In politicians there are a lot of crucial factors you have to consider.
Without looking into the specific issues that matter, there are some general categories: ideology, campaign skills, and competence level.
Sometimes these overlap, but I think it helps to weigh each one independently. Sometimes I agree ideologically with a candidate, but think they couldn’t possibly perform the day to day duties.
Maybe they’d be great at the job, but wholly unelectable.
What this election cycle seems like to me is a D&D game and Donald Trump has allocated all his character points to campaign skill and despite an increasingly frustrated GM, is winning.
I’m a bit worried about a Trump presidency becoming a reality. But what worries me more is, whether he wins or not, he’s let everyone with an ounce of media savvy see that this game can be won by just bullshitting your way through.
So while I wouldn’t have voted for Jeb Bush in the general election… I can’t help but feel like his inability to win is a rejection of competence as a worthwhile concern. Me and him sharply disagree ideologically, but I would feel comfortable hiring him as a general manager if I owned a chain of restaurants. He wouldn’t burn the country down for the insurance money at least. Each time that a competent candidate is driven off, future competent ones are incentivized to focus on wooing the crowd over touting their skill. Which will make it even harder for those voters that do care about competence to make it out in a crowd of awful showmanship.
It’s easy enough to say, “Good. Hand the Democrats an easy win each time.” But that isn’t how it works out in practice. One Trump we can probably handle. But what do we do when these tactics become textbook down ticket? How many Trump brand Senators and Representatives can you fight off each cycle?
Even if these toxic candidates lose, the damage done by having that kind of bigotry and bullshit given a megaphone and free publicity will set us back in ways we can’t even calculate yet. And that’s saying a lot given that this is already talking about the Republicans.
Maybe I’m overthinking this. I hope so.