Tight US Presidential Race: Good News for Armenian-Americans

Harut Sassounian
Harut Sassounian

Harut Sassounian


Now that the two major political parties have begun holding Primaries to select their nominees for this fall’s Presidential elections, Armenian-Americans are weighing the merits of the eight remaining candidates.

I would like to propose that from now on Armenians refrain from asking presidential candidates whether they would recognize the Armenian Genocide once elected. There are two problems in posing such a question:

1) Armenians should know from previous disappointing experiences that they cannot trust promises made by most politicians.

2) There is no need to ask for such a promise since the Armenian Genocide has been repeatedly recognized by the various branches of the US government for many years:

  1. a) Document submitted by the US government to the World Court in 1951;
  2. b) Resolutions adopted by the House of Representatives in 1975 and 1984;
  3. c) Pres. Reagan’s Proclamation referring to the Armenian Genocide on April 22, 1981.

Furthermore, the continued pursuit of genocide recognition — when it has been already recognized — would simply undermine its acknowledgment and cast doubt on it veracity.

Instead, Armenian-Americans should ask presidential candidates for their positions on more pressing issues such as:

1) Allocating more foreign aid to Armenia and Artsakh (Karabakh);

2) Promoting US trade with Armenia;

3) Pressuring Turkey to lift its blockade of Armenia;

4) Demanding that Turkey return the confiscated Armenian churches to the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul;

5) Condemning Azerbaijan for its repeated threats and attacks on Armenia and Artsakh;

6) Supporting the independence of Artsakh.

Once elected, officials would want to satisfy some of these demands in order to maintain the support of the Armenian community during their future campaign for reelection.

Here are the records of all six Republican presidential candidates on Armenian issues:

Gov. Jeb Bush (Florida)

— Traveled with his son on a humanitarian mission to Armenia on Dec. 24, 1988, shortly after the earthquake;

— Issued an Armenian Genocide proclamation on April 7, 2006;

— Received the Friend of Armenians Award in 2013 from the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church.

Gov. John Kasich (Ohio)

— Received ratings of C, D, and F from ANCA during most of his tenure in the House of Representatives, 1983-2001;

— Cosigned letters to Pres. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev supporting Artsakh’s independence in 1991;

— Cosponsored the Armenian Genocide Resolution in 2000;

— As Governor, issued a proclamation in 2012 to celebrate Armenian Independence Day.

Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas)

— Received a C- rating from ANCA in 2014;

— In 2015, issued statement on the Armenian Genocide and cosponsored the Armenian Genocide Resolution.

Sen. Marco Rubio (Florida)

— Received a C rating in 2012 and B in 2014 from ANCA;

— Voted for passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2014;

— Cosponsored the Armenian Genocide Resolution in 2015;

— Cosigned letter to Pres. Obama urging him to recognize the Armenian Genocide in 2015.

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson (Michigan): No statements on Armenian issues.

Businessman Donald Trump (New York): No statements on Armenian issues.

Here are the records of the two Democratic presidential candidates on Armenian issues:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (New York)

— As Senator, cosigned letters to Pres. Bush urging him to recognize the Armenian Genocide in 2005 and 2006;

— Cosponsored Resolutions on the Armenian Genocide in 2006 and 2007;

— As Presidential candidate in 2008, made a promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide;

— Later in 2008, spoke at a Turkish Cultural Center banquet in New York City in the presence of then Prime Minister Erdogan;

— During an official visit to Yerevan in 2010, placed a wreath at the Genocide Monument, which the US Embassy in Armenia called a “private” act, even though the ribbon on the wreath carried the inscription: “From Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton”;

— In 2012, as Secretary of State, referred to the Armenian Genocide as “a matter of historical debate,” contradicting her earlier clear stand on this important issue.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vermont)

— Received an A+ rating in 2012 and C in 2014 from ANCA;

— During his tenure in the House of Representatives (1991-2007), he supported a variety of Armenian issues, including the Genocide Resolution, in 1996, 1997, and 2000;

— Cosigned letters to Pres. Bush urging him to recognize the Armenian Genocide in 2002, 2003, and 2004;

— As Senator, he cosponsored in 2012 two Resolutions on the Armenian Genocide and Return of Armenian Churches by Turkey.

