America has a problem. Their quest to find the wisest leader; the most experienced negotiator; the most honest, committed, charismatic and cool politician to be the next President of the United States has led them to a manichaean choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. This heralds either national salvation or the end of civilisation, depending on your demarcations of social goodness and apprehensions or political virtue. Polls show that a majority of the electorate (58 percent) is dissatisfied with the major party candidates for president: 47 percent strongly dislike Hillary Clinton; 49 percent strongly dislike Trump.
Trump is a bit different. His world is very simple. He uncomplicates complicated stuff. Problem with Islamists? Ban all Muslims. Illegal Mexican immigration? Build a wall (and bill them). Lawlessness and violence? Let’s have guns. Mass murders and police shootings? Let’s have more guns. Trade deficit? Leave the WTO. Military allies shirking defence obligations? Leave NATO. And thereby the United States is made better swiftly and completely. No need to endure the problems and confusions of the status quo: America can be made great again with a big stick. No need to use it: just carry it. And so he will end all evil and heal the planet. He is the Chosen One.
You may think Donald Trump is a destructive, dangerous and naive buffoon: ugly, finger-pointing, boorish, blame-gaming, dysfunctional and embarrassing. But millions of American Christians love him. And millions loathe him.
Clinton, on the other hand, is the same old, same old. She is not at all scary and has a reassuring smile. Some say she’s just Obama-lite and full of hot air, but she’s a woman, and her time has surely come. Put her in the White House, and America will carry on exactly as before: promising this; promising that; promising everything under the sun. She will talk incessantly of health, wealth, security and prosperity, but nothing will change, principally because she is mired in scandal. Black people will still be summarily executed by white cops, and white cops targeted by angry black crazies. Chaos, division, lies and deception will reign. She won’t end all evil or heal the planet, but she will manage both very competently.
But what can you expect from a manipulative, duplicitous, audacious, bullying harpy? Yet millions of American Christians love her. And millions loathe her.
Perplexing, isn’t it? How can American Christians choose the lesser of two evils when both candidates are the spawn of Satan? Both spout divisive rhetoric, because both seek to divide.
There is a third way. But in a polarised world of Cowboys and Indians, he doesn’t get much of a look-in.
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is the Libertarian candidate for President of the United States. He, too, promises to make America great again, and his Libertarian Party has lots of reasonable, intelligent policies to make it so. “If you’re tired of crony politics there is another option,” he proclaims. And that option is Gary Johnson. His pitch for President chimes with the anti-politics zeitgeist:
Governing across party lines means each is comfortable at compromise, a spirit at the heart of their quixotic campaign. Johnson and Weld aren’t running as anti-government-free-will Libertarians with a capital L. They are agile, practical-minded thinkers with a few quirks: Conservative on money issues, socially liberal, skeptical of government power and military entanglements. Not so scary, right? “Most people are Libertarian,” Johnson told us. “It’s just that they don’t know it.”
Of course, third-party candidates tend not to do very well in the red and the blue. The likelihood of Americans electing a president who is neither Republican nor Democrat is remote, to say the least. But stuff happens. For those Trump-despising Christian Republicans who can’t bring themselves to vote for Clinton; and for those Clinton-despairing Christian Democrats who wouldn’t dream of voting for Trump, there are Trump Clinton alternatives. Or at least an alternative. The Libertarian Party isn’t perfect, but in this race for the White House it may embody more co-belonging grace than either the Democrats or GOP. If only we could move beyond our lamentable notions of universal rivals which seems to subsume all reason, truth and civility.