Election 2016

One of the Them Will Win, But Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton Are Unacceptable To Most Voters

Bernie Sanders says we shouldn't be forced to "vote for the lesser of two evils."

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Washington Post

"I don't want to see the American people voting for the lesser of two evils," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told viewers of This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. To be clear, he was implying two things: First, that Donald Trump is the greater of two evils and second, Hillary Clinton is evil. To be fair, he has said he'd rather see her in the White House than Trump—but not as much as he'd like to see himself.

Sanders might be overstating it a bit, but most Americans are in a similar state of mind. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll of registered voters finds nearly 60 percent of us view Trump and Clinton unfavorably.

"Never in the history of the Post-ABC poll," write Dan Balz and Scott Clement, "have the two major party nominees been viewed as harshly as Clinton and Trump."

Let's be clear: The problem isn't with voters, it's with the candidates. You can debate whether Clinton is not as utterly awful as Trump (as some libertarians hold) but we don't need to go there, really, do we? It's enough to say that both presumptive nominees are, in the term of liberal friend of mine, unacceptable. When 57 percent are saying you suck, something has gone wrong with the selection process, hasn't it? The only thing surprising about the case of Mary Anne Noland, the 68-year-old Virginian who chose to die rather than face a Trump-Clinton choice, is that there aren't dozens of such cases a day!

David Deeble

The Wash Post/ABC poll finds 44 percent of voters want a third-party candidate and in a potential three-way contest including 2012 GOP loser Mitt Romney, Clinton gets 37 percent, Trump 35 percent, and Romney 22 percent. This is sound of an electorate deeply dissatisfied with what the Democrats and Republicans are offering. No wonder then, that party identification is at historic lows for Democrats (at 29 percent) and near a historic low for Republicans (26 percent).

Gary Johnson, the best-known candidate vying for the Libertarian Party nomination, has pulled 10 percent and 11 percent in recent polls—and the indications are that he would take support from both Clinton and Trump (recall that in the 2013 Virginia governor's race, Libertarian Sarvis, who won almost 7 percent of the vote, pulled far more from Democrat Terry McAuliffe than from Republican Ken Cuccinelli).

A strong Libertarian Party ticket is one obvious way to force the major parties to field candidates who can appeal to wider swaths of voters. Socially liberal and fiscally conservative libertarians comprise the single-largest ideological voting bloc according to Gallup. Using questions on the scope of government in the economy and whether government should support traditional morals, Gallup finds 27 percent of voters are libertarian, 26 percent are conservative, 23 percent are liberal, and 15 percent are populist.

If the Democratic Party and the Republican Party lived up to their various feints toward libertarian rhetoric, they would certainly blunt the appeal of most third-party candidates but certainly anybody put up by the LP itself. The refusal to do so will likely be the undoing of one or both of them. Consider the fact that Hillary Clinton is not just an unregenerate hawk on foreign policy. She is an all-in drug warrior and a hater of the sharing economy who, like Donald Trump, has called for Internet censorship. On the either side of the aisle, Trump's mass-deportation plan implies the creation of a your-papers-please police state and his trade policy is good old American protectionism on steroids. Exactly where he stands on most issues is anybody's guess (on foreign policy, he's promised both "bomb the shit out of them" and get other countries to fight their own battles).

The role of third parties isn't necessarily to win elections. At least in part, third parties represent the views of voters left out or ignored by the major parties. More and more of those being ignored are temperamentally libertarian. That is, more and more of us agree, in the phrase of CNN's regular survey, that "government was doing too much."

Neither the Dems or the Reps promise to address that complaint, despite about 60 percent of us feeling that way. To the extent that the LP speaks to that concern—and offers up a compelling way to pare the state back while giving people more ability to live their lives on their own terms—it will shape how the major parties change and adapt as they go hunting for new voters.

NEXT: Gary Johnson Answers Critics Within the Libertarian Party

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  1. Ah i see Sanders is still under the delusion that he has the “will of the people” on his side.

    1. All politicians are required to claim they have the “will of the people” or something equivalent. I think it’s rule #43.

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  2. Ah i see Sanders is still under the delusion that he has the “will of the people” on his side.

  3. Bernie just wants us to vote for the greater evil. #FeelTheBern

    1. No shit. Gun to my head and forced to choose between a narcissistic blowhard cronyist, a completely, 100% corrupt statist hag, or an old wannabe bolshevik commie… I’d probably at least try to disarm the mofo with the gun and kill his fucking ass.

      1. The best quote I’ve heard (from a CPAC attendee):

        If someone put a gun to my head and told me I had to vote for Clinton or Trump, I’d take the bullet.

  4. Is it a sign of the End of Days that the Hillatrump picture looks like Janet Yellen?

    1. No matter who wins the election, the Fed always wins.

  5. On the either side of the aisle, Trump’s mass-deportation plan implies the creation of a your-papers-please police state

    He says this as if we don’t already have to show government papers to get anything. done. Get a job, show your SSN. Drive a car, get a state ID. Want health insurance, show your SSN and give out your employment info. Want to have a company, get a EIN.

