Today’s Election – A Lesson, A Warning, and A Note of Optimism


By any measure, Tuesday’s Presidential election is the most “interesting” of my lifetime. It is with great difficulty that you can find anyone at any point in our vast political spectrum who is truly happy with the Presidential choices we have been given.

A quick Web search today revealed the following headlines:

“This is the Worst Presidential Campaign in Modern History”

“2016’s Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad, No-Good Presidential Election”

“Top 12 Reasons This Is the Most Depressing Election Ever”

“America is Doomed.”

In his 50 years of voting in US elections, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput has said he has never seen the two major parties offer “two such deeply flawed”presidential nominees “at the same

Of perhaps evening more frightening implications is this: When I clicked on “15 reasons Why America is Great” my Google search came back with this reply:



Well- I am not ready to say that America has lost its Greatness. In fact, the purpose of this writing is to express my optimism for the future. I am, by nature, an optimist. And despite what appears to be what my friend and political commentator Kirk Jowers calls “The Impossible Choice,” America is going to be OK . . . at least for the foreseeable future.

NOTE: America is better than its politicians- We should not let America be defined by its political leaders.

All of this talk of crisis and impending doom for the United States, are, in my mind, highly premature. Yes – the drama of this election is the stuff that makes great ratings for TV and drives revenues for the networks but all is not bad. Our Constitution remains intact.


The Constitution of the United States has served as a model for the nations of the earth and and is the longest-standing constitution in use today. For all of the doomsaying and predictors of mass despair, one of the reasons for America’s greatness is that very document. I still believe that DESPITE WHOEVER WINS TUESDAY’S ELECTION, this inspired document will ensure America’s continued greatness for the foreseeable future.

A core tenet of my Mormon faith is that our almighty creator “established the Constitution of this land by the hands of wise men whom” God “raised up unto this very purpose.”

Let me outline 3 core concepts of our Constitution that give me hope despite the “Impossible Choice” which we face. There are certain fundamental principles delineated in this document that will protect our Citizenry from the undesirable actions of any Individual including our current slate of Presidential candidates.

First – the Constitution was founded upon the basic premise of Popular Sovereignty – meaning Rule by the People. In other words, the government only has limited power and can only be exercised with the ‘the consent of the governed.’ The ultimate authority for the way in which our government is run is vested in the people. By Constitutional fiat, those who have been delegated the right of governance must operate as Trustees of such power and can only exercise it in conformity with the general will of the people.

The Constitution was framed to protect our life, our liberties and our properties regardless of the actions of clever politicians. It is important to understand that these 3 gifts from God came before any man-made governments. As one writer put it:

“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws” to protect them in the first place.

The Second fundamental principle of our Constitutional design is the Separation of Powers-

It is the important allocation of responsibilities among our institutions of government i.e. – that the Congress would pass laws, the President would execute them, and the Supreme Court would interpret them in individual cases.

Further, the tasks of the Government are given to different institutions so that these institutions can check each other’s work. This system works so that no one segment of the government makes all the decisions and no one institution can destroy the entire system. Thus, when one segment of the Government acts in a way that is not in the public good, our Constitutional construct ensures that a system of checks and balances remains.

The third and final principle that I will mention here is the important tenet of Federalism. When the framers drafted the United States Constitution, they purposely didn’t give the federal government much power over the states. That’s because the framers wanted the states to continue governing most matters themselves.

Federalism is a division of power between the federal government and the individual state governments. Each government entity has responsibilities over the matters that are best addressed at that level of government.

Federalism is established through the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause. This clause states that the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Additionally, the 10th Amendment contained in the Bill of Rights provides that that all powers not specifically granted to the federal government are reserved to the states.

Thus, these 3 overarching principles of the United States Constitution guarantees that We the People will have our individual rights protected, outlines how the government will be limited in size and in scope, and provides that the functioning of our Government will be segmented between the individual States and a Federal government.

In the end, I believe that the Constitution was envisioned and crafted by inspired men to withstand the test of time and protect the individual liberties to all people living in these United States as long as the people would support its moral and just purposes.


The thing that is most frustrating to me is that the result of this election is not about the best of us being sent to our nation’s capital but rather some of the worst of us “representing” us there.

It was once said that if America’s system of freedom “is to be preserved, it will not be by government leaders but by an awakened people who are willing to sacrifice their personal ease to be informed,and who will insist that their leaders abide by the sound principles of the Constitution as drafted and intended by the Framers.

We should be about electing the best and brightest of our people to lead this country.

Ronald Reagan added:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

My big takeaway from this the “most interesting election of my lifetime” is this: America is going to be all right . . . for now. The Constitution will ensure that. But our challenge in the future is to find the best and brightest people to lead our democracy.

I believe that when the mantle of the U.S. Presidency is placed on any of the current candidates, that they will step up and surprise all of us with their commitment and ability. Despite the Trump and Clinton failures and missteps of the past, they are redeemable. But we should not be satisfied with the current state of affairs!


It is a fundamental tenet of my LDS faith that we must do all in our power to elect officials who are “honest, wise, and good.” (Doctrine and Covenants Section 98).

We should also consider running for office ourselves and support laws that observe the “principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges (of the Constitution) which belong to all mankind.”

I might note that this bold declaration came while the LDS Church was in the midst of some of the heaviest religious persecution this nation has ever witnessed. Did you realize that the Governor of Missouri in the 1830’s actually issued an extermination order for all of the Mormons living in that state?

