The lesser of two evils is just fine

One cliché that absolutely rings true is “elections have consequences”.  I happen to take my job as a registered voter quite seriously.  So much so that it bothers me when I hear people view the right so flippantly.  What’s worse is when people take a misguided “principled stand” by viewing the perfect as the enemy of the good.  For those of you unfamiliar with the phrase, in politics it refers to a voter who will sit out an election simply because there is no candidate who perfectly represents every view they hold.

This detrimental view is usually held by Republicans and Conservatives.  For example, if a candidate fits their political ideology on every front but for one or two issues, that voter will sit out the election in protest.  It happens all the time, and is terribly irresponsible.

When you sit out an election, the result is usually a political win for the opposing party.  So rather than have an elected official who shares your views 50-75-85%, you now have an elected official who likely holds none of your views.  These voters fully admit to cutting off their nose to spite their face.

These people who take their principled stand believe they shouldn’t have to vote against a candidate.  I’m not sure what’s wrong with voting against someone  We choose the lessor of two evils all the time in all kinds of situations in life.

I believe one should vote their conscience in the primaries, but vote their heads in the general election.  Not since the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 have I had the opportunity to vote for a candidate.  I voted against Richard Blumenthal, Dannel Malloy, Rosa Delauro, Barack Obama, and a host of local politicians.

This presidential election I will likely have the pleasure of voting for a candidate.  That excites me.  But if any of the candidates I would like to vote for does not win the GOP nomination, I realize the perfect is not the enemy of the good, and will dutifully vote against President Obama.

Comments

  1. Though I disagree with your political views, I agree with your argument for voting regardless of whether you actively vote for a candidate or against a candidate. I resigned myself years ago to the prospect of never having a party or candidate that shares many or all of my views. I usually try to find someone that echos my ideals as much as possible, but sometimes I have held my nose and tried to stop someone else from winning.

    The problem for conservatives is that their views are so broad as to make it hard to have an ideal candidate. There are Social Conservatives, Fiscal conservatives, libertarians, moderates, fundamentalists, theocrats, secularists, and every stripe in between, and rarely can a candidate please even a majority of conservatives-let alone the electorate.

    I would have been a Goldwater conservative, maybe, and my personal opinion is that the best thing for America right now would be a Romney or Huntsman ticket. I will tell you that if I were American, I would vote Republican if it were either of those two, but I would likely vote against any other republican candidate. There is a really good chance that the Republican nominee will be frightening enough to scare people back to Obama, no matter how disappointing his Presidency has been. There are at least four candidates I can think of who would almost certainly bankrupt the country and be worse for America than anything Obama could do….

    • I don’t see any republican offering anything that would be financially detrimental to the country. In fact they’re offering ideas that have historically worked. Obama has lost the independents, which is the political group that wins elections. There are more people than ever who consider themselves conservative now, I just don’t see 4 more years of Obama and his spending and joblessness and inflation.

      I’m also not shy about saying Hillary would not have had us in this mess we’re in, and I think would have easily coasted to a second term.

  2. Marshall Art says:

    One truly frightening candidate is Ron Paul. He scares the hell out of me, but doesn’t impress me as a guy who will ever win a primary. Other than him, no Republican with a real chance is scary at all except to narrow minded lefties who don’t really see reality or look at the facts.

    Conversely, for the life of me, I cannot come up with even one Democrat that I would ever cast a vote (that is, amongst those who have run in recent elections—don’t know of any who have seriously suggested going against Obama as yet). All the usual suspects of Democrat congressmen or senators, those who get the most press, have ever demonstrated anything akin to a working brain.

    But enough of the obvious.

    If there is, for a registered voter, no solid pick, there is always the worst possible outcome against which one is duty bound to vote against. I can’t imagine that anyone would not see the opposition party as being that worst outcome and to not vote because no “perfect” candidate seems to exist is to cast a vote for that worst outcome. In the last election, McCain was clearly the lesser of two evils and I thought he was quite liberal enough for most Democrats, but they were too smitten with the idea of electing a black man. Yes, that’s what propelled Obama to the Comfy Chair…his color. He stood for nothing, had no record and never achieved anything but to convince people to vote for him for no good reason, which, is a pretty cool thing if not so dangerous to the country. Which his time in office has proven.

