I’ve voted for a candidate in every presidential election since 1976. In that 40 years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties and even an independent, John Anderson, in 1980. This year I’ll break that streak. I’ll go to the polls this morning and will gladly make my views known on down-ballot races and state and local issues — but when I’m asked about voting for President, I’m choosing None Of The Above.
Voting for Donald Trump was never a possibility. I’ve got old-fashioned views when it comes to the President: I think character counts. Trump’s character is about as ill-suited to the presidency as I can possibly imagine — and it’s not just his appalling comments about women or the ugly mean-spiritedness you see lurking below the surface, either. People elected to serve as President should approach that enormous job with a measure of humility; Trump offers nothing but overwhelming arrogance and bombast. Presidents are asked to make decisions with far-reaching consequences and should do so based on careful study and reasoned reflection; Trump is the king of the knee-jerk reactions. These aren’t small failings. In an increasingly dangerous world, these are character flaws that go to the essential core of the job. I envision the bumptious Trump in a meeting with world leaders, and I cringe at the message it would send about America.
I tried to get behind Hillary Clinton, which is where other members of my family and many of my friends have landed. I really did. But I couldn’t get there, either. I find the Clintons’ seemingly endless rapacious appetites totally off-putting, and the whiff of corruption in the high-dollar speeches, the Clinton Foundation donations, and other activities also seem ill-suited to the presidency, where the individual’s integrity should be beyond reproach. I was amazed at the recklessness of Hillary Clinton’s email practices, but even more disturbed by the reaction to it by the candidate and her followers — first by steadfast denials, then by attacking the accusers, and finally by grudging, forced, clearly insincere apologies. Presidents are going to make mistakes, and when they do they need to accept responsibility for them and demonstrate accountability. I don’t see that quality in Hillary Clinton, and I think it is a very important one.
I looked at the third party candidates, but they are minor figures who lack the experience or the training for the most important job in the world. It didn’t take long to exclude them from the mix.
So, no candidate is getting my vote this year. No one is going to notice that there is one fewer vote being cast, among in the millions that will be counted this year — but it’s the only way I’ve got to send a message that the choice this year is utterly unacceptable, and that it should never happen again.