COMMENTARY: How Pete Rose represents presidential race

Amanda Gonzalez

Baseball’s all-time hits leader Pete Rose has been making headlines recently. He is directly appealing his ineligibility for the MLB Hall of Fame with the Hall itself, after being banned from baseball in 1989 for betting on his own team as manager.

All bets aside, the arguments made from baseball fans echo larger American sentiments towards presidential candidates Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Rose supporters say that MLB needs to focus on all the 4,256 career hits he earned as a hardworking player for the Cincinnati Reds, not his gambling infractions as the Reds’ manager. The Hall of Fame should be preserved as a museum of baseball history, not a monument of perfect morals.

Those opposing Rose emphasize that he sacrificed his chance at the Hall of Fame when he broke the rules and regulations of MLB. Inducting him into the Hall of Fame would be unethical and would send a message to young baseball fans that you can buy or sweet-talk your way into good graces.

If you’ve already decided who to vote for, you can see how this rhetoric aligns to fit arguments for or against Trump and Clinton.

Trump supporters believe Trump’s business expertise should be the center of attention, not his blunt or politically incorrect comments. Republicans also emphasize that Clinton is corrupt and should have lost her right to the presidency because of her alleged criminal offenses.

On the other hand, those opposing Trump believe Clinton should be recognized for her administrative contributions, not the circumstantial controversies surrounding her. Democrats also deem Trump a formidable political outsider who bought his way onto presidential ballot for fame.

Personally, these arguments – whether in regards to The Hit King or the country’s next leader – just leave me conflicted.

Since World War II, sports have served as entertainment to distract people from the depression of politics and war. But if MLB commissioners can’t even decide whether or not Rose should be eligible for baseball’s highest honor, how are we supposed to elect a commander-in-chief?

Maybe it’s just because I’m just a naïve, open-minded millennial who can see the valid points of reason and ethical concern behind almost every polarizing issue, ranging from baseball to gun control to cyber security (I’ll give my American Dilemmas course credit for that.)

But looking at statistics, I’m not alone in thinking the Democratic and Republican candidates are both flawed. If you’ve already made up your mind, you can list a thousand reasons why one candidate is worse than the other. You probably don’t understand why people can be undecided or favor the opposing candidate.

On Sept. 12, the Pew Research Center published survey findings showing “just a third of registered voters say they are very or fairly satisfied with the choices, while 63 percent say they are not too or not at all satisfied.”

Although the recent presidential debates have been great for comedic skits on “Saturday Night Live,” they haven’t been very helpful in discussing actual policy plans.

In fact, the debates have been causing more political confusion, leading Americans to think that it’s too much of a gamble to elect either nominee – pun intended.

During the past few months, The Guardian performed several social studies analyzing voter thought-process. One test concluded that in situations where all choices are bad, people tend to vote by rejecting one candidate more than the other, instead of choosing the better candidate.

When voting by rejection, The Guardian determined that people were less likely to vote based on party affiliation. Respondents also took more time to make their decision when using the rejection condition because “they pay more attention to all information they have – both good and bad – and don’t get swayed as much by one piece of information that sticks out” (like missing e-mails and tax returns).

Both Clinton and Trump are older-generation Baby Boomers seemingly looking for their last hurrah. Their supporters consider them to be an “American Hero.” They are white. They have a lot of money. They have secrets and lies. They both probably even have regrets. Another person who fits this criteria: Rose.

However, as the Nov. 8 presidential election draws closer, the general public needs to know what each candidate brings to the table in order to make an informed voting decision. This includes third-party and independent candidates.

Rose once said, “Somebody’s gotta win and somebody’s gotta lose, and I believe in letting the other guy lose.”

Just how Rose is adamant about his right to be inducted into Cooperstown, Trump and Clinton are adamant about being the perfect fit for the White House.