With Election Day less than a month away, and two candidates nearly in a dead heat, it’s a strange year. But if you’re a centrist, it’s even rougher.
I’ve written many times here on this blog that I’m middle-of-the-road when it comes to politics. The other day, I tallied up my votes in previous presidential elections and it was nearly dead-even when it came to Democrats and Republicans.
I’m not someone who’d ever vote straight party. I believe it’s a lot more important to consider the person as well as the party.
Sometimes, that makes the decision a bit easier far sooner in the campaign.
But when you have a campaign like this year’s, when neither candidate is particularly likeable by huge numbers, it gets more complicated.
I did one of those little surveys that is designed to match your political beliefs to a candidate’s stated values; when it comes to a match, I’m normally around 90+% with one candidate or the other and substantially less than that with the opposing candidate.
Not this year.
The candidate that is the closest match to me is only a 79% match.
Breaking it down beyond that number, I side more with Hillary Clinton on most social, science and domestic policy issues. I side more with Donald Trump on most foreign, crime and immigration issues.
I side with both of them, apparently, on most healthcare issues.
And I side with neither of them when it comes to the economy, education and the environment.
It’s important to note that I don’t agree completely with any candidate in any category. And it’s worth repeating that the percentage it computes for your position in comparison to theirs is based on what the candidates say they’d do. So just when you were even less in need of a gray area, there’s that one waiting for you.
Once you sort through all of those details, then there’s social media, particularly the big giant Facebook. I’ve lost track of how many people — a few of them pretty good friends — who I’ve had to “unfollow” on Facebook. (To unfollow means that you remain friends on Facebook, but that you don’t see any of their posts in your timeline: you have to go to their profile to see what they’ve had to say.)
There’s an excellent chance that I won’t remember all of the people I’ve unfollowed; I’ve enjoyed the “quiet” of not having to see their offensive, over-the-top political dreck enough that I don’t have much motivation to refollow, anyway.
But for those of you who know exactly who you’re going to vote for and believe in absolutely everything he or she says, good for you.
For the rest of us, who question things and believe that no one party has all of the answers, there’s a good chance your political party’s vitriol is a big part of the problem.