The BDN Opinion section operates independently and does not set newsroom policies or contribute to reporting or editing articles elsewhere in the newspaper or on bangordailynews.com.
Nolan Finley is editorial page editor at The Detroit News.
The more critical I become of Joe Biden’s bumbling presidency, the more often I get the question of whether I regret not supporting Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
Let me check.
Nope. No regrets. I’m still not missing Trump. Still think his extreme lack of honor and his character made him unsuitable to serve as president of the United States. Still glad he was dragged kicking and screaming out of the Oval Office. Still think had he won the election he very well could have destroyed the Republic. (And, by the way, I believe the same of Biden, if he gets his way with Congress.)
And I still think two things can be true at the same time: Biden is a disaster as president. And Trump was a disaster as president.
That Americans were given such a lousy choice for the highest office in the land speaks to the failure of our political system.
I’m no more willing today than I was a year ago to declare one better or worse than the other. They are both really, really bad.
And if their names appear across from each other on the 2024 ballot, I will for the third straight time cast my vote for whichever third-party candidate appears to be the least offensive.
How could anyone be worse than what the Republicans and Democrats have offered us in the past two cycles, and are threatening to do so again?
No matter our partisan leanings, we should tell the two major parties right now that if they give us another unqualified pairing in 2024, we’ll withhold our votes. Make them stop taking our votes for granted.
Party loyalty among the electorate is dropping, and that’s a positive. The latest polling data from Gallup find that 42 percent of voters identify as independent, compared with just 29 percent Democrat and 27 percent Republican.
And yet the two parties still hold a political duopoly. The only way to change that is to stop voting for crappy candidates just because they have an R or D after their name. Feel free to make another pick, even if you’re accused of wasting your vote.
There are solid Democrats and Republicans who are capable of leading the nation from the middle, but the parties ignore them in favor of hard partisans.
They force conformity of everyone who gets elected under their banner. Look how Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, Mitt Romney and Fred Upton are being treated for stepping out of the party line.
Americans are tired of it. Chart the presidential approval ratings over the past five years — they are consistently below 50 percent. Congress’ numbers are even worse.
None of the scoundrels in Washington were elected by the political parties. They were elected by the people. But whose bidding do they do?
This next cycle is ripe for an independent candidate who can break the destructive hold the two parties have on our political system and chart the way toward a less poisonous partisan future.
And to a presidential election in which we don’t have to hold our noses to cast our ballots.