Sticking With a Flawed Candidate

Political debate

I did not watch the first presidential debate of 2024. The thought of exposing myself to that level of depression and anger seemed unwise. It wasn't like the outcome was ever in question. Trump would lie, and Biden would seem unfit for office. There would be no winner. We'd all be the losers.

The post-debate analysis littering the news the next day was no surprise either. The Democrats are panicking over their nominee. What took them so long? Haven't most Democratic voters recognized the problem for some time?

What did get my attention was what I heard from many of the die-hard Biden supporters I know. I'd describe their reaction as pure hopelessness. The sense of resignation that "It's over now" surprised me. Nobody defended him, and these are people who have always defended him. Nobody suggested that his performance wasn't that bad. Even though some suggested that he might do better next time, they don't expect it to matter.

Are they demanding a replacement? Nope. Nobody thinks that will happen. Some think it is too late. Others don't think the people close to Biden are doing what they should be doing. Or if they are, he's not listening.

So what options remain for those of us who don't want to see a second Trump term? We could deny Biden's flaws, at least in public, and press on. I'd like to think that strategy would work better now than it did in 2016, but I'm not optimistic. We could raise our voices and call for a new Democratic nominee. This seems even less likely to work. Those who take this route will be criticized for weakening Biden's chances.

What other options do we have? We could check out, concluding that it is now hopeless, and concede the election to Trump. Embracing that sort of defeatism has few benefits. We could vote third party, though that seems a lot like conceding. Third-party candidates have not fared well in U.S. elections.

Instead of sinking into a pit of despair, we could acknowledge Biden's flaws and stick with him. We could admit that he's not the candidate we want. He's still much better than the only alternative our broken system is presenting to us.

Does the outcome of the election matter to us? If so, it seems like we should pursue the course of action we believe will lead to the best outcome. It may be unpopular. It may result in criticism. But if the outcome matters, we can set those things aside.

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay