June 10, 2016

Hillary is not the Lesser of Two Evils.

MSM spotlights Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, DonkeyHotey/Flickr

The Lesser of Two Evils?

“There never will be complete equality,” said Susan B. Anthony, “until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.” The movement toward complete equality began on November 9th, 1916 when Republican, Jeannette Rankin, was elected to Congress, making her the first woman to hold national office in the United States of America.

There has been a slow and steady march toward gender equality ever since.

In 1920, women secured the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th amendment. In 1932, Hattie Caraway became the first woman elected to the United States Senate. One year later, Frances Perkins became the first female to serve in a cabinet position when FDR named her Secretary of Labor. Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female to serve on the nation’s highest court in 1981. Twelve years later Janet Reno became the first female Attorney General. Soon thereafter Madeleine Albright was appointed to Secretary of State, making her the first woman to serve as the nation’s top diplomat.  In 2006 Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House, becoming the first woman to hold the top office in the legislative branch and the highest ranking woman in the Presidential line of succession in American history.

On June 7th, 2016 Hillary Clinton continued the historic march toward gender equality, becoming the first woman to secure the nomination of a major political party. The historical nature of Clinton’s achievement has been, in large part, lost in the tumultuous shuffle of presidential politics. Her momentous feat was muffled by the deafening tone of Donald’s divisive rhetoric and cries of foul play from within her own party.

Millions of people support Senator Bernie Sanders. I respect those who feel, now, that they cannot support Hillary Clinton. However, the idea that the establishment stole the election from Sanders is a delusion. The people chose Clinton.

Clinton won the popular vote by 3.7 million votes.

She won most of the state contests, including more than half of the open primaries.

She secured a clear majority of pledged delegates.

And, yes, she had overwhelming support from those damn superdelegates.

There is no objective measure by which she came up short.

Bernie has run a historic, inspiring campaign. But now, I hope his supporters transfer their enthusiasm to Clinton’s general election efforts. Consolidation between the two camps shouldn’t be difficult. Our two-party system forces the competing factions within both parties to coalesce around their nominee. For liberals and progressives, this should be an easy choice because of the wildly divergent general election options.

Most of Sanders’ supporters will unite behind Secretary Clinton…because the gap between Clinton and Sanders is dwarfed by the vast distance that separates Trump from…well…

You may think her pragmatic approach on the environment is not progressive enough, but she certainly doesn’t think climate change is a hoax, as does Donald.

You might think her $12 minimum wage isn’t high enough, but she doesn’t want to lower wages like Trump.

Perhaps you would prefer she advocate for a single payer system instead of expanding the net to achieve universal coverage, but she doesn’t want to repeal Obamacare like the Republican nominee has repeatedly promised to do.

Secretary Clinton doesn’t want guns in schools, a trade war with Mexico, nukes in Japan or South Korea, nor does she want to ban Muslims, surveil Mosques, or deport 11 million people. When Sanders supporters examine Donald’s proposals, they will find virtually no common ground.  They have both expressed concern over US trade policy, but comparisons stop there. In fact, there is little compatibility between Trump and Republicans!

Trump has been, thus far, unable to unite the GOP.  Donors are mostly running for the hills. The intellectual wing of the conservative movement—Bill Kristol, Robert Kagan, George Will, David French, and Erik Erickson, to name a few—have opposed Trump at every turn. Mitt Romney, the previous nominee of the Republican Party and the last two Republican Presidents (Bush 41 & 43) have refused to endorse him. Prominent Republican Senators like Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, and Mark Kirk have turned their back on Trump. John Kasich, the sitting Republican Governor of Ohio—a swing state and host of the Republican Convention—still hasn’t endorsed him. The highest ranking Republican, Paul Ryan, has called Trump’s recent comments a “textbook definition of racism,” and delayed endorsing him for weeks. Having your name on the shortlist for VP is traditionally an honor, but with Trump it is a burden and liability. Nikki Haley, Marco Rubio, Susana Martinez, and Rob Portman all rushed to publicly scratch their name from the list. Even Newt Gingrich, a Trump supporter and VP candidate, has called Donald’s recent racist comments inexcusable.

The pushback Trump has received from within his own party is unprecedented. It is startling that the GOP cannot find in their nominee enough common ground to rally around him in opposition to Hillary Clinton—for many years, Republican enemy number one. This is a big deal. It tells voters how dangerous Trump really is—and how, in fact, progressive Hillary is, by contrast. Trump’s efforts to unify the GOP have been thwarted, not only by his racist, misogynistic, and bigoted rhetoric, but by the hysterical and ever-evolving nature of his policy proposals, which part ways, not only with conservative orthodoxy, but common sense.

