Speaking recently with a Tea-Party leaning Republican, I was struck by the fact this person didn’t like John McCain or George W. Bush. In fact I’m not sure they’ve liked anybody running for President since Reagan. I often hear people talk about how they don’t like the candidates that our two parties offer up. It seems to be more and more common for people to vote “no” against a candidate than to vote “yes” for a candidate.
For several election cycles we’ve heard how hard it was going to be for incumbents because so many people were furious with Washington, their state capitol, of city hall. Politics has perfected the art of making opponents look bad, and this has bled over into new media. To paraphrase an old proverb: Scandals and rumors ricochet around the world before real news can get its boots on.
As I reflect back on my own attitude towards people who I have voted for, I can say I have really liked all but one person who I voted for president (Walter Mondale, who later I have learned to respect more than I did at the time I voted for him). I truly do believe that it is important for us as a society to figure out a way to vote for people that we would like to serve in office. That seems sort of obvious, but the problem is of course the dominant parties. We are afraid of wasting our vote because then the worse of two evils might win.
There are proposals to change the voting method in order to encourage people to vote for who they really like best, and maybe that’s what it would take. But I also believe that if voters would take their responsibility seriously and do their homework, they might find that there is a candidate among the two major parties that on balance they do like. It’s not about finding the person who agrees with you on every single issue. It is about finding a person who is smart, capable, dedicated to what’s best for America, and has a similar world view as you do.
Now is the time for voters to begin doing their homework. Before a party nominates a candidate, then anything is possible. Now is the time to seek out a good candidate and to get behind that person. This is how our system is supposed to work, and if it’s not working, then we need to look to ourselves to begin the process of fixing it.