Turnouts and Letdowns
The 2016 Presidential Election is a choice between the lesser of two evils. Donald Trump’s outrageous statements, demeaning treatment of women, and questionable business practices presumably explain why 57 percent of Americans disapprove of his candidacy. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s poor choices in regards to the Iraq war and Benghazi, as well as her email scandal, have led to a lack of confidence in her character and, likely as a consequence of this, her 52 percent negative rating. Both candidates will struggle on Nov. 8 to motivate the enormous part of the American public who feel that neither candidate really reflects its values.
Amazingly, 57 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Republicans say that they are unsatisfied with the candidates chosen by their party. More than 40 percent of all Americans say that choosing between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for the presidency will be very hard. The candidates chosen by the primary system clearly do not represent their respective parties. If that is the case, how can these individuals successfully serve the whole of the American people?
This campaign has proven to be a messy, unimpressive string of insults and interrogations over seemingly absurd allegations. According to a Pew Research Center study, conducted in July 2016, 73 percent of those polled say that this election is not focused on issues or policy. Voters are much less able—in this cycle more than in others, it seems—to make an informed choice, given how poorly each of the main candidates is perceived, based on past actions and current behavior.
Even before the election between these negatively-viewed candidates, the US has suffered from a remarkably low voter turnout rate, pathetic for one of the leading democratic countries in the world. But the confusion and disappointment of this election does not mean that Americans should avoid the polls on Nov. 8. Rather they should—and according to many predictions probably will—turn out in larger numbers than ever. However, instead of demanding one poor candidate over another, they should demand a candidate they can support, a candidate that they respect. They should ask of the primary system and of their fellow citizens: “Were these two nominees really the best we could find?” And they should decide to do better in 2020.