Diatribes of Jay

This is a blog of essays on public policy. It shuns ideology and applies facts, logic and math to economic, social and political problems. It has a subject-matter index, a list of recent posts, and permalinks at the ends of posts. Comments are moderated and may take time to appear. Note: Profile updated 4/7/12

22 September 2016

Eleven Reasons to Vote for Hillary and Downballot Dems

1. She can win
2. If you favor Johnson or Stein, Hillary is your woman
3. If Trump wins, there will be violence
4. A Trump regime will be utterly unpredictable
5. A Trump presidency will be built on lies
6. We already had one Hitler; we don’t need a second
7. Despite her flaws, Hillary promises much more
8. Hillary is a Democrat, and a pretty progressive one, too
9. Voting for the lesser of two evils is a sacred duty, and Hillary is the best available
10. If you don’t vote for Hillary, and Trump wins, you will regret it, big time
11. If everyone who polls today as voting for Johnson or Stein voted for Hillary and downballot Democrats, the Dems could make a three-branch sweep

1. She can win. This is not a reality show. This is reality. For all his horrors, Donald Trump is actually the GOP’s candidate for president. For all we know now, he has a nearly even chance to win.

Neither Gary Johnson nor Jill Stein has any chance to win. The more popular of the two, Johnson, can’t even get the 15% consistent support he needs in the polls to take part in the debates.

So when you wake up on November 9, Hillary or The Donald will be our president-elect. Barring an assassination or untimely death in the interim, one of them will be your president when you wake up on January 21.

There are no other options; you must choose between those two. If you vote for Johnson or Stein, or if you stay home, you will help Trump win. You will be like the people who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, thereby giving Dubya just enough of the popular vote to let our Supreme Court steal the election for him.

2. If you favor Johnson or Stein, Hillary is your woman. You may think that voting for either of the two “fringe” candidates is a sign of idealism. Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, stands for personal freedom and a low-profile foreign policy, presumably with less war. Stein, the Green candidate, stands for clean energy, protecting our environment, and fighting global warming.

But here’s the rub. If you don’t vote for Hillary, you will help Trump win. And what will Trump do with your idealistic purity? He will stomp on it, just as he will stomp on the rights of Muslims and Mexicans. Here’s how.

Trump says he’s for a low-profile foreign policy. But so did Dubya. In the 2000 campaign, Dubya promised a “humbler” foreign policy, with no nation building. Then what happened? After 9/11, Dubya invaded and occupied two sovereign foreign nations (Afghanistan and Iraq), and we have been at war there and nation-building ever since.

Trump will be similar. How do we know? Because he appears to like violence. He styles himself a strongman like Putin. He has mused about using nukes, as long as we have them. But most of all, his policies of failing to support our long-time allies will lead to war.

Peace requires strength and consistency. Trump proposes neither. What do you think will happen if Trump abandons our allies, whether in Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, or the South China Sea? Putin or Xi will test them, just as the Soviets did JFK in the Cuban missile crisis. Without our leadership and strength, our allies will be alone, scared and more likely to blunder into war.

And don’t forget that Britain, France and Israel have nukes, which they might be forced to use. If war comes, we Yanks may get dragged in, just as we were in World War I, World War II, Gulf I, and today’s civil war in Syria.

As for the environment, one issue transcends and subsumes all the others: global warming. Fighting it is a major motivation for clean energy and a clean environment, and a necessity if our children and grandchildren are to live as we have done.

And what will The Donald do about global warming if elected? He’s already told us. He thinks global warming is a Chinese hoax and the Paris Accords are a joke. He will rescind our participation in that warming-fighting accord and get to “work” drilling for and burning more fossil fuels. He will set global warming back on a path toward runaway acceleration. If Trump wins, all your dreams of a stabilized climate and a clean planet for your children and grandchildren will crumble into dust.

3. If Trump wins, there will be violence. Cities and neighborhoods will burn, just as in the sixties, or maybe as in the runup to our Civil War. One of them could be yours.

How do we know? Because Trump has encouraged and appears to delight in violence. He has twice called obliquely for assassinating Hillary. He has many times called for violence against protestors and objectors at his rallies. If you want a full list of Trump’s calls for violence, read this piece by Dana Millbank. Or this one. You will be appalled.

