Thoughts on the Election: Why I'm Not Excited

Note: Since this piece was originally posted, a few friends made me aware of the anti-Israel sentiments of Ms. Stein's running mate. That's a deal-breaker for me. I will now cast my (write-in) vote for Bernie Sanders.

Several readers have expressed surprise by my relative silence on the upcoming presidential election. In all honesty, there’s not much to say except that I’m depressed by a race between two grifters. Republicans surrendered to the Tea Party in 2010, and the Democrats stacked the deck to make sure Hillary Clinton got the nomination instead of Bernie Sanders, who represented a possibility of substantive change that no living American is likely to see again.

What do you want me to say? That Donald Trump is a pompous fool, an arrogant pig, a joke in a hairweave, a national embarrassment? Isn’t that self-evident? Trump is the candidate of white trash, gun-rights Nazis, scared suburbanites, radical Christianists, gay-bashers, chauvinists, and assorted deluded people who haven’t noticed that America is a multicultural society. Trump’s only path to victory is to so disgust the electorate that only white people vote, but it could happen.

Hillary Clinton should waltz to victory, except she won’t. Democrats couldn’t have picked a weaker candidate if they’d randomly chosen from an unemployment line. You know she’s bad when supporters have to cry “double-standard” at every step of a scandal-littered path. Then they tell people they “must” vote for her to “stop” Donald Trump. Here’s my answer: STFU! She’s better than Trump, but who wouldn’t be? That’s not the same as being worthy. Scandal follows Clinton for reasons that go beyond GOP fear-mongering: there’s so much garbage in her past that it’s child’s play to open a new trash pit. Not all it is fair, but there’s more truth to it than wide-eyed Hillaryites believe. Moreover, it doesn’t matter. You have to live in la-la land to believe that issues are the default position for voters—perception matters more. Don’t you love the way Clinton dropped the ball the very morning after Trump got caught suggesting Second Amendment advocates could assassinate her? Bingo! New allegations arose of misuse of email accounts to solicit inappropriate donations to the very Clinton Foundation from which wiser people told her years ago she needed to resign. She probably broke no laws, but do you see any sound judgment in this? Do her supporters even get the hypocrisy of telling people they “must” vote for her? Such assertions are anti-democratic authoritarian acts on par with the ideology they accuse Trump of having.

A Trump victory would confirm what I have suspected for a decade: America didn’t “win” the Cold War—it merely outlived communism before beginning its own decline. So my decision will be to vote for Jill Stein*. Hillary Clinton doesn’t hold my values. In fact, Trump is better than Clinton on the ones I hold dearest: war and peace, social class, and protectionism. (Stein is better still, but* I might choose to write in Sanders' name.)

Let’s start by discarding campaign rubbish that’s going nowhere regardless of who wins. Republicans can rant all they want about gay marriage, but the Supreme Court has ruled it legal and that’s the final word. In like fashion, liberals can raise the specter of disappearing reproductive rights, but, in truth, radical Christianists have already gutted Roe to the point where poor women can’t get abortions. I refuse to get excited if some white chick from Atlanta has to have daddy fly her to Boston to erase her little “mistake.” (Oddly, it might help the case for protecting abortion access.) I’m no fan of the Affordable Care Act, but it’s not going anywhere either—even Republican governors have discovered it’s way cheaper than their states picking up the tab. Trump would make cosmetic changes, but that’s it. Accept Syrian refugees? We don’t; we won’t—just 10,000 have come since the start of the conflict. Gun control? Not happening on either watch, and won’t until someone in the future with courage turns the IRS loose on the NRA. Environmental issues? They’re both so pro-development they make it easy to vote for Stein.

On war and peace, I agree Trump is more likely to do something rash in the case of war but here’s the thing: Clinton is much more likely to get us into one in the first place. She is a hawk on overthrowing Assad, a hawk on reintroducing troops to Iraq, a hawk on boosting deployments to Afghanistan, a hawk on taking unilateral action against Iran, a hawk on introducing women to combat, and a staunch interventionist. Trump, on the other hand, has isolationist tendencies and thinks it’s not America’s job to clean up other people’s messes. I agree.

Speaking of isolationism, Trump is a free trade skeptic. So am I. Hillary now opposes the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement, but in her heart, she’s always supported NAFTA-type agreements. (Bill Clinton signed NAFTA into law.) I see free trade as the biggest fraud ever perpetuated on workers. If Trump introduced a modicum of protectionism and it stimulated an uptick in American jobs, it would be better than what Mrs. Clinton would bring. Clinton is part of the pernicious crew spreading the myth that America is a middle-class society. It’s not, and until someone speaks to the majority—wage, not salary, earners—a lot of those wage earners will continue to act like white trash by opposing progressive social legislation. (When was the last time they acted progressively? Try LBJ’s Great Society. Johnson knew poor workers when he saw them.)

Here’s the dirty secret neither Clinton nor Trump want you to know: on most issues they’re on the same page. Their differences are in the fine print, not in substance. Don’t take my word for it—go to Inside Gov and see for yourself.  I see November as a choice between the sociopathic and the ethically challenged. I won’t stay home, but I will vote my values. *Stein won’t win, but does it matter which hollow coronation we display—that of the first female president, or that of the first TV psycho president? America already jumped the shark on the chance for real change.

* I reserve the right to write-in Bernie Sanders' name. I'm watching the political winds and will vote for whichever of them seems most disruptive of the two-party system. 

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