Right in the centre - What choice do you make when there are no good choices?


by Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

By the time this column sees the light of day, the United States will have conducted their mid-term elections. The U.S. mid-terms serve a couple of purposes. They serve as a sort of referendum on the sitting president’s performance. It’s like a half-way performance review and it’s rare that presidents do all that well.

This year, the aging, faltering President Joe Biden is expected to get a poor review. Of course, he will stay in office as he is not on these mid-term ballots. Most pundits are estimating he will be punished for his economic performance by voters defeating Democratic candidates for Senate and House seats. 

How the mid-terms go, that is which party dominates, will be pivotal as to who runs for President. Biden, as noted above, is ailing in a number of ways. He seems frail in body and mind at times and he turns 80 this month. In my humble opinon, he’s not a great option for President. If his Democratic Party candidates get beat up pretty bad, the party and Biden should go shopping for a new presidential candidate.

The alternative is worse on the Republican side in my opinion in the form of Donald Trump. Trump has a four year advantage over Biden at age 76. But, Trump suffers as many deficits as Biden. He is in many legal battles, like Biden he is often separated from the truth and he is hated by his opponents. Biden is disdained but Trump is hated. 

As I have said many times, if Trump and Biden are the two best choices for president they can come up with, the country is in huge trouble.

If the Democrats win, Biden will likely run again in 2024 and he will be 82. If the Republicans win, it’s almost certain that Trump will run in 2024 and he will be 78. It’s hard to determine which man is craziest. The U.S electorate is being played for fools but many seem to be willing participants in the foolishness.

The U.S. elections are a huge business. Their elections of House of Represenatives members cost millions of dollars. The House of Represenatives  is somewhat equivalent to our House of Commons in Ottawa. I have been part of elections and somewhat familar with the Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa constituency. Our MP Dan Mazier and the D-S-R-N have likely never spent more than a $100,000 on an election. In Canada, companies and individuals can only donate small amounts of money to parties and candidates. There seems to be no limits in the U.S and it’s very distorting. The U.S. news media outlets would be very upset if there were limits on political spending as it must be a huge part of their income. With nation-wide elections every two years the campaigns run almost constantly, the cash flow to media is continuous and huge.

The voting results are going to pivot on issues that many people have ignored. In spite of the hype, the pivotal issues are not gender or abortion or religion. It goes back to Bill Clinton’s insight from years ago, the economy. Under current conditions, the perception is that Republicans and Trump would be better for the economy. The four Trump years appear to have been better than the two Biden years.

When pencil reaches the ballot in the ballot booth, most people will vote for what they see as best for them and their families. Neither Trump nor Biden are very attractive as they both offer a lot of negatives due to age, dumb statements, legal issues and a whole range of negative things. Faced with all the negativity, choices come down to the economy and little else. The other issues may well fade away as voters go the polls.

All that said, the U.S. voters need better choices but I am not sure they deserve better.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.