Our election system, with winner-take-all outcomes, virtually guarantees but two choices. In partisan races, that means a single Republican faces a single Democrat—in most cases. It’s understandable, then, that newspaper editorial boards and the general electorate focus on the presumed qualities of Candidate A vs. Candidate B. Thus we find editorial endorsements for members of both parties, as if in particular contests one is judged better than the other.
But this is a lousy way to get anything done in a democracy. Suppose, instead, that both voters and editorial boards decided a set of policy prescriptions. These might include environmental protection, support for public schools, provision of social services, and so on. The next step is to determine which political party is more likely than the other to advance those prescriptions. Democrats or Republicans?
The final step is then easy. Select the preferred party’s candidate, even if you might think the other party’s candidate is more attractive in certain respects, such as perceived enthusiasm, apparent diligence, or whatever.
The point should be obvious. It is parties that propel or retard political agendas and not individual politicians.
For example, if you are like me, you favor the Democrats’ policy prescriptions. To achieve those ends, you want as many Democrats in office as possible. Republicans would simply get in the way.
Wasn’t that easy?