We are only about two weeks from this unfortunate election, and millions have already voted. I want to give you my current thoughts, with the caveat of retaining the right to modify my views right up to the day when I pull a lever.
Let me also confirm that we are all very tired of this election and want it to be over so that we can clean up and move on. And you can check out my original suggestions from back in May, 2015 at this link.
My intent here is not to start a range war with anyone, particularly with my friends and readers. I deeply respect the angst that most of us feel in trying to make this decision, and whatever you decide is certainly understandable. My intent here is simply to give you one observer’s perspective after a lot of thought and prayer.
I will divide my comments between the two big categories which seem to dominate the discussion: Policies/Outcomes and Personalities/Temperaments.
Let me start by stating that my Fantasy Ticket would have Mike Pence at the top. Or John Kasich. Either one of them, with a solid, understandable program of conservative change, would win this election in a landslide. Or even Gary Johnson, the Libertarian, whom I would probably vote for if I thought there were a path to the House of Representatives via the Electoral College. But unless Trump gives up or is turned aside, for now my only choice is Hillary, Donald, or Abstain.
If Hillary is elected, I know exactly what we will get. The Democratic Machine, from government unions to BLM to teachers’ unions to city governments in Baltimore, Detroit and other strongholds, along with the usual suspects in Congress, aided by the national media and bogus claims of a “mandate”, will try to out-Obama what has been the last eight years of domestic and foreign disasters. New taxes, regulations, pay-for-play, government overreach, diplomatic and military weakness, crony big bank capitalism, rocketing debt, bad economic policies, “Ya’ll come” immigration policies, and erosion of personal freedoms. Not to mention Supreme Court appointees who will further enshrine partial birth abortion, prohibitions on voter ID and other “rights” which are found nowhere in the Constitution and violate common sense.
Speaking of abortion and partial birth abortion, this is the only social issue for which I believe legislation is warranted and needed, because it is murder. One cannot undo an abortion, or change the outcome. In 1973 the Supreme Court re-read the Constitution and discovered something no one had ever seen there before—the right of a mother to kill her unborn child. So that new right is for now protected by the Constitution. But it is administered largely by the states, and in those backward states where people still cling to their Bibles and guns, if they want to require a mother to first see who is inside her on a sonogram before she kills her or him, then I don’t want Hillary’s Court to tell them that they cannot do so. That is what I’m concerned about.
And I am very troubled by candidates who claim to have a strong Christian faith and yet have figured out some way to give anyone, including a mother, the right to kill the most innocent among us. So, on balance and all else being equal, this issue is important to me.
In other words, on Outcomes, I know that with Hillary as President, there will be a complete disaster.
If Donald is elected, I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone does. There certainly may be a disaster, but perhaps not. He seems malleable on policy, and so if there is a Republican House and Senate, we may actually get real reform and progress toward restoring our country: Tax reform with closed loopholes for big companies and the rich, which he knows all about. The repeal of Obamacare and replacement with something simpler and more suited to what people really want at different stages of their lives. A strengthened and revived military, before it collapses from disrepair. An actual border and welcoming immigration policies based on what someone can add to our country. Real economic growth again, which will help deal with the national debt, which has doubled in the last eight years. And Supreme Court appointees who will more closely defend the Founders’ intent for our nation.
I believe that Ryan, Pence, McConnell and the sheer inertia of government processes will have the effect of hemming in Donald’s more far-out policies, like opposition to trade. I cannot guarantee it, but it seems reasonable to expect that someone who likes to negotiate will give and take in order to get things done, and to get the country moving again.
And if either the Senate or the House turns Democratic, then there will just be more to negotiate, and more inertia.
So, on balance, at this point in the discussion, I have to pull the Republican lever and hope that it is not too late for our nation. But that is not the whole story.
Donald appears to be a self-centered, petulant, flamboyant, gutter-running extrovert who thinks it’s all about him. He is not someone whom most of us would care to have a long term relationship with, or to do business with. He seems to speak before thinking, and not to understand the impact of his words, or not to care. He is not someone whom I want to be my leader.
Hilllary is a self-centered, petulant, mean, gutter-running introvert who thinks it’s all about her. She is not someone whom most of us would care to have a long term relationship with, or to do business with, if she ever did any business. But after thirty years she has learned well to think hard before speaking. She is not someone whom I want to be my leader.
Most of us can recite all of Donald’s weaknesses, so I will not dwell on them here. They are legion, and they seem to repeat.
