Nov 8, 2016

For Hillary

Tomorrow, I go to vote for Hillary. I encourage you to do the same. I'm a policy wonk (it's my actual degree, after all), and I like getting into the weeds, but there hasn't been much point this year. Where should any comparison begin? Trump has no policies, not in the traditional sense--he riffs around with language until he finds a crowd-pleaser, then wails away. Truth, intentions, facts, analysis--these things are lost in primate dominance rituals wrapped in verbal affect and white nationalism. There is no policy, and in any case a discussion of his few horrifying and impractical proposals misses the point.

This is no mere disagreement about the details and philosophies of governance, no common dispute--however heated, however bitter, however one-sided--about whose policies will truly help the nation. One can say of Romney, of McCain, of Bush, that they at least had ideas, and least believed--or convincingly pretended to believe--that those ideas were correct, and would be to the betterment of the country. Naturally I hold them disastrously incorrect; but to be incorrect one must at least hold an idea. Trump is not even wrong. His candidacy has obliterated policy, and reduced tomorrow's choice to a single question: the survival of our constitutional republic, and of its ideals.

In the last week we learn that his campaign staff took away the keys to his Twitter account--the Android has fallen silent. This is astonishing. His own handlers realize that he cannot be trusted with social media--yet they, and the leadership of his party, propose he be given the nuclear codes. This cannot be forgiven. Here is a man who believes climate change to be a Chinese hoax; who mocks the disabled; who assaults women and brags about it; who pays no taxes; who stiffs and ruins those who work for him, and invest in him; who retweets white nationalists and has encouraged and enabled a racist resurgence; who incites violence against minorities, his opponents, and protesters at his rallies; who attacks gold start families; who paints immigrants and refugees as terrorists and rapists; who praises brutal dictators as strong; who has committed these sins and others beyond enumeration. What more can be said? He is an existential threat to our nation and the world; he has wrought incalculable damage already; and he must not be President.

There is only one candidate who can defeat him. Make no mistake, either Trump or Clinton will win this election. There is no politician in living memory for whom I would not vote under these circumstances. Not Cruz, not Romney, not McCain, not the Shrub himself. As it happens, we have a candidate who surpasses any of those. Clinton is a dedicated public servant, a workhorse who knows her policy cold. Her scandals are the inventions of the right-wing fever swamp that culminated in Trump; her mistakes are real; her lapses in judgment irritating but not more so than any public figure of such long service; and along the axis of her every fault, Trump is worse. Besides this, she is a fundamentally decent and dedicated human being for all that the Trumpettes accuse her of murdering babies, checking email, and practicing witchcraft. She will do well, and better as we hold her to account. I would have voted for anyone in the Democratic primary over whatever hairball the Republicans coughed up; I would have voted for Bush himself to stop Trump; but I am proud to vote for Hillary Clinton. I am proud to be a part of electing the first woman President. I am proud to continue Obama's legacy.

Against this we have only the "third" parties. They are unserious. They have brave slogans and no details, but more tellingly they have no coalitions. In a democracy, power comes from coalitions. Coalitions require compromise. In their special snowflake purity, they have disdained compromise--and with it coalitions, and with them power. You can never get everything you want in a democracy, there is always the messy give-and-take. The third parties are nothing more than a way to pretend otherwise while getting nothing. To turn up one's nose at the lesser evil is to choose the greater, as Nader proved in 2000, and they may stamp their feet and indignantly deny it, and complain that they are tired of hearing it, but they have yet to explain how, in a winner-take-all system with geographic representation, a third party vote will accomplish anything other than marginally decreasing the odds of victory for the major party with whom you most closely align.

These are our choices, and there is only one. Tomorrow we vote. I'm with her.

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