A presidential election is looming and each of the two parties has its candidate.
The D’s choice is a good-hearted unexciting aging man with a mindset to solve problems. He has decades of experience in governing, both domestically and in foreign affairs.
On the R side is another aging man with only minor experience in governing and he does so guided by false confidence, revenge for perceived wrongs, and a tendency to destroy international relationships.
Neither candidate is well liked.
A third candidate, a member of the Ns, is also running.
We will refer to the candidates by the same designations as D, R, and N.
The country is a democracy with the odd perception that in an election the person with the most votes should be triumphant. That is, there is no electoral college which can deny victory to the most popular candidate by employing rules drafted centuries earlier that are no longer relevant.
So let’s see how the election might go.
About 250 Rs will vote for their candidate R no matter what.
About 250 Ds will vote for their candidate D no matter what.
The vote so far: R=250, D=250, N=0.
Now the Ns don’t necessarily back the N candidate from their midst. They cling to their claim of picking the best candidate only after a prolonged investigation of all the stands. For some reason this exhaustive evaluation causes unexpectedly many to decide on the incompetent leader and their vote is split 150 D, 125 R, and 55 N.
The vote now looks like: R=375, D=400, N=55.
Most of the remaining 85 in the R party have lost their ability to think and 80 of them follow the command of their cult leader. The remaining five can’t stand their candidate, but also can’t stomach supporting a D so they vote for the N candidate.
Of the 85 remaining Ds, 50 of them vote for their party, leaving 35 still to decide.
The vote has climbed to: R=455, D=450, N=60.
So how did the remaining 35 vote?
Ten of them said they’d voted all their lives and gotten nothing for it and weren’t going to vote any more.
Eighteen people on the far left were disgusted that the D candidate had not adequately backed everything they wanted and decided to show him he can’t get away with ignoring their every demand. Eleven of them voted for the N candidate and seven didn’t vote at all.
The remaining seven thought the D candidate was too old and voted for the N politician.
All of this produced the following final outcome: R=455, D= 450, N= 78.
Thus, the R candidate won and democracy was destroyed.
Those who said they had gotten nothing previously got even less.
Those who decided to stick it to their party for not adequately backing their demands found no interest in their goals at all.
Those who thought the D candidate was too old watched an aged winner and whiner destroy their country.
If the 35 Ds who withheld their vote had endorsed their party’s candidate the final count would have been: R=455, D=485 and N=60 and democracy would have been saved.
Obviously, this little exercise has been contrived with numbers fudged to produce a desired result.
But it shouldn’t be dismissed, because the same possibilities are playing out leading up to our presidential contest of 2024. Not on a national level. Because of the terrible electoral college. But in most of the fifty states to determine who will receive the state’s electoral votes.
In our example, defections of members of the D party parallel defections from our Democratic party. Do some Democrats who, for example, support Palestinian rights and are unhappy with how Biden is handling the Israeli-Hamas war really think the Palestinians will be better off under Trump? Do other Democrats who think Biden is too old really think we’ll be better off being under the leadership of a man only three years younger who is exhibiting cognitive problems? I don’t know if Biden can win even if all Democrats stick with him. But I’m pretty sure, if the defections actually occur, the Democrats will lose. Then the defectors will have only themselves to blame.
And I live in fear of that.
And I don’t know what to do.
Except to convince every Democrat we know to vote for Biden in November—even if they aren’t thrilled with him.