I realize that reason holds little appeal for Americans who already have sipped the Trump tonic. But others — those who have neither lost nor made up their minds, those considering a third-party candidate — might crave something dry, something sobering. I'm talking about logic.
I realize that sounds vintage Republican, like something a teetotaling old-school banker might offer. But sobriety serves reason, and reason serves logic, and logic serves sound decision-making.
I know that many of my fellow white males hate Hillary Clinton — probably even more so after she stuck you in the "basket of deplorables" — and would never consider voting for her. Clinton was wrong to broad-brush so many voters, but you guys apparently hated her long before she made that comment. I think hate is unhealthy, and I suspect your animosity has more to do with Clinton's gender than anything else. But that's Freudian stuff. I won't be arguing with you in this space.
I understand that some people are so fed up with the system they want to roll the Donald Trump grenade into Washington in the hopes that he'll be able to blow up the gridlock there. Hey, I'm in touch with my inner anarchist, too, but that kind of thinking is totally reckless. And, besides, changing Washington has more to do with changing Congress than changing presidents.
But, of course, we have to change presidents with a vote in November. Given the choices, what's the logical thing to do?
I realize that a good many people will hear what I'm about to say — that the U.S. economy is slowly improving, that some wage growth is finally starting to reach the middle class — and they simply won't believe it.
But here's what we learned last week from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey:
Between 2014 and 2015, median household income increased in 39 states and the District of Columbia, and economists hailed the increase — placed at about 5.2 percent for a typical family — as the most important one since the Great Recession, and the largest in 50 years.
From 2014 to 2015, poverty rates declined in 23 states, and did not increase anywhere.
"The Census data do not lie," says Barbara Morgan, senior lecturer in economics at the Johns Hopkins University. "In percentage terms, income gains were largest for low- and middle-income households, largely due to improved job growth and minimum-wage increases in some cities and states."
"On the downside," Morgan added, "median household income adjusted for inflation is not quite back to where it was just before the Great Recession. And measures of inequality continue to be at historic highs.
"Still, thanks to Obama, an increased tax bite at the top has helped fund health insurance for low- and middle-income families. Policy works."
So while the bag of economic news remains mixed, it's clear that larger numbers of American workers and families are finally getting a lift. The unemployment rate is 4.9 percent. It was 7.9 percent when Obama took office in January 2009, and it went as high as 10 percent in October of that year.
That might explain why, 71/2 years later, President Obama is hitting impressive marks as he finishes out his second term. His approval rating in a Washington Post-ABC News poll last month reached 58 percent. (Having finally been confirmed a full citizen by Trump, the president must be feeling great these days.)
Americans remain grumpy and consider economic conditions fragile. A lot of people, especially in rural and postindustrial areas, feel left out of the recovery, and many of them apparently plan to invest their votes in Trump in November. They see Trump as a brash outsider. In a New York Times-CBS News poll, he's seen as more likely than Clinton to bring change to Washington.
But, given economic trends and Obama's popularity, what kind of "change" are you looking for?
Don't get me wrong. Change is great as long as it's good. But, when it comes to the economy — up until now, the single most important factor in any presidential election I've seen — do we really want something sketchy and unpredictable? Anyone here want to risk another recession? The old-school, logical Republican in all of us says be careful what you wish for.
When Americans want change, that might mean a more robust economy, sure. But it more likely means a change in Congress away from super-partisanship and gridlock. Had we not seen Republicans vow to fight Obama every step of the way, we might have seen a bigger investment in infrastructure, a greater expansion of green-energy initiatives, immigration reform and a better version of the Affordable Care Act. We would not have seen pointless government shutdowns. We might have had an increase in the minimum wage. We might have been even better off than, believe it or not, we are now.