If there were any doubts before last night, there are none now. These are two unbelievably shitty candidates, neither whom is fit to lead the country, both whom lie without remorse, and this election is a national and international disgrace. Whatever happens on November 8, the country is fucked.
I have a 16-year-old son who texted me after the debate. He wrote: “I was just sitting and I realized how screwed my generation is after this election. It’s a lose-lose situation.” OK, my son is brilliant and remarkable and probably the smartest kid in history (with the possible exception of my daughter, it’s pretty much a tie), but it’s still noteworthy that a 16-year-old watched the debate between the two major candidates and came away from it terrified for his future. (What’s even more stunning is that he apparently skipped most of the Falcons-Saints game to watch the debate. This young man has stared into the future and he has been shaken to his core.)
Anyway, this is probably going to be a close election and as a media magnate wielding enormous influence I feel a civic obligation to make an endorsement, as the New York Times recently did. The Times endorsement did not move the polls, but Nate Silver of 538 has already said (*) that this election could turn on Washington Babylon’s endorsement and so I feel I can wait no longer.
To end the suspense, Washington Babylon will not endorse either Trump or Clinton or any third party candidate. In my view, this election is a farce, from the DNC’s work to rig the nomination in Hillary’s favor to Trump’s vile appeals to the worst elements of humanity to the way in which both parties have rigged the system so that’s it’s virtually impossible for any independent third party candidate to compete given the financial and institutional hurdles that have been deliberately put in place to block such a possibility.
We live in an oligarchy where democracy is virtually meaningless; I’m not debasing myself by participating in this charade.
Further complicating my endorsement is that both of the candidates will say anything to win votes but neither can be trusted to do what they say. That’s true of most politicians, but these two are special cases — both will continue to lie even after video footage or some form of documentary evidence proves they are lying — so their words are utterly meaningless. It’s not even clear that either knows the difference between the truth and a lie.
Here’s another complication. On some issues there would appear to be a major policy difference that makes for a clear preference. Take, for example, global warming. In theory, Hillary is against it and Trump is for it. In practice, both believe in the same rapacious, energy-driven economic policies so in practice it probably doesn’t matter which of them gets elected.
(Disclosure: Global warming is a low priority issue for me because I really hate winter. Then again, I may move to a seaside city with a warm climate in a few years and global warming could be bad because it would already be hot year round and it would be even hotter, and as a result of global warming many seaside cities will be washed away so I might have to relocate again. But at the moment, as winter looms, I’m agnostic.)
Nonetheless, I do think that a case can be made to vote for Clinton or Trump, even if the only genuine reason is to block the election of the other given that there are no alternatives. So without further adieu, here’s my Top 10 reasons to vote for Hillary (**). And note that I cobbled this together from my own random thoughts and from responses people gave me when I asked them about this on Facebook a few days ago. I would advise everyone to factcheck this story before drawing any conclusions.
(Note: I’ll do the Trump Top 10 tomorrow, which in my view is the more interesting topic because the reasons to vote for Hillary are pretty obvious. The reasons to vote for Trump are trickier, but there are some good ones even if just about all of them — except two key ones — have to do with stopping Hillary. Also note that I’ll possibly contradict myself in that article tomorrow, because I’m not sure I’ve convinced myself on everything I wrote here.)
1/ Trump is a genuine misogynist and has outright disdain for women. It’s actually shocking that in this day and age, a man with such utterly disgusting views about women became the nominee of a major party, even a party as retrograde as the GOP. Here’s a handy list of the vile things he has said over the years if you need a reminder.
As one person wrote me, “I feel personally violated every time Trump opens his mouth to speak about his wife, his daughter, his mother, and really any woman. Any day that he is in office will be like death to me and to any other woman familiar with this sort of man. So one reason to vote for Hillary is to shame him and shame everyone who thinks it’s okay and even admirable to constantly demean, diminish, and objectify women.”
2/ Trump has fueled racial animosity big time, against Africa-Americans, Latinos and Muslims.
