My Obiebot friends are good algebraists. They can understand equations. For example:
(10,000 / 10,000) * (1,000/1,000) * (100/100) * (10/10) ... * (0.0001/0.00001) = 10
See? Obama is ten times better than Romney!
For those whose eyes -- like mine -- tend to glaze over at sight of an equation, no matter how trivial, let me rephrase this a different way.
Lesser-evil reasoning consists essentially in discounting all the ways in which the candidates are indistinguishable, and focusing on whatever apparent or real differences there are. So the fact that (for example) they're both mass murderers, actual or aspiring, cancels out; it appears in both the numerator and denominator. Well, onto the next thing. They're both big advocates of the police state, and education 'reform', and Israel, and immiseration -- cancels out. But aha! One of them has kinder words for the uterus than the other! Well then, there's your 0.0001/0.00001 ! A tenfold difference! And since there are no other differences, well, there's your decision made for you. Register and vote, contribute and post enthusiastic dribble on your Facebook page. It's simple algebra.
As logic goes, this is flawless. It only becomes absurd at a certain level of scale. If Ted Bundy were the Demolican candidate, and John Wayne Gacy the Republicrat... Well, a Gacy administration would certainly be better for women. But at that point, most people would throw up their hands and say 'who gives a shit?'
Please note however that even in the Gacy/Bundy case, the lesser-evil logic is still ironclad and irrefutable. There's always a lesser evil, and with instruments of sufficient refinement, capable of measuring out to enough decimal places, you can always find it.
So the interesting question for me is this: at what point in the process do people stop doing nano-arithmetic? How many decimal places is too many?
I am of course quite encouraged by the fact that for a substantial number of Americans, this point was reached a long time ago. I wonder why so few of my friends are among their number, however.