Is the Military Being Overlooked?
The United States Military are a dedicated group of individuals who truly love their country. They sacrifice so much whether it be to lose spending time with their families during holidays and special events, or even missing the birth of their children because they were halfway around the country. Interestingly, only around 0.5% of the population is in the military, but their impact is great. Many members of the military feel that they are not well represented by their political leaders, who truly don’t understand what their job entails unless they have done it. They believe those in Congress only focus on money, and as Army Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Pettigrew voiced, “I just feel like all politics goes back to money”(USA Today). Pettigrew isn’t the only one, many military personnel feel isolated from the decisions these politicians make. Only 12% from the Military Times Poll believed Republicans and Democrats were making the best decisions for the military’s interests. A strong amount, 44% see the support for these parties diminishing. This correlates to the dissatisfaction of regular voters with 84.4% of Americans being unhappy with the work of Congress, and consequently 45% of the population doesn’t vote (USA Today). Despite the military’s distrust of political leaders, most veterans would vote for Republican candidates, and share their conservative principles, but there is also a stable following of independents.
On both sides of the aisle and in between, most polls conducted by the Pew Research Center have shown that most regular voters would endorse a President that served in the military (Lovelace). Similarly, the military was found to have the strongest support from the American people over all other government agencies and institutions. Even with the importance of the military in the voter’s mind military expertise and all the characteristics that this implores is hardly highlighted (Lovelace). George W. Bush was the last President with military ties, as he was in the Air Force Reserves during the Vietnam War. This fact was overshadowed by his familial relation with George H.W. Bush. Just recently, there was some debate over whether Presidential hopeful, Ben Carson was awarded a scholarship to West Point as he claimed in his 1990 memoir, but his campaign team later admitted that Carson never applied (POLITICO). Attempting to fabricate a military position can receive monumental backlash, as service is very distinguished. Hillary Clinton was also questioned about whether she actually attempted to join the Marines during the 70s. This was apparently an attack staged by Republicans, and the Clinton campaign clarified that Clinton had visited a recruitment center to see what kind of possibilities lay in store for her and that was all that happened (Rappeport). Candidates try to emulate military connections, but also what their military policies will be. During the most recent Republican Debate, Marco Rubio was scorned by Ron Paul for expanding the military budget by one trillion dollars (Weisman). Paul made a note in saying the US military already has a budget equal to ten countries with the largest military budgets. Even Donald Trump sided with Paul saying, “ We can’t continue to be the policeman of the world.” Rubio stood by his claim that “the world is safer and better place when America is the strongest military power in the world” (Weisman). Much of the military was worried about payment cuts, and fear was rampant in 2013 after the government shutdown and delay with paychecks. It’ll depend on who the military supports, and luckily they do have a higher percentage of voter turnouts with around 55%; the national average is around 36% (USA Today). Hopefully, there will be a candidate that caters to the whole of America’s needs.