Ryan Chartrand

When Super Tuesday rolled around, Republicans and Democrats alike supported different candidates. No candidate seemingly had that uniting edge – until the results came in for Republicans. John McCain had all but officially become the presidential nominee of the Republican party.

On that day, I voted for Mitt Romney. One major reason I did this was because of his strong focus on the economy. His strong fiscal conservative principles made me confident that he would be able to stimulate our suffering economy. Likewise, I know that many other Republicans voted for Rudy Giuliani due to his firm leadership principles in New York City and his strong stance against terrorism after Sept. 11, 2001. Others chose Ron Paul for his back-to-basics, strict Constitutionalism. Fred Thompson was the key for some voters due to his Reagan-esque qualities. And of course, many Americans were drawn to Mike Huckabee because they believed he would lead the country back in the right direction with the way he weaved his moral stances into everyday politics.

As McCain’s place in the 2008 election became clear, those who didn’t vote for him in the primary asked themselves, “What is it about him that would make me want to vote for him now?”

Here’s the short list. His father and grandfather were distinguished military admirals, and their strength of character was instilled in him. McCain himself then became a POW and war hero, persevering through multiple near-death experiences and still continuing his service. Besides strengthening our nation’s armed forces and continually respecting veterans and the Second Amendment, his main goal throughout his entire career of public service has been to actually reduce and eliminate wasteful spending – a task that truly affects citizens through the economy. By reducing unnecessary spending, tax cuts become a legitimate action rather than just the creation of a sense of false economic security. McCain was elected to his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives largely based on this platform and has not backed down since. He also applies to our crucial health care needs – getting costs under control is the only way to keep a competitive system, and simply pouring more money into it is not the answer.

He refuses to constantly toe his party line, and he does what he believes to be correct for our nation’s well-being. And he is honest about mistakes. He has actively disagreed with President Bush on many points, which is an absolutely necessary quality for the leader of our nation. No one should always agree with his or her leadership simply because he or she belongs to the same party. McCain gives and takes criticism and has shown that he is one of few politicians in Washington, D.C. who is willing to fully work with both sides of the aisle – addressing climate change and education are key, and McCain is outspoken in these regards. He has a pro-jobs economic agenda, with legitimate plans to address the housing crisis and high gas prices.

He does not only go by the philosophy of government being “for the people.” He remembers that government is also “of the people” and “by the people” and makes it a platform goal to nominate judges who understand that their role is to apply the law as written, not impose their opinions.

Essentially, along with his own unique experiences, he has many qualities that embody the appeal of all the other candidates combined.

John McCain is the only uniting candidate in this election, the only one who would even think about gaining some sort of consensus to solve problems. A Gallup poll in March showed that many Democrats would vote for McCain if their respective candidates didn’t get the nomination. In fact, 28 percent of Clinton supporters said they would vote for McCain over Barack Obama, and 19 percent of Obama supporters said they would vote for McCain over Hillary Clinton.

Even more revealing, according to a recent poll by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, is that coveted states Ohio and Florida give McCain the edge. In those states, about half of all surveyed Democrats would rather see Clinton win the nomination, versus 37 percent for Obama. Democrats who back Clinton say they would vote for her 95-4 over McCain, while only half would vote for Obama (being the presumptive nominee) over McCain.

So what is this McCain appeal for Democrats? A senior McCain adviser, who spoke to The Politico on the condition of anonymity, recently stated that the campaign is reaching male and female blue-collar, white Democrats – a group that many already view as Obama’s soft spot. “They already sense that [Obama] may be too liberal,” the adviser said. “They tend to also agree with McCain on the war and on social issues.”

What we have in McCain is unparalleled experience and universal appeal. This historic election is inspiring more people than ever to vote and get involved with the election process. Educate yourself and have a say in your future; don’t forget to vote June 3 and Nov. 4.

Christina Chiappe is a social sciences senior and a conservative columnist for the Mustang Daily.

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