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Why Do We Favor the Candidates We Hate Most?

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Major polls seem to agree that the two most unpopular politicians in the country are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but (unless something changes quickly) the public may be forced to choose between these reviled figures in the November election.

The latest Wall Street Journal poll shows 49 percent of Americans holding “strongly negative” views of Mr. Trump—with only 11 percent who felt “strongly positive.” In other words, by a ratio of nearly five to one, more people hate him than love him.

Secretary Clinton did only slightly better—with 17 percent strongly positive, and 39 percent strongly negative. The lesson is that the current system of primaries and caucuses does a lousy job of picking candidates who can unite the country and restore public confidence. After this nasty and exhausting campaign, leaders of both parties should come together to rethink the entire process—making it shorter, more focused on issues, and less dominated by polarization, showmanship and boisterous brawling in the style of professional wrestling.

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