On “the lesser of two evils”

In the wake of Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton, once again we are hearing from certain people that Hillary Clinton is merely the “lesser of two evils”, and evil is evil so no good person can vote for Clinton. I am even hearing the argument that voting for the “lesser of two evils” is what has thwarted the left all these years.

With all due respect, I would suggest that what has actually thwarted the left all these years is that we are relatively small in number. Consider that when Jill Stein offered to cede the Green Party nomination to Sanders (talk about a rigged process) she was saying that the Green Party could get maybe 10 to 15 per cent of the vote in November with Sanders. So we’re not exactly talking about the left sweeping to power in such a scenario, the reason being that there aren’t enough “true leftists” to win anyone an election. There is good reason to think that not even all those who voted for Bernie in the primaries were doing so out of devotion to tenets of democratic socialism.

I believe there are a majority of people who are, under the right circumstances, open to some leftist ideas, so it’s not like there isn’t room for the left to grow, and I think that is happening. But the idea that the left can somehow bring about change by holding itself apart from all that is not left in the interests of purity is farfetched to say the least.

Finally, to those who fret about being soiled by dealing with any “evil”, however minor, I suggest that you can’t possibly have clean hands if you pay taxes to the government (that does bad things) or give your business in any way to corporations. Moral purity is not an option, unfortunately. Sometimes choosing the lesser evil is the best option available. It is certainly preferable to allowing greater evils to prevail.


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