For me in this upcoming election, it is about Trust, Consistency, and the fulfillment of the meme “Winning is only a precursor; it is what you do AFTERwards that is most important.” Can I Trust that the person I vote for will do what they promise? Will they be Consistent with the political beliefs that they say match up with mine? And will they actually DO both once they win?
Or break my heart? Sadly, the subset of politicians that don’t is rather sparse. It is both the nature of the beast and the low regard that politicians have for honor, courage, Consistency, and promises kept. Paul Mirengoff at Powerline puts it a bit differently, but the same. A couple of excerpts, reformatted and emphasis mine, but go read the whole thing:
DOES THIS ELECTION PRESENT A BINARY CHOICE?
On Friday, Ammo Girl (hereinafter Susan) wrote a characteristically excellent post arguing that conservatives, and in particular elite pundits, should rally behind Donald Trump. Basically, she argued (1) that Trump is clearly preferable to Hillary Clinton and (2) that the election presents us with a “binary choice” between the two major candidates…As for Susan’s argument, I agree with her first point. Trump is clearly preferable to Clinton, in my view. I won’t make that case here except to say that I prefer a terrible person who will deliver a partly liberal and partly conservative administration to a terrible person who will deliver a mostly left-liberal one.
Hold onto that thought because I immediately thought “I no longer will vote for least worst”; I still hold to that.
I question Susan’s second point, though. She is right, of course, to say that at times we must choose between two, and only two, unattractive options. In the example she cites, she and her siblings must decide whether their elderly father will stay in Minnesota, where he is lonely, or move to Arizona, where he will be in unfamiliar surroundings. These apparently are the only real options and the family must pick one.
A presidential election is different. An individual voter doesn’t pick the president. One of the two candidates will become president whether I vote for Trump, vote for Clinton, or vote for neither. Individual voters don’t have the power over the presidential decision that Susan has over the decision about where her father shall live. In reality, the individual has no effective power to pick the president.
All the individual voter really has the power to do is make a statement. For someone who sees the election as I do, that statement can be “Trump would make a better president than Clinton.” But it can also be “neither candidate is remotely fit to be president.” Both statements are true, in my opinion. If I face a “binary decision,” it is to select which of these two statements to make.
I like that construction. Matter of fact, without stating it exactly, that’s what I did in the last general election with the NH Governorship and the US Senator from NH with Walt Havenstein and Scott Brown. My decisions were”neither candidate is remotely fit to be president” in both races. With the latter and his boasting of his bipartisanship and pride in that he supported Democrat votes more than Republican, he was not fit to have assumed that seat. For the former, I could watch him fading from his original stances, melting to the middle which gave rise to the unTrust that if he did that in such a short amount of time, what would happen when the klieg lights really got hot in the corner office?
The presumption is in favor of making the first statement. If citizens routinely cited the futility of their individual vote as a reason for not voting, the system wouldn’t work. Democracy in a mass society depends on citizens pretending that their vote is influential. Nonetheless, our democracy also permits citizens not to participate in selecting the president. Thus, the choice in this presidential election, as in all others, is not binary. It includes the option of voting for neither candidate — an option that shirks no obligation and will not cause the greater of two evils to prevail.
Like all of the Sturm und Drang of the Progressives when the Republican Senate refused to take up Obama’s pick for SCOTUS – how DARE they not “advise and consent”! They can’t understand that sometimes silence actually fulfills that clause of their Constitutional duty. What Mirengoff and I both believe is that this choice is ours as well – after all, it is we that hire them and we are allowed to do nothing about a candidate. In fact, it may be the best thing (regardless of those that say “not voting is a vote for….”). And then he tips his thinking and hand:
My inclination is to vote for Trump as long as the race is competitive. However, if by Election Day he’s toast, my inclination will be to vote for neither candidate.
I have been known to vote for candidates that had no chance at all (and I expect to do that coming up in a few weeks as I cannot vote for Kelly Ayotte)- and I have written in people when the candidate is really a nothing burger.
I’ll do it again and do it on an informed basis.