I may be just an ordinary orc, but I wasn’t at all surprised when the Dark Lord Sauron became the leader of Mordor. A lot of my smart, liberal friends, though, reacted as if Middle-earth was coming to an end. Dwarves in the barroom of the Prancing Pony said it was the pride of the High Elves. Ravens twittering under the eaves of Mirkwood blamed the cunning of dragons. The Steward of Gondor, posting on FacePalantir, said it was because of Sauron’s hatred for the heirs of Isildur.

I’m here to tell you: it’s the economy, stupid.

It’s all very well for those of you who dwell in the Shire, the haven of Rivendell, or the quiet forests of Lothlórien. You live in a bubble. You don’t know what life is like for the average orc, in depressed areas like the Trollshaws, the Misty Mountains, or the Dead Marshes. Let me tell you, it’s hard out here for an orc. We experience tremendous insecurity, not knowing whether we’ll have a job, or be able to raid peaceful villages, or if our friends will eat us. Sauron appeals to us economically challenged goblins because he offers us the chance of a decent wage, respect for our values, and renewed pride in being the corrupted spawn of Morgoth.

If the Free People are going to defeat Sauron, you need to let go of your elitist attitudes and choose someone who can appeal to the moderate orc vote. That’s why I support Saruman the White to lead the Council of the Wise.

Now, I know there are a lot of orcs who won’t vote for any wizard. I get that. They’re blindly loyal to the Dark Lord, and nothing anyone does or says can change that. But those orcs represent no more than 10% of the Middle-earth electorate.

Gandalf has gotten a lot of attention by making the One Ring the center of his campaign. We all can agree that the Ring is important, but shouldn’t we also address the kitchen-table issues that moderate orcs — swing orcs — care about?

Destroying the Ring sounds appealing, but it’s naïve and simplistic. Much of Mordor’s infrastructure was built with the Ring. The building of the Dark Tower of Barad-Dûr and the Black Gate of Udûn employed thousands of trolls, goblins, and Haradrim. What are they supposed to do if it’s suddenly dissolved in the fires of Orodruin? Gandalf’s plan makes no provision for relocating and retraining thousands of Sauron’s minions.

Besides, Gandalf’s plan for dealing with the Ring just won’t work. It’s too far to the left to gain support from mainstream dwarves, and would vastly increase Hobbit immigration. If the Ring has to be dropped into Mount Doom, why can’t we have our own, native-born Great Eagles do the job?

Saruman the White supports a more gradual approach to destroying the One Ring. Under Saruman, Mordor will be transitioned away from a Ring-based economy, without the loss of thousands of orc jobs that Gandalf’s plan would entail. Saruman will work with the Ring, not against it, to gradually phase out the Shadow, the Eye of Fire, and the Nazgûl, and replace them with more sustainable alternatives.

Of course, Saruman’s record isn’t perfect. He said at one time that Rings of Power were good for Elves. We know that’s an outdated attitude. But that was more than a thousand years ago, before the Witch-King of Angmar destroyed the Northern Realm. Things were different then.

Saruman has repudiated his previous support for building engines of fire and doom beneath the tower of Isengard and breeding the Uruk-hai in its pits. But what’s done is done. We can’t go back and fix the past. Many radical Ents still oppose him for his one-time policy of “cutting down all the trees.” Saruman has acknowledged that he was wrong and says his position on Ents has evolved. But let’s be realistic. Sometimes you have to build hellish devices and generate foul orc-spawn to get things done. That’s just how politics works.

Saruman has received endorsements from the savage tribes of Dunland, the Great Goblin, and the King of Rohan (according to Theoden’s loyal advisor and spokesman, Gríma Wormtongue). He’s the wizard who can lead us into a bright new age.

And to those who say it’s time we choose someone like Lady Galadriel, forget it. There are still a lot of people who will never vote for an elf.