Remember, both sides can be terrible


Elizabeth Warren is threatening to nationalize the entire healthcare industry, impose unconstitutional taxes, and send your 401(k) to Hell with her regulatory fervor. Democrats more broadly seem eager to abolish free speech, to free enterprise in Silicon Valley, and of course religious liberty, the very idea of which they scoff at, as if they’ve never seen the written text of the First Amendment.

But with evidence mounting that President Trump did threaten to withhold Ukrainian aid, demanding in exchange an investigation of his domestic political adversaries, it seems that the Republican Party may have a problem that cannot just be overlooked because of how horrible the other guys are. Trump stands credibly accused of putting his own personal political interests over those of the people he was elected to serve.

Parties have the capacity to evolve, devolve, and improve. If Joe Biden does hold on and win the nomination, then perhaps he can save the Democratic Party. If Republicans find the stones to stand up to Trump, the GOP can redeem itself. But as it stands, the loudest leadership of both parties have embraced their worst excesses, respectively.

This is not a reminder of for whom you should vote. Everyone has a different moral metric to calculate his or her choice on the ballot. But as impeachment proceeds and the Democratic primary gets down and dirty, this is a reminder that it is perfectly acceptable and logically consistent to revile both sides.

Hating Warren’s wannabee socialism does not bar you from disdaining Trump’s corruption. Finding the administration’s recent Syria desertion deplorable doesn’t mean you have to rewrite history and pretend that the Obama administration was better, or that a Warren administration would do anything useful. At the end of the day, if you are a utilitarian and you think that societal benefit from Trump’s fiscal policy outweighs the collateral damage of his malfeasance, then you can still vote for him without lying about the drawbacks of his presidency. And if your sole desire to remove Trump from office leads you to vote for a nominee Warren, you don’t have to pretend like her multidecade lie about bogus Native American ancestry was more respectable than the lies Trump tells every day.

And perhaps most importantly, remember that good people with fine politics still exist on both sides of the aisle in Congress, and that great ones still identify as both parties across the country.

Vote your conscience, yes, but remember that even if you view the choice as binary, your criticism need not be so.

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