So are you voting for or against?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Let's talk Presidential elections, since that seems to be a topic of some national interest these days.

Be honest for a moment. I recognize that a single moment of honesty may give some of you a headache but humor me for the sake of this simple column.

When you step into the privacy of the voting booth, are you more inclined to vote for someone or against someone?

If you think about it, it's actually a fairly important question. That's exactly why our always-right national polling organizations now track "unfavorable" voters.

The Obama presidency offers a perfect example but, rest assured, through the years there have been many such examples.

I would suspect that a fairly large segment of voters - though obviously less than a majority at this point - go to the polls to vote against someone - in this specific case our incumbent President.

In other words, these voters in substantial numbers will vote for anyone other than the current President. As I said - before you get your britches in a wad - the same could easily apply to some past elections.

So what does that say about the electorate if our prevailing mindset is to select anyone, regardless of qualifications, other than the known factor of a sitting president?

At first blush, it seems an odd way to select someone to lead our once-powerful and prayerfully future-powerful nation.

But is it so wrong?

Because of the political mishmash that is now the GOP field of hopefuls, the Democrats are currently without someone to vote against. And in a strange way, that may bode well for the GOP. As always, only time will tell.

Here's an example. If by some quirk of circumstances, Sarah Palin were to be the GOP standard-bearer in 2012, there would be - accordingly to the never-wrong polls - a substantial portion of the electorate who would vote for anyone but the former Alaskan governor. Combine that with the voters who can always be counted on to support the current administration, and you have a dismal picture for the GOP and four more years of our current policy.

But, of course, here's what really happens. We make up our mind to vote against someone and then we quickly find points of agreement with our chosen candidate. That way we are voting affirmatively for a candidate but in reality our true reasoning remains to vote against someone.

We may well be facing an election next year where those votes against the status quo outnumber the votes for the challenger, regardless of the name on the ballot.

By that reasoning, you may not know what you're getting from "your" candidate but you darned well know it will be a better choice than what we have.

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