In 1996, “The Simpsons” did a “Treehouse of Horror” episode featuring Bill Clinton running against Bob Dole. Halfway through the episode, during a presidential debate, Homer Simpson reveals that both candidates are “hideous space reptiles,” complete with dripping fangs, tentacles and one eye each: Kodos and Kang. The crowd screams in shock and horror. Then one of the aliens, Kodos, speaks: “It’s true; we are aliens. But what are you going to do about it? It’s a two-party system. You have to vote for one of us.” The crowd mutters in stunned agreement. One fellow speaks up: “Well, I believe I’ll vote for a third-party candidate!” “Go ahead,” says Kang, “throw your vote away.” Both aliens laugh hysterically as the crowd frets.
Welcome to election 2016.
But this election does raise a serious question for people of all political affiliations: Do the political ends justify the means? Is there anyone who agrees with you on policy for whom you would not vote?
The myth of the binary vote would force a “no” answer. If you must choose between two candidates, you choose the one who best reflects your policy priorities. But what if the candidate who best reflects your policy priorities is utterly unpalatable as a politician or a human being? What do you do then?
You vote for him or her anyway.