I feel sorry for the American electorate, I really do. I understand that there is no perfect candidate and that there are no politicians with an empty skeleton closet. Yet I cannot recall an election where the choice has been between two such incredibly divisive candidates.
In the red corner you have Donald Trump (The Debaucher). A man who is by most even-handed measures a racist, sexist, short-tempered, vindictive, malicious, greedy, arrogant liar.
I cannot conceive of a public office that I would willingly choose that kind of character. It’s like choosing to vote for Nero or Caligula. As proof of the deep-rooted nature of America’s polarized society somehow The Donald still has around 42% of the American electorate on his side. How is that even possible?
I’m a Christian, an evangelical one at that. Yet I confess to being utterly bewildered by the idea that my fellow Christians would consider absolving this man of such a long list of character flaws, not to mention turning a blind eye to his inability to construct coherent sentences let alone coherent policies.
The only explanation for such an unfathomable mystery is because in the blue corner stands Hilary Clinton (The Deceiver) arguably the most unpopular Democratic candidate ever. For most evangelicals as the representative of the party of abortion, gay rights, gun control and progressive social values voting Democrat is already a tough ask.
Yet Mrs Clinton despite her long track record of public service and office has made an uphill climb into a dangerously treacherous mountain ascent. She is The Deceiver, presenting a public face but everyone knows (or thinks they know) that in private it’s very different. Lies, secrets, shady dealings, backroom dealings all give weight to the idea that she is untrustworthy and power-hungry. It’s why she is making heavy weather of defeating the most incompetent Republican candidate in history.
So who do you vote for The Debaucher or The Deceiver? It’s not an enviable choice. I’d consider third-party options as a protest or even not voting at all. It’s tempting to say ‘none of the above thank you very much.’
I’d never vote for Donald Trump but there’s a part of me that would be fascinated to see what would happen if he were somehow to become President. One thing’s for sure: it wouldn’t be boring. I imagine it would be like standing on a cliff-top at sunset watching a great ship sink into the depths. You’re powerless to stop it and what you’re seeing is horrible to behold but at the same time you just can’t take your eyes off it.
Instead I’d probably vote for the most competent and that must surely be Mrs Clinton. It’s sort of ‘better the devil you know’ kind of approach. Hilary Clinton probably won’t change much, my expectations would be fairly low and measured. I’d expect her term to be limited to just 4 years while the Republicans figure out how to choose a decent candidate. By then twelve years of Democrats will be enough and people will want change. Her legacy will simply be being the first female president and then choosing a liberal Supreme Court justice.
And those last six words are probably the number one reason why most evangelicals will however concerned they are about The Debaucher not vote for Mrs Clinton. Because it’s not America’s politicians that are changing or setting the tone for America’s future, it’s America’s judges.
As Christians it’s important to remember that our hope is not in any earthly government but in the reign and rule of Jesus Christ. Both Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton, will in differing ways, make it ever clearer to the American electorate that there is no overlap between the two.
It should also give all Americans considerable pause for thought. If the French philosopher Joseph de Maistre was right that every nation gets the government it deserves, what does this election say about America?