terry.liittschwager@gmail.com

page updated 2017-05-02

Presidential Picks

When I put my ballot in the mail for the 2016 election, it was the 15th time I voted in a US Presidential election. A table of that voting history is at the bottom of this page. It shows that the candidates I voted for won eight times and lost seven times.

I'm not proud of all my past votes, particularly those that reflected my having been brought up in a staunchly Republican family. It took me a long time to start thinking for myself. What finally triggered my switch in voting was the 1992 election. I had voted for George H. W. Bush in 1988. However, it was clear by 1992 that the religious right was taking over the Republican Party, and their agenda was contrary to what I believed as well as to what the Republican Party had been. From my standpoint, I didn't leave the Republican Party, the Party left me.

Also, don't take the fact that I voted for a candidate to mean that I liked them. I believe that you should always vote, and that you should vote for that candidate that you will believe will be best for the country given the choices available. In some elections that might mean that you're voting for someone you don't like because you believe that candidate will do the least harm. I cannot agree with those who, because they don't like either candidate, don't vote. Surely there is always at least some difference in how you view candidates. If you vote for neither, you are acquiescing to the fact that your lack of voting is liable to result in the election of the candidate you thought might be worse than the other. I think there was a lot of that in the 2016 election.

Bill Clinton was the first Democratic candidate for President that I voted for. When he ran for re-election in 1996, it was clear he would win, so I allowed myself the luxury of a protest vote. At the time I was heavily involved in advocating drug policy reform. Harry Browne, the Libertarian candidate, was the only one advocating a sensible drug policy. When Clinton was elected in 1992, I along with many others in the drug policy reform movement had looked to him for an intelligent drug reform policy, but he failed miserably in that regard. George W. Bush didn't do any better. Barack Obama did a little better. Unfortunately, given that Jeff Sessions is now Attorney General, it appears we might well be going backward insofar as drug policy reform is concerned.

The outcome of the 2016 election was the greatest disappointment I have ever experienced insofar as Presidential elections go. It was my belief that Donald Trump was unqualified to be President on a number of levels. His performance thus far has more than confirmed that in my opinion.

I believe voting is a basic requirement of citizenship. I always vote.


Number Year Candidate Party Win/Lose
1 1960 Richard Nixon Republican loss #1
2 1964 Barry Goldwater Republican loss #2
3 1968 Richard Nixon Republican win #1
4 1972 Richard Nixon Republican win #2
5 1976 Gerald Ford Republican loss #3
6 1980 Ronald Reagan Republican win #3
7 1984 Ronald Reagan Republican win #4
8 1988 George H. W. Bush Republican win #5
9 1992 Bill Clinton Democrat win #6
10 1996 Harry Browne Libertarian loss #4
11 2000 Al Gore Democrat loss #5
12 2004 John Kerry Democrat loss #6
13 2008 Barack Obama Democrat win #7
14 2012 Barack Obama Democrat win #8
15 2016 Hillary Clinton Democrat loss #7