I thought it might be an interesting exercise to stop bitching about how no candidate ever comes close to my preferences, and to set down exactly what those preferences are.
I'd bet a lot of people would agree with much of this (and tolerate, at least grudgingly, most all of it):
Fully-engaged, tough-minded realpolitik foreign policy, extremely circumspect re: military intervention - i.e. make the Powell Doctrine sacrosanct (as Obama has).
Amnesty for illegal immigrants, ease immigration restrictions and accept refugees generously (with screening). Welcome - even incentivize - top foreign students staying after graduation.
Free trade, no protectionism.
Deep skepticism re: spending and regulation (per 1970s Republicanism), but never blind or pigheaded (per 2000s Republicanism). E.g. we should have passed Obama's Jobs bill, Zika virus research funding, etc., but no lefty utopian laundry lists.
New Gov agency: Office of Deregulation (proactively discarding useless and counterproductive laws). Must slash ten old laws for every new one.
Deep tax reform aiming for simplification and closure of loopholes, but preserving a progressive system to address income inequality. No trickle-down tax cuts. Slash corporate taxes and create aggressive incentives to repatriate capital.
I'm inclined to legalize drugs along with gambling, euthanasia, gay marriage, and the rest of the social Libertarian agenda....but I'm concerned about recently escalating drug abuse, so would need to learn more before pushing drug legalization. Definitely legalize pot.
Extreme freedom of speech and press. Legalize hate speech (obviously not 'cuz I like it).
Annually adjust minimum wage for inflation (first adjustment retroactive to 2009, the year it was last raised).
Push back on creeping privatization of schools, jails, and city management, but also deter creeping municipalization a la Bernie Sanders.
Childhood and school nutrition a major priority (zero hunger; push against school cafeteria junk food and soda).
Guns and abortions always available but not necessarily easily conveniently so. Ban assault weapons and late term abortions. Background checks for guns.
Single-payer health insurance.
Eliminate death penalty.
Preserve a balanced Supreme Court (avoid politically-minded justices; optimally the yea/nay votes would be unpredictable).
Bring back Civil Rights Act, use it to thwart any effort of voter suppression (strengthen the law if necessary).
Work hard to find institutional ways to allow Republican party/Conservatism-in-general to remain politically viable in spite of shifting demographics, recognizing that its shrinking viability - and the increasing division and rhetoric it's prompted - has been disastrous. A sane right is vital for the country (even liberals should want that more than they want a perpetually dominant left, and should recognize that we can't have both a sane right and a perpetually dominant left).
If you agree with a lot of this, you, too, might want to splurge for a subscription to The Economist, which comes darned close (not sure where they stand on single-payer health insurance or on jail/school/city management privatization, though).
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