Anyone else find it odd how much our current election season has boiled down to the lesser of two evils? I mean, that really does kind of describe every election season, but this year more so than most, it seems. Particularly when looking at the examples of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, it’s become a hobby of political analysts and comedians to weigh in on who they think would drive the country to oblivion the fastest and most ruthlessly.
How the hell did we find ourselves in this situation? Nations throughout history have had their demagogues rise to power, so perhaps it’s just our turn. And what’s more, these two are still vying for their party’s nomination, so they’ve got a long way to go before they can even attempt to inflict the damage that so many are predicting. It’s very possible that, if elected, neither man would really cause much trouble (though given their respective campaign promises, it sounds like they’d at least try to). But the question remains, how did we find ourselves with such a nefarious choice as the one between Trump and Cruz, one a text-book example narcissist and serial liar, and the other a religious lunatic whose rhetoric is usually reserved for kings invoking their divine rights? Just let that sink in; the two Republican front-runners are a shameless self-promoter who lies at every turn and makes fascistic policy promises when he does utter a coherent sentence, and a Christian prophet who has iced his campaign with a stanch anti-gay stance and the fear of Armageddon if he isn’t elected.
Since I’ve gone this far, what the hell… who do I think is the worst candidate? If for no other reason than we’ve dealt with people similar to Cruz in the past (George W. Bush for example, though Cruz admittedly seems far more extreme), and as such we somewhat know how to manage them, I’d say Trump takes the cake as being the most dangerous candidate on the ballot. His entrance to the race was a sham from the beginning, and his lack of loyalty to any particular ideology, including honesty, makes him basically a loose canon on deck. His only interest is self-promotion; it couldn’t be clearer that he doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself. And we’re inching closer to potentially giving this man control of the U.S. military, nuclear codes and all?? I realize that, being a humanist, I should probably bestow the dubious honor of worst candidate to the aspiring martyr, but he’s just going to have to settle for second.
What ever happened to picking the best and the brightest? Has this ever been the case? I’d argue that the 2008 election was a damn good one in terms of having smart, competent, and honorable people on the ballot from both parties… until John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. Seriously, I generally respect him as a legislator and certainly for his heroism during war, but I don’t think he can apologize enough for introducing her to the national political stage. But the point is that it’s not impossible to have good people to choose from for president. It’s just not a rule that there has to be good people.
Such is the democratic system, I suppose. Though we can take a certain amount of sad comfort in the idea that the troubles that we face as a nation will not be turned around by the election of one person, even if that person is occupying the highest office in the land. The next president can certainly make things better or worse, but I’m skeptical that the worst fears of the people will come true if Cruz or Trump win the election in November (it’d be bad, but we should survive it).
That said: Pleeeeease, Republicans, please, please, pleeeeease pick Rubio or Kasich in the primaries! If it’s all about choosing the lesser of evils, there’s still way less evil to pick from!