Finley: Election fails the nation

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

I’ve been asked often over the past five weeks whether I’ve had second thoughts about the endorsement of Gary Johnson for president.

Sure, the Libertarian has had a couple more cringe inducing moments since The Detroit News put its name behind him.

But recall what else has happened on the campaign trail during that stretch. Among other absurdities, we’ve watched a video of Republican Donald Trump talking nasty about his female conquests and melting down on Twitter over the thickness of a former beauty queen’s legs.

We’ve also seen Democrat Hillary Clinton come back under an FBI criminal investigation for her indefensible disregard for national security, and are learning more about Clinton Inc., which marketed her office and her husband’s presidency for their personal enrichment.

So, yeah, I’m good.

The longer this hold-your-nose election season has gone, the more distasteful the major party candidates have become.

Neither Trump nor Clinton have tried to collect voters by winning their confidence and presenting a hopeful vision for the nation’s future. Instead, they’ve spent every minute working to make their opponent seem the most despicable.

In four decades of covering politics, I’ve never seen an election where the majority of votes will be cast against a candidate rather than for one.

Clinton and Trump have not been able to lower their historically high negative ratings, so Tuesday most voters will select a candidate they admittedly don’t like and don’t trust.

Not me. I’m not interested in choosing between the lesser of two evils. I said at the start of this race that the choice was between a lunatic and a liar. That opinion hasn’t changed.

Trump is a huckster and a hater who has exploited the worst natures of this country. He may be crazy. Clinton’s first instinct is to lie, even about the simplest things. Truth and respect for the law matter when you’re president.

These are not good people. They are not fit to lead the greatest nation on earth. And yet one of them will. But not with my help. And I expect a lot of voters feel the same way.

To me, the reluctance of voters to fill in the circle for either candidate is indicative of this election. But I hope this election doesn’t indicate where we stand as a nation.

I want to believe that 2016 is a one-off, and that a country brimming with honorable and brilliant people will once again produce presidential candidates worthy of the office and capable of inspiring Americans to greatness.

I also hope this tabloid-style campaign, which started with a debate over the size of a candidate’s private parts and ends with the pervert Anthony Weiner possibly holding a trove of state secrets, isn’t the new normal for American politics.

The rhetoric of this election has been appalling, and Trump and Clinton share the blame. Neither can open his or her mouth without spewing bile and fear-mongering.

Who wins Tuesday doesn’t much matter to me. I don’t see a lesser evil. All I see is the failure of a cherished electoral process to rise in 2016 to the nation’s needs.

Nolan Finley’s book “A Little Red Hen: A Collection of Columns from Detroit’s Conservative Voice” is available from Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble Nook.