak at a conference on social justice;Mr. Gensler (a former Goldman Sachs partner!) went to Beijing and Hong Kong to raise money for her campaign at two $2,700/plate events. These are small things in themselves, but they reinforce my view that Secretary Clinton is rerunning her 2008 campaign, oblivious to the fact that it's now 2016, seven years after the Great Reset. I encourage a vote for Senator Sanders.
Democrats have the challenge of choosing between two candidates who are both familiar with governance and sound on policy grounds. Republicans face a trilemma: the three remaining candidates include (a) a man with much bluster but no governmental experience who can't be tied to any point on the political spectrum: he is leftist on wombs, centrist on war, and rightist on walls; (b) an intelligent and educated half-term senator who speaks in far-right war cries (e.g., of ISIS or possibly most of the Middle East: "We will carpet-bomb them into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out!"), and (c) another far-rightist whose strongest campaign point is that unlike the other two he can behave like an adult in public. Governor Kasich's strongest point is that he isn't Mr. Trump or Senator Cruz, which, though laudable, isn't enough to merit a vote.
To my Republican friends, I recommend as a protest vote writing in Bush -- not former candidate Jeb Bush, but his father, former president George H.W. "41" Bush, one of the last survivors of an era in which the Republican leadership displayed intelligence and dignity in public without being concerned with what the radio talk show hosts would say.