Monday, September 26, 2016
On Election 2016: Pick the Least Worst Candidate
If you listen to the rhetoric around this election, both of these candidates will lead this country to disaster. Hillary is a crooked spymaster, a wicked scheming eunuch of her husband’s court that has been bought and sold by powerful interests. And Donald Trump is a fascist leading a white supremacist revolution that will turn this country into Columbia from “BioShock Infinite”. They're both old, they're both crooked, they're both ugly, they're both out to steal America away from you.
The problem for me is that once you cut out the hyperbolic bullshit, I think both of these candidates are terrible choices. I’m still going to vote for Hillary Clinton, but I’ll do so with my eyes open. Neither one of these candidates will solve the dysfunction in Washington, neither one will bring this country together, neither one can solve our foreign policy issues, neither one can fix the economy. If either candidate wins, we are looking at a circus of four bad years in Washington to follow.
Do not think for a second that the moment your least favorite candidate loses that you can breathe a sigh of relief. Do you really think the Republicans are just going to sit back and let Hillary Clinton be president unchallenged? Do you think Trump will just build his wall and bomb families indiscriminately without backlash?
I should start by saying that Donald Trump terrifies me. He is a frightening figure of irresponsible foolishness. The country has lost respect for how difficult the job of being president actually is, and Trump is the candidate that embodies that willful ignorance. We think there can be easy fixes, simple short-cuts. Just kick out the Muslims, build a wall, murder their families. Make "deals". I don’t see much of a serious person behind the bluster and the bad hair and the image.
Trump is not Adolf Hitler, he’s a con artist. I don’t have time to break down every single negative Trump has, but I can give a good review. His businesses have failed, he’s crooked to the core by his own admission - the man couldn’t even keep casinos open. There’s a reason he refuses to share his tax returns, because he’s not nearly as rich as he claims to be and is scamming the American people by not paying a cent of taxes. And his Comedy Central Roast sucked. How is this man going to run the country? He couldn't run a convention.
Now what really scares me about Trump is his supporters. The man himself is not a conservative, or a nationalist, he’s not really politically anything. But it is shocking to me that a person this malignantly egomaniacal, so clearly greedy and despicable and self-serving still has won so much of the traditionally conservative vote. I’m not surprise Sean Hannity so easily adjusted to a new master, he’s a well-trained hound and will follow any master. But the so-called “true” Conservatives are supporting a man who would tear down the American Empire, break up free trade, and generally act like a liberal. Where is your integrity?
I look at the Religious Right and am horrified at these self-described faithful people. Trump is an outwardly un-Christian man. You could get the Trump Tower through the eye of a needle before he would go to the heaven of Jesus Christ. Yet the Religious Right mindlessly follow a man with multiple divorces, who has lived a sexually debauched life, has never shown humility or faith. “Christians”, what the fuck? Just because Bill Clinton got a blowjob you’ll vote for a man with multiple Howard Stern appearances and claimed he could bang Madonna? At least the Mormons have remained to true to their faith.
But beyond that, Trump has built a reckless coalition of the worst spectrum of White American power. He is the natural result of white majorities breaking down. It seems it won’t die without a fight, which should terrify you as much as it terrifies me. And I’m white. (Or white-ish, hard to say when Trump supporters also hate Jews.) Trump has taken a huge swath of the Republican base to Double-Think itself into believing a former Clinton funder can be the next Ronald Reagan, and sparked a horrifying political movement of nationalists that will only be stronger and more terrifying come 2020. He’s the most dangerous man to be nominated by a major political party for President since Aaron Burr.
Then there’s Hillary, who is a better candidate, but still not going to be a good president. The sooner we admit this to ourselves the better.
The fact of the matter is that the Republican Party stonewalled Barack Obama for eight years. He was a paralyzed president who was lucky he got even what he did done. Right now he can’t even get a conservative idea like the Trans-Pacific Partnership done, he can’t nominate a moderate or even slightly conservative Supreme Court Justice. Obamacare was a Republican idea and the right-wing reacted to it like he declared a Soviet Socialist Republic. Hillary Clinton and Obama are not liberals, they’re moderate conservatives. And even that makes them the arch-villains of Commie Muslim anti-American betrayal.
