Wednesday, May 18, 2016

As Always

The first election I remember was the 1960 race between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.  I was eight, so I really didn’t grasp the political issues; all I knew was back then my parents and their friends were Republicans and JFK wasn’t worthy of being president.  (I’m told that my parents changed parties shortly thereafter and haven’t regretted it.)  The first election I actually volunteered for was in 1968; Hubert Humphrey vs. Richard Nixon.

Looking back over the last fifty-plus years, I can’t think of a single election where there hasn’t been some kind of buyers’ remorse about either candidate voiced by pundits and some polls basically boiling down to “these are the best we can come up with?” and leaving the election up to a choice of “the lesser of two evils.”

People are entitled to their sour grapes, but when you’re running an election in a nominal democracy with as many different ways to choose candidates — primaries, party conventions, straw polls, caucuses, debates, rallies — as there are states and PAC’s, this is the way we’ve chosen presidents for nigh on 150 years and no candidate of either party has ever emerged unwrinkled and unsullied.  The upside is that if you can make it through that gauntlet, there’s something to be said for stamina and a willingness to be humiliated that should hold you in good stead for the office.  (Unless you’re a racist, sexist, xenophobic megalomaniac with fascistic tendencies.  Then all bets are off.)

No candidate of either party is perfect, ever; there are always going to be a loser and their disappointed supporters who vow to never support the eventual nominee.  And yet they do — or they should — if they want what they believe in to win regardless of who is the name on the their party’s ticket.

Or, to put it bluntly, get over yourself and think about what it would be like if the other guys win.