As for the topic, I think there a lot of voters who are one issue voters. I have several liberal-minded female friends who always vote based on pro-choice orthodoxy with little regard to the candidate’s other ideas. I personally think this is a bad way to go, but it’s not that unusual. Hell, at least they are voting, which is more than I can say about half of the electorate.
I think it unwise to do that, though. For example, the pro-choice ladies I mentioned above will vote for Kerry - but realistically what impact will Kerry have on the national debate on abortion? If a Supreme Court justice retires, he has a chance to install a pro-Roe judge in his/her place, but that’s a longshot with a Republican Congress. Fact is, a President has many powers, but in terms of moving the abortion argument one way or another, he’s just largely symbolic.
Too many important issues to consider - will the candidate continue to prosecute the war on terror? Will the candidate favor protectionism? These are issues that a President can have a much more direct impact on.
“What if one candidate promised to keep the nation at war while another promised to achieve a worthwhile peace?”
Depends on the point of the war. No modern civilized nation would ever be at war for the sake of it. War should always be in search of peace.
But I echo the warning - beware those promising utopian solutions. Peace is to be managed, never achieved. We’ll never reach the ‘end of history’.
Anyone who says they believe in ‘world peace’ is kidding themselves.