But the clearest calls for violence by Trump are implicit in his policies. Marginalizing and excluding Muslims as all or mostly suspects for terrorism will set Muslim against Muslim and non-Muslim against Muslim. Like any people under siege, Muslim-Americans will circle their wagons. Their doing so will not just increase the risk of terrorism at home; it will encourage additional violence of American against American.

The most awfully violent consequences of Trump’s misguided policies will come from his deportation of Mexicans. Right now, we have over eleven million of them living and working peacefully among us.

What do you think will happen when Trump begins deporting them en masse? Overnight, he will turn the eleven million into desperate fugitives who have nothing to lose. That will cause many of them to disappear, at the slightest rumor or provocation, from your local slaughterhouse, restaurant, or hotel—or from tending your garden or your children. If will cause some, maybe many, to turn to crime and violence, because they will fear incarceration and deportation if they go to their normal places of work.

Want eleven million desperadoes among us? Vote for Trump. Desperate people do desperate things, and Trump will turn our eleven million into desperadoes.

So we have a guy who encourages assassination and political violence, and whose policies have war and violence as their natural consequences. Think your neighborhood will be safe if he’s elected? Better be ready for your “Second-Amendment solution.” You’ll be on your own. Only the trigger-happy hotheads among us will be happy; Trump will make every day a field day for them, and a nightmare for you.

4. A Trump regime will be utterly unpredictable. The only thing you can know in advance about a Trump regime is that you won’t know anything reliable in advance. Almost everything Trump has said, he has later contradicted or back-pedaled. He still insists that Mexico will pay for his wall, but President Peña Nieto gave him the lie. After budget authorities ridiculed his $ 2 trillion tax cut as breaking the bank, he no longer touts it. Now at long last he has repudiated his bald lie that Obama is an alien, which gave him his start in politics, but he lyingly blames Hillary for starting the lie. That man has no shame, decency, or memory of what he did yesterday.

The truth is that Trump is a scatterbrain worthy of his own sitcom. After spending eighteen months interviewing him, his biographer had this to say about him:
”[I]t’s impossible to keep him focussed on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes . . . . If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it’s impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time[.]”
Such a man can be manipulated or controlled by cleverer, more purposeful men. Think of Dubya and Cheney. If you want to see someone like Mitch McConnell in effective charge of the Executive Branch, help Trump win by voting for someone other than Hillary.

5. A Trump presidency will be built on lies. We now know how Trump got his start in politics: with a brazen lie, the so-called “birther” conspiracy. We know it from Trump’s own mouth; under great pressure from his fellow Republicans, he has admitted that Obama’s alien birth was a lie from the very beginning.

There are other lies, too. One is that Mexico will pay for his wall. The only way that will happen is if Trump threatens to nuke Mexico otherwise. (Mexico has no nukes of its own.) Want that?

But the birther lie alone should give everyone pause. For five years, Trump maintained it, knowing it was a deliberate, conscious, premeditated falsehood. Trump also knew that telling the lie would give him a bizarre start in politics—in which he had no experience—-and tear down a good President who did.

The closest analogy to our own recent history was Cheney’s Big Lies: that Saddam had something to do with 9/11, and that Iraq was making nukes. The closest analogy in world history was Adolf Hitler’s lie that Jews in Germany were conspiring to undermine its economy and society.

Cheney’s Big Lies have produced 4,424 American dead, 31,952 American wounded, an estimated 1.5 millions Iraqis dead, millions more displaced, and the annihilation of Syria and diaspora of Syrians. Hitler’s big lie produced the Holocaust. Trump’s big lie already has caused an orgy of hate for an American president unprecedented since our Civil War. What new lies will Trump tell as president, and what consequences will they have?

6. We already had one Hitler; we don’t need a second. The Russians have a saying. If you are gardening and step on the short end of a rake, the long handle will rise up and hit you in the head. If you do that once, it’s tough luck. It you do it twice, you are stupid.

The rake, in this case, is a political actor who promotes and endorses violence, who has no consistent programs or policies, who scapegoats and bashes minorities, and who tells outrageous Big Lies to promote himself and delude voters. We humans already have stepped on such a rake. His name was Adolf Hitler.

