This election has been defined by the absurd. From Trump’s endless list of obscene comments, to Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” claim, we find ourselves in the precarious position of trying to decide between the lesser of two great evils. Yet 2016 is not just a presidential year — we must also make the critical choice of who should take the reins of the Senate.
In more ways than one, the battle for control of the Senate will be crucial to the future of our republic. No matter who the next commander-in-chief will be, we must face the reality that the Senate will have a crucial say over the Supreme Court, U.S. intervention in the Middle East, relations with China and Russia and the budget. When faced with these issues, it is clearer than ever that we must have a steady hand in the Senate — a steady hand that is guided by firm principles, yet a commitment to common-sense pragmatism. I firmly believe that Senators Rob Portman (R–Ohio) and Kelly Ayotte (R–N.H.) are two individuals that deserve the support of the American people to maintain sanity, fiscal discipline and moral responsibly in the Senate.
Rob Portman is one my favorite members of the Senate. First, and foremost, Portman has built a record of common-sense conservatism within the halls of Congress. His commitment to limited government, free trade and strong defense display his unwavering support for traditional conservatism. He has consistently supported reform in the federal tax code — a move that is critical to reviving small businesses and ensuring that all Americans, regardless of socioeconomic status, are given fair and equal treatment with regards to taxes. At the same time, the Ohioan has built a strong reputation for encouraging energy growth. By harnessing America’s potential to extract natural gas and oil, alongside a dedicated approach to expanding renewable energy sources, Sen. Portman has consistently put forward a realistic plan to deal with the future of energy in this country.
Though the Senator has consistently voted down the line on conservative issues, he has shown an incredible ability to transcend party lines. In 2014, Portman put forward an idea known as “constructive conservatism.” This idea tackles an issue that is close to my heart: poverty. Instead of simply attaching himself to traditional Republican ideas of mandatory prison sentences and slashing of the welfare state, Portman put forward a middle-of-the-road approach to combating poverty in America. This plan calls for a “bottom up” approach to poverty by encouraging community engagement in fighting drug addiction, combatting sex trafficking, treating drug and alcohol addiction, reducing the recidivism rate in prisons and building up America’s educational institutions.
Finally, and above all, Sen. Portman has showed an incredible ability to work across partisan lines. His leadership on four Senate Committees has shown his aptitude to transcend party lines and deal with the serious issues of national security, the budget, and financial issues.
With this in mind, I ask the people of Ohio to look at the career of Rob Portman and compare it to the Senator’s challenger: former governor Ted Strickland. Gov. Strickland is a failed, one term governor, who left the state with rainy day fund of 89 cents (down from $1 billion) and failed to stimulate economic growth and productivity. For me, I find the choice between these two men to be as clear as day.
Yet Rob Portman is not the only common-sense conservative running for re-election. Ranked as the most influential woman in the GOP, Kelly Ayotte is one of the fiercest, toughest and brightest members of the Senate. Her incredible ability to critically evaluate America’s standing in global affairs is unmatched, and her understanding of our nation’s defense capabilities is one of the most developed and thought-out in the Senate. At the same time, Sen. Ayotte’s efforts to end unfair and morally unjust cuts in veterans’ pension and health care benefits show that there is no greater warrior for veterans in the Senate than Mrs. Ayotte.
Beyond her knowledge of defense and foreign policy, Sen. Ayotte has shown an incredible degree of understanding and empathy for the issues facing the people of New Hampshire. Perhaps one of the greatest issues facing New Hampshirites is the epidemic of heroin use — a plague that threatens small communities not just in New Hampshire, but across the United States. To combat this, Sen. Ayotte sponsored legislation that would expand drug education and increase federal efforts to help rehabilitate opioid and heroin users.
As with Sen. Portman, Mrs. Ayotte has shown an incredible ability to cross party lines and seek compromise on critical issues. She has worked with both Democrats and Republicans on numerous issues, and has shown a willingness to break from Republican norms when necessary. But beyond this, Sen. Ayotte truly represents the future of the Republican Party. For a party criticized for its lack of concern for women, the New Hampshirite represents an incredible path forward for Republicans. Her calm demeanor, yet strength of conviction, allows her the great potential to blaze a path forward for the Republican Party and the people of New Hampshire.
Michael Glanzel is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected] Cornell Shrugged appears alternate Thursdays this semester.