Who I'm voting for in this election is something I've considered carefully. There are a number of reasons why I'm going to be voting for Hillary Clinton. She was not my first choice in this election (it was Bernie Sanders). That said, we realistically have two choices right now - Clinton or Trump. I live in a swing state (Nevada), that's very close right now - and according to Nate Silver perhaps the most important to be voting in (according to his voter power index).
We already have 1 vacancy on the court right now, with more likely coming soon. There are three justices who were currently born in the 1930's (Kennedy, Ginsburg, & Breyer). I simply don't agree with conservative justices. I hate the Citizens United ruling as well as many others made by right-wing justices. Given the current vacancy, this issue is massively important and probably enough in and of itself for me to vote Democrat in this election regardless of who the candidates are. It's already sad that the Republicans in Congress refused to do their jobs by reviewing and accepting a candidate for the Supreme Court with nearly a year left in Obama's term. That is unprecedented.
2) Climate Change For more on my feelings on Climate Change, read my blog post:
I think this issue is really important. And in many ways it's a litmus test of whether or not democracy can deal with tough issues that require long-term planning in order to solve problems that don't have immediately bad consequences. The facts are that one party not only believes this is a problem, but is starting to make it important and do something about it (Obama signed the Paris Agreement with China)... and Trump has called Global Warming a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. This is a huge gap.
3) General Democrat issue advantage
As you can tell from the first two reasons I listed, I tend to side more with Democrats than Republicans overall on the issues. In fact, here you can see the results of my quiz and where I am overall on political issues:
I'm "51% with Clinton & 22% with Trump" in terms of agreement on issues. That isn't very high for Clinton and remarkably low with Trump. As of where the parties are right now, it's very hard for me to vote Republican. I disagree with Republicans on most issues: social issues, science, the Environment, the Supreme Court, criminal issues & the "war on drugs", foreign policy, domestic policy, and Immigration... I really only find agreement on economic issues.
I believe women should have the right to get an abortion, and then, yes, live with that decision. (it's not an easy one - but it's their decision and life, and if you don't believe in abortion then don't ever get one. Just remember that in cases of rape or a threat to the mother's health as well. And from a practical standpoint, abortion allows people who can't take care of their babies to not have one - which has lowered crime and reduced the number of unwanted children in the world.). I believe evolution and not creationism should be taught in schools... why? Because there's a preponderance of evidence for evolution and none for creationism. I believe in science and it's power to tell us things about the world. Mike Pence, their Vice Presidential candidate, likely doesn't believe in evolution. The current Republican party is very hard to support given these beliefs.
I believe we should reduce the annual deficit through spending cuts and not by raising taxes - which used to be a Republican thing... but isn't anymore. In fact the Republicans are LESS fiscally responsible than Democrats in the last 30 years, as they spend just as much or more (and in areas I like even less like wars & increased military spending), and try to cut taxes (but only for the wealthy). I care about fiscal responsibility, and a major way I would approach this is by raising the retirement age and cutting military spending. Those two things would allow us to reduce the deficit without raising taxes. Nobody really represents me on these issues. Summing up, the Democrats align more with my interests than the Republicans, who have basically gone crazy. Sorry Abraham Lincoln - you would not recognize your party today. I really hope the party disintegrates and a libertarianesque one rises from it's ashes. I don't agree with a number of Democrat positions, and I'm not registered with either party. I wish I could vote for a "Green Libertarian" candidate - as that would basically be what I'm looking for. But unfortunately we have the two-party system (which certainly seems to me like it sucks a lot right about now).
This is an election where if the candidate was right I would have considered not voting Democrat as I think Clinton is a weak candidate both personally and in terms of issue agreement for me - but Trump is not the right candidate (I would have considered Romney, though likely not voted for him... and I probably would have voted for Rand Paul - 47%). You can also see on the survey that I have a much higher issue agreement rate with the Green (70%) & Libertarian (91%) candidates. My #1 pick was Bernie Sanders (69%), who not only do I have the highest issue agreement with out of viable candidates - but I respect his integrity as a person more than anyone else who was running. That's a strong combination.
I am not a socialist economically. I want to lower taxes and cut government spending. Those are the main policy issues (economic) where I disagree with say Bernie Sanders. In fact, it would seem pretty insane that I could actually support Bernie Sanders... and sometimes I feel that way too. It's insane that our system is so f***ed up that it can't provide a better viable candidate for me than one who I disagree with on this type of fundamental level. There is no real libertarian candidate in either of the parties. I would strongly prefer Gary Johnson ... if he had a chance.
