Late last week, the Chicago Tribune endorsed Gary Johnson for president, an action that, while indicative of the uneasy response the leading candidates trigger, also shows a remarkable failure of nerve.
In 2016, a measure of bravery is involved in committing to either of the two top presidential candidates, especially given the invective that they have inspired. The vituperative nature of the campaign has left mud clinging to both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The shame heaped on Trump, in particular, has had a tendency to slide off and besmirch his followers, whom Clinton contemptuously dismissed as ‘a basket of deplorables.’
One wonders whether this, the risk of guilt by association, will deter voters from voting, or whether it is inhibiting likely voters from honestly declaring their intentions to friends, or to the strangers who call on the telephone, conducting voter surveys.
How many people are ‘shy’ Trump or Clinton supporters, but will not risk saying so out of a dread of conflict or embarrassment? Will there be many people who lie about their vote, or who will absolve themselves of future responsibility by casting no ballot on Election Day?
How childish it would be to shirk one’s duty. But then look at the action of the Chicago Tribune‘s editorial board. If its members intend to follow their own recommendation and vote for Gary Johnson, I will be astonished. If they are not personally going to vote for Gary Johnson, their recommendation was an act of prevarication. They deliberately threw away any chance of influencing the outcome of the campaign.
When a group of highly educated, rational, and conscientious journalists cannot bring themselves to declare for one or the other of the candidates who is certain to win the election, it’s likely that something similar is happening in the more obscure corners of our nation, too.
It is very difficult to resolve to vote for a deeply flawed nominee. It leaves a bad taste, to give power to someone you do not trust, you do not agree with, or you do not admire. To vote this year is to take a risk. How many Trump voters will lie about it? How many ambivalent souls will stay at home?
Image: The Tribune Tower on a good day
© 2016 Susan Barsy