My Primary Problem: The Worst Available

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I found myself in a bit of a pickle last Tuesday. While preparing to cast my ballot in the Georgia primary elections, I realized that one of the municipal races — which are nonpartisan by statute — featured nary a candidate whom I considered worthy of my electoral support. The only entry in the race whom I found personally palatable shared very few of my political views. The only entry in the race who shared most of my political views I found personally repugnant. Oh, woe was I! How could I be a responsible, civic-minded citizen who did his civic duty at the ballot box if I the only names available to put in the ballot box made me feel like doing a duty of an entirely different kind?

If you’re reading this, then odds are you know exactly how I felt. Personal Liberty Digest™ is the world’s most popular libertarian website. I’d venture a guess that nearly everyone who visits this rest stop on the information superhighway has recently glared at a ballot and thought “none of the (expletive) above.” The 2012 Presidential election, in which President Barack Obama held off a challenge from Mitt Romney in a battle between megadollar special interests and other megadollar special interests comes to mind. But the tradition of facing a ballot offering “none of the (expletive) above” continues unabated.

In Kentucky, voters are looking forward to a 2014 Senatorial election pitting incumbent Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and a Democratic challenger named Alison Grimes. McConnell, who once promised to “crush” the Tea Party, is the worst kind of Republican elite career politician. Consistently wandering away from conservative principles at the behest of his big-dollar cronies, McConnell is House Speaker John Boehner without the blaze-orange complexion. Much like Romney and Boehner, McConnell is a walking, talking avatar for the negative consequences of defaulting to “electability.” Facing off against the mighty McConnell machine is Grimes. While Grimes is the Kentucky Secretary of State, she’s ultimately notable as a candidate for two reasons: When Ashley Judd reminded everyone that she maintains a barely tenuous grasp on reality, the Democrats desperately needed a stand-in, and Grimes was available; and she isn’t hard to look at, and that beats McConnell, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Deputy Droopalong.

In Virginia, voters in the 7th Congressional District are facing a fall ballot starring incumbent Republican Eric Cantor and a challenger who at the time of this writing had yet to be determined, but did feature a noisy — albeit non-qualifying — Democrat Mike Dickinson. Cantor is young and whip-smart, and he is helping Boehner try to push through immigration “reform,” which I consider to be toeing the line between gross dereliction of Congressional duty and treason. Meanwhile, Dickinson is known for maintaining a Twitter feed that reads like the inner monologue of a moody loner with severe mommy issues, and getting his oversize rear end spanked by Greta Van Susteren on national television.

And here in Savannah, Ga., I had to decide between candidates whom I either distrust personally or politically. Where are the public servants who run for office to serve the public? Where is our electoral Horatio at the bridge? In all likelihood, they’re off doing something productive, rather than waste time in rooms filled with people who have spent their whole lives avoiding work the way Michelle Obama avoids the sale rack at Louis Vuitton.

Of course the most productive members of our society are too busy being productive to ante up in a rigged game in which both major parties are playing with marked decks. I only had to choose between the lesser of two evils in a local election. But Americans often find themselves in the same section of God’s little acre when it comes to ballots, from the local to the national. Unless they live in a Democrat-controlled city, they generally survive. However, if the current crop of politicians in Washington is anything to go by, that may change.

In the meantime, I gritted my teeth and cast my ballot for the “least offensive.” The next morning, I awoke to discover the race was headed to a July runoff, meaning I have to endure the pain again in July. At the very least, I’ll get practice for November, when “least offensive” will be the best available.

–Ben Crystal

Personal Liberty

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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