That said - I would like to raise an argument about the "welfare state" that nobody seems to be talking about. AI, robots, automation - they're coming. Machines will be able to do manual / unskilled labor better than people. Pretty soon many unskilled labor jobs will be replaced by machines (driving, in the factory, etc...). People that don't have the training or intelligence to do more advanced jobs (like manage the machines, creative work, engineering, programming, math, science, service, etc..) will have a problem finding work. In fact, I think there won't be enough market-sustained jobs for people at some point starting in the next 10-30 years. That's ok with me as this is happening in the name of efficiency. This is allowing society to be more productive. But the idea of the State supporting people either through some form of welfare, or by creating jobs for unskilled laborers in order to maintain low levels of unemployment will become an important thing in our future. So, it seems to me that the Welfare State has a place in our future as machines and computers will do our work for us and it will become hard to employ everyone. If we don't find a way to support these people displaced by machines, that will be a huge problem.
4) Trump is terrible candidate who I do not want to win.
Trump is a dangerous imbecile. Malignantly selfish and ignorant.
Trump is the single worst candidate in my lifetime to run for the Presidency. I completely reject Donald Trump and would like to increase the chances that he doesn't win the Presidency. That means voting for Clinton. Trump is singularly unfit for office. This goes beyond the fact that I disagree with him on many many issues.
All Trump supporters at this point will instantly say that my opinion has been shaped by "media spin". I watched the debates, I've listened to the candidates, and I watch extremely little mainstream media.
Trump is extremely narcissistic with a huge ego.
Whenever anyone says anything negative about him he doesn't like them, and if they say something nice about him - he likes them. How about during the debate when he needed to add in that he should of won the Emmy, or if Clinton got under his skin too far would start bursting out like a child to interrupt or call her names?
Here's an example of Trump's ego, bad judgement, bullshitting speech habits, everything:
This interview shows his gigantic ego and terrible judgement. First, let's just notice his manner of speaking which shows his Bullshit Artistry. Throwing in that "he's emotional" ... that his wife "doesn't have anything to say" ... "I don't know - you tell me. A lot of people have written that..." Trump uses this speech pattern all the time... he creates a statement and says "a lot of people have written this"... and soon after repeating this many times just leaves off that. It's his way of creating his own facts - which is terrifying. Trump is like a walking, talking 1984 Orwell newspeak reference.
1) He doesn't understand what sacrifice is. Trump says he sacrificed by creating companies and jobs. Doing something with huge benefits out of self-interest like building a company can hardly compare to parents losing a child in combat. It's ridiculous to compare the two.
2) Trump went out of his way to stupidly enter this conversation by interjecting his opinion which is ridiculously bad. He could have simply shown respect for the Khans and said a few things he disagreed with without trying to compare himself and his sacrifices, but showed amazingly poor judgement and got involved the way he did. He's shown this terrible judgement countless times.
3) The narcissism needed by Trump to make these statements is disturbing. He can't help but try to be "the most" in everything. He has to try to say he's sacrificed more than parents who lost a child - by talking about his successes as sacrifices. That's lying, bullshit, insanity.
I could provide a hundred more examples like the Khan one. But, in the interest of my time I'm going to move on.
Trump does not seem normal psychologically.
The way Trump speaks, and shows how he thinks, is troubling. He bullshits and lies to a degree I've never seen. I discuss this in another post here:
Trump has repeatedly done, said, or encouraged misogynistic or racist behavior/things. He said, "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best... They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." The inherent racism in this quote, that Mexicans are bad and especially likely to rape - is so bad that he needs to qualify that of course some (he assumes!) are good people. This is a shameful, despicable thing to say. If my child said this, I would immediately correct him and punish him. If someone said this at dinner I was at, I would call him out on it. If a man running for public office said it, I would never vote for him. It shows that his mind is unfit.
Even worse, the Klu Klux Klan has now endorsed him - and Trump has not repudiated it. When Reagan was offered the Klan's support in 1980 and 1984, he rejected it in 1980 saying, "I have no tolerance whatsoever for what the Klan represents. Indeed, I resent them using my name." And in 1984 he again rejected it saying, ""Those of us in public life can only resent the use of our names by those who seek political recognition for the repugnant doctrines of hate they espouse," Reagan said. "The politics of racial hatred and religious bigotry practiced by the Klan and others have no place in this country, and are destructive of the values for which America has always stood." Reagan was moral enough to denounce the Klan and reject the support. Trump is not, and is legitimizing fringe elements (like the Klan) of our society, elements that are racist and evil.
