Political Illogic in America

W.J. Astore

Don’t tell me I voted for the very bad guy when I voted for a very good one

Let’s look at a political ballot with three candidates. (I use “guy” without a specific gender in mind.)

Candidate (R): Very Bad Guy

Candidate (D): Bad Guy

Candidate (G): Very Good Guy

I only have one vote. I choose Candidate (G).

But wait, the critics scream. (G) doesn’t have a chance. Only (D) can win against (R). You must vote for (D) or children and democracy will die!

As Mr. Spock would say, this is highly illogical.

If (R) wins the election, the voters who cast their ballots for the Very Bad Guy are responsible. Not me.

If (D) loses, i.e. failed to win enough votes, then Party (D) should have nominated a better, more attractive, candidate, instead of a Bad Guy.

If (D) does win, and remember he’s a Bad Guy, his party will feel vindicated and will likely keep nominating bad guys. Why change a winning formula?

Logically, if I want a Very Good Guy to win, I have to vote for him. And if I want to drive Party (D) to nominate better candidates, I can’t do that by giving their bad guys my vote. I have to incentivize Party (D) to change, and they won’t change if I just roll over and vote for them because Party (R) is allegedly even worse.

So, if lots of Very Bad Guys win on Tuesday, blame those who voted for them. Prod those voters who stayed home and didn’t vote (perhaps by fielding better candidates in the future). Ponder why the big “choice” was between Very Bad Guy and Bad Guy. Just don’t blame me for voting for the Very Good Guy.

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