To help better inform Franciscan University students about the candidates for the upcoming election, the Department of Political Science hosted a “Panel on the 2016 Election” on Monday, Oct. 24.
Three professors spoke for 12 minutes each. Regis Martin, who holds a doctorate in theology, opened the forum. Daniel Kempton, who holds a doctorate in political science, and Stephen Krason, chair of the Political Science Department, rounded off the panel.
Martin gave a convincing and blunt argument for why he is, in his words, “determined to see Trump as president.”
He described his philosophy towards the election in the acronym “ABC”: “Anyone But Clinton”, believing that she has “shown herself to be indifferent in (the) most cynical and calculating way.”
Martin did note Donald Trump’s objectionable qualities. However, he pointed out that there are “no perfect people running for president,” developing his point with the words of the Rev. Frank Pavone, that this election is “between (Trump) and someone far worse.”
Senior Mary Sharon Ciaccia said that she was “pleasantly shocked by Martin’s position,” since he is a professor of theology and he did not argue from conscience.
Kempton and Krason also argued in unexpected ways. Kempton decided to argue from the candidates’ positions on foreign policy, rather than moral issues, because he noticed that both main party candidates “both fall horribly short of Catholic teaching.”
He did not endorse Hillary Clinton because she, as U.S. Secretary of State, supposedly promised to repair Russian-American relations and failed.
However, Kempton did note that Clinton gave America “very good ties to China,” and that Trump “has been much harsher on China” and also has been “dubious about some trade agreements.”
Kempton ultimately was inconclusive about whom to vote for, saying, “I don’t see any moral clarity here.”
Krason agreed, noting that “Catholics (really) have no good choice” when it comes to picking the president, emphasizing Clinton’s and Trump’s “despicable personal characters.”
Like Kempton, Krason was inconclusive about whom exactly to vote for, noting that Trump, a corporate magnate, “is not very astute on how to manage the affairs of political office,” and that the Democratic Party is “writing its epitaph as it becomes more irrational in belief.”
“Trying to process right now,” the words of freshman John Roy, were likely an astute assessment of the aftermath of this panel.
However, the three panelists hold one thing in common: there are really two viable options, summarized by junior Thomas Nimmo: “you either vote for Trump because you think Hillary will destroy the country in four years, or you don’t vote for Trump because you think he will destroy the Republican Party…and let Hillary do enough damage where (voters) can finally come united behind a truly conservative candidate in four years.”