Sunday, October 16, 2016


So this just arrived in the mail. It made my heart drop because I'm not ready for it. For the first time in my life, I don't know who I will vote for in the presidential race.

I am an undecided voter.

I always thought that such voters were a myth. When I'd watch focus groups on the news or see polls with undecided voters, I would exclaim to myself in exasperation, "How can you really not know who you are voting for when the difference between the two parties [and/or candidates] is so plain?!"

Aside from gaining more sympathy for the political middle in recent years, this election in particular has really left me without a candidate. If Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio or John Kasich were on the ballot, it would be a no-brainer. The only Republican candidate of the original field of 17 that I would struggle to vote for would be Ted Cruz, but in the end I probably would have come around to his side if he had won the primary (thank goodness I don't have to make that choice). Indeed, when I started this blog a year and a half ago, I assumed I would devote most of my posts to campaigning for the Republican nominee. 

But no! The plurality of Republican voters had to choose Donald Trump, a man I simply cannot vote for in good conscience. So I'm left with a choice between Hillary Clinton and one of her third-party rivals.

Mostly likely, I will vote for either Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, or Evan McMullin. Each has their appeal. 
Hillary has the most experience, having served as a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State. I believe and hope that she will lead as a moderate. Regardless, she will most likely win the presidency, so I'm tempted to vote for her as a "peace offering," so to speak - a gesture of goodwill in hopes that she will return the favor by treading lightly in controversial areas and compromise with the Republicans in Congress to pass all those elusive "common sense reforms" politicians always talk about. 

Gary Johnson is the only third-party candidate on the ballot in all 50 states. He has served as governor of New Mexico, executive experience which would translate directly to a gig in the White House. And his views are fairly moderate - he would be a good consensus candidate. 

Evan McMullin is intelligent, principled, ethical, sensible, and matches my views on almost every issue. He has a lot of experience in the foreign policy arena as a former CIA operative. From all appearances, he is a good man that I would feel absolutely no regret in supporting.

On the other hand, Clinton is constantly embroiled in ethical issues and would appoint liberal justices, Johnson is too liberal on marijuana and abortion for my taste, and McMullin has no more than a 3% chance of winning the presidency, and probably much lower than that. (Not to mention I would have to write his name in on my ballot ... although that would be kind of fun.)

Ultimately, my vote will come down to the confluence of the following three factors as Election Day approaches:

1) What the polls say. How close is Donald Trump to winning? Which of the third-party candidates has the best chance of winning, or at least making a splash?

2) Which new controversies arise. Does WikiLeaks publish something so damaging that the Justice Department is forced to take action against Clinton? Does Trump finally concede that his accusers are telling the truth and resign as the Republican candidate? 

3) What my gut tells me. If I had to vote today, I might vote for someone different than I'd vote for on November 8th, or even November 7th, 6th, or 5th. Do I want to be part of the historic moment that at long last puts a woman in the White House? Do I want to have a clean conscience knowing I voted for a good and ethical candidate, even if he has no governing experience and next to no chance of winning? Do I want to cast a protest vote for the candidate most likely to stand out on the scoreboard on Election Night?

The choice is ours. Are we ready for it?

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