To the German people at the time, Hitler seemed an antidote to disarray and unjust international ostracism for Germany’s role in World War I. But Hitler utterly destroyed Germany for over half a century. What once had been a leading society in math, science, technology, industry and the arts was reduced to forlorn people scrabbling through rubble. [If you want only a small dose, set the timer at 5:00.]

We humans ought not to step on that rake a second time. We especially ought not to do so in the world’s strongest economy, with the world’s strongest military, let alone in the nuclear age.

If you don’t believe this election is different, think of just two things. Trump wonders why we have nukes that we don’t use. And Trump wants to deport eleven million peaceful Mexicans—something no country, let alone ours, has ever done before. (Stalin deported millions internally inside the Soviet Union, in the runup to World War II. But to my knowledge no single deportation involved as many as eleven million people.)

If Trump’s musings actually come to pass, they could produce new heights of human brutality and depravity. If nukes are involved, they could extinguish part or all of our species.

7. Despite her flaws, Hillary promises much more. She may have lied about her e-mails at State. She may have issues with “transparency.” But on her worst day, Hillary is infinitely better than Trump.

Three things we know about Hillary, and all are good. First, she had nothing to do with the deaths of our diplomats in Benghazi. After years of profligate investigation, the final report cleared her. Second, she has repented of her hasty and ill-advised support for Dubya’s unnecessary war in Iraq, which is still ongoing and still involves our troops. Third, counting her terms in the Senate and as Secretary of State, and ignoring her eight years as First Lady, she has twelve years of public service; Trump has none.

In comparison to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton will be a comedown. She has neither Obama’s sure and steady judgment nor his preternatural political skill. We will miss Obama’s presidency, terribly.

But an actual third term of Obama is not in the cards. Our Constitution precludes it, except for succession from a Cabinet position he does not now hold, after some unimaginable disaster. So we must accept the best we have.

Hillary is the best we have. For progressives, she’s the second-best candidate in the entire field of both parties, save Bernie. She beat Bernie fair and square, and she’s now the Dem’s candidate. A lot of people, including many women and almost all African-Americans, have enthusiasm for her.

Second best is not bad, especially when the alternative is a Hitler clone. So the adult thing to do is to buck up, accept reality, and vote for Hillary. If enough of us don’t act like adults this fall, we Yanks could experience a next half-century much as the Germans did from 1939 to 1989.

Some people seem to prefer Trump because he’s so willful and bizarre that he will “shake things up.” But isn’t that precisely what Hitler did in Germany? If you have any older German friends, ask them how that worked for them.

8. Hillary is a Democrat, and a pretty progressive one, too. She may not be as progressive as Bernie, but she was among the more progressive senators. You can often tell a pol by her opposition: Hillary is anathema to the haters, the war-mongers, the crooked bankers, and the gun nuts. At least they all appear to want anyone but her, even Trump.

Whatever you may think, or not think, about her character, Hillary is on record as supporting four vital things that every Dem and progressive desires. First, she recognizes global warming as the existential threat to humankind that it is. She wants to fight it by converting to clean energy, and by creating millions of good, new jobs. Second, she’s for “fiscal stimulus,” i.e., putting our middle class back to work by investing in infrastructure, clean energy and better education. Third, she supports winding down our massive student debt and working to give our youth free or nearly free higher education in the future, just as my generation had.

Finally—and most important—Hillary will appoint justices to our Supreme Court who will protect our rights and the rights of minorities and women, and who will chip away at our rigged economic system. Those she will appoint won’t eliminate inequality and injustice overnight. But those that Trump would appoint would entrench and exacerbate inequality and injustice for the foreseeable future.

As many as three justices might retire or die during the next four years. Just imagine what three new, young, strong, arrogant and self-assured Scalias would do to our economy, our equality, our human rights, and our democracy. Our nation would never be the same again. We would become a plutocratic theocracy with a gigantic underclass.

9. Voting for the lesser of two evils is a sacred duty, and Hillary is the best available. Waiting for the perfect candidate is like waiting for the perfect spouse. There’s no such thing. You have to accept the best available, and the best who can actually win.