“Trump’s unvarnished racism will legitimize and encourage racist behavior from the top levels of government,” one person wrote me. Another said, and this is a powerfully put argument for Hillary, “No anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric calling people like me rapists and murderers for political gain.”
Another commenter, who addresses the first two points here, said: “Hearing Hillary makes me sick, like Bush made me sick, and I think her whole candidacy has been bad for women. But Trump is something else altogether. And I think the same goes for race. The pot-stirring, the public support from Nazis – the rhetoric itself hurts, and I believe that this kind of incitement can lead to more physical violence also. It will be bad for the working class to see a ‘victory’ for misogynist racist populism.”
3/ Part of Trump’s base is truly scary and his election will encourage some of the more violently rabid elements in American society. Hillary Clinton’s comment about part of his base being “deplorable” was dead-on, though it’s obvious that she should never have said it publicly. It’s something you and I can discuss over a beer but it’s not a something you say when you’re running for president.
Trump is already going to clean up with genuine deplorables, that’s his strongest demographic, but Clinton needs to win conservative white voters in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania and many of those people can’t be dismissed and caricatured as racist morons, which is the way the supremely elitist Hillary views them. A lot of those voters don’t like her because, among many things, the trade policies she has promoted — and which she flagrantly lies about having supported — have devastated their communities. They have ample grounds to dislike her and she gave them a lot more ammunition. Anyway, the first sentence of this section still stands.
4/ Hillary is less likely to provoke a nuclear war or global conflict in a pique of rage about some minor slight by a world leader. She may be a sociopath but she does have a better temperament than Trump, a clinical and reckless narcissist, by a long shot.
5/ Hillary is “more likely than Trump to yield to pressure from the left (if such a thing can be mobilized instead of defensive apologetics), and her likely outrages will disillusion anyone who had hopes in her and lead them in a more radical direction,” according to Doug Henwood. (I’m only mentioning him by name because he and and his pal Liza Featherstone have both written books trashing Hillary, so i was sort of surprised to see him so shamelessly in the tank for her. What next, Doug? A slot on MSNBC as a Hillary surrogate. Also, I’m not sure I agree with him, but he may be right.) (Note: Doug is obviously not in the tank for Hillary, but I would like to see him on MSNBC as a surrogate.)
Another person put it this way: “A Trump win means open season on all the most vulnerable popular sectors. A Hill win means the beginning of a renewed screwing, but thanks to the Bernie campaign broadening the policy spectrum, we have a good chance of forming an unprecedented breadth of opposition to war, free trade, climate destruction, erosion of democratic rights including voting rights, and any other area where Hill is iffy at best.”
And another said: “Under Hillary, the task remains basically the same as now: keep building a movement that is impossible to ignore. Under Trump, we’re figuring out how on earth to even survive as activists under a man who has already fashioned himself a fascist leader — and it’s only the campaign!
6/ On social policies, Hillary has some proposals that are distinctly better. Whether she’d actually implement them or even believes them is an open question, but here are a few one person sent me: Hillary: paid family leave. Trump: nothing. Hillary: comprehensive mental health policy and parity. Trump: nothing. Hillary: criminal justice reform, DOJ that actually wants to enforce civil rights and crack down on police departments. Trump: universal stop-and-frisk. Hillary: Increase minimum wage to $12. Trump: eliminate federal minimum wage.
7/ Hillary has proposed tax increases for millionaires and billionaires. Trump has essentially agreed to back the ghastly Paul Ryan’s tax plan, which is a massive giveaway to the rich.
8/ Hillary will make terrible Supreme Court appointments — cautious moderates like Merrick Garland, Obama’s doomed choice — but they won’t be the sort of Stone Age cavemen Trump is likely to appoint. (For example, “reactionary knuckle draggers like William Pryor,” as one person wrote me.) She’ll also make less awful appointments to federal courts.
(*) Nate Silver said nothing of the sort and his polls and commentary have little value anyway.
(**) I couldn’t get past 8.