    • I like Paul Ryan, but he wont win the primary because of how his plan was demonized. Right now, I support Rick Perry. I was hopeful Christie would jump in. And if he does, it will be close between him and Perry. Romney I see falling by the wayside. But I see myself voting for the republican nominee.

      I remember having to vote against a republican in a 3 way Senate election between Ned Lamont, who won the Dem primary over Leiberman who eventually ran as an Independent. I wanted to vote republican, but I knew the republican had absolutely no chance of winning. But since the republican was not going to win, every vote for him was in essence a vote for Lamont. So in order to keep Lamont out (who is crazy left) I had to vote for Leiberman. This scenario is exactly what I’m talking about.

    • This election is the Republicans election to lose.
      I’m sure they will find a way. The candidate will be part of it, and if Bachmann, Palin, Santorum, or Perry (to a lessor degree) win the nod, you can bet that they can be scary enough, and alienate enough people, to force people to hold their nose and vote Obama.
      The other part of it will be whether the Republicans can create a narrative that only resonates with the racist and conspiratorial,and evangelical factions of their party. Thankfully, we don’t need to answer this question, because it seems they already have. One only need to look at Marshall’s last paragraph to see the losing narrative in the coming election….

      I don’t know much about Christie, John. I know he is Gov. of NJ, that he has close ties to Karl Rove, and that’s about it. I used to be pretty impressed with Bobby Jindal, though I have some fundamental issues with his policies in LA.
      I still think Huntsman is my preferred (though longshot) Republican nominee, but I like Romney as well. Huntsman is a social moderate and fiscal conservative, who seems to be able to balance tax cuts with prudent fiscal policy. He doesn’t seem to me too concerned with social issues at the expense of focusing on jobs and the economy and he has a the best understanding and no language barrier with the most important country on the geopolitical landscape.

      But by all means, nominate the guy who says that Obama has never had a “real job”, who wants to charge the treasury with treason, who drove his state to #50 in education, and who thinks that he can turn the economy around in Vermont by doing exactly what he did in Texas- which is swim in oil revenues and steal business from other states with competitive corporate taxes. That is a firm National policy right there….

  3. I don’t know if you’re still not posting my comments, but for what it’s worth:

    It seems like to me, this election is the Republicans to lose. Given Obama’s unpopularity with a large number of folk, if the GOP runs anyone who doesn’t come across as totally or partially nuts, they could win.

    The problem? I’m not sure that the GOP will nominate someone who doesn’t come across as totally or partially nuts. Of the current candidates, that would be Romney or Gingrich, probably (although they are both flawed, too, and it would probably be a close race).

    But the Bachmans, Pauls, Perrys, Palins, Cains, etc, they all come across as at least a little lunatic or wholly unqualified for office and none of them will win because their own words and actions will chase voters away, even as a minority of Americans really dig ’em.

  4. I agree with you. I find that most of the time I am voting against the worst scenario.

  5. The lesser of two evils is less evil (did I really have to type that?).

  6. Or, looking at it another way, the lesser of two evils, is STILL “evil.”

  7. Well, I don’t believe voting for one or the other candidate is “evil,” that would be you all. I think there are better choices and worse choices. IF I truly thought that voting for Obama (or Bush or Perry) were “evil,” even a lesser sort, I would not choose to engage in evil.

    No, I’m not of that crowd who likes to believe that merely disagreeing with me is not enough to justify calling someone “evil.” I have no doubt that Bush and Perry and Obama and all those with whom I disagree are not, in fact, evil, just merely trying to do their best and not making the choices I would, perhaps even making evil choices on some topics, but that does not make them evil.

    • Dan, we aren’t talking about the people being evil, rather the results of their administration being overall “evil” for the nation as a whole. While not everything can be considered evil – most is just downright bad outcomes of bad policies – there are indeed evil results when an administration fosters abortion and sexual immorality, and other moral issues which go against God.

      • Yes, I have to say, I think Christians are more guilty of this than most demographical groups. It’s almost as if they think they are sinning by voting for someone who is not perfectly in step with what they believe would be a biblical Christian. For example, many Christians would not vote for Romney because he is Mormon, thus letting the most pro-same sex marriage, pro-abortion, anti-Israel president walk into a second term. They really have their priorities out of order.

