Our endorsement for the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations


Americans begin the process to choose their new president on Monday with the much-publicized Iowa caucuses. It’s hard not to feel disheartened and anxious when we observe that the two candidates garnering the most traction and enthusiasm in rallies are a narcissistic megalomaniac whose entire campaign is built on xenophobia and chauvinism, and a self-described socialist who is campaigning on a message of class warfare and populist demagoguery.  

But we still believe that, in the end, reason will prevail and Americans will be able to choose a candidate with common-sense, rational policy proposals to solve the country’s problems in November –even if rationality ends up coming from one side only. It would be our preferred option to have two viable, rational, pragmatic alternatives –from both parties– in November. A competitive election with two qualified candidates can only elevate the national political discourse and strengthen the political system. That’s why we believe the primary process is extremely important and should be taken very seriously.

Even though both candidates have flaws according to our taste, we believe voters have two rational, pragmatic and qualified choices to choose from within both parties’ primaries this cycle: Ohio Governor John Kasich, on the Republican side, and former New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on the Democratic side.  

Among a field of extremely unqualified and frankly dangerous candidates, Governor Kasich provides a breath of fresh air. He’s the only Republican candidate –along with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush– who has a record of accomplishment and public service. Both Governor Kasich and former Governor Bush have resisted the temptations to preach the politics of xenophobia and division espoused by the apparent front-runners on the GOP field Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and unlike Marco Rubio, they have stood up for tolerance and optimism.

But in the end, we must choose one candidate, and we side with Governor Kasich because he has gone farther than Mr. Bush in his calls for a more pragmatic approach to politics and his willingness to work across party lines. His message of openness and pragmatic conservatism is extremely refreshing in a party obsessed with ideological purity and total opposition to bipartisanship.     

When it comes to actual policy ideas, Mr. Kasich offers a fiscally conservative plan on economics –which we find appealing– with a rational foreign policy, avoiding bombastic comments and incendiary language on social issues. Mr. Kasich would represent a return to the basic conservative principles of fiscal prudence and a strong foreign policy, without the excruciatingly toxic social fundamentalism of the far right.

On the Democratic side, the choice is also easy. Between a self-described socialist and an experienced centrist public servant, we choose the latter without hesitation. Even though we dislike the move to the left Mrs. Clinton has adopted in the last few months –presumably to stop Mr. Sander’s momentum among the left-leaning Democratic base–, we believe once the primary is over, Mrs. Clinton will go back to the center of the political spectrum where we believe she feels more comfortable. Our greatest concern so far has been her newly-found opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the free-trade deal which she herself helped to advance while serving as Secretary of State. We hope this is just political opportunism in the primary season and, once nominated, Mrs. Clinton goes back to her senses on trade.

A contest between Mr. Kasich and Mrs. Clinton would be extremely competitive and absolutely delightful to see. It would be an adult discussion about policy between two extremely qualified individuals. Even a contest between Mr. Bush and Mrs. Clinton would offer a similarly grown-up, policy-focused campaign. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to have such a campaign if Republicans choose to nominate an exponent of the far right –whether that candidate is Mr. Trump or Mr. Cruz– or a follower of the tired, social conservative right-wing like Mr. Rubio. The same goes if Democrats are delusional enough to choose the only possible candidate who could make either Mr. Trump or Mr. Cruz president of the United States: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

In the event of a Trump (or Cruz) vs. Sanders contest, we could only pray for a rational, third-party choice like former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg or former Utah Governor John Huntsman –possibly the two most qualified and exceptional choices for president– to jump into the race and bring sanity back to the political process. The fact that independent runs are so difficult to bear fruit in America’s political system makes us hope for a rational choice at least in one of America’s two dominant political parties. Mr. Kasich and Mrs. Clinton would guarantee that.