Hillary Clinton is walking into the office with several options for impeachment against her. You think the email scandal was just an election tool? You think the Benghazi shit is going to end in November? With all the Wiki-Leaks info, Hillary Clinton may only last a year or less before she is impeached. The Republican House would have a horrifically weak case and it would be a short-sighted disaster to whatever remains of Washington partisan cooperation. But nobody these days cares about the future or building a working government. It doesn't matter what kind of outrageous behavior happens in Washington, we can forgive it if our team wins. If you aren't depressed yet, you must be deranged.
The part that I don’t like about Hillary Clinton is she is not stupid. She knows what a compromised figure she is, she knows she is despised. She was a weak candidate that somebody like Marco Rubio or Paul Ryan would be steamrolling right now. If it wasn’t for Trump she would already have lost. (And if it wasn’t for Hillary, Trump would have quietly shut down his campaign in August and played it all off as a joke.) Yet she is such a powerful figure in her party she managed to run virtually unopposed in her primary. The only candidate willing to stand up to her was a wackjob socialist that somehow nearly beat her. Bernie Sanders in a normal year would be my hipster pick for president, knowing he didn’t stand a chance. Instead he almost toppled the Democratic Queen.
Ultimately Clinton represents a Democratic Party that wants business as usual. She will be a third Obama term at best. I mean, that’s not so bad on some level. Maybe we’ll get a better minimal wage, America won’t turn towards Isolationism like Trump wants, maybe Wall Street can get reigned in more, maybe there can be more health care reform, and the tens of thousands of dollars I owe in student loans can be helped. She has a lot of ideas that on paper I agree with. I’m still a liberal after all. But if you’re really paying attention, you’ll notice that Obama was not all that different from George W. Bush. Hillary as Obama III is not the solution. We'll be political stuck for four years. It’s a band-aid to kick the problems down the road to 2020. And if you thought 2016 was bad, you have seen nothing yet. I can't imagine the kind of monstrosity that will appeal if Trump has gotten this far.
There’s some good that might come out of Hillary, but also a lot of bad. Those four years will be another nightmare of acrimony and ridiculous grandstanding (on both sides). Hillary Clinton is going to be a president that people will hate. Unfairly or not, she has a Nixonian level of obvious phoniness and manipulation. In a better time, that could make her like a Lyndon Johnson, a hardass insider that could get shit done. But today? No. We're all too self-righteous and up our own asses to make deals. She's the worst person for a time like this. We needed a liberal Republican to quiet the screaming down. Instead we'll get a conservative Democrat that will suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous Fox News headlines.
Even the most politically ignorant Americans can tell the system is not working, we need radical change. That’s why Trump has an appeal, even if he really has no idea what to do. He’s different, they can see that. Voters in Britain picked Brexit just because it pissed off the elites, who they know to not trust. Doesn't matter that Brexit is probably an economic catastrophe, as long as the big guys get fucked too. Hillary Clinton is a definite elite – and so is Trump, but people can somehow choose to ignore that because his vocabulary sucks. Voting in Trump is the ultimate spitting in the face of the political establishment. Who is the establishment? Hillary Clinton.
Americans right now are not listening to each other. We don't need to anymore. We don't even inhabit the same country anymore in a lot of ways. With the internet we can split into our own little subcultures and never bother to do the actual research. If somebody disagrees you downvote them to oblivion on reddit and then post memes of their face posted over Joseph Stalin's body. Who needs to worry about Trump’s bankruptcies when Facebook is telling us that Hillary Clinton is dying of Parkinson’s? Who needs to worry that Hillary Clinton was in-bed with the Democratic Party and screwed Bernie Sanders when Trump is in bed with Gamergate Neo-Nazis? Whatever narrative you want, that's what you get.
I only wish we could get over hating each other’s candidates and come together this election. Because actually, all Americans are on common ground right now. Both of these candidates are awful. We don’t need to argue about which is worse. We need to argue against them both. This country is being given a bad deal in 2016. Clinton is the least bad option, but we’re still going down the wrong path. I bet Clinton will win. But I won’t be smiling on her election day.
So instead of debating with words, have them debate with poisoned swords. Lester Holt can leave out a poisoned goblet, only for Mike Pence to drink from it inadvertently. Ted Cruz and Reince Preibus can be hanged off-stage. Leave Tim Kaine behind to tearfully tell the story once Bernie Sanders marches in with an army of millenials.
Curtains. Wild applause.
That’s the fantasy at least. In the real word... You have to pick the least worst candidate. I'm doing it kicking and screaming. But I'm voting Hillary Clinton. There are no right answers in 2016. Just the least worst one.