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Post What is This Election About? Trump v Clinton on Five Issues
Created by John Eipper on 07/30/16 7:22 AM

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What is This Election About? Trump v Clinton on Five Issues (Francisco Ramirez, USA, 07/30/16 7:22 am)

These are some of the issues in the 2016 election, as I see them:

A. Supreme Court Justice appointments: There are two kinds of issues along which the Supreme Court is unlikely to arrive at a consensus. These are social conservatism issues, e.g. Roe v Wade, gay rights, and there are gun control issues. The next President of the US is likely to put forward one or two nominees. These are likely to be less socially conservative and more supportive of some gun control laws, if Clinton gets elected. It is hard to figure out what Trump will really do, but you probably should vote for Trump if you favor more limits on Roe v Wade, more limits on gay rights, and if you think gun control regulations add up to an assault on the Second Amendment.

B. Law and Order: If you think the main problem in America is lack of respect for the police, especially among non-whites, vote for Trump. If you think there are legitimate grounds for why the Black Lives movement emerged and these need to be addressed, vote for Clinton.

C. Immigration: If you think you and your children are at risk of having illegal immigrants rape and kill you, vote for Trump. He will protect you by building a wall along the border with Mexico. Note that in his acceptance speech, he no longer insists that he will get Mexico to pay for it.

D. Foreign Policy: If you believe that a Trump presidency will lead to better deals with China, vote Trump. If you believe a Trump presidency will lead to the return of manufacturing jobs because Trump will scare companies into coming back or not leaving, vote Trump. If you believe that our Allies will work better with us if we tell them that NATO is obsolete and that they should pay more for the protection we offer them, vote for Trump. Lastly, if you believe the world will be safer if the next American President is favored by Putin, vote Trump.

The Supreme Court issues are mostly about values, more conservative versus more liberal.

There is a lot of simple fact-checking one can do to see whether there is a national trend toward lawlessness, whether the trend starts with the election of Obama, and whether there are Obama polices associated with the trend. One can also fact-check regarding immigration: is there a national trend showing an increase, what percent of violent crimes are committed by illegal immigrants, etc.

If you fact-check, you will find that the national trend on violent crimes has gone downward, though there has been an increase in the last two years. It is simply not true that we were all safer in the 1970s or 1980s. You will also find that the facts do not support your fears regarding illegal immigrants.

I will vote for Clinton because she is more likely to a) Appoint Supreme Court Justices like the ones appointed by Obama, b) Address law and order and immigration issues in a more realistic manner that does not involve playing the racist card, and c) Pursue foreign policies that are both more coherent and more predictable. I do not believe uncertainty is a plus when it comes to the presidency, and a blank-canvas president presents us with a lot of uncertainty.

E. Character: I reject the premise that the candidates are equally amoral and would get the same scores on David Duggan's Committed Christian scale. Hillary's baggage is mostly called Bill. But she has a history of working for causes that I identify with: minority rights, women's rights, and children's rights. The congenital liar mantra against her elides this history. Trump was a very loud voice in the birther movement that sought to de-legitimate Obama from the outset. That was and is an ugly racist movement. If Trump is not a racist, he certainly is eager to play the racist card. This is not a misuse of words on his part. He is not dumb. This is a strategic decision to frighten people; the enemies of America are dark-skinned. Willie Horton is now an illegal Mexican rapist and a Muslim terrorist. On this ground alone Donald Trump is a clear and present danger that ought to be rejected. And indeed some longtime Republicans have done just that. George Will, no Clinton fan he, believes that a defeat in November will allow the party of Lincoln to revitalize itself. He is so disgusted with the Trump takeover that he has left the GOP. Check out the National Review's steadfast opposition to Trump on multiple policy and personal grounds

Ric Mauricio may be right. Trump could be elected if the country decides we need The Black Knight (I am indebted to David Brook, another anti-Trump conservative columnist.) The Black Knight emerges if folks assume that the country is in a state of chaos and only The Black Knight can save it. There are certainly a lot of people who feel first and think later. These people do not want to be confused with the facts. These people feel the following: The economy is sinking. Police officers are being killed everywhere. If only "they" would show more respect and do as they are told, "they" would not be shot. Don't believe that Florida video. The biased media made it up. "They" need to be contained. Desperate times call for desperate measures. We may have to torture some people and muzzle some media folks. Only I can turn things around and make America White Again. (Just Saying!) Enter the Black Knight. But he is a blank canvas, and so really the conservative wonks have the crayons. I can see the bumper sticker: Vote for Trump; He's a Blank Canvas. There will be no references to his being the Black Knight and we all know why.

I do think it is unfair to assert that a Clinton presidency will shatter a glass ceiling without recognizing that so too would a Trump presidency. His election will shatter the "asshole ceiling." Little assholes in schoolyards will be able to look up and imagine themselves as future presidents. Think of his potential victory as affirmative action for assholes. This is not my descent into Trumplike vulgarity. I recommend reading: Robert Sutton, The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One that Isn't. Random House 2007. This book expands an essay earlier published in the Harvard Business Review.

Still hoping to stop Trump on July 1, Kevin Williamson writing in the National Review expresses my overall assessment of Trump: "No, Republicans should not come around to Trump. Two things: First, it is impossible for a mentally and emotionally normal adult to support Donald Trump's bid for the presidency without calling into question his judgment or his honor. Second, it is easier to forgive defective judgment than deficient honor." And this from a conservative Republican writing in the conservative National Review!

I realize some people would choose Lucifer in the Flesh over Clinton. (And you almost have been given that option!) I support Clinton because her views on many critical issues are more likely to contribute to the common good. I am especially attuned to the composition of the Supreme Court. Clinton is pragmatic, embracing a more progressive platform to incorporate the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party but then picking a more centrist VP in Kaine. From both the left and the right, pragmatism is often denounced and compromise is often depicted as evil.

After residing in the US for 49 years I have come to appreciate the need for pragmatic means to valued goals. There is no doubt in my mind that Clinton will be a better President than Trump. On both policy and personal grounds she stands above him.

JE comments:  Since The Apprentice or before, Trump indeed has brought respectability to asshole-ism.  I never realized one possible outcome in November, so candidly brought up by Francisco Ramírez:  schoolyard and workplace bullies will have a new role model in a President Trump.

Was Hobbes right?  Or is there a common perception that the unrepentant asshole has one virtue we never see in politics:  sincerity?

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