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Pray for Our Country

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

I pray that our vote for our next president will be a vote for the best candidate, not just a vote against the least worthy. We’ve had two presidential elections in 2016 and then 2020 when many of our fellow citizens voted not for the person who had the best ideas to solve our country’s problems but, rather, voted against the other candidate whom they detested.


We need the best president we can get as our nation faces dangerous problems both domestically and internationally.. At home we face inflation and recession, our national debt out of control, the loss of the dollar standard, Social Security and Medicare facing insolvency, racial disharmony, humanitarian crisis at the border, and a fentanyl drug epidemic fueled by murderous cartels. Abroad there is a war in Europe where wartime crimes are being committed, and in Asia we face a possible war over Taiwan with the world’s other superpower, China.

I can’t remember when the polls of the leading candidates have been so low. According to the recent CIVIQS poll 66 percent of Americans think the nation is headed in the wrong direction while only 22 percent think it is going in the right direction. Fifty eight percent think our economy is getting worse while only 18 percent think it is getting better. Only 39 percent approve of Biden with 53 percent disapproving. While a CBS/YouGov poll shows 59 percent disapproving of Biden’s job performance; only 17 percent strongly approved while 41 percent strongly disapproved. Forty percent of those who voted for Biden in 2020 did not want him to run for reelection. According to an AP/NORC poll only one in four Americans wanted him to run again in 2024.


Donald Trump’s numbers are similarly bad. Only thirty five percent of the public think Trump should run for president, 60% think he should not. Trump”s ratings are 34% fav/23% neutral, 53% negative; Biden”s are 38%/13%/48%. Large percentages of the public worry about Biden’s age and mental status including about 25% of Democrats. Trump carries baggage with large numbers of Americans who think he is temperamentally chaotic. I am commonly asked by friends of both parties why the Republicans and Democrats can’t produce better nominees. Members of both parties dread that a 2024 election win by the other candidate would be like a four year prison term.

A 2024 election redux between Trump and Biden may currently appear to be a done deal, but it is not. There are announced primary opponents to both Biden and Trump and more on the way. Voters can demand substantive presidential debates on the issues they are so concerned about. We need respectful discussions without vitriol and name calling. Fear mongering about destroying Social Security and Medicare, for instance, prevents an acknowledgment that some type of bipartisan accommodation must be made to save and protect these essential programs. We must have civil debates on how to reign in the federal spending that has fueled the inflation and how to handle the national debt. We need thoughtful debates on foreign policy and energy policy. We need to see which candidates can be awakened at 3AM and be able to handle a crisis.


The country needs our best to put their names and futures on the line and take their chances. Whether Republican or Democrat I pray we get a chance to vote for the most capable with the best plans. We shouldn’t have to grit our teeth as we vote for the least likely to ruin our country. If the public wants better leadership it starts in the caucuses and primaries.

Dr Greg Ganske is a retired plastic surgeon who cared for trauma victims, women with breast cancer, burn patients, and children with birth defects. He served Iowa in the U.S. Congress from 1995-2002 amd was Iowa's Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2002.

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