A look at Voting for the Lesser Evil

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    This should be a fun, reasonably quick read. I got it sent to me by a friend. We have been seeking to understand the two camps better. What motivates people? How are they valuing things?

    Voting for the Lesser Evil

    If you want to understand the stark differences in how people view voting in this election, this piece is worth your time.

    Here is a brief take:

    The Bernie or Bust voter is explained well, in that they see one body of corruption owning or impacting both parties. An affirmative vote simply adds to the evil, in that it’s all evil to them. A no vote doesn’t prevent the evil from happening, as there isn’t a meaningful “good” choice, but the voter is not complicit. Worst best case kind of thinking.

    The “Unify and vote for Clinton” type voter is making a different argument! The “evil” impacts only some of the people, and typically lesser people. Everyone else is experiencing a net good. To those people, the lesser evil has clear value as their own net good could be diminished by the greater evil which holds the potential to take away whatever good they are getting.

    Of course, the people who aren’t experiencing any good, see a lot of evil either way. A common sweetener is to add the idea of a net good coming to them too, if they will only do the right thing now and preserve the good for the people already getting that good.

    So the divide here is moral, and it’s deep. That piece speaks to the basic mechanics of the arguments, which is why I linked it.

    What do people value? This is what it is all coming down to.

    For those who really aren’t experiencing enough “good” to be meaningful, the corruption is likely to be the dominant thing they value and focus on. The less good they experience, the more likely are to fall into the Bernie or Bust camp. Secondly, the less they believe “more good” can actually happen for them, the more likely they are to fall into the Bernie or Bust camp, or just no vote all the way.

    For those who are experiencing enough good, they are not likely to see corruption as dominant, and are likely to let that good and the potential for more dominate their argument. These voters are likely to fall into the “shut up and get on the bus for Clinton and you will get yours one day too!” voting camp.

    And I’m not making a judgement here as to the merits of either argument. Just understanding. Because I struggle to do that right now. This election year is different.

    Andy Brown

    When you put a metric to the lies, you find that much of the negative “evil” rhetoric has been, if you’ll excuse the pun, trumped up. Lookit the donald way out in front of everyone with the highest pants on fire rating (scroll down at the below link). Hillary beats Bernie in true but Bernie beats Hillary in true plus mostly true. Trump comes in with 0% true and 7% mostly true, Only Ben Carson beats trump with 0% true and 4% mostly true.

    source: PolitiFact



    It’s more macro than that.

    When one zooms out, and looks at higher order policy, the simple truth is we are more or less asking most people to give up a little more so that those with the most can get just a little more.

    A great many of the negative voters, who don’t value the parties at all, or very much at all, see corruption as the single most important contributing factor.

    They see both parties corrupt and both parties operating on what they see as essentially the same money.

    Now, plug that into the ethics discussion linked, and it’s possible to understand where these people are coming from.


    And to be perfectly clear, I’m seeking that understanding because I’m seeing a pretty damn potent movement here that isn’t driven by the usual money, nor behaving in the usual ways.

    A lot of those people do not think in ways, or value how we would expect, and it’s important to understand that, if it’s also important to understand what the future may bring and how it might come to pass.


    The Bernie or bust voter is the Nader or bust voter from 2000.

    Same thing, different year.

    Promises being put forth that have zero chance of happening, unrealistic in what can be accomplished, and not willing to look at the bigger picture.

    May I remind you of what the Nader or bust voters got for themselves in 2000? Are memories that short?


    Here is a twist…

    I have always voted for Republicans who were moderate.

    This year there is a moderate and a conservative. Unfortunately the moderate is unacceptable, and the conservative is not electable and unlikable.

    So this Republican-leaning moderate will likely vote for Clinton. If I am not alone, this election won’t even be close.


    Your reasoning drops into the model I linked here.

    Perfectly rational.

    This is also why I’m not too concerned about Trump.

    Going to the mat for Sanders is a low cost, low risk scenario. Damn near a freebie with great long game potential.

    Most of the angst comes down to fear and shame arguments that have less merit than most of us would think.


    Yes, I think this “lesser evil” thing is real. Unless it keeps people from voting at all, that is the danger.

    We have seen the “lesser evil” in many elections, but to keep it in recent history, I think we can include ’72 (where the lesser evil Nixon pounced all over a weak McGovern), then in ’84 where Reagan had no trouble with Mondale, and even in ’88 where Bush the first had his way with Dukakis. We might even include Bush the second over Kerry.

    I fully expect Hillary will be the next in this category, barring any future judicial problems.


    The Only Voting Choice Remaining….The Write In

    My country and especially my party have let me and the rest of us down this election season… I’m saddened and sickened that we, as a country, are down to the 2 worst possible choices imaginable by any historical standard for the highest office in the land and the most powerful position in the world… I refuse to vote for either candidate, as they both disgust me…and for different reasons that I won’t belabor here. And, as my particular vote for POTUS in USA is generally moot based on the demographics here, I’m safe in my conviction to be “writing in” the only person that I truly trust with my political positions and beliefs for the POTUS position…. ME… As “great hair” nor “credentials” appear to matter any more for the Presidency, please feel free to join the “Johnny in 2016” protest vote. I’m John Doe, and I approve of this message….


    Paul, I may have to take back my lack of concern over Trump.

    I understand the common sentiments regarding Clinton. I also see this election being an establishment referendum election, and Trump could play on that, label Clinton establishment, which she is, and gain traction while piling on negatives.

    And let’s be honest, he’s a buffoon fascist. Not good. But, he is off the charts good at finding and exploiting populist resonance too.


    Washtnotore, a non-vote will be a vote for Hillary as she is the odds on favorite right now. A 3rd party vote will also take you in this direction, unless there is a very strong 3rd party candidate that emerges. But again, a 3rd party, would likely split republicans before it splits democrats, though sure that is yet to play out, if at all.

    Missing, yes I guess that was my thought I was awkwardly trying to make in my other thread about Trump and Reagan.
    This man, however unlikely and unlikeable, has managed to get past all that. Same as Reagan, but definitely a different persona. The next six months should prove to be very interesting, pivital, and historical.


    You have one of two choices for President. A non-vote or a write in is simply a vote for the person you like least. And that’s never made sense to me.


    The article linked at the top of this thread urged readers in a very, very longwinded way to vote for the candidate that they like the least.

    The way that I look at it, no matter whom you vote for, your impact is microscopic. Voting works this way by design. I do not go into the rabbit hole of “If I vote X, am I inadvertently promoting Z?” Just appreciate that you have a right to vote.

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