I do not have a cynical view of politics. I believe in the loyal opposition. Though I might not agree with them, the Mitt Romneys and Paul Ryans of the world are serious people with serious ideas.

I do not believe that to be true about Donald Trump. And neither do they! In the minds of many—on both the right and the left—Trump is dangerous. This is not a partisan attack. It is a bipartisan attack. In the polarized world of politics, the disturbing nature of Trump’s candidacy is one of the few points of agreement. This should give you pause: a presidential candidate so unfit and ill-prepared that he brings Ted Cruz and Elizabeth Warren together in their opposition to him!

Trump’s divisive rhetoric and un-American sentiments are deal breakers, but they are not the only concern people have with his candidacy. Donald cannot paint a coherent picture of what a Trump Presidency would look like, because he does not understand the issues. The only way to keep him on message is to put him on a teleprompter. When Trump goes off the cuff or is forced to give spontaneous answers to questions posed by the media, his astonishing lack of comprehension about the economy and foreign affairs come into full view. Trump cannot respond to a point-by-point critique because Trump does not possess the knowledge to advance or defend policy positions. So, he rants off to distract from the surprising lack of command he has on the issues. His gaffes are not accidents.

Thursday, June 2nd, Hillary Clinton gave a major foreign policy speech. The speech proved to be a healthy mix of foreign policy and pointed attacks against the Republican nominee. She went point-by-point and eviscerated the erratic ideas proposed by Trump. Rather than responding in any kind of depth, Donald stole the media cycle. He knew her remarks would get replayed for two days on network news, so he lobbed a bomb into the fray. He attacked the Mexican heritage and competency of the Judge presiding over his civil case. This wasn’t a mistake or coincidence. It is his strategy. Trump uses outrageous statements, misogyny, bigoted comments, and blatant racism to monopolize the media cycle and veil the embarrassing depths of his political illiteracy.

When you tie together the discontinuous ramblings of an unscripted Trump you see chaos and unrest, both at home and abroad. For example, Trump has said NATO is obsolete. This is a dangerous idea that begs a return to the era of world wars. Without NATO, Eastern Europe is vulnerable to Russian aggression. In November of 2015, Turkey shot down a trespassing Russian fighter jet. What would have happened, if there were no NATO alliance? Turkey would have had to cede their air space or face the prospect of war with Russia. There is a reason that Russia is the only G20 nation with a favorable opinion of Trump.

To examine how a Trump presidency might breed instability at home, look through the lens of his campaign promises into a future Trump presidency. Trump has promised to challenge the constitutionality of “anchor babies,” build a wall, and deport 11 million people. What if one or all of these actions were brought before the Supreme Court? Would Trump threaten the separation of powers by waging a public relations war against Justice Sonia Sotomayor? Would he question her impartiality and competency because of her Hispanic heritage, as he did Judge Gonzalo Curiel? Would he insist that she recuse herself? These are two examples of what is at stake in 2016.

The general election contrast has never been starker. One oozes superficial machismo, while the other is the first female contender to the presidency. 

Secretary Clinton has a detailed, working knowledge of economic, domestic, and foreign affairs. As a former hands-on First Lady, US Senator from New York, and President Obama’s first Secretary of State, Clinton brings more on-the-job experience than any candidate in recent years. But she touts more than knowledge and an impressive resume. She is bolstered by a history of accomplishment. Whether it is her time at the Children’s Defense Fund, her work on behalf of 9/11 first responders, the ceasefire she negotiated between Hamas and Israel, or the hunt for Bin Laden, Clinton has a record of achievement.

Editor’s Note: her record includes many concerns, which the NY Times has reported on even as they endorsed her unprecedented experience for the job. Too cozy with Wall Street, not transparent enough, hawkish.

Perhaps, her greatest accomplishment is that she persevered through it all. She lived through her husband’s affairs, 25 years of political attacks, and personal scandal to emerge as the first female nominee of a major political party. You might not agree with her; she might be too far to the right for some progressives or too far left for some conservatives—but she is eminently qualified for the job. Trump, on the other hand, is a thin-skinned, demagogic charlatan who lacks the temperament, experience, and empathy required to tackle the tasks put before the President of the United States.

We live in a binary system where voters are asked to choose between two divergent candidates—and this year’s options could not be more pronounced. We aren’t being asked to choose between the lesser of two evils. It is a choice between civility and indecency, knowledge and ineptitude, experience and incompetency, progress and the regression of civilization. We are being asked to choose between evil and common sense. And everyone chooses—either directly by casting a vote, or indirectly by staying home.

I’m with her!

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