An Either/Or Choice Isn’t Usually an Arbitrary Choice

ACADEME BLOG

The media has become overly fond, I think, of describing this presidential election as a choice between two unappealing candidates.

To be clear, I don’t think that the media is incorrect in making this assessment, but I do think that it is incorrect in suggesting that this election stands as a historical exception, rather than continuing a historical norm.

That is, I think that you could describe just about every presidential election in that way.

For instance, if I go back to when I started voting, I could describe the presidential candidates of the two major parties in broadly comparable uncomplimentary terms:

1972: Nixon as malignant and McGovern as impossible;

1976: Ford as completely uninspiring and Jimmy Carter as a self-caricature;

1980: Carter as ineffectual and Reagan as a somewhat shallow ideologue;

1984: Reagan as grossly over-estimated and Mondale as a leftover;

1988: Bush and Dukakis as equally uninspiring;

1992:…

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About martinkich

I am a Professor of English at Wright State University's Lake Campus, where I have been a faculty member for more than 25 years. I have now served multiple terms as the President of the WSU chapter of AAUP, which now includes all full-time instructional faculty, and as the Vice-President of the Ohio Conference of AAUP. I have also served several terms as an at-large member of the Executive Committee of AAUP's Collective Bargaining Congress. In addition to serving as co-editor of the Academe blog, I am also a member of the editorial board of Academe and have been a guest editor for an issue of the magazine on collective bargaining strategies. As co-chair of the Ohio Conference's Communication Committee, I began to do much more overtly political writing during the campaign to repeal Ohio's Senate Bill 5, which would have eliminated the right of faculty to be unionized. I have sustained that activism, and at the risk of stating the obvious, I have very much enjoyed contributing to the Academe Blog and to our chapter blog. I also maintain several other blogs to which I have re-posted, by topic, my posts to the Academe blog, as well as some other items.

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