Some people will only vote for the Democratic candidate, but for others, I ask you to at least consider that you have been sold a well-crafted bill of goods on Hillary’s personality and temperament. I am not saying that Donald is good; I am saying that in this area Hillary is equally bad, or perhaps worse.
Just dip into anything about how she treated the first White House staff, the Travelgate disaster, the lying about her law firm files. Lying about being fired on in Bosnia, lying about Benghazi, lying about her email server. Erasing emails, pay-to-play with the Clinton Foundation, conveniently forgetting details when it suits her. Unlike Donald, she has learned the hard way to think a lot before she speaks, because she is a natural liar and braggart. In fact, I submit to you that Hillary is just the later, more learned version of a natural Donald, flaunting daily a seemingly refined and rational patina which she and her handlers have crafted around her after decades of being caught in self-centered lies.
And she is mean. Donald may be trash, but Hillary is trailer trash. Don’t cross her or Bill. Ask Vince Foster, Gennifer Flowers, Juanita Broaddrick, Monica Lewinsky, Bernie Sanders or, I suspect, Loretta Lynch and James Comey.
The press is rightly concerned about the small business people who lost money when some of Donald’s companies declared bankruptcy. But when Hillary is through with you, you may just disappear.
Under her carefully protected patina, Hillary is only interested in whatever furthers Clinton, Inc., with just a side glance at the national interest or at the progressive ideologues and the various categories of “victims” who are the Democratic Party’s stooges. The Clintons are, after all, the prototypes for the first couple in House of Cards.
In short, I push back hard against the common caricature that this election is the Evil Monster vs. Snow White. He may be the Evil Monster, but she is definitely the Big Bad Wolf impersonating a loving Grandmother.
So on personality/temperament, I rate them equally. They are both terrible. Her faults have just been very consciously papered over by adoring sycophants and a loving press. I completely understand that younger people who did not live through the earlier, more Trump-like version of the Clintons may fall for the make-over. But under her grandmother’s shawl, she is still the very deadly wolf.
At this point I am therefore left with a tie on personality. Again, they are both terrible.
If you are going to vote for Hillary because you agree with her Progressive Liberal policies, then so be it. I don’t agree, but I understand and respect your right to do so. But please don’t kid yourself that you are thereby also seizing some higher moral ground from those who vote for Trump (or don’t vote). You are not. She is still covered in slime, like him. Hers has just been repeatedly bleached to try to hide the stain from those who refuse to look closely.
So turning back to the combination of policies and outcomes to make my final decision, it boils down to what I know will happen with Hillary vs. what may happen with Trump. I don’t like making a voting decision based on “will” vs. “may”, but that’s where I am.
Trump will probably lose, but, for the above important reasons, as of today I plan to vote for him. I can only hope that if he does somehow win, he will then get bored and six months later abdicate to Pence.
What a time for our nation. As the old saying goes, with a small twist, “Pray like it depends on God, because it does. And vote like it depends on you, because it does.”
We are about to enter a new era in our beautiful nation and must work together to heal the scars of this ugly, divisive campaign season. I came of age during the era of Kennedy, Dirkson, Rayburn, Goldwater, Johnson and Nixon … and that experience taught me a lot about the power of reaching across the aisle and addressing the nation’s problems jointly. Accordingly, I have spent my adult life culminating relationships with people of different political viewpoints, people whom I deeply respect. I have read and tried to understand your viewpoint on this election, Mr. Hudson, and I can’t even understand what you are saying, trying to cast these two candidates as somehow ‘equivalently’ bad choices. You are wrong. They are not the same, and I suspect you know that in your heart-of-hearts.
At this point, there are only two choices: evil or not evil. And if you haven’t figured out that out yet, seriously, you have your own hidden agenda. Perhaps like the proverbial boiled frog you didn’t notice how bad the Republican candidate was until he exposed himself as very, very bad indeed. I totally get that. And in every other election, even when I have vehemently opposed the political choices of people I care for, I’ve quietly nodded my head, loved in spite of our differences and simply voted my own conscience. But this is not every other year — unless that year is 1939.