    But if you’re an illegal immigrant, the rules are reversed. Don’t have papers, then have some welfare. Don’t pay taxes, you’re kids can still go to school. Need healthcare, sign on up. Want a job, we’ll pay you under the table real cheap.

    1. But so far we don’t need papers to walk down the street. Which is what you would need if you want to deport every illegal immigrant. And you shouldn’t need government papers to do any of the things that you mention in your first paragraph.

      1. Which is what you would need if you want to deport every illegal immigrant

        Because no country manages to deport anyone without putting the entire population in ovens.

        This is a pattern you see in critics of Trump. Hysterical claims about what his policies entail. Can’t fine jay walkers without throwing everyone in the country into the gulag, dontcha know?

        This is also why Trump wins. However annoying he may be, the hysterical pants shitting fits of his detractors inevitably leave him looking like the better man.

    2. Illegal immigrants probably pay quite a few taxes. They pay sales and/or sin taxes when they buy things and they pay payroll taxes if they falsely use a social security number. If they rent a place to live, then the property tax is covered by their rent. Granted, if a state relies heavily on income taxes, then most illegal immigrants surely don’t pay that.

      Interestingly, only five state (Alaska, Oregon, Delaware, Montana, and New Hampshire) don’t have sales taxes, but I’m sure a very small percentage of illegal immigrants live in those states. California has the highest sales tax in the nation, which is where many illegal immigrants reside.

    3. In CA illegals can get drivers licenses, but are only “encouraged” to buy car insurance, unlike the rest of us, for whom it is mandatory.

      But why does everyone think that deporting illegals means dragging them all into vans? They got here on their own, so they can leave on their own. End sanctuary cities policies, take away their welfare, enforce employment law, and most will leave.

      Sorry, I don’t believe that enforcing immigration law is fascism. I also believe that libertarianism and nationalism are not necessarily contradictory. (I.e., I can support borders and still be a libertarian.)

      1. Apparently, if you are Libertarian, you have to be an internationalist, too. This implies open borders which in turn would require some kind of and a one-world government.

        1. This implies open borders which in turn would require some kind of and a one-world government.

          People keep saying this, but I have yet to hear any good reason why that would be a necessary result.

          If you are on one side of a border, you are subject to the laws of one government. If you are on the other side, you are subject to the laws of another. Where does the world government become necessary?

          You don’t have to be an internationalist to be a libertarian. But you do have to be somewhat of an individualist, which means you treat people as individuals and not based on where they happened to have been born.

          1. Open borders also implies various violations of property rights. It is not a Libertarian position.

          2. Because if there’s only one right law, how can it be different in different places?

          3. What you’re asking for is global government. There’s no way around it. Nation-states cannot exist without enforced borders. If you remove the borders, you’re inviting the dissolution of the nation-state.

            Academically it can be argued (as you just did) that this shouldn’t be the case, because “if you are on one side of a border, you are subject to the laws of one government. If you are on the other side, you are subject to the laws of another”. But in practice this has historically never proven true, with the possible exception of the 19th century American immigration boom. However, that was unique inasmuch as nearly all of those immigrants travelled on their own free will, at their own expense, with the intention of actively participating in the American system and assimilating accordingly. There was no welfare to support them upon arrival, and they assimilated to American culture (as they were expected to). Such an environment does not exist anymore.

            The only thing open borders will lead to in today’s world is a global superstate. And that is the end game of the vast majority of open borders activists. I really wish libertarians would stop being their useful idiots.

            Yes, there is probably a libertarian way to achieve a society with open borders. But we are not going to make that happen in the real world. And no, the next best thing isn’t supporting the globalists simply because it includes open borders (along with global wealth redistribution, ending democracy, etc.).

      2. End sanctuary cities policies, take away their welfare, enforce employment law, and most will leave.

        I agree. Except for the employment law part. Freedom of association isn’t just important to cake bakers. Employers should be allowed to hire whomever they want on whatever terms are mutually agreed upon with the employee.

        1. Agreed 100%.

      3. Agree to agree.

        Also, the border check point on the 5 north of Pendleton pisses me off. We obviously don’t care if they are here illegally so stop jacking up traffic.

  6. Given that Bernie is the greatest of the three remaining evils, his expressed sentiments are ironic.

  7. The only thing surprising about the case of Mary Anne Noland, the 68-year-old Virginian who chose to die rather than face a Trump-Clinton choice, is that there aren’t dozens of such cases a day!

    I would think the fact that dozens of people aren’t so distraught over politics that they off themselves each day would be a good thing. At least it shows that most of us have our priorities somewhat in order.

    1. Classic Boomer narcissism at play there, too–“I don’t like any of these people! Watch me kill myself in this last attention-seeking gesture!”

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  9. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans owe the country a candidate that the majority “find acceptable”, whatever that means. They owe their supporters a candidate who is acceptable to them. Nick spends his entire career smelling his own farts about how fabulous it is to be an independent and above those nasty major parties and now wants to bitch when those parties won’t give him a candidate to suite his delicate sensibilities? Hardly. They don’t owe you “fixing” this problem Nick. If you don’t like the candidates, don’t vote for them. If you want better candidates, join one of the parties and try and get one.