We have names for people who hold out for the perfect spouse. We call them “bachelors” or “old maids.” We also have names for people who hold out for the perfect candidate for president. We call them “citizens of a failed democracy.”

Some of us refused to vote for Al Gore and gave us Dubya. So we got two unnecessary wars, which are still ongoing and still killing our troops thirteen or more years later. We got bank bailouts and obscene inequality. We got Citizens United and a horribly corrupt excuse for democracy.

With Trump, the dangers are far greater than ever before. He would not just continue our obscene inequality and our national decline. He would jump feet first into the pit, heedless of science, global warming, military risk and even common sense. He is eager to lower taxes on himself and other rich folk and give more unchecked power to himself and his cronies.

Never before have we had a candidate who has zero political experience. Never before have we had a candidate hint twice at assassinating his opponent. Never before have we had a candidate who mused aloud about using nukes, and who so resembles Hitler. If there was ever a time to vote for the lesser of two evils enthusiastically, this is it.

10. If you don’t vote for Hillary, and Trump wins, you will regret it, big time. The Crash of 2008 and its aftermath have been hard on youth. Good jobs are scarce. Lots of college-educated youth are unemployed or underemployed and living with their parents. Most are burdened by massive student debt that their present jobs could never justify.

But if you think this is bad as it can get, you need to read some history. The Great Depression was many times as bad as the Crash of 2008: unemployment reached 25% and stayed high for over a decade. Then came World War II, which killed over 400,000 Americans and wounded many more. For four years, ordinary citizens had to use ration cards to buy everything from food to tires and gasoline. Loyal Japanese-Americans were Interned here at home, and their property was confiscated, while their sons fought the Nazis in Europe. Loyal African-Americans who fought bravely on both fronts faced Jim Crow after they won and came home.

And if you want to see what things might be like at home if Trump wins and the worst happens, go read a history of our Civil War. Still today, that war was responsible for about as many deaths of Americans as all the foreign wars in our history, including our Revolution.

So don’t believe the pessimists. It’s not so bad today, and it could get a lot worse. There are worse things than underemployment. There’s war abroad that drags us Yanks in and requires millions of us to fight, not just tens of thousands. There’s violence in our own communities, not just due to terrorism, but to Yank turning against Yank. There’s literal darkness that may come from returning to coal and other fossil fuels, which pollute our air while the seas rise, hurricanes and tornados increase in number and strength, and the fuels that now power our civilization begin to run out.

There’s sitting at home and watching helplessly as inequality increases, the homeless take over our streets, and militarized police take over our cities. There’s watching one minority after another succumb to prejudice, incarceration and injustice until there’s no one left.

These things have happened in other lands. They are real. They are dismal parts of human history. We have even had small vignettes here at home, such as the police and army killing striking workers in the early twentieth century, the Japanese Internment in World War II, and the Communist witch hunts of the 1950s.

So things could get a lot worse. If Trump wins this election, they will. To escape that sad fate, every sentient creature must register, vote, and vote for Hillary.

Hold your nose while voting if you must. But do it. If you don’t, and if Trump wins, you will be sure to regret it. The regret will start the minute you have to salute The Orange One as your Commander in Chief, and the minute you realize he has his scatterbrained fingers on our Nuclear Button. And if you’re young today, that regret and remorse will continue for the rest of your sorry life, because the sad consequences of Trump’s misrule will far outlast his single term. The misguided justices he would appoint to our High Court would continue to rule us for decades.

11. If everyone who polls today as voting for Johnson or Stein voted for Hillary and downballot Democrats, the Dems could have a three-branch sweep. If you’re 35 or under today, you’ve never seen American government in action. All you’ve seen is gridlock and posturing. The reason is simple: ever since you became old enough to vote, that same party that controlled the White House never controlled Congress. (For a short time during Obama’s first term, the GOP claimed the Dems did, but that claim, like that of Mark Twain’s premature death, was greatly exaggerated.)

So your “experience” tells you that government does nothing for you. You have become jaded and cynical.

