Would you rather…?

There is a popular “icebreaker” game that can be used to get to know someone better, which rose to popularity among Generation X and has continued sufficiently to now have its own app on Android phones called: Would you rather?

I have also noted—in the play of younger Generation Z participants and related TikTok videos—that the choices often take a darker and more dystopian path with very little optimism about our future, such as: “Would you rather have to live without electricity and your mobile phone, or lose a limb?”

However, as we look ahead in this increasingly anti-climactic election year and Presidential Election cycle, neither primary “Would you rather?” candidate option is apparently palatable to millions of American voters. Yes, there are millions who strongly support President Joe Biden as well as former President Donald Trump, and they believe that each deserves a second term. Yet, there are almost as many independents, non-aligned, Libertarian, and other potential third-party voters second guessing if this is the election which might allow a path for a party or candidate who does not lead with an R or a D.

For some Democrats, there is unease with Biden’s foreign policy regarding Israel and related civilian casualties in Gaza as well as with promises made—yet not kept—to various constituencies during the 2020 campaign. Given additional concerns about Biden’s age and health, cognition and apparent frailties in public, his base also seems a bit wobblier.

Trump has had his own series of misstatements or apparent short-circuits on the campaign trail as well as his growing legal challenges, fines, fees, and pending property liens. These challenges may help Trump go down in history as our most prosecuted presidential candidate and potentially president. Admittedly, Trump much prefers the term persecuted.

Despite these facts—post-Super Tuesday and the Georgia Presidential Preference Primary—each likely nominee has won sufficient delegates to claim their respective party nomination. Yet, the enthusiasm in each camp is more than a bit underwhelming.

For Trump there are suburbanites, large blocks of women voters, and many more centrist GOP voters who will not support him as nominee. Judging by not only the votes received by former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, but by declarative statements made by GOP primary voters during exit polling in nearly 20 states, roughly 20 percent of the GOP voting base is not with Trump and claim they will not support his re-election.

Additionally—under the promises not kept banner—Biden’s support is much softer among Black voters, a demographic he needs to win by more than commanding percentages to retain the White House. In exit polls, Black men have shared that the incumbent president is not who they consider their party’s best hope. Many younger Democratic voters simply are wary of having an ailing octogenarian carrying their banner.

Georgia’s Presidential Primary followed Super Tuesday, with both party nomination outcomes becoming clearer. Yet nearly 500,000 Georgians voted early or via absentee. Georgia has more than 7 million registered voters, and the combined GOP and Democratic Preference Primary vote was roughly 862,000 ballots. The turnout, which was split between the two parties, comes to a total barely greater than 11 percent.

Yes, Biden and Trump won each contest by vast majorities. However, there were multiple other candidates on each ballot in the event that voters chose to express their discontent with their upcoming weak “Would you rather?” options. This means that nearly 90 percent of Georgia voters expressed no preference for either party or candidate.

I have previously voted Libertarian and other third-party choices, and it appears I will be doing so again this fall. To be successful, a third party should now be securing ballot access—as the Libertarians have in most states—and grooming a magnetic, knowledgeable candidate with the comparative stamina and youth to handle the rigors and stress of one of the most demanding jobs on the planet.

In November, I suggest that each voter actually participate, vote their conscience, and not feel bound solely to select from the lesser of two evils – if nothing else to send a message to both major parties that there still is a political center in this nation, and that voters deserve candidates with common sense and who are focused on the common good and on solving the nation’s problems, more than getting their way, blocking the other party or settling political scores. At least, that is what I would rather.

Bill Crane is political analyst and commentator in metro Atlanta, as well as a columnist for The Champion, DeKalb Free Press and Georgia Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native and business owner, living in Scottdale. You can contact him or comment on a column at bill.csicrane@gmail.com.

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