Many Americans say they’re unhappy with the way the U.S. government is being run and demand wholesale changes. Whatever the individual views among us, it’s argued here that we should be the beneficiaries of at least two healthy parties where there are center-right and a center-left choices. The center-right some say should stand to offer market-based solutions to global warming, gun control, fiscal policy, free trade and its impacts, and reassuring insights for the challenges of foreign policy where atomic weapons can get into the hands of madmen.

What’s happened in 2016 is that the center-right party has become ethically challenged and downright dangerous by playing on the ignorance and fears of many Americans. Within its membership are anti-government Tea Party followers who want to end all public programs while cutting taxes on the wealthy, members of big oil who are determined to crush efforts at renewable fuels, global-warming deniers, and working any and all means to bring America’s middle class to their knees along with our nation’s 225-year struggle to establish and maintain a democracy.

In a head-long rush to establish an ideology based on Spartan conditions for most Americans, they have thrown their support behind a presidential candidate who’s devoid of policy knowledge, refuses to do his homework, uses racial and ethnic slurs to attack a well-respected federal judge because the judge won’t do his bidding, has made fun of handicapped Americans, ignores the First Amendment that guarantees religious freedom and promises to ban all Muslims, says he’ll build a wall across the U.S. southern border at Mexico’s expense, end treaties with tried and true U.S. allies, condones “the bomb” for scary maniacs and absolute dictators, and refuses to correct the chronic use of fiction in his public pronouncements.

Meanwhile, GOP leaders find their man to be acceptable if not the making of a great leader.  House of Representative Speaker Paul Ryan drags his feet with reservations about him yet says he’ll vote for Trump.  John McCain was too tough to break under the torture of the North Vietnamese but now accepts Trump.  Marco Rubio called Trump “a con man” while Trump referred to him as “Little Marco” but all that’s ignored now with Rubio’s endorsement.  Chris Christie has become valet to a man who tells a bald-faced lie about Muslims cheering in New Jersey when the twin towers fell.  Then, too, an entire column could be written on the number of Republicans originally confessing repulsion regarding Trump but are nowadays aboard the Trump bandwagon and will vote accordingly.

Then, too, regarding Hillary, millions say they do not trust her, remembering examples of alleged wrongdoing over the years of her career in public jobs.  Meanwhile, she has many among her colleagues who’ve endorsed her but her main competitor, Bernie Sanders, is loved and followed because they believe he’s honest and trustworthy, a person in the Oval Office, unlike Hillary, who will actually try hard to get done what he has advocated in his campaign promises.  Thirteen million Democrats voted for Bernie in the primaries versus 17 million for Hillary with 45 percent of Bernie supporters at this writing not committed to voting for Hillary.  Further, away from cameras, Hillary’s reported to be a person who apparently does not like to interact with her fellow Americans.

In what looks to be a very long four months until Election Day on November 8, it’s surmised that the eventual winner may be he or she who chooses a likeable, known-to-be-trusted running mate. Meanwhile, voting for either presumptive candidate presents a problem for this voter in a contest generating lack of enthusiasm.  In a fantasy of wishful thinking, it’s dreamed we had the prospect of a leader in whom the American public held in high regard and possessed the leadership skills to be followed by a majority in both parties.  Unfortunately, what’s anticipated in a win by either contender is a deadlocked Congress with nothing consequentially getting done in Washington again for the next four years.

(Gene H. McIntyre’s column appears weekly in the Keizertimes.)