The Evil of Two Lessers
Back in March, I thought that we were going to have Two Weak Candidates. And in May I thought that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were Obnoxious and Disliked, respectively. Of course, Trump is engendering more dislike every time he opens his mouth, and Hillary seems all the more obnoxious after out-maneuvering Bernie Sanders, with the collusion of the Democratic National Committee.
Now I see that both campaigns are beating the drum of voting for the lesser of two evils. “Lesser of two weevils,” was a great joke in The Fortune of War, (and later in the film, Master and Commander), but it is no joke to be pressured to vote for one of two lousy candidates. Establishment Democrats point to Trump as a budding Strongman, and in truth, he shows all the signs. But anti-establishment Republicans point out that anyone voting for Clinton and expecting anything to change is even crazier than Trump.
A lot of folk don’t want anything to change. I’d say about 25 to 30% of American people are doing quite well, thank you very much, and while they may give lip service to helping the working class, and the jobless class, and the folk trying to pay for health care, and the folk being shot, and the planet dealing with climate change – ultimately they would rather vote Clinton, kick the can down the road and keep watering their lawns.
As for the rest, we have to decide between strategic voting and protest voting, because there is no good choice. I think the Green Party’s Jill Stein is a good person, with a good platform, but little practical experience in governing. I don’t care for libertarianism, but I think a lot of people will consider the ticket of Gary Johnson and William Weld capable and acceptable.
A commenter noted that your vote probably only matters in the half dozen or so swing states, and the FiveThirtyEight forecast agrees. Maryland’s electoral votes will go to Clinton, West Virginia’s will go to Trump, but states like Pennsylvania and Ohio are in some doubt.
In Five Reasons Why Trump Will Win, Michael Moore is trying to energize Clinton support by arguing that Trump will pull off an upset. His first reason is Midwest Math , or Welcome to Our Rust Belt Brexit:
I believe Trump is going to focus much of his attention on the four blue states in the rustbelt of the upper Great Lakes – Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Four traditionally Democratic states – but each of them have elected a Republican governor since 2010 (only Pennsylvania has now finally elected a Democrat). In the Michigan primary in March, more Michiganders came out to vote for the Republicans (1.32 million) that the Democrats (1.19 million). Trump is ahead of Hillary in the latest polls in Pennsylvania and tied with her in Ohio. Tied? How can the race be this close after everything Trump has said and done? Well maybe it’s because he’s said (correctly) that the Clintons’ support of NAFTA helped to destroy the industrial states of the Upper Midwest. Trump is going to hammer Clinton on this and her support of TPP and other trade policies that have royally screwed the people of these four states. When Trump stood in the shadow of a Ford Motor factory during the Michigan primary, he threatened the corporation that if they did indeed go ahead with their planned closure of that factory and move it to Mexico, he would slap a 35% tariff on any Mexican-built cars shipped back to the United States. It was sweet, sweet music to the ears of the working class of Michigan, and when he tossed in his threat to Apple that he would force them to stop making their iPhones in China and build them here in America, well, hearts swooned and Trump walked away with a big victory that should have gone to the governor next-door, John Kasich.
I could see PA going to Trump.
Congress will still be dysfunctional under any president unless we replace a lot of entrenched candidates, so the best effort right now is to look for non-establishment candidates in state and local races.