My Facebook feed is full of people who are dissatisfied with the election options. Meme after meme pokes fun at the candidates and the options the voters have this presidential election cycle. “I don’t think America should elect any president in 2016. We need to be single for a few years and find ourselves,” is one that I find amusing.
I find this one is a bit more offensive, but I get the point.
Here’s my problem with all of this: It doesn’t matter what anybody thinks of BOTH candidates. What matters the most is what each person thinks of one of them. That is ALL that matters.
I’m not aware of any polling data that support this, although I would be surprised if the data weren’t out there somewhere, but my guess is that this sense that an election is the lesser-of-two-evils is usually felt most by members of the party that will eventually lose the election.
Think of it this way: I’m a democrat. I’m a democrat because I believe in many (probably most) of the things that most democratic party members in elected office stand for — or at least what they say they stand for. I agree much more with the platform of the democratic party, and have serious problems with the GOP platform and things that many republicans stand for. It goes without saying that I’m probably not going to like any republican candidate for president. I may respect him/her plenty. I may think he/she is a genuinely good person. But, it’s unlikely that I would vote for anybody on the GOP ticket, mostly because it’s very unlikely that anybody the GOP primary would pick would advocate policy positions that fit my desires. Somebody like John Kasich seems like a very respectable person, but I would never vote for him because of his stance on unions and on abortion. Those are deal-breakers for me, and if there is another candidate in the race who doesn’t have views that differ from mine on those key issues, it’s an easy choice for me. So why would anybody ever expect me to say that we have two good candidates? Why would anybody ever expect me to be excited about the person the GOP selected, unless I’m excited because I think the candidate will be easy to beat, thereby putting my favored candidate in office?
So, in the end, it doesn’t matter what any of us thinks about BOTH candidates, because we’re kind of expected to dislike one of them. What matters is what people think about the candidate from the party that more closely fits their own values. On that note, I think it’s telling that 63% of democrats are jazzed about a Clinton presidency, but only 36% of republicans feel the same about Trump. I’m sure that the 36% of republicans who are excited about Trump and the 64% of democrats who are exited about Clinton would never make some comment about it being the lesser of two evils. They have at least one candidate they like. And, after all, isn’t that what’s supposed to happen. I think having two candidates I like would be equally hard. How to pick just one? I feel this in the primaries from time to time, but even there I tend to have one favorite. So let’s stop with the lesser-of-two-evils and no-good-candidates crap, because it doesn’t matter what you think of the “other” candidate. All that matters is what you think of the candidate who is going to be on your side of must issues. That’s what matters, all that matters.