Jimmy’s Table PodcastCuriously evangelical. Politically homeless. A dreamer of small things. On this podcast, I am having conversations about the intersection of faith, life, and culture.

Why I’m Not Voting For President In 2020 – Episode #74

Donald Trump & Joe Biden

The 2020 presidential election is just a few months away. I am registered to vote and plan on voting in the election. However, when it comes to voting for president, I feel both Republican and Democratic parties have failed to offer America a candidate that I can back. I believe both Joe Biden and Donald Trump to be deeply flawed presidential candidates. And in truth, I believe most Americans feel both Biden and Trump to be such as well. But most will end up voting for either of the two candidates, because, well, what else is there to do?

In today’s podcast, I am not here to tell you who to vote for. I favor the idea Richard Pryor put forward his classic comedy, “Brewster’s Millions,” in which Pryor’s character ran on the “None of the Above” platform for mayor. (See the clip below.) What I am hoping to do today is to simply help you think about who you will vote for and why, and to help you cultivate a voting philosophy that will help you decide which candidate to vote for, no matter what side of the political aisle you lean.

“None Of The Above” Clip From Brewster’s Millions

Most People Will Mindlessly Vote Straight Party Ticket

No matter how good or bad political candidates tend to be, due to the highly polarized political divide in our country, most people will simply vote Republican or Democrat. They’ll vote this way no matter how strongly or how badly the candidate conforms to party values or ideology. At the end of the day, most people simply vote Republican or Democrat, because that is the jersey they’ve historically worn, and they root for either party for the same reason they root for any given professional sports franchise.

It’s like Chicago Cubs fans who passionately root for the Chicago Cubs, nevermind they went over 100 years without winning a World Series. For over 100 years the Chicago Cubs gave nobody in their right mind to root for them. Most years they stunk, and they stunk badly. Most the time you watched them you had to hold their nose when they played. But, root, root for for the Cubies they did.

How Should You Vote?

Well, that’s a highly personalized choice. And it is one that should require much soul seaking.

Many people vote for a single party, or they vote for a candidate who makes promises about one particular issue, and that issue ends up being the lone reason someone votes for that candidate. But, in order to do that, people feel like they often have to hold their nose, because the individual that the party has put forward stinks so badly, they vote because they feel they have no other choice.

But at the end of the day, we have a representative form of government in America. We are not a pure democracy. We vote for people who are supposed to represent whatever our political interests are, and individuals who ultimately represent us at the end of the day. They should govern as if they were governing on our behalf. They should behave and act like we would act if we were in charge, and they should work to pass legislation that we would ultimately pass if we were in their place.

Because at the end of the day, the politicians we elect are supposed to serve on our behalf. They are supposed to represent us. Therefore, we should vote for those politicians who more or less represent us and our interests.

Don’t Vote While Holding Your Nose

Of course, no candidate is perfect, and none of them perfectly represent our character or political perspectives. But that’s okay, they don’t have to do so. We should be grown up enough to recognize that we are all different, and that there are a lot of complex decisions to be made. But at the end of the day, after assessing a candidate’s character and values and positions, we should feel comfortable with who we support.

Of course, every individual will have to do a personal level of calculus to decide on whether or not a candidate passes their smell test. What that mathematical formula is will differ from individual to individual. But I am of the opinion that, if we don’t feel comfortable with any of the candidates running for office, that we should not vote for someone that we have to hold our nose to vote for.

Such is simply wasting your vote. Remember, you should vote for someone that represents you and your interests. We have a representative form of government after all. And if you are having to hold your nose to vote for someone that you don’t believe really represents you and your interests, then you have thrown your vote away.

Why I’m Voting None Of The Above

Which is why, for the upcoming 2020 election, I find myself unable to vote for either Joe Biden or Donald Trump. Neither candidate comes even close to representing my values, and and my opinion, neither candidate is mentally, emotionally, or morally fit to govern. And so far as I can discern, neither Trump nor Biden seem to have much of an ideological center that they operate from. And the few political perspectives that they actually seem to genuinely hold, I find largely at odds with my own political perspectives.

Both candidates repulse me for different reasons, and no amount of math that I do ever causes Trump or Biden to become a candidate that I believe “best” represents me and my political interests. As a result, I cannot throw my support behind either. If there is a way both candidates can lose, I hope that happens. To vote for either would require me to hold my nose, and deeply compromise my perspective on things.

As a result, I will not be voting for Trump or Biden for president. And so far, none of the third party candidates seem particularly interesting, nor do they have a realistic shot at winning the election. And while I will vote during the upcoming 2020 election, I will not be voting for the next president of the United States.

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  • If you don’t order either piece of stinky fish then you can decide to go hungry. But whether you choose to vote for Trump or Biden or not, one of them will win the election in November. There is fish coming to your table. You are not ordering in a restaurant as much as the cafeteria workers are taking a poll. No matter how many. or few, respond to the poll everyone in the cafeteria will get the same thing.

    In 2016 I pushed Trump pretty hard as a better choice than Hillary. I really didn’t expect him to win but I wanted to encourage as many people as possible to hold their nose if you will and choose the lesser of two evils even if they didn’t like him. The biggest stake in that race was the Supreme Court. We have elections every two years; 1/3 of senators and all House members come up for election each time. The president serves a 4 year term. The High Court is designed to change very slowly over a long period of time. Of the three branches of government only those justices serve a lifetime appointment. That gives even our representative democracy something of permanence, a consistency over time that doesn’t change on a whim. No matter how you feel about Trump I feel good about Justice Kavanaugh compared to anything that Hillary would have come up with.

    On the one hand I’m not as concerned about Biden. He is old school, from the old guard of the D.C. political process. You know what you are getting, no surprises. The real concern with a Biden presidency is most people don’t think it would really be him. We’ve seen Biden pulled further left in recent years than his natural position by extreme leftist progressives. He was more suitable than Bernie Sanders (which is why he is in this race at all) but the White House would really be more or less run by Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, AOC and other Dems much further left than Biden.

    Trump was not my first choice in 2016. But I will choose him in 2020 over a progressive White House run by committee. Choosing the lesser of two evils is better than having the greater of two evils served on a platter. The waiter is coming back whether you like it or not.

    • Great thoughts. Without trying to break Godwin’s Law here, but I can’t think of a better analogy for illustration purposes: If Hitler and Stalin are on the ballot, do you try to do the calculus to figure out which of the two is the lesser evil? Or do you just refrain from voting for either altogether, knowing that voting for either is an exercise in futility?

      Don’t misunderstand me, neither Trump or Biden are Hitler or Stalin. But, how does one decide such a thing? I’m not comfortable with voting for two men that I believe to be evil just because one of them might turn out to be less evil than the other.

      That’s why I think we should vote for whoever is the candidate we believe to be the best representative of us. If both stink, better to refrain, regardless if the waiters are going to serve us against our will.

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