        • Well, being an ex-Mormon I have good insight into Romney’s brain, and I really wouldn’t want him in the white house except as a last resort, and that’s just because he’s a temple Mormon. However, Romney was the reason Massachusetts got same sex faux marriage and he also got state subsidy for abortion there, as well as Romneycare. So really, he may not be as left wing as Obamanation, but I think he would do the same thing as O with trying to destroy DOMA and “don’t ask don’t tell” and, as well as a larger version of Romneycare. There are much better Republican candidates than him.

  8. How about we take a different rhetorical tact….
    How about we all admit that politicians and policies are not “evil”. I certainly don’t consider tax cuts evil. They might not be prudent, but they certainly lack “evil”. I don’t consider healthcare “evil” either- certainly in the midst of a financial crisis it seems misguided, but far from “evil”.

    I don’t think either party, Republican or Democrat, has a malicious agenda. Certainly both have political ideals that have consequences for the economy and for citizens- but ultimately both are trying to do what is best for the country- from different sides of the political fence.

    So I suggest that we ought to vote for the party that is more “realistic”, and vote against the party that is less “realistic”. In this coming election I’m going to say that that party has the ability to be the Republicans, and to a lesser extent might be the Democrats. If the wrong Republican wades through the nomination procedure and becomes their candidate, I’ll gladly change that opinion- but I think if Romney, Huntsman, or a similar social moderate/fiscal conservative wins the nomination- then I would want a Republican in office. If a Bachmann, Perry, Palin, or other Ideologue wins the nomination- then I’d rather get another four years of floundering rather than a concerted push toward principled bankruptcy.

    • I think that with the current administration’s agenda to implement the Cloward-Piven strategy, we can certainly call them evil. Nevertheless, “realistic” doesn’t fit the scenario of what the results of political agendas are and the results often are very evil.

      Contrary to your assertion, the particular idea of Obamacare is indeed evil as it tramps so heavily on individual liberty and rights, let alone the Constitution. And I don’t think the Democratic party is ever about what is best for the country – they are always about making the country more and more socialist. In general, most of the politicians, no matter which party, aren’t so much interested in what’s best for the country as they are interested in what is best for their personal careers and pocketbooks.

      • Is everyone here really unfamiliar with the expression “lessor of two evils”? Because I am getting the impression that people here are just lost.

        • Yes, I am very familiar with the term, and I think 90% of the population also is. The problem is that some want to play devil’s advocate and get very literal on the term “evil” in a phrase which doesn’t necessarily require it! Shall I make it more gentle and call it the “lesser bad of two bad outcomes?” or perhaps, “vote for the one who will do less damage to the nation”?

        • Yes, Glenn, that would be helpful, I think. We have overblown political and personal and religious attacks in our culture and toning down the rhetoric IS a helpful thing, at least if you want to communicate, rather than rant.

          One man’s opinion.

        • I only commented on this “evil” thing after certain other commenters began taking the concept literally. I’m not accusing you of saying Democrats are evil, I’m accusing others of taking your turn of phrase literally.

          I apologize if I was unclear on that.

  9. Oh, by the way, you might want to change your headline. It is “Lesser” not “Lessor” – the latter is one who leases.

  10. Glenn,

    Not that I’m a Romney fan, but have you taken into consideration that he had a veto overriding democrat majority in MA’s State legislature? He was over-ridden on a regular basis. Of course, that means he wasn’t very effective, but it also translates into a lot of legislation that passed without his support. What’s important is to see what he tried to veto, but was over-ridden on.

    • When it comes to same-sex faux marriage, he succumbed to a “payoff” by the Log Cabin Republicans. And he did not veto the abortion thing – if he was against it he should have and let it get over-ridden and then he wouldn’t be blamed. But Romneycare was a lot of his doing from the git-go. I wouldn’t trust him unless he was the last resort put up against a Democrat, but he never got that far.

  11. George,

    My question wasn’t directed at you. I can see you were just trying stay in the conversation. I had to ask because it looked like some were taking it a bit out of the expression.

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