He's said numerous outrageously sexist things. He said about Megyn Kelly, "There's blood coming out of her eyes... blood coming out of her wherever" while trying to discredit her in an interview. What does her femininity have to do with whatever he disagrees with her about? Absolutely nothing. This is Trump saying an absolutely sexist, disgraceful remark. There are many more examples of his racism and misogyny. That is not OK. And it's much worse than simply "being a jerk." That is unacceptable behavior for a leader to show, judgment to have. He's shown terrible judgement and worse character repeatedly in public. These are fundamental standards of decency that someone should have.
Trump fails the human test of basic decency.
Here's a clip of him mocking a man's disability:
This nauseating man, who would openly mock a disabled man in this way is a disgrace. I am ashamed of this behavior. We are the United States of America. We were the leader in ushering in the modern era of democracies. We are the most powerful nation in the world with the largest economy and strongest military. The whole world is watching us. I reject Donald Trump. I do not want him to represent out country as its leader. He is not fit. He is personally disgusting as a human being.
Trump doesn't know anything about anything relevant to the job (Presidency).
Trump is singularly unqualified to be the President. He knows almost nothing about anything political. He knows nothing about the world. He knows nothing about public policy. He knows nothing about the issues. He never really discusses policy or has any ideas. Almost every thing he says communicates a feeling but not an actual idea. His solution is "Great" or "Amazing" and we've "never seen anything like it before." But outside of a couple issues - generally trade or immigration- (like building the wall, not letting Muslims in the country, etc...) most of what he says is nonsense about how good his ideas are, but not actual ideas. Some of his "great" plans he just bullshits (like his amazing plan to defeat ISIS that he's never shared). It's incredibly obvious to me that he's a bullshit artist and a conman - but not a thinker or idea man. Also, his speech does not show to me a smart man or capable thinker. He does not reason well. He is somewhat incoherent when he speaks. I have zero confidence in him and his abilities. Less than zero confidence, because not only do I not believe him smart or capable, I think he's a liar and a bullshitter.
Trump's ideas (the few he does share) are terrible.
1) The wall has always been a terrible idea, and Mexico is never going to pay a dime for it.
2) We should of "taken the oil". This is a horrible idea. To logistically or ethically do this is insanity. To invade Iraq and then take their oil would have been viewed by the rest of the world extremely negatively (America the new Germany, Trump the new Hitler).
3) "temporary" ban on muslims entering the country
The next president will be Clinton or Trump. A lot of people don't want to vote for either because "the lesser of two evils is still evil." The less bad option is still the better option relatively speaking. Voting for a 3rd party candidate is abdicating the responsibility of choosing one AND will increase the likelihood that the "more bad" other candidate will win. If someone gave me the choice between getting shot in the head or the hand - I would pick the hand and be very happy with the decision. Because it's a significantly better RELATIVE CHOICE. And when you only have two choices, that matters.
I live in Nevada, a very close swing state, and will be voting for Clinton. I have reservations about some of her moral judgments and the corruption surrounding her. But to try to equate Clinton to Trump in terms of how bad they are is absolutely a false equivalency. To a Trump supporter: "If your only answer to Trump being a catastrophic threat to US & global security is Clinton corruption, you are dangerously blinded by hate." ~ Garry Kasparov
At least with Clinton, I'm very confident in what I will get. She's very well-informed. She's intelligent. She's extremely qualified for the Presidency. She could find Pakistan on an unlabeled map and tell me what's going on there. I wish there was a better option than Clinton, but she is massively better than Trump.
In fact, possibly the greatest irony of this election is that Trump supporters can't stand Clinton for being corrupt/shady... yet Trump has been a pathologically lying, corrupt, shady scum bag since forever. Republicans found the one candidate who loses even here to Clinton. McCain? Romney? All would have won here. Trump? Not so much. Trump supporters have been so blinded by their hate for Clinton and her corruption, that they don't realize they are supporting a candidate that is entirely morally bankrupt - and has demonstrably done more shady/corrupt things than she has. Isn't it ironic? ... yeah I really do think... a little too ironic?
Go to this twitter page from today (11/7): https://twitter.com/kurteichenwald
You can see a list of 129 scummy things Trump has done over his life. Trump University was a scam. He's currently being sued and likely to lose the case. He's built his businesses and wealth by screwing people. Trump hasn't released his tax returns - an unprecedented move in modern politics for a Presidential candidate. I'm going to stop here and say this: So even on the one thing (really the ONLY thing) that Clinton is knocked for - her ethics / corruption. Trump is demonstrably worse than Clinton.
So the clear rational choice tomorrow is Clinton, and that's how I'll be voting.
Here's some great videos by Sam Harris (I found 2 days ago) which discuss why Trump is a terrible candidate. I agree with almost everything he says.