Tonight’s epic presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is the first of three scheduled showdowns. Perhaps upon its conclusion, we will know which candidate is trending in the direction of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and could be the next White House occupant come January 2017.

Pundits and politicos often mention the “all important undecided voter” and how these debates could finally convince such voter who they should ultimately cast their ballot for this November. Conceivably, these debates will help persuade a few people to vote for Hillary or Trump.

The real dilemma, however, that the “undecided” voter faces is whether to stay home and not vote at all or conclude that Candidate X, despite his or her major flaws, is worthy enough of their support on election night.

What truly amazes us, and has been the case ever since we started following politics, is how any voter can still be “undecided” between these two candidates.

We have always believed that every American is either fully entrenched or leans in the ideology of one major political party or the other. Each voter has one, two, or three core issues that are important to him or herself and will cast their ballot according to which political party best supports those ideals as well.

We deem that when polls are conducted, those “undecided” are for the most part voters who are unsure if they will actually vote for the candidate who, despite representing most issues that are vital to the voter’s hope for the country, has flaws or traits that give pause for full endorsement.

In this election cycle, that sentiment is more prevalent than ever. With both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump scoring extremely high negatives, personality is certainly on the minds of those voters who find each candidate “deplorable”.

Concerning tonight’s debate, those “undecided” will be watching to see if the candidate who aligns more so with their ideology is deserving of their vote.

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are ideologically polar opposites on most of the key issues facing our country.

Hillary Clinton wants higher taxes, will keep Obamacare the law of the land, will put more liberal jurists on the Supreme Court, and bring in more Syrian refugees to name just a tiny few issues of this election cycle.

Donald Trump wants less taxes, vows to repeal Obamacare, mentioned Senator Mike Lee as a possible Supreme Court nominee (a pick that would rival President Reagan’s Antonin Scalia appointment), and put a halt to refugees from countries that pose a threat to our national security.

To think that voters are completely torn on which candidate to pull the lever for based on the issues is highly dubious.

Those American voters who are “undecided” about Hillary Clinton must decide if they will vote for her, will write-in Bernie Sanders’ name, vote for one of the third party candidates running, or just stay home on election night.

As for Donald Trump, conservatives and establishmentarians who still can’t decide whether or not to vote for him, plus those in the “NeverTrump” crowd, must also make a decision to either cast their vote for him, write-in someone such as Ted Cruz, vote for the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, or simply stay home as well.

The biggest problem of staying home on election night is, of course, that down-ballot candidates at the federal, state, and local levels will miss your vote. Despite the prestige that the presidential election receives, it’s these races that make the biggest difference.

To sum up, we are highly skeptical, as we have always been, that those “undecided” voters are so unsure which candidate to vote for come November 8th. Sure there will be some crossover votes on both sides of the aisle to spite the nominee of your party or to even spite a loved one who is a hardcore Hillary or Trump fan. Don’t doubt it.

If you flip a coin come election night to help you make your decision, perhaps you haven’t been paying attention to American politics. Your vote is not a vote for the lesser of two evils. It is a vote for who among the two major party nominees with a legitimate chance to win the White House will best support your ideals and principles. If that candidate is still not worthy of your vote, then the only other decision to make is whether to stay home or to potentially stand in line for hours to write in the name of the candidate you wanted all along and risk electing the candidate that completely opposes you on the issues that matter most.

That’s the real dilemma.

26 September, 2016

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