As Donald Trump has gone from stunt candidate to actual Republican party nominee to Tweeter-in-Chief during the wee hours of the morning, the moral option has become more and more singular and evident. I assume you know this. You know his reckless and absolutely massive dishonesty, his pandering to racists, his admitted predatory behavior against women whom he finds “attractive enough,” his chummy relationship with the Russian President, his lack of any knowledge of how government works (other than how to give money to politicians to gain favors), his lack of interest in civil liberties or the behavioral burdens of leadership, his natural inclination toward physical confrontation and violence, his lashing out against any and all who he thinks are belittling him, his overall lack of fitness to run a Twitter feed let alone a superpower. I kind of think once a Republican candidate is officially endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, it’s obvious that we are living in Crazy Time. And, looking back over his personal history, no one has found a single example of Donald Trump having done something kind and generous for another human being, just out of simple compassion. He is devoid of that instinct, and you know it.
And, please, you certainly can’t pretend at this late date that your conservatism is motivated by your Christian beliefs, if that was ever your serious excuse. The day of bigots wrapping themselves in the cloak of “Christianity” is now dead and gone. It was a farce from the beginning. Christianity may be for cleansing us of our sins, but it was never for disguising them. The only problem with modern Christianity is that so few “Christians” are willing to even give it a try.
So let’s say you still, mind-bogglingly, just can’t get your head around pulling the lever for Clinton on Tuesday. Is it because you’re a traditional Republican and you can’t bear the thought of breaking with your party? Your party broke with you when it threw its collective weight behind a mad man.
Is it because, as you say, “Clinton and Trump are both bad?” Are you serious? It’s like we’re living inside the last scene of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” They are not in any sense “equal,” and if we could just somehow wake you back up, you would know that intuitively.
Even if you hate Hillary Clinton for reasons other than she’s simply a powerful, ambitious woman who is not a complete train wreck — and I get that there are people who really hate her for that — you still have to make a choice. You have to choose to not be a coward.
I’ve had friends argue that they disagree too strongly with Clinton and it’s their “right” to cast an objection vote for Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson. Well, yeah, and if your “right” is more important to you than averting a global disaster, sleep tight! P.S. You’re a giant baby. As writer Ivan Hernandez said on Twitter way back in February, “I’m pro-Bernie but would vote Hillary as I am a one issue voter and that issue is not opening the seventh seal and ushering in the apocalypse.”
As for me, I’m going to take my privilege of voting and use it not just for my interests but for those who don’t have that right. When I get into that booth on Tuesday, I will be casting a ballot for the person who will best serve a recently incarcerated mom who’s trying to get back on her feet – something Christ would do today. Who will serve the undocumented immigrant trying to make a better life for his family – something Christ would do today. Who will serve our young daughters and make them feel worthy as human beings no matter how attractive a 70 year-old white man find them. How selfish, how self-absorbed would I have to be to throw away my vote when I think about all of them?
This is not a normal, you-do-you-and-I’ll-do-me election. This is a race between a Democrat and a demagogue who has emboldened angry, ignorant, violent people. This is one with a party that’s cool with voter suppression as long as you’re suppressing the right kind of voter. This is a situation where one candidate’s supporters are actively calling for lynching the opposition leader and think it’s funny, who beat up protestors at their own events and fail to see the connection with Nuremburg of the 1930s and everything our fathers fought against in World War II. This is manifestly evil behavior, rising up all around us. Oh, but right, as so many of her endorsements has bent over backward to remind us, Hillary’s not perfect.
And if you were voting for a messiah, I suppose that would be a problem. But I’m going to go vote for a person. You’re telling me that a lifelong politician has made choices and comprises in her career you disagree with? OMG welcome to democracy! So you hold your leaders accountable; you demand strength and service and you do it by participating in the goddamn process. Anything less is weak and shabby and cynical and lazy.
You don’t feel empowered enough this election? Step 1: Stop complaining and get off your butt and vote for the one person who has a viable shot at winning the White House and who won’t actively undermine the last 200-plus years of our nation’s progress. Every single vote, every single one, sends a message that we as a nation reject the racism and misogyny and flat-out lying and Twitter trolling that has marked the Republican candidate’s campaign and revealed who he really is. It decisively says, “Cut the shit.” Don’t think that this doesn’t matter. Don’t think anything less is acceptable.
History remembers those who participated in the worst atrocities, but it also remembers those who stood by and let them happen. It remembers the weak and the complacent and the misguidedly self-righteous “Good Nazis”. On Tuesday morning, I am going to say yes to messy imperfection, to sane discourse, to protecting the dignity of all Americans. It’s going to feel great. If you can’t get on board, I genuinely feel sorry for you. You’re not an ally, you’re not patriotic and you’re definitely part of the problem. But that’s OK, you’re still a fellow American. And the rest of us are going to save your bacon anyway.