Monday, October 10, 2016

What's a Voter to Do?

So, on the one hand we have a candidate for president of the United States who is, from all appearances, an incarnation of Madame Defarge, Lady Macbeth, and Marie Antoinette all rolled into one, and on the other, a candidate who, in terms of sheer sordidness and vulgarity, rivals the first candidate's husband, and, indeed, rivals the first candidate herself.

Given the choice between repulsive and repugnant what's an American voter to do? There are several possible options, none of them good.

We could hope that both major candidates drop out of the race and that the mantle falls on the vice-presidential candidates to finish the election. The chances of this happening, however, are about the same as being struck by lightning on a clear day.

A more realistic hope, perhaps, is that Trump will drop out and Mike Pence will succeed him. Pence is, in my opinion, the classiest, most attractive - in several senses of that word - candidate in the race, and it'd be a relief to have him at the top of the ticket. Nevertheless, I doubt that anything short of a coronary thrombosis will get Trump to drop out of the race, and I certainly don't wish that upon him.

Meanwhile, there are arguments being put forth for not voting for either of them. To vote for the lesser of two evils, it's argued, is still to vote for evil, and no one should do that.

I understand the argument but think that in the end it doesn't succeed. In this election, unprecedented in the history of the nation for its loathsomeness, it could perhaps be said that one is not voting for the less unsavory of two amoral candidates. Rather one is voting against the more unsavory of two amoral candidates.

If that's a legitimate distinction (and maybe it's not) then it's incumbent upon us to decide which of the candidates is the most odious and vote to keep that person out of office. The problem, though, is that deciding which is worse presents real challenges to our objectivity, and our judgment is bound to be influenced, or even skewed, by the political ideology to which we adhere.

Alas, one of them will be our next president. May heaven help us.