    1. wants to bitch when those parties won’t give him a candidate to suite his delicate sensibilities

      Isn’t that sort of the job of a political writer?

      1. Not really. It would be one thing if Nick just said they were bad candidates and that was why he is going to vote L like he always does. That, however, is not what he does here. The assumption behind the article is that the two major parties have somehow failed because their candidates are not acceptable to the country. No they haven’t. The parties job is to win elections and make sure their candidates are acceptable to their supporters. If a party wins with a candidate its members like, it has done its job. If the rest of the country doesn’t like that, they should not have voted for them.

        1. John, at this point, shouldn’t you just out-and-out say “The parties job is to put candidates in power that will increase the power of the party?” If the job of elected officials is to only please their supporters, not, say, improve the country or protect personal freedom or enforce the laws, isn’t that, itself, a pretty significant problem?

          But, then again, this is the way it is, isn’t it? The parties exist to consolidate their power. Like most people with power, they have 2 goals. 1) Keep the power, and 2) increase their power. And this has nothing to do with how happy people are with them, even their own supporters.

  10. OT: Who the fuck is this Michael Robertson dick-bag that leaves the “Make sure your voice is heard and support the site…” promoted comments on every fucking thread trying to get others to do the same? It’s getting a little old.

    1. It’s omnipresent enough that I assumed it was a bot that was set up with unlimited tokens to advertise the system.

  11. I have two problems with your story. One you say it is candidates not the voters that are the problem. Any one that doesn’t like Clinton or Trump but decides to vote for the lesser of two evils should be called exactly what they are; a dumbasses that is destroying this country. And second there is no reason in a sane world why either should. Washington DC is a good old boys club made up of Democrats, Republicans and lobbyists that don’t give a hoot what the American people want. The people want the drug war stopped but politicians don’t care. The people want asset forfeiture stopped but the politicians don’t care. Has anyone noticed that Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on anything except passing legislation to strip the people of their rights. We do need two things to turn this country around. Term limits and a law that any elected officials caught excepting anything including the time of day from a lobbyist will have their citizenship revoke and all their possession confiscated and put on a plane to Anartica.

    1. This guy really gets it.

    2. a law that any elected officials caught excepting anything including the time of day from a lobbyist will have their citizenship revoke and all their possession confiscated and put on a plane to Anartica.

      So no first amendment anymore? No propery rights? Who will dictate who is a lobbyist and who is an American advocating for their believes? Sounds like more bullshit for politicians to use to silence those who don’t agree with them.

    3. Any one that doesn’t like Clinton or Trump but decides to vote for the lesser of two evils should be called exactly what they are; a dumbasses that is destroying this country.

      People who don’t realize that elections are about compromise are dumbasses who have fortunately weeded themselves out of the voting pool.

      Keep up the good work!

  12. “I don’t want to see the American people voting for the lesser of two evils.”

    “None of the above” being a legitimate ballot choice would be a clean way out of this dilemma.

  13. “Bernie Sanders says we shouldn’t be forced to “vote for the lesser of two evils.””

    Yeah, we should vote for a third evil instead. Socialism FTW!

  14. Do I have this right?

    The only thing surprising about the case of Mary Anne Noland, the 68-year-old Virginian who chose to die rather than face a Trump-Clinton choice, is that there aren’t dozens of such cases a day!

    A crazed Sanderista offs herself and Reason presents it as rational?

    What the fuck is going on over there?

    1. Forget it, Aza, its Gillespie-town.

    2. In case you haven’t heard, it was a joke in the eulogy.

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  17. One of the Them Will Win, But Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton Are Unacceptable To Most Voters
    Bernie Sanders says we shouldn’t be forced to “vote for the lesser of two evils.”

    Hey, Comrade Bernie!
    There’s no law says that you have to vote for the lesser of two evils.
    Now, don’t you feel better?

  18. more like the evil of two lessors…

    1. but on the upside neither of those two douche bags could be worse than Barry O…

  19. Mr. Gillespie, why don’t you think Biden will win?

  20. A strong Libertarian Party ticket is one obvious way to force the major parties to field candidates who can appeal to wider swaths of voters.

    Untrue for this election cycle. Who the Libs nominate at this point is entirely irrelevant to the field of candidates for the major parties, or their nominees.

    And it’s still wrong if you dream of affecting future election cycles. Appealing to Libertarian Party voters could easily cost more votes than it gains. The persuadable libertarians already vote for the Dems or Repubs. Milton Friedman was a Republican.

    The “Anarchy or Bust” crowd is simply irrelevant to elections, and will remain so.

    1. Cost votes to whom? I don’t want either Hillary or Trump to get votes — the more votes the LP takes away from either of them, the better.

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  23. Everyone is ignoring the elephant in the room (pun intended).
    Who picked the candidates in the first place, that we all hate?
    The process of who puts up these people are really the issue.
    That would be the party Elite. And who, exactly, are they?

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