The Thinking Person Vote

During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai Stevenson, “Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!” Stevenson called back, “That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!”

In the ensuing 60 years, two groups have listened to that admonition more attentively than others.

They are the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Imagine for a moment a thinking person voting exercise.

Take everything you believe to be true about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Slice off the worst 20% for each on the theory that it is probably spin or at least exaggerated.

Now, place Clinton in the Republican Party and Trump in the Democratic Party and ask yourself how you react to the new election.

Most will be too embarrassed to admit that their views are the opposite of what they had been when Clinton was about to be nominated by the Democrats and Trump was about to be nominated by the Republicans. (I had to rewrite that sentence to avoid saying, “Clinton was a Democrat and Trump was a Republican,” because Trump isn’t a Republican.

Despite spectacular underperformance, the two major political parties continue to have the vast majority of American voters in a headlock thanks to relentless public relations campaigns aimed at their slices of the electorate and total control of the laws relating to elections, contributions and campaigns.

The two parties have evolved from coaches guiding their teams on the field to cheer leaders fueling up the rabble in the crowd. Those who might refer a good outcome to a win need not apply. Besides, there are too few of them.

According to a recent poll taken in June by The Pew Research Center and reported by Ron Faucheux of Clarus, “only 11% believe either Trump or Clinton would make a good president. For comparison, before the 2012 election, 24% said either Obama or Romney would make a good president and before the 2000 election, 29% said either Bush or Gore would make a good president. Furthermore, 41% believe neither Clinton nor Trump would make a good president––which would seem to make this election fertile ground for a strong independent or third-party candidate.”

In recent weeks, I have been asking a totally unscientific array of people if they thought 1 in 100,000 people in the United States could do the President’s job. The key to the question is “do” the job not “get” the job.

Some say more some say less. One of the most politically knowledgeable thought no more than 50 Americans could fill the bill (1 out of 6.5 million) but, if my question is directionally accurate, there are 3250 candidates.

Now take the two leading candidates and place them in the appropriate quintile among the 3250. Most who have answered my pop survey are unwilling to place Trump in any quintile and virtually all place Clinton in the fourth or fifth.

Where are the candidates who would rank in the top half of that group?

Some are not chosen because they might upset the duopoly apple carts. Others won’t run because of what will happen to them during the election.

Next week the Republicans will hold their convention in Cleveland and the following week the Democrats will hold theirs in Philadelphia. In each case their efforts will be well larded with taxpayer dollars — $50 million each for “security.”

One party will miss its last chance for greatness by nominating a candidate who is clearly unqualified and perhaps mentally ill while the other will nominate a candidate who has artfully dodged indictment on several occasions.

How does the line go?

You had one job.

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