Millions have died including members of all faiths to preserve and defend our Constitutional form of government. In light of their sacrifices and to preserve our marvelous way of life for future generations, let us not in Four years be satisfied with electing mediocre and flawed leaders. Let us commit now to finding great people to lead us- not because they want power but because they want to serve and make a positive difference.

Thus, my plea with all within view of this writing is to somehow, someway create an environment that encourages the best and brightest people we know to run for Political office.

That’s where the real reform needs to take place. Let’s start today – November November 8, 2016, to find great leaders for our future elections and ensure that our Constitutionally ensured rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are preserved forever.

By David Bradford

Posted in Posted in Events, Lessons Learned, What I Learned From  |  11 Comments

11 thoughts on “Today’s Election – A Lesson, A Warning, and A Note of Optimism”

  1. I totally agree that it is the Constitution that is going to get us through this. Time and the “voice of the people” will tell, but a few months ago I came to understand that the Constitution has been the answer all along.

    But I will disagree, partially, on “America is better than its politicians.” Americans VOTED for these two people in the primaries. True, it was just a percentage, but people still voted for them! And…Americans, for a variety of reasons, are still voting for them! There was no mass revolt at the polls (except, hopefully, in Utah). So…while we have a political party problem, we also have a “voice of the people” problem, like it or not.

    Hopefully, however, people will take your advice and beginning on Nov 9 do a better job of encouraging the best and the brightest to run. The “voice of the people” must step up and vote for “honest men and wise men” (and women) if we want to get out of this mess we all got ourselves into.

  2. Optimism or no, the constitution is not what it used to be. The words may be the same, but they no longer mean what they meant when they were written.

    Even in your own essay, you can see the truth of this:

    they purposely didn’t give the federal government much power over the states.

    Look to how the commerce clause has been extended to control states. Or withholding “federal” funds to force states to comply.

    When the people express their will by voting for propositions they feel are in their interests, such as Proposition 187 in CA, which would have not allowed state welfare programs for illegals, some judge rules it is unconstitutional through some creative reading. Even recently, with proposition 8. And of course, there is Roe v. Wade, which was based on a feeling the justices had, and that removed power from the states.

    As states rights are eroded, so to are individual rights. Stop and frisk. DUI checkpoints. Police entering homes without warrants. Whatever happened to the fourth amendment? Cops can stop you while walking down the street and subject you to a humiliating search. So much for the fourth amendment.

    The constitution is becoming a document that means whatever the current justices want it to mean. And with more on high centralized command and control, what it means is the government is more powerful, and can create law that violates the meaning and intent of the constitution.

    There are two choices this election. One choice promises to act on what the people want, and the other promises to act in the interests of the institutions. I’m ready to take a chance on the people. As the character of this nation changes, it may be our last chance.

  3. Love and appreciate your optimism and your sentiments. I, however, am not so optimistic with what our nation faces. Your three fundamental principles are spot on. Unfortunately, our federally elected leaders have trampled all three almost to death. Regardless of what the people want, the elites in both parties do what they want, including passing laws that create rights for some while dismissing those enshrined in the Constitution (religious liberty, for one). Regarding Separation of Powers: the executive branch has taken upon itself more power by writing rules and regulations (laws, really) by the POTUS through Executive Orders or via bureaucrats that undermine the whole concept of Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances. Congress has been complicit in this by delegating some of their Constitutional authority to the Executive. And the SCOTUS has done little to stop the overreach as well. And finally, Federalism is all but dead. The states are scared to death to stand up to the feds, or they are bought off with largess; and the feds totally ignore/dismiss the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. The Constitution is truly “hanging by a thread.” On the optimistic side, our Christian faith assures us of the ultimate winner. I believe that in the not too distant future, Christ will come and rule, who’s right it is to rule, and justice — and mercy — will prevail. And to close: one of my favorite quotes is from Pres. Thomas S. Monson: “Be of good cheer; the future is as bright as your faith.”

  4. When you have an extremely wealthy by being a traitor, murdering criminal whose secret combinations includes the entire mainstream media; all that they have left is to trash the other guy. No wonder there is nothing but negative feeling from commentators like yourself.

    I myself am excited that the other guy has shown the ability to withstand their unprecedented, massive assaults; and am deeply grateful for the opportunity to vote for him.

    PS—have you noticed how in this cycle the criminal is “she who must not be named”. Wow. Shades of Harry Potter. Doug Kiester

  5. What wonderful comments by David Bradford today on election day. We must have faith in our constitution! It amazes me to consider the forethought and inspiration that went into our Constitution! America can be great and I agree – let’s get some great leaders in office!!! Never give up hope… we can work to better things!

  6. While some of the blame for our current situation surely falls on the electorate, a significant portion (if not the majority) of the blame must also fall on our current “First Past The Post” election system. I believe that the people are better than this and WANT better than this, but the system does a terrible job of representing the will of the people. The Republican primary suffered not from a lack of reasonable candidates but from an overabundance of them. If we want to have the power to elect honest, wise and good leaders, we need to change the process so that good candidates don’t split the votes of good voters and leave the race to the least favorite candidate. My hope going forward is that this election will be the wake-up call that citizens and party leaders need to make changes that will lead to less vicious attacking and more coalition-building as well as better representation of the will of the people.

  7. I may be proven wrong, but I didn’t just vote against Hillary. I voted FOR Trump.
    I guess I am one of those few who was happy with the choice.

    I’ve waited all my life for a candidate that would make it all the way to Washington — without being owned, without owing special interests — whose only (apparent) motive is to protect American Citizens and Promote the General Welfare.

    Time will tell whether I am right. But Trump has my support, and my prayers.
    who knows? Maybe he’s the Winston Churchill of our times.
    thanks for listening

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