St. Olaf Institute for Freedom and Community

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Oles on the Election

This Year’s Election Makes the Case for Small Government

By Kathryn Hinderaker October 20, 2016

Originally published on the Star Tribune Blog.

Most people I know don’t think much of politicians. That is especially true this year, as almost everyone I know has complained to me at one point or another about how much they dislike both of the presidential nominees. I can’t disagree.

But what puzzles me is this: many of those who say they can’t stand politicians also favor higher taxes, more regulations and a generally more powerful government. And many who say they can’t stand politicians also tell me that they will vote for the candidate who is most determined to expand the power of the federal government over our lives. This makes no sense.

This election illustrates why smaller government is best for America. Why should we vote to give politicians that we don’t trust more of our money and more control over how we live?

Our founding fathers had it right. The checks and balances built into our Constitution are there for a reason. The Founders had the foresight to see that an election like this one was bound to happen. So they structured our system of government based on the premise that human beings are inherently flawed. There was, and is, no way to assure that the President of the United States (or a Senator, or Congressman, or Supreme Court Justice, or federal bureaucrat) is a stand-out leader and wonderful person.

This is why our system works the way it does. The President doesn’t have too much power, thanks to Congress and the courts. And the three branches together can’t have too much power because our Constitution establishes limits on federal authority and guarantees basic freedoms to all citizens. This is the way it is, for our protection. For the protection of Americans in an election year such as this one.

This is when I can’t help but wonder, when we are stuck with two less than ideal presidential candidates, why would anyone choose the candidate asking for even more power? I refuse to give over even more of my money to a government that claims much more authority than it deserves. My freedoms should not be put in the hands of a few professional politicians. They should be guaranteed, and protected. How does this work best? Small government, as provided for in the Constitution.

Whatever candidate comes closest to the ideal of limited government, and threatens my liberties the least, will get my vote. In this election, I think that those who don’t trust politicians should vote for the one who will do the smallest amount of damage, the one least likely to raise our taxes and expand government’s role in our lives—the Republican nominee.

About the Author

Kathryn Hinderaker is a sophomore at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. She is a Political Science major with concentrations in Management and Media Studies. She is originally from Apple Valley, Minnesota.