On Trump’s reelection, no middle ground for Susan Collins — or anyone else

This is the most consequential U.S. presidential election of our lifetimes. If you like what Trump is doing for (to?) the country, you can vote to reelect him. If you don’t, and you think Biden is a better choice, you can vote for him.

You cannot sit this one out. I’m talking to you, Maine Senator Susan Collins.

After four years, it’s pretty clear what Trump is and what he stands for. If you have no opinion on that, you are living in a hole in the ground.

Joe Biden is not every Democrat’s favorite candidate. You might find him too progressive — or not progressive enough. You might be worried he will raise your taxes. You might think of him as a “neoliberal” who is a little too wedded to capitalist solutions to national problems. You might worry he is too old. But despite what Trump says, he’s not a wild-eyed leftist, nor a tool of leftists. He’s pretty much a continuation of what you got with Barack Obama.

He’s not going to upend the constitution, mix his personal businesses with his presidential duties, mix his reelection campaign with his official governmental positions, or lie tens of thousands of times during his term.

Pick a side

Either Biden or Trump will win. You have to decide which one is better for the country.

Every Democrat I’ve ever heard of has endorsed Biden. So has the Democratic Socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Lots of Republicans have endorsed Donald Trump, including Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, and Lindsey Graham. But many have not.

The list of Biden Republicans includes former Ohio Governor John Kasich (who spoke at the Democratic National Convention), former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and the late Senator John McCain’s widow Cindy McCain. Other groups of Republican Trump opponents include 27 Republicans formerly in Congress, 73 former national security officials from Republican administrations, and the founders of the Lincoln Project, which includes former Republican bigwigs Steve Schmidt (McCain’s campaign manager), Rick Wilson, and George Conway. Despite solid conservative principles, these people all believe Biden would be better for the country.

Then there are those who have not endorsed either.

Maine Senator Susan Collins has attempted to stake out moderate positions on an immoderate administration. She has not endorsed Trump, although the head of the Maine Republican party insists she supports him. She is “concentrating all her efforts” on her race to be reelected.

Pick a side, Senator Collins. Pick a side.

Former Republican presidential candidate and current Utah Senator Mitt Romney will not vote for Trump. But he won’t vote for Biden, either.

Pick a side, Senator Romney.

Former President George W. Bush won’t back Trump. Neither will his brother, former Florida governor Jeb Bush. But they won’t say they’re voting for Biden.

Pick a side, President Bush and Governor Bush. Pick a side.

My own state, Massachusetts, has a Republican governor, Charlie Baker. He is one of the most popular governors in the nation. He’s opposed Trump on many issues. But he has not made a presidential endorsement.

Pick a side, Governor Baker.

Nobody sits this one out. Nobody should vote third-party, either. If you think Biden is bad but Trump is worse, vote Biden. Then do what you can to oppose the policies you dislike after the election.

The future of the country is at stake (yes, much more than usual). So, whether you’re a politician or an ordinary voter, pick a side.

21 responses to “On Trump’s reelection, no middle ground for Susan Collins — or anyone else

  1. Or, you can vote for a candidate that will maximize your freedom without infringing on everyone else’s freedom: Jo Jorgensen.

  2. What is the reason that EVERY election cycle is the most important election ever or of our lifetimes?

    I have never seen an election that was billed as less and never have I thought that.

    I am worried that every election in my voting lifetime (1985) has been a choice between the lesser of two evils (or the unelectable third party). Both aspects bother me.

    This election is not different than the other dozen (presidential) in my lifetime. The last one that made a real difference was 1960 and luckily JFK was convinced to make the difference small.

    1. I disagree with this, Norman.

      Every other election has been between two candidates who were taking different approaches to using government to solve the problems of the nation.

      Trump is the only candidate who has violated all the norms and many of the laws intended to keep that system functioning.

      It matters more this time. I never thought George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, or for that matter, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama or John McCain or Mitt Romney, would threaten to undermine American democracy. I think Trump already is.

      1. The two main things that attract folks to Trump: 1) he promised to go outside the entrenched government and 2) he was/is not Hillary nor Uncle Joe. He delivered on the later, but has a long way to go on the former.

  3. While I agree that everyone has to pick a side, these conflicts will continue until the voting system is reformed to use preference voting. Until then, voting for a 3rd-party candidate (or abstaining) merely makes it easier for your least-preferred candidate to win, and encourages candidates to take extreme positions.

    Of course, the current duopoly will oppose this to their dying breaths because it will dilute their power. It’s a suicide pact where the general public pays the price for their selfishness.

    1. I agree with your second point…self-preservation is key to everyone.

      The first point is murkier. As Werner Heisenberg, Kenneth Arrow, and Kurt Godel (and others) showed; the rules matter, one cannot make rules fool-proof, and when one gets too close, things look different and are actually changed. I call it the HAG Theory. So, the second sentence is correct, but the answer is not the first sentence, unfortunately.

  4. I formulated numerous comments here on this subject…I deleted them before posting…I have extremely strong beliefs in the electoral process…ONE, in particular, abolish the electoral college…In every vote, anywhere other than here, he/she with the most votes wins!… We wouldn’t be in this ‘f***ing mess if that held true in America…My thoughts, but I’m entitled to them… #onnovember3rdflushtheturd … Enjoy your evening

    1. The HAG theory applies here too. Do not be fooled that a change that sounds good will produce the desired effect. Part of the issue is we play the game as it is ruled. If you change the rules, the play changes.