The polls and results of the early Primary elections indicate that no candidate in either party is likely to have an overwhelming majority in the Primaries and the November elections which would encourage the candidates to be more accommodating to all voters, including Armenian-Americans.

Under these circumstances, my suggestion to the Armenian-American community is to refrain from making an early commitment to any candidate. The decision as to whom to support can be made later as the presidential race gets tighter and the candidates get more desperate for votes!

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  1. Norserunt said:

    Wake up from your deep sleep, folks. Armenians have absolutely no power in Washington; never have, never will. More importantly, America has never been a real democracy.

    The US is an elite based two party political system overseen by a handful of special interest groups. The political system in question is like a two ring circus managed by ringmasters (i.e. special interests) the audience does not get to see. Presidential candidates from both sides of the political fence will therefore have no choice but to serve the imperial elite once they get into the White House. Presidential elections in the US has therefore evolved to become a contest between two groups of well funded, well connected people competing for the empire’s control panels.

    Think of it this way: Every four years the imperial elite in the US decide what shirt the American sheeple will wear, and the sheeple are then given the “democratic” choice of picking between two colors.

    Moreover, we must dispel the false notion that the US reached its pinnacle as a result of “democracy”. The US became a wealthy world power as a result of: Mass scale enslavement of millions of blacks; systematic extermination of millions of native Americans; global wars for plunder; and total control over global trade and commodities. Protected by oceans, the finical/political elite in the US took nearly two hundreds years to grow the country to what it is today. It was only after Second World War that some of the accrued wealth basically trickled down to the masses.

    Nevertheless, entrusting a nation’s politics to the whims of its ignorant masses is the fastest way to societal decay and eventual destruction. This is exactly the reason why Western powers have been imposing “democracy” on nations targeted with either destruction or occupation. Iraq, Syria, Libya and Ukraine are good examples of what I am talking about.

    That said, I am a Donald Trump fan. At least he is entertaining, at least his geopolitical stance regarding the Middle East and Russia is rational. But, I am under no illusions. If/when Trump becomes president, his political stance will have to change because, as I said, US presidents do not make political policy.

  2. sarkis said:

    Go Go Trump, Trump. A game changer, a paradigm shift in the making. Frank, direct and crystal clear whether one likes it or not.

  3. sunshine said:

    Trump 2016! At least we know they guys says what he means. Hillary should not be even considered after her laughing off that genocide is for historians to debate.
    “Here is Secretary Clinton’s full answer from the State department’s transcript of the event;

    Well, first, one of our great strengths is we do not criminalize speech. People can say nearly anything they choose, and they do, in our country. (Applause.) And so other countries, including close friends and allies like France, have different standards, different histories, but we are, I hope, never going to go down that path to criminalize speech.

    I think it’s fair to say that this has always been viewed, and I think properly so, as a matter of historical debate and conclusions rather than political. And I think that is the right posture for the United States Government to be in, because whatever the terrible event might be or the high emotions that it represents, to try to use government power to resolve historical issues, I think, opens a door that is a very dangerous one to go through. So the issue is a very emotional one; I recognize that and I have great sympathy for those who are just so incredibly passionate about it.

    But I think the free market of ideas, the academic community, the open architecture of communication that is even greater now than it was in the past, are the proper fora for this kind of engagement, and that’s where I hope it is worked out. And eventually, people will have their own conclusions, which needs to be respected, but we need to encourage anyone on any side of any contentious historical debate to get out into the marketplace of ideas. Muster your evidence, put forth your arguments, and be willing to engage, and that’s what I think should happen on that too.”
    Hillary for Prison 2016!