For the next six weeks, this blog will be different. Welcome to The Rationalist Papers: a space with daily posts dedicated to helping voters — especially conservatives, undecideds, and third-party voters — to make the difficult decision about how to vote in the US 2020 Presidential Election.
If you come here for writing advice, please bear with me. The daily writing posts will return after the election. For now, I feel called to apply my analytical skills to something more urgent.
Readers: Who are the Rational Papers aimed at?
Polls consistently show between 7% and 10% of voters who do not say they are voting for either Trump or Biden. These voters may hold the key to who America chooses in 2020. This group is my audience.
These voters are making a difficult choice in 2020. This includes conservatives who are losing faith in Donald Trump but are not yet in the the Joe Biden camp. It includes moderates who have not yet decided which candidate is best. It also includes voters who are considering voting for third-party candidates like Libertarian Jo Jorgensen. I know, from comments on past posts, that all of these types of folks read this blog.
It is my intention to create a safe space for people like you to think about the election. Unlike liberal social media, no one here will be insulting and denigrating you for your past votes or your conservative views. We will stick to facts and analysis. I will delete disrespectful and hateful comments.
Anyone who reads this space regularly knows I sympathize more with Democrats than Republicans, but I’m disappointed in both and consider myself a moderate. For president, I have voted for Democrats including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and Republicans including John B. Anderson. For governor of Massachusetts, I have voted for Republicans Mitt Romney, Charlie Baker, and William Weld, and Democrats including Mike Dukakis and and Deval Patrick. I have edited political op-eds for a moderate writer and cowritten op-eds for the Boston Globe.
All that is my way of saying, if you’re not a liberal, you’ll get a fair treatment here, with room to think.
If you are already a confirmed Trump voter, perhaps these papers will cause you to think a bit. If you are a confirmed Biden voter, you may find these arguments helpful for your undecided friends. But this is not your cheering section. My primary audience remains those who are still deciding.
Objective: Make you think
My objective is simple: take you out of the echo chamber and get you to think about voting.
My focus is on the long term. What would another four years of Trump do for (or to) the country? What would four years of Biden do? How will this choice affect our economic strength, our public health (including the pandemic), and the state of politics in our country? How will it change the way government operates, and the policies it pursues?
I have little interest in what outrageous thing Trump or Biden said yesterday. This is not a decision about one statement. It’s about the future of the most consequential nation in the world — at least for now.
Action: Change your vote
I have a clear reason for doing this. I want you to vote for Joe Biden. I will not be hiding that. While my analysis will be rational, it will not be unbiased.
If you are considering voting for Trump, I want you to rethink that.
If you are considering not voting, I want you to rethink that, too.
If you are voting third-party, I also want you to rethink that.
My hypothesis is that voters in this situation are feeling some combination of (1) uneasiness about Trump, (2) fear of voting for a Democrat, possibly for the first time, and (3) disgust with the whole process that generated these choices. I understand your pain. We will think things through respectfully, citing as many actual facts as possible, and debunking lies and distortions.
If you believe this is not possible, ask yourself, why you are so jaded? We used to discuss politics like respectful human beings. I intend to do so once again. Give me a chance.
This blog has over 3000 subscribers and generates approximately 2000 views per day. I feel duty bound to help those people make a smart decision.
Impression: You are talking with a thinker
At the end of this process, you’ll vote (or not vote) for somebody. But I hope you’ll remain grateful to me for attempting to shed more light than heat on this process.
I ask you for one favor: subscribe
Unlike Trump and Biden, I won’t ask you for money or insult your intelligence with insipid emails. I won’t annoy you. I’ll attempt to inform you.
If you feel you have an open mind, subscribe. You’ll get a daily serving of food for thought. And it just might help you make a smarter decision.
I look forward to our dialogue.
Feel free to post comments. However, I will delete comments that insult or demean other commenters or groups or state supposed facts without evidence. Vacuous cheerleading and catcalling is also prohibited; this is not a sporting event. No one persuades anyone by creating a hostile environment.