      Think about field goals in American football…if they were worth more, folks would attempt more. The electoral college sets up the rules and Republicans have in recent history just been better players at the game. Who is to say that they would not be better under a different system.

      Of course, your most votes win statement is incorrect–there are a number of voting systems used all over the place. Different rules>different strategies to win.

  5. I am not crazy about Joe Biden because he voted for NAFTA and W’s Gulf War. Yet, I have volunteered to work in the campaign so that we can dump Trump. Global warming is very real. Powerful storms ravage the southeastern USA and fires ravage California. Yet Trump called global warming a “hoax” and has battled against prudent environmental regulations. I live close to Miami, Florida, the COVID-19 capital of the World. Death and danger are around me everyday. Trump has provided no leadership vs. the pandemic.

    1. As an environmental professional, most of us have welcomed his adjustments of the strict and often terrible environmental regulations. The new NEPA rules are the first in 40 years to address a rule that is merely administrative yet adds years and millions of dollars on average to nearly all “federal” projects. Even the granolas in the professional conversations I have had are impressed, albeit I am sure dozens of lawsuits will come, which is sad.

      I agree with the lack of leadership in the virus crisis, but I cannot find anyone who did it well. Have you?

      The COVID capital of the world needs to be a cage match between the cities that claim the title.

      1. Internationally, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, and Vietnam did great.

        Domestically, here in Massachusetts the (Republican) governor has done a pretty good job and has the support of the citizens. Same in Ohio.

  6. What is the definition of insanity? We all know that – doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. The two-party system, the choice between the “lesser-of-two-evils”, is the direct result of doing the same thing over and over again. We got ourselves into this mess and there is only one solution to get us out – vote Third Party.

    People keep wanting to blame the Third Party voters for allowing the other side to win. The real problem is the people who vote Dem or GOP. You are the problem because you perpetuate this system that gives us crappy choices. You are the one who defines the insanity.

    No, the Third Party candidate won’t win. Not this year, not in 4 years. Yeah, you’ll give away a few elections because of it. I agree with Norman, however, that the hype over every election being the most important is also part of the insanity, designed to make you vote for one of the two parties to perpetuate the system. But the moment a third party finally gets to 15% the insanity stops. Why? Because they now have major influence on who gets elected to the point the other candidates and media have to pay attention. They get the national stage and (hopefully) the debate platform.

    If you truly want change in this country, you NEED to vote Third Party. Nothing will change until you do.

  7. I think you are incorrect in saying the Bushes haven’t picked a side. They have said they won’t vote for Trump and I doubt they would choose not to vote or pick a third party candidate. Therefore, their only choice is Biden; perhaps they just aren’t being vocal about this but it is the only thing that makes sense.

  8. I agree with Josh that this time really IS different. Yes, like the Boy Who Cried Wolf, this refrain has been heard over and over again. But if you remember the story, a wolf really DOES show up. Well, we have the wolf sitting in the White House now, and we need to arouse the populace to get rid of him.

    I go with noted libertarian (and performer) Penn Jillette on the upcoming election:
    Q: So, going into this election, what are you thinking? I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times. It’s the idea that you, as a libertarian or a member of the Green Party, you’re throwing away your vote. Or, even worse, you’re enabling the wrong person to get into office. So, what are you doing this year? What are you thinking?
    A: Well, first of all, I reject that throwing away your vote argument. Because, wherever you vote, it does make a statement. Voting for a loser makes a very, very, very strong statement. . . . I will tell you now. All of that has gone away. Trump is so far away from real political discussion. He’s so far away from kindness and beauty and thoughtfulness and wisdom that Joe Biden — who just five years ago I would have been able to sit down with and disagree with every sentence — I now agree with everything. It’s just the scale has changed. You know, I used to be looking at rocks and now I’m looking at mountains. Every election that’s happened in American history, someone has carried on and made a very good argument for “this is the most important election of our lifetime.” That wasn’t true a lot of times. But it seems like the last election, this election, the damage that one person and his enablers have done to our country is immeasurable. Or, maybe worse to say, “is measurable.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/q-and-a-with-penn-jillette-crackpot-hippies-politics-and-why-the-best-tricks-are-no-secret/2020/08/27/ade04b24-e792-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html)

    In the longer run, yes, we absolutely should go to preferential voting, and despite entrenched interests, it CAN happen. Maine has it for many elections, and even here in my home state of Virginia some baby steps are being taken. It will be a long fight, but measurable progress is being made. None of that will matter if the Republic is destroyed.

  9. Conservative TV host Margaret Hoover agrees with Josh:
    “Look, here’s what I’ll say: I do think it’s a binary choice,” Hoover, who hosts the PBS public affairs show “Firing Line,” said. “Perfect is not on the menu. Nobody is going to be your ideal candidate.”

    1. The thing that bothers me beyond the binary choice is that neither choice is even good. Hoover talks about ideal/perfect and I would settle for good. None of the final candidates since 1985 have fit good or decent or any adjective above ambivalent. In my lifetime, there have been 2 of 20 that got to good. That is simply unacceptable.

  10. I reside in New Jersey, and I’m voting third party for the 7th time out of the last 8 presidential elections. I don’t see myself changing that position. It was the cumulative policies of the past 40 years that brought us, Trump. 4 to 8 years of Biden/Harris or just Harris after a couple of years will lead to the rise of a right-wing populist that will make Trump look like a moderate if all we expect is a return to the status quo & political normalcy. If Biden/Harris wants my vote, they’ll have to earn it.

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