A reader who responded to my most recent previous commentary — “Voters Deserve Better from Presidential Candidates Going Forward “, suggested because I serve at a consulting firm that provides counsel and services to Republican candidates, it “seems that my mission is to create false equivalency between the two presidential candidates and obscure the facts.”
What it seems to be to that reader is not what it is.
That reader is using argumentum ad hominem, a rhetorical strategy where one attacks the character, motive, or some other attribute of the person offering an opinion, rather than attacking the substance of the opinion itself.
In my commentary, I wrote about a previous divisive gubernatorial election in Pennsylvania. I suggested it provides good advice for whomever the candidates will be for president in 2024.
I did not mention the names of any current or future 2024 presidential candidates.
At this point in the 2024 election cycle, I do not know who candidates will be.
I do know this.
I am not an apologist for or zealous supporter of former President Donald Trump or any other Republican candidate.
I am not an apologist for or zealous supporter of President Joe Biden or any other Democratic candidate.
I am not an apologist for or zealous supporter of any third party or independent candidate.
My guiding principle in the political arena has always been never to support or vote for a candidate based solely on party affiliation. My support and votes are based solely on how closely a candidate’s views on public policy issues align with my views on those issues.
My guiding principle when writing guest commentaries is acceptance of the thinking of Frank Luntz who said this about messages — “It’s not what you say or write. You can have the best message in the world, it’s what people hear or read. The person on the receiving end will always understand it through the prism of their own emotions, preconceptions, prejudices, and preexisting beliefs.”
Presently my views on the two most likely major party candidates for President in 2024 are perfectly captured in a recent commentary by syndicated columnist Cal Thomas titled The Evil of Two Lessers.
In it, Thomas includes the following thoughts:
“Some voters in recent elections have complained about being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils. In the 2024 election, it appears we are heading for a worse choice – the evil of two lessers.”
Thomas writes, “Donald Trump continues demeaning and defaming anyone who disagrees with him. He repeats unproven claims that the 2020 election was ‘stolen.’
“A myriad of other inaccurate statements has apparently had a negative influence on President Biden who has joined him in the mud pit. In his recent speech near Valley Forge, America will become like Germany in the ’30s. The very future of democracy is at stake, he [Biden] claimed.”
Thomas goes on to write, “This isn’t Biden’s first trip into the mud. During the 2012 presidential campaign Vice President Biden told a Black audience that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney “would put you all back in chains.”
Thomas ends his commentary about 2024 by asking the question “Where is this corrosive language getting us? Why can’t we have a true debate over the best ways to fix our problems? Claiming your opponent would rule like a Nazi, or that the other is a crook, solves nothing.”
David Reel is a public affairs/public relations consultant who serves as a trusted advisor on strategy, advocacy, and media matters who lives in Easton.