JB: In the meantime, we're stuck with two flawed candidates - one who can't seem to help putting his foot in his mouth every time he opens it and the other who can't seem to outrun multiple scandals, based on secretive, reckless or greedy behavior. Your thoughts?
PT: Many agree with your assessment that "we're stuck with two flawed candidates."
In fact, Clinton and Trump are the most disliked major party nominees in recent history. Just 14 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots for either of them in the primaries, meaning the overwhelming majority of the country did not.
It's a troubling situation.
JB: Add to that, the "spoiler effect" being touted by those who warn against voting for third party candidates. Someone sent me an article this week by Al Goresaying that his personal experience was that he lost in 2000 because of third party votes. And his conclusion was that everyone should vote for Clinton. But Gore's recounting [no pun intended] is actually factually incorrect. He "lost" because Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, brother of future President George W. Bush, authorized the purging of 91,000 legal black voters from the voting rolls. Subsequently, the "official" margin in Florida was 537 votes. If even major candidates are repeating misstatements, misunderstanding and revising history, what hope is there for us to really grasp the political realities, both present, past and looking ahead to the future?
PT: Third parties in the U.S. face a number of daunting obstacles, including being labeled 'spoilers.' (With a large and growing number of Americans not identifying with either party, I wonder whether the spoiler label is losing some of its impact?)
Regarding 2000, Gore 'lost' for a number of reasons. If he wants to point fingers, it seems he should start where you do - with the scrubbing of voters, disproportionately black. Then maybe move on to the media, who portrayed George W. Bush as a guy you'd love to have a beer with and Gore as a goofball who claims he invented the internet. (Don't hold your breath waiting for the media to critique themselves; far easier to pin everything on Ralph Nader.)
JB: Anything else you'd like to add before we wrap this up?