Deciding the Election: Vote Choice in 380 Words

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The number of undecided voters at this point in the 2016 presidential election is three times that at a similar point in 2012. As Election Day draws very near for many it is still unclear as for whom they should cast a ballot. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are disliked. For many, Hillary Clinton represents a continuation of the past 8 years of failed and undesirable Democratic policies. Many also have trust issues when it comes to Clinton and do not believe that she is possesses the ethics or morals to hold the presidency. She is also not as progressive as many Democratic voters wish her to be.

However, the other major party candidate does not present much of a credible alternative. Donald Trump is dogged by many of the same ethical and moral questions. He is also not a Republican, definitely not a conservative Republican. His issue positions and multiple sexist/misogynist/racist scandals and musings threaten to tear apart the Republican Party. Issue experts believe his policies would be bad for Americadangerous to U.S. national security, and dangerous to international order. A majority of the American electorate do not believe Trump is qualified to be president.

Perhaps vote for a third party or independent candidate. Except they’re bad candidates. In reality, the choice for president is binary. It may be an uncomfortable decision given the problems with both major party candidates, but it is one that must be made. Via The Atlantic:

“You don’t vote to send a message. You vote to choose a president…

“What you knew from the start was that Donald Trump not only should never be president, but could never be president. He can’t manage a crisis: He goes to pieces under pressure. He can’t build coalitions to pass legislation: When he’s not bullying, he sulks. He can’t lead the Western alliance: He doesn’t understand it or believe in it…

“If you are recruiting for a job that must be filled, and your ideal candidate is unavailable, you extend the offer to the second most qualified. If he turns you down, then you must hire the next-best after that—and sign her to a very short contract, knowing that you’ll replace her at the earliest opportunity.

“That’s what’s called for here. Do you like Hillary Clinton’s program? No. Do you imagine that she will volunteer concessions to you and your beliefs? No again. Would you count the spoons afterward if Bill Clinton came to dinner? For sure. But can she “do the job”—manage a crisis, pay the bills, respond to hurricanes, face national enemies? Obviously. Look at how she’s coped with that maniac Trump on the debate stage. Couldn’t have been cooler. Despite yourself, you’ve been impressed. She’s smart and tough and open to reason. We could do worse. It’s four years—not even. She’ll perhaps be boxed in by a Republican Congress for the first two years; much more probably so in 2019 and 2020. By then, it’ll be time to try again, this time with a Republican nominee not suffering from a major personality disorder.

“But whatever happens, you won’t flinch from the reality of the binary decision. Gestural politics are just ways of evading responsibility. “Don’t blame me, I voted for McMullin.” But choices are judged by their consequences, and the consequences here are stark: If not Hillary, then Trump. If not Trump, then Hillary. Since it can’t be Trump, it must be Hillary. You understand why people might evade that unwelcome reality. But you didn’t get where you are by evading realities. You face them, you meet them, you make the best of them. You’ll hope for the best, but at least you’ll know you did all you could to prevent the worst.”


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