A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Let's Get Mythical

If you're not Mormon or conservative and you don't live in Utah, you may never have heard of Evan McMullin, an independent who is running for President of the United States. He is a Mormon and (former?) Republican with an impressive set of policy proposals. From everything I've read about him, he seems like a decent guy. However, I've noticed a trend among McMullin voters, most of whom have a strong antipathy towards both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Many McMullin voters say that it feels good to cast their vote for "someone of integrity" who they have faith in.

I don't want to disparage that, and I fully support your right to vote however you choose, but there's something of a "this candidate is perfect" flavor to some of the pro-McMullin comments this year (not all). The truth is, it's very easy for Evan McMullin to be a perfect conservative, because he's never held elective office and never had to compromise. He's never been part of the inevitable horse-trading that goes on among those *sordid* politicians with "records." That's not to say that he doesn't believe what he says - it's entirely possible that he is 100% sincere in his beliefs, but the truth is that those beliefs have never been tested by the crucible of actual responsibility.

All of this hoopla reminds me of the satirical news story about the Perfect Republican Candidate. The reason that's a joke: there is no perfect candidate because there are no perfect humans currently on the earth (other than my mom and dad, but they're not currently interested in running). There simply isn't a candidate who perfectly believes everything you believe unless YOU are running. Elections are about choices and they are about viable choices. The simple truth is that we in the U.S. have a winner take all system, and that means that there are only two viable candidates for president this year: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. 

One of these people has the experience and temperament to be president, and one clearly does not. Some (and only some) of the antipathy towards Clinton is that she is a typical politician. She changes her policy positions, cozies up to the rich and powerful, and is ambitious. But to suggest that Clinton and Trump are equally bad is to suggest a false equivalence that is staggering in its ignorance. Clinton is a politician, yes, and she has a penchant for secrecy and power (although I personally don't think she's any worse that any other politician in this respect). She was wrong to use a private email server, and has admitted that it was wrong. But she IS a typical politician with respect to the separation of powers and commitment to decency. She's worked to pass bills like the Children's Health Insurance Program and was a decent Senator for New York and worked hard as Secretary of State. 

Is Hillary perfect? No. Is she likely to do things you disagree with? Absolutely (and that's true for everyone). But she is NOT a narcissistic ignoramus who insults anyone who challenges her, which is a whole lot more than I can say for Trump. I can't imagine Trump as President - please please please please please don't let it happen. Don't let the mythical idea of a perfect candidate keep you from voting for flawed candidate who could win.

Here are some articles which make the anti-Trump case stronger than I can:
And of course, John Oliver's epic take-down (definitely PG-13, with lots of language):

Of course, being Anti-Trump isn't enough for some people to vote for Hillary - I respect your right to vote for McMullin if that's the case. But please don't pretend that somehow makes you better than other people for choosing a mythic perfect candidate.

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