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Dunagin: A Dearth of Character in 2016 Presidential Election

Charles Dunagin
Charles Dunagin

An aging lawyer, once a well known Louisiana politician, put a Biblical spin on the presidential race that reflects my thoughts on the prospects of choosing between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in November.

“It’s like choosing between Sodom and Gomorrah and Armageddon,” he joked recently as the two of us commiserated over having to choose between Clinton and Trump, the presumed nominees of the Democratic and Republican parties.

His choice may be more important than mine, since Louisiana will be more competitive than Mississippi. They did recently elect a Democrat for governor while the Democratic nominee in Mississippi last year didn’t even vote for himself in the primary.

A safe bet is Trump will easily carry this state since Republicans usually win our half dozen electoral votes. So my vote won’t make a difference any way I cast a ballot.

Since 1972, Mississippi has voted Republican in every presidential election except 1976 when Jimmy Carter of Georgia carried the state. Many are still complaining about the record he compiled in the White House.

Three times since World War II, Mississippi has voted for third-party candidates or unpledged electors, but none of that ever worked out.

As of now there is no viable third-party option on this year’s horizon, and there probably won’t be. It’s too late.

Besides third options never win, although they can help defeat major party candidates, such as Ralph Nader supposedly taking Florida votes away from Al Gore in 2000. Some think Ross Perot’s candidacy helped defeat President George H.W. Bush’s re-election campaign in 1992, but others argue Perot also took votes away from Bill Clinton.

Even if there were a viable third-party candidate this year — and I wish there were — I’m not sure who would benefit from it.

Barring a miracle, an indictment or something else unforeseen it’s either going be “Crooked Hillary” or “Dangerous Donald” as the next president.

I can’t cite a presidential election, either through memory or reading history, where the character flaws of the two major contenders are so obvious.

No need to cite them here. They repeatedly have been documented and will be many more times in the next five months.

Maybe I’ll change my mind before November. But right now I’m not inclined pick a poison and vote for either.

He doesn’t want the job and obviously won’t get it, but maybe I’ll write in the name of my friend from Louisiana. He’s a moderate who thinks as I do that character and integrity are more important than empty promises, populism and show business.

Charles Dunagin is a retired editor and publisher who is currently residing in Oxford, Mississippi. He can be reached at cdunagin@enterprise-journal.com.

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