Framing Choice

Now pundits are calling it a “choice election”. Some of us have been approaching November 6 as an opportunity to choose all along—dismissing the notion that second term presidential elections are purely a referendum on the incumbent’s first term. What matters more is how voters frame their choice.

While some people are single issue voters, many voters are capable of factoring in multiple criteria, weighting them appropriately, even calculating the burden of policy trajectories over time. A conviction that we cannot afford eventual outcomes of some policies may override others that feel critical now, but pose less potential threat.

Economy headlines this election but other policies warrant critical consideration and all impact one another: fiscal policy, monetary policy, energy, foreign policy, defense—are inextricably intertwined. And all are increasingly time sensitive. Any number of long-serving systems must radically change or collapse in whole or in part. We have dominoes set up; wrong moves are consequential.

The circumstances that make this election more important than others require us to bring all our wisdom to bear at the polls. It’s not so much that “we have to get it right this time” as we have to get it right enough to provide some workable platform for any kind of tomorrow. Frame your choice wisely and vote.

“A man is too apt to forget that in this world he cannot have everything. A choice is all that is left him.”

— H. Mathews