Yet all this could change overnight if Hillary got to the White House and took both branches of Congress for the Dems. Then you could have everything in her and the Dems’ platform. You could have single-payer health insurance. Regardless of your age and employment status, you could buy into Medicare, and your insurance would be portable. You could have free tuition at public colleges in your state. You could enjoy the new, green jobs that would arise from massive investment in our infrastructure and in fighting global warming, complete with ramp-ups in solar and wind power, electric cars and safe nuclear power. You could enjoy the better job prospects and improved health that would come from greater investment in medical and other scientific research. You could be sure that our Supreme Court would protect your rights, the rights of working people, the rights of women, and the rights of minorities, including Muslims and Mexicans. You could rest easy that you or yours wouldn’t have to go to war because a strong, experienced leader would work with strong allies to insure a stable and peaceful world. You and our nation would have a secure future leading our species where it must go to survive and prosper in a sustainable way.

The only things that stand between you and that bright future are Donald Trump and your own cynicism. You can’t control Trump. You can’t even predict what bizarre thing he’ll say or do next. But you can quell your cynicism, vote for Hillary, and vote for every other Democrat on your ballot.

That’s the best you can do, but it’s a lot more than nothing. If enough of us do just that—and if we don’t throw our votes away on symbolic candidates with no chance of winning—we will all wake up January 21 with Hillary in the White House, a Democratic Congress, and a progressive and enlightened future. We can take back our country from the racists, do-nothings, plutocrats and “deplorables” and put it back on a hopeful, pragmatic path. To get there, all you have to do is get practical yourself, and vote for the best candidate who can win, from the top to the bottom of your ballot.



  • At Saturday, September 24, 2016 at 12:53:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Who would be the worst president, Trump or Cruz? My blood pressure goes up significantly every time I see or listen to lying Ted, not sure why but Trump has a weird way of "amusing" me with his very different "performance/style". Maybe in a similar way that I enjoy bazar cartoons or TV sitcoms on occasion when I completely escape realty.

    Frontline/PBS on Tuesday is airing an episode that suggests that Trump become resolved to become president with Obama roasted him repeatedly in 2011:

    Just from my very amateur perspective, if I were a betting man I would very quickly bet that Trump would be the next president simply based on my observations, not wishes.

    RH in Ohio

  • At Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at 12:16:00 AM EDT, Blogger Jay Dratler, Jr., Ph.D., J.D. said…

    Dear RH,

    Sometimes I, too, fear that Donald will win. He has a way of making his outrageous, thoughtless and damaging comments seem harmless. Sometimes he seems more like a stand-up comic than a serious candidate for president. He certainly doesn't sound like Hitler, who had a screechy voice and an abrasive, ranting delivery.

    But when you actually focus on the substance of what Donald says, all that lightness vanishes. He promotes hate, intolerance, racism and violence. He would tear down alliances and accords (including the Paris climate pact) that took decades to build, and that form the apex of hard-won global policy. He would kowtow to dictators and tyrants like Putin and Kim (but not Xi). He calls global warming a hoax and would push it toward runaway acceleration, to which it is very close already.

    Yet the coup de grace for Donald is something that voters are just beginning to understand. He and Hillary both made it plain in their first debate. Donald is the most selfish and self-centered person ever to run for president from a major party.

    He cares about and works for no one but himself. When he stiffs honest contractors, employees and students in his failed "university," he calls that good business. When he pays no taxes on his many rich enterprises, he calls that “smart.” His proposed tax cuts would enrich him and his cronies. And his weak and inconsistent foreign policy would make it easier for him to sell his name abroad (his chief source of new business now) as the international order and common regulation collapse. He lies regularly and habitually, sometimes without even realizing that what he says today contradicts what he said earlier.

    In short, Donald is all about Donald, and no one else.

    As Churchill said, we Yanks always do the right thing, after exhausting all the alternatives. Now Hillary and the nation are focusing on Donald's abysmal and disastrous character, and the press is finally abandoning its false neutrality for a little truth. Slowly but surely, the nation is coming to grips with what a catastrophe Donald would be as president.

    So on November 8, he's highly likely to lose. I recently saw an analysis showing that Hillary could win although losing in key battleground states like Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina.

    With luck and a little more attention by voters, Donald's loss could surpass Goldwater's to Johnson in 1964. We should all hope for that result, for we need a Democratic Congress if our government is to avoid being drowned in a bathtub and get anything done.




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