Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Some Further Thoughts on "Lesser Evils"

Another procrastinatory post, but it also fits in with the one I'm trying, slowly, to write.

A few weeks ago I posted on Facebook that I'd voted for Bernie Sanders as "the lesser evil."  This upset a friend who worked for Sanders in the primaries.  He conceded that Sanders was flawed but he couldn't see him as evil.  I pointed to Sanders's support for no-fly / no-buy (a no-due-process policy that would mainly target Muslims), his ambivalent criticism of Israel, his support for the Iran nuclear deal based on some odd assumptions about America's right to order other countries around.  (In this position statement Sanders spends most of his time on a tirade about George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, but never acknowledges that Iran didn't have and wasn't pursuing a nuclear weapons program in the first place.  In general, supporters of the agreement from Obama on down have deliberately confused "nuclear program" and "nuclear weapons program.")  I got bogged down in other things and didn't continue the conversation, but something occurred to me today.  Perhaps, having clarified this in my mind, I'll return to the exchange with my friend.

I want to ask my friend and all other Democrats, whether Sandernista or Clintonbot, what is the proper response when someone tells them that he or she intends to vote for their candidate -- but as the lesser evil.  I think the answer is obvious.  It should be something along the lines of "Thanks for your vote.  Will you need a ride to the polls on election day?"  It's revealing that, on the contrary, their first (and last, for that matter) impulse is to attack the prospective voter, as though his or her vote is not wanted unless it is offered in a spirit of total and unconditional adulation.  A vague admission that the candidate is "flawed" may then be permitted, provided that no flaws are specified or acknowledged.  It seems to me that a vote is a vote, but Democrats evidently don't agree.  My friend was much less hostile than Clinton or Obama devotees, but that may be because no one had ever called Sanders "the lesser evil" around him before, and he wasn't ready to break out the vitriol yet.

My original remarks on Facebook were partly satirical anyway, which I thought would be obvious to anyone who'd been conscious during the past election season.  It now seems to me that anyone being asked for their vote should refer to the candidate in question as the lesser evil, and see what reaction they get.  If you encounter resistance, you're dealing with a personality cultist who is unable to see their candidate clearly, and who is hoping to elect a messiah, not a politician.  This is why there was a good deal of disappointment (exactly how much, I'm not sure) among his supporters when Sanders kept his promise to campaign for Clinton after she won the nomination.  (My friend wasn't one of these, I should mention.)  It's why Obamamaniacs were unable to hold his feet to the fire when he was elected and began breaking his promises, selling out his base -- though of course he'd begun doing that during the campaign, and met almost no resistance, so why not continue? If you can't vote for someone while being as critical of them as need be, but must attack all their critics -- even those who vote for them -- something is wrong; you're probably pushing a bad candidate, and the angrier the criticism makes you, the worse your candidate probably is.