Most years, writing a column that is due on October 15 for an issue cover-dated December, which will go to press six days before a general election but appear in subscribers’ mailboxes and on newsstands about two weeks after, would be a recipe for frustration.
This year, it strikes me as an opportunity.
I have never had a dog in this presidential election. That has been true for a long time; the first time I voted in a presidential election was in 1988, and that was the last time I voted for a major-party candidate. By the time President George H.W. Bush had proved himself “worse than unimaginative—merely silly, often” (as Russell Kirk wrote in his memoir, The Sword of Imagination), I had come to regret my folly.
In 1992, if I could have been bothered to go through the hassle of registering to vote in Washington, D.C. (where I was pursuing my graduate studies), I would have cast my ballot for Ross Perot (though if Perot, the only presidential candidate in recent memory who could make John McCain look stable, had had any chance of winning, I probably would have abstained).
In 1996, 2000, and 2004, I voted for third-party candidates: Ralph Nader in the first and last; Pat Buchanan in between. And (as I write) with 20 days left before November 4, I still have not decided which third-party candidate to waste my vote on. (Since, in his current run, Ralph Nader has explicitly endorsed...