Ugly Choice

Patrick Henry
3 min readAug 11, 2020
Not pretty.

In a few short weeks, we will be voting in a presidential election. Only two people, Donald and Joe, have any realistic chance of winning. That is a genuinely ugly choice.

On one hand, we have Don. I won’t bother to catalog his defects. MSNBC, CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, NPR, late show hosts, Comedy Central, NYT, WaPo, numerous other newspapers, New Yorker, Atlantic, Politico, Move-On, Huffington Post, and a parade of the great and good have pushed the outer limits of creativity to heap scorn on the President. Best selling books on the subject have been written and humped by the establishment media. We should all be aware of his shortcomings by now. It’s too bad that virtue signaling replaced an examination of the reasons that 63 million voters chose to register their dissatisfaction with the political and cultural establishment by voting for Don, but that’s how it is.

On the other hand, we have Joe. He has a 50+ year career of truly undistinguished public service. If he wins, he will be the oldest person ever to hold the office. I’ve been 78 and I guaran-damn-tee you that I was not at the top of my game. About 4 hours a day was the limit of decent productivity. Joe also has, on numerous occasions, difficulty stringing words together to construct a coherent sentence. “Cummon man!” is often the best he can do to respond to a hostile question from the press.

We have some idea how Don will run the White House (chaotically). We don’t know about Joe. Most presidential candidates tack to the fringe to get the nomination and tack to the center to try to win the general election. Joe did the opposite. He sold himself to primary voters as the grown-up moderate in the field. He has been tacking to the left ever since he clinched the nomination in order to placate the progressive wing of his party. He’s announced that he will be the “most progressive president in history”.

What is the progressive agenda? Here is a partial list: defund the police, lower the prison population significantly, end cash bail, expand gun control, end fossil fuel production, shut down coal fired power plants, end natural gas service to new homes, raise taxes on income, wealth and capital gains, mandate “stakeholder” capitalism, heavily regulate the financial sector, break up big tech, legalize marijuana nationwide, set rental rates, provide Medicare for all, free college tuition, student loan forgiveness, statehood for DC and Puerto Rico, expand the Supreme Court, end the filibuster, outlaw right-to work laws, abolish the Electoral College, abolish ICE, and jail Mr. Trump. Joe has bought into some of this; he’s partially embraced some of it; and he’s hedged his bets on the rest (we’ll get there gradually). I suspect that, in the event he wins, the progressives will push him hard to enact their agenda.

If the progressive agenda is your agenda, by all means vote for Joe. If you are disgusted with Trump, and are not in favor of a lurch to the left, I suggest that you focus on the Senate. There are eight races in doubt. If the Republicans end up holding 51 or more Senate seats, most of the progressive agenda will be blocked or moderated. The presidential pen is a weapon with limits. Look at the Cook Political Report, pick a candidate or two in a tight race, and send in a contribution.

The ugly truth is that we get the leadership we deserve. The electoral process is so ugly that good people are loath to run. The turnout in primary elections is so low that we end up with idiots at the top of the ticket, because a relatively small number of ideologues can determine the outcome. All we can do now is make the best of a bad situation.