I’ve been pre-empted the past couple of weeks by the national party conventions. Out of an abiding commitment to you, I forced myself to watch both of them over the eight nights of combined coverage.

The parties gave us two distinct visions of America.

For Republicans, the message was that America’s best days are behind us and the country is doomed without Donald Trump. For Democrats, the pitch was that our best days are still in front of us and the country is doomed with Trump.

Understand that this is not an assessment based on any personal politics. It’s an observation of very clearly defined political strategies designed to attract voters.

You see, both parties have the same problem — unlikeable candidates.

Both candidates have the highest unfavorable ratings in modern U.S. history and maybe ever. This election really comes down to how much you’re willing to overlook.

If you’re a Democrat, you have to be willing to overlook Hillary Clinton’s handling of her State Department emails, and the party’s efforts to tip the scales to her campaign over that of Bernie Sanders.

If you’re a Republican, you have to overlook Tump’s shoot from the lip remarks that by any objective standard have been racist, sexist and consistently narcissistic.

The real question is how will political Independents vote. Independents now make up more than 40 percent of American voters.

The parties may determine the nominees, but the independent voter may very well determine the next President, as they did Alaska’s Governor 2 years ago. Independent voters are unencumbered by the idea of party litmus tests. Life is more complicated than that, and so are most people.

Independent voters are free to consider the candidate’s character and experience.

And with so many party members uncomfortable with their own candidate this year, imagine the dilemma of the independent voter.

If you’re a member of the party faithful, your decision is already made.

For the rest of the electorates, they’ll be watching closely over the next 13 weeks and decide for themselves just how much they’re willing to overlook.

John’s opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.