Not much new can be written about this disgraceful election. Nevertheless, I’d like to address the large swath of voters that are either undecided, leaning toward a third-party candidate, considering a write-in, or are simply so exasperated that they plan to stay home on Election Day. These voters will decide the outcome of the election on Nov. 8.
In this topsy-turvy election season, we have become anesthetized to absurdities beyond belief. But in its final stretches, I implore those who may fall into one of these categories to not forget how gravely important it is that Hillary Clinton assumes the presidency, and not Donald Trump.
This is in part due to Trump’s shallow, often preposterous policy positions, which I will address briefly.
Trump’s economic plan is fiscally reckless and morally bankrupt. Corporate profits and incomes for the wealthy are at an all-time high, and yet middle-class incomes remain stagnant. More drastic cuts in the income and corporate tax rates will not create trickle-down solutions to these problems, they will simply explode the deficit and let corporations and high-income individuals reap even more. In contrast, Clinton will grow the economy from the middle out by closing tax loopholes and raising taxes on the wealthy, and then she’ll use that money to lower taxes for the middle class and invest in the rest of the United States. Trump’s trade rhetoric and proposals, which have included imposing tariffs as high as 40 percent on our trade partners, risk inciting a trade war, raising prices for all Americans, and stunting economic growth.
Trump wants to repeal Obamacare, but he offers no credible plan to replace it. He wants to build an impenetrable wall on our southern border, make Mexico pay for it, and then employ a laughably infeasible, not to mention horrifying, “deportation force” to root out all 11 million undocumented immigrants. He once promised to ban all 1.6 billion Muslims from entering the U.S. He believes ““the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive” and vows to renege on the Paris climate deal, which was endorsed by 190 countries in the shared fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the realm of foreign policy, I don’t think there has been a greater difference in knowledge and capability—“take the oil”?—between presidential candidates in recent memory.
Despite the radical, absurd, infeasible dimensions of some of these policies, I believe that there is room in the forum for spirited and productive discourse about the broad thrust behind Clinton’s and Trump’s policy platforms.
But—and this is what is important—even if you are vehemently opposed to Clinton’s policies, I believe that the wide gulfs in character, temperament, and experience between the two candidates are all of such great magnitude to impel voters of all ideological bents to cast their vote for Clinton.
To suggest, as many people do, that the two candidates’ moral failings are of the same sordid nature, forcing the voter to decide between two equally monstrous evils, is a grave error.
The dramatic turn in America’s view of Clinton is somewhat mystifying. Leaving her position as secretary of state, Clinton’s approval rating was 63 percent. Now it is almost as low as Trump’s. She should not have used a private server and it is highly suspect that she deleted thousands of emails. But hackers have since released over 30,000 emails from her private server, which revealed absolutely no evidence of illegal activity. They only confirmed what we already know about Clinton: that she is politically expedient and ruthlessly pragmatic.
But we also know that for Clinton these characteristics are sublimated into a deeply held, overriding desire to make the U.S a better place for all of us, which she has been working toward her entire life. In her child advocacy work and legal career, during her time as first lady of Arkansas, U.S. senator, first lady of the United States, and finally secretary of state, Clinton has fought for what she believes is best for this country.
Trump, in contrast, does not have the knowledge, character, temperament, or experience to be president. And the evidence need not be sought in email hacks; he produces it on a daily basis.
Many, including myself, thought that Trump would exert self-discipline after the primaries. That naiveté is almost comical now.
Trump has absolutely no reverence for, or even a basic understanding of, America’s political tradition. Anyone who heard him say, when asked in the debate whether he will accept the results of the election, “I will look at it at the time,” should shudder in horror.
His insistence on hawking a few campaign tropes in the same hyperbolic language only incites hysteria and demonstrates a profoundly shallow awareness of the numerous complex issues that face our country.
The way he treats people, women and minorities in particular, is simply indefensible. It has to be a deal-breaker. Watch the Access Hollywood video again. In some of the most lewd and repulsive language imaginable, Trump brags about committing sexual assault. This is no anomaly—it is another pathetic data point in a larger pattern of personality. He calls women pigs and slobs. He offers his accusers’ looks as proof of his innocence. He picks petty fights on Twitter. He avows the utmost respect for our military, and then casually degrades the family of a fallen U.S. soldier and John McCain for being a prisoner of war.
Racial tensions tear at the fabric of our country, yet he only sows division and inflames our lowest instincts. He ignores facts about other ethnicities in lieu of fear mongering. Even his initial rise to political prominence was fueled by his insistent peddling of the outrageous, offensive lie about Barack Obama’s country of birth. These examples, and countless others, are so reprehensible that they fall well outside the default excuse that Trump is not a “polished politician” or some valiant rebel against political correctness.
A man like that simply cannot assume the most powerful position on earth.
After this election, we must all come together to decide which policies are best for the future of our nation. In the meantime, we must avert calamity and do everything in our power to prevent this charlatan from assuming office. Clinton must win, and your vote matters.
Featured Image by Mary Altaffer / AP Photo