Saturday, May 7, 2016

Why the Lesser of Two Evil's Is a Trap for Voters

Picture: © 2016 by Ben Garrison

I watched a remarkable video this afternoon by Pastor Gary K. Gordon explaining why choosing the lesser of two evils will always fail and is morally wrong.
Gordon made a good point. The idea of choosing the lesser of two evils, trains the two parties of a two-party system to ignore their greatest supporters and spend their energies on winning the wishy-washy folks in the middle. 

Parties depend on their members to vote for the Party candidate on the very principle that the party candidate is the "lesser of two evils". Because both parties count on their base to always vote for the Party candidate who is less evil than the other party's candidate, the party bosses can on the undecided middle voter in an attempt to tip the scales enough to win.  Because the Republicans are focused on people to the left of the party's base and the Democrats are focused on the people to the right of their base in order to win elections, the parties inevitably tend to drift philosophically toward the noncommital center. In this way, the Party leadership needs only shift slightly toward accommodating their base should the blacks or the Christians get antsy, while still pandering toward the middle. 

The upshot is that the Democrats neglect their black supporters and the Republicans neglect their Christian supporters because they can count on them to vote for what they perceive as "the lesser of two evils".  What we really need are three or four strong parties so voters have an actual choice. This would go a long way toward training our politicians to be representatives of their constituents rather than political ballplayers only concerned about winning.

At the same time, though, we'd have to have voters who weren't so afraid of losing an election, that they weren't willing to take a leap and actually do the right thing.  As it turns out, losing an election in the short run might not be the worst thing if it teaches our representatives to do the right thing in the long run rather than doing the safe thing or taking the expedient course.

Ronald Reagan proved that doing the right thing actually was a winning political strategy. It's a pity the Republican Party didn't learn from that. They've become so "smart" at how to win elections in the short run, that they've managed to lose their party in the long run.

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