All The Best New Year's Resolutions Candidates (Should) Make This Year

Photo: Chuck Burton/AP Photo.
And, no, Jeb, "Win" doesn't count.

The new year is the time when everyone makes promises they inevitably don't keep. (It's best not to invest too heavily in those pricy Lululemon workout clothes just yet.) Politicians, however, maybe have the worst of it — between outrageous campaign pledges and awkward platitudes, people running for office are expected to say things they don't mean.

So what's a poor presidential candidate to do when they're actually sincere? We've come up with some suggestions for New Year's resolutions for the 2016 candidates. We urge our leaders to take them seriously. Mostly.

Hillary Clinton
I Will: be more aware about racial and cultural issues.

Clinton drew criticism on social media in recent months for what many people saw as “pandering” to minority voters. Between changing her logo to represent the colors of Kwanzaa and a post listing all the things that she has in common with your abuela (which prompted a Twitter hashtag), the wealthy, white Clinton has come off as tone-deaf on racial issues. It's time for Clinton to engage in more genuine conversations with minority voters (we know she can do it) rather than handing down platitudes.

Martin O’Malley
I Will: make sure I’m in the pictures.

Poor O’Malley has suffered from simply being not as big a name as his two rivals for the Democratic nominations, and the poor visibility leaves him at a disadvantage. A recent campaign trail event in Iowa was attended by only one supporter. You've got to applaud his tenacity, though — O'Malley refused to cancel the event, even as a massive winter storm approached.
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Bernie Sanders
I Will: put my money (literally) where my mouth is on income inequality.

While the brunt of Sanders’ tax policies ostensibly rest solidly on the shoulders of the upper class, he defines the upper class pretty loosely; like most politicians, he includes anyone making less that $250,000 a year — the top 5% of American earners — as “middle class,” which means theoretically exempt from the majority of any added tax burdens. Although he's not alone in his generous definition of "middle class," it's at odds with his otherwise progressive economic policy. We'll feel the Bern a little more when he gets a little more realistic about the mathematically correct average income of the average American.
Photo: Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo.
Jeb Bush
I Will: practice my self-affirmations in front of the mirror every day.

Bush looks like the saddest potential president ever. Unless he’s in a schoolyard argument with Donald Trump, he always looks as if he’d rather be anywhere else besides in the middle of a campaign trail. Bush still has plenty of money and dedicated supporters, but that hasn't made him look more comfortable on debate stages. Do what makes you happy, Jeb.

Chris Christie
I Will: quit toeing the party line for the sake of appealing to voters.

Christie has earned praise in the past for refusing to join his party’s unblinking opposition to President Obama, but he’s also recently flipped around on some formerly moderate stances for the sake of appealing to conservative voters. Early in his political career, he switched sides on abortion, claiming to be pro-life after hearing the heartbeat of his second child, and he's flopped on immigration issues and the War on Drugs. We're not saying you can never change your mind, but at some point you have to stick with something.

Ted Cruz
I Will: refrain from frightening small children with rhetoric.

Children are very literal creatures, and they don't understand metaphor very well, as Cruz learned this year. You can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater, and you shouldn't yell about it to a little girl.

Carly Fiorina
I Will: brush up on what it’s actually like to be a woman in America today.

Fiorina, who has highlighted her status as the only woman on the GOP playing field, has spent most of 2015 playing both sides of the gender card. Her stances on reproductive rights and wage equality are seriously anti-woman, and in September she used her public platform to promote dangerous and inflammatory misinformation about Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, she has accused Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton of playing the “woman” card and accusing rivals of sexism for political gain. At the very least, Fiorina should resolve to cite legitimate sources when making serious claims.

John Kasich
I Will: quit talking to my colleagues (and voters) like they're my kids.

Kasich's odd, "1950's TV dad" demeanor is both oddly endearing and extremely off-putting. Between breaking up fights between other candidates or his paternalistic comments to young women, we're almost waiting for the moment when he takes Jeb Bush aside and gives him a heartfelt but stern lecture about not being pressured by other people's expectations. It's great for an old sitcom, but not so much when the presidential election will be decided by a very diverse 21st century electorate.

Rand Paul
I Will: learn to use social media properly.

Paul jumped on the social-media bandwagon back in October, and live-streamed an entire day on the campaign trail in Iowa. Viewers got to see the candidate drink a cup of coffee, ride in the back of a car, and shuffle through his iPod. And Paul came off as just as crotchety as any other middle-aged man forced to interact on the internet, calling the live stream "dumbass" in front of viewers. It wasn't a strong start for a candidate that has struggled to get his policies and positions to the public all year.

Marco Rubio
I Will: show up for work.

Rubio has missed more than a third of Senate votes in 2015. It's a little audacious to be applying for a new job when you've barely shown up at your old one — how is he supposed to be a leader on the issues if he isn't around to hear about them? Maybe he's one of those people who thinks he'd do better in a home office.

Donald Trump
I Will: look up some synonyms for “win.”

Seriously, Donald, it’s time for some new material.

Ben Carson
I Will: finally get around to reading that book on Egyptology.

Seriously, Ben, it’s time to review some material.
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