Anti-Trump AND Anti-Hillary: What’s a Voter To Do?

AND anti-Hillary: What’s a voter to do?  This seems to be an endemic quandary in the current presidential campaign.  I have my own views, which I have blogged, ranted and wrote about.  My views are considered too and too scary by many, and perhaps even somewhat  by more than a few.  What might professional philosophers, trained in the rigors of and systematic thought, think about this palpable, contemporary quandary?  One famous philosopher, Alasdair MacIntyre, an Emeritus Professor of at the University of Notre Dame, gives his esteemed analysis in Can’t stand Hillary or Trump? Here’s what you must do, an article from Intellectual Takeout, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to feed minds, foster discussion, and inspire action:

I can’t recall an election in which the two leading candidates were more reviled in both breadth and depth. The rejoinder I keep hearing is that 2016 is the Lesser of Two Evils Election.

The data bears this out. A poll conducted in May by the Washington Post found that 57 percent of people had an unfavorable view of ; 45 percent of those polled had a highly favorable view of him. , believe it or not, had even higher unfavorables.

Both candidates, of course, somehow were officially nominated by their respective parties last month.

Thus, many Americans find themselves in an quandary. Finding both candidate X and candidate Y utterly repellent, they are left with the following choice: 1) Vote for the candidate they find less repellent. 2) Vote for neither candidate (by either not or for a candidate who has essentially no chance of winning).

What should one do?

Alasdair MacIntyre, an Emeritus Professor of at the University of Notre Dame, is on the record on what should do in such a situation. He is unequivocal: should reject both candidates.

Here is what he wrote:

When offered a choice between two politically intolerable alternatives, it is important to choose neither. And when that choice is presented in rival arguments and debates that exclude from public consideration any other set of possibilities, it becomes a duty to withdraw from those arguments and debates, so as to resist the imposition of this false choice by those who have arrogated to themselves the of framing the alternatives.

Such a suggestion—coming from a philosopher no less—might seem jarring to the civic-minded citizen. MacIntyre concedes this, noting that it has been ingrained in our fiber to view not as irresponsible.

So how does he justify not in an important election? In MacIntyre’s view, for “the lesser of two evils” is a tacit vote for the system that put the two candidates in place, a system that “presents us only with unacceptable alternatives.” By not casting a , are, in effect, casting a vote against the system.

“The way to vote against the system is not to vote,” he writes.

Do you find MacIntyre’s persuasive? Will it persuade you to not vote or vote for one of the also-rans?

I agree wholeheartedly that the logical and sensible solution is to withdraw from the boundaries of a seemingly forced false choice.  This would simply be healthy boundary setting from a healthy electorate. However, positing the only other touted alternative as not voting at all seems to me like just another false choice, or, perhaps even more egregiously, a non-choice.  Shame on you, terribly uncreative philosopher (or reporter?).  There are third, and fourth, and fifth party presidential candidates running, for whom you can cast your , that will profoundly more clearly register one’s rejection of the two-party duopoly and rigged of candidates.  The amorphous category of nonvoter is especially un-instructive since longstanding low voter turnout is comprised of a large portion of not well characterized as politically enlightened or active.  With our purported in crisis, voting may be of limited importance.  Nonetheless, voting does have importance.  Voting is a relatively easy, and I believe cost-effective, way to move forward.  However, in the end, electoral alone will not be enough to forge a positive .  Let US reject false and rigged foisted upon US and vote for a candidate outside the two-party duopoly.  Then, immediately — that is even before the election — join in non-electoral, movement actions to the larger system not worthy of our vote.

Feel free to check out ’s election and third party politics designs.

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