The evils of lesser evilism

Oren Brown throws the idea that voters ought to vote for "the lesser evil", and explores just what's so dangerous about that view.

Oren Brown
3rd November 2020

The US two-party system has once again failed its people. With both candidates sharing concerning pasts and antiquated views, many feel severely underrepresented in this year’s election - particularly those on the left-wing. In the face of a rock-and-a-hard-place decision; are voters right to abstain, or should the lesser of two evils be embraced if only to supplant the greater evil?

America is faced with two options in today’s Presidential Election. One, an old, heinous, right-wing racist. The other, a slightly older, slightly less heinous, slightly less right-wing racist. Biden may be a better option than Trump, but only due to how egregious the latter is.

Despite condemning Trump’s racism and seeking to speak for black Americans, Biden is a figure with a history of bigotry himself

Biden is more forward-thinking on topics such as healthcare, climate change and taxes than Trump - but not significantly. And despite condemning Trump’s racism and seeking to speak for black Americans, Biden is a figure with a history of bigotry himself, including a “rejection of the whole movement of black pride” in 1975. These are the words of a man unsuitable for fixing the United States’ deep-rooted social issues, especially given recent events.

On top of all this, Biden has been accused by eight women of sexual assault, having since made light of the allegations. Just like Trump, he is a figure with an unsettling history. To have one candidate with such a sinister past would be a failure for the electoral system - but to have two is a downright disgrace.

The future of the Democratic Party is also something to consider. A Trump win would likely mean new candidates for both sides in 2024, which could finally make room for a more progressive Democratic nominee. On the other hand, a Biden win would see him run again in four years, extending the status quo and potentially delaying important social change.

Any long-term what-ifs aside, averting short-term disaster is an immediate concern - and lives could be saved with the removal of Donald Trump. With poor decisions his second-nature, and social unrest snowballing under his watch, it seems that, regardless of the quality of his opponent, a devastating second term must be avoided by any means necessary.

Should the ‘lesser of two evils’ be reluctantly embraced? Probably - but it is despicable that it comes to that.

So should the ‘lesser of two evils’ be reluctantly embraced? Probably - but it is despicable that it comes to that. A vote for Biden is not a vote for a trusted candidate, but a crucial contribution to the ousting of Donald Trump. With that being said, anyone who chooses to exercise their right to abstain is entitled to do so. It is likely that abstainers will be condemned if Trump wins, but many will not be able to find it within their conscience to vote for either side, which is more than understandable.

All in all, Biden vs Trump paints a disheartening picture of America - an election that would feel like an illusion of choice if it wasn’t for a few minute details. Whatever the result, millions of Americans will wake up on Wednesday dejected and pessimistic, with a fresh reminder that their democracy is broken and unlikely to be fixed in the near future.

Featured image: Craig Walkowicz on Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, Ashley Van Dyck on The Noun Project

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AUTHOR: Oren Brown
English student, or something.

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