Yesterday Washington Babylon published its case for Hillary Clinton, which argued that she is preferable to Donald Trump but urged the nation to not vote in this year’s elections because both candidates are unfit to hold the office of the presidency. As I wrote then, after having watched the debate:
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…To end the suspense, Washington Babylon will not endorse either Trump or Clinton or any third party candidate…We live in an oligarchy where democracy is virtually meaningless; I’m not debasing myself by participating in this charade.
To read more about our case for Hillary Clinton read yesterday’s story. I come before you today to make the case for Donald Trump.
To say this is difficult task would be understating things significantly. Normally, you want a president that is smarter than a baboon or at least a fire hydrant. In this hypothetical contest, Trump comes in third.
Watching Trump during the debate revealed a man who is a lot dumber than he looks, which says a lot. The fact that he appeared to have performed debate prep with science teacher Walter White also undermined confidence in his ability to stay calm in a crisis and not quickly go ballistic. (Apropos of nothing, I just heard about this new book, High Hitler: how Nazi drug abuse steered the course of history, and it looks like it might shed light on a lot of things.)
If there was one moment during the debate that sent a collective chill down the spine of the nation, it may have been when Trump, in reply to a questions about cyberwarfare, said this:
I have a son. He’s 10 years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers, it’s unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it’s hardly do-able. But I will say, we are not doing the job we should be doing, but that’s true throughout our whole governmental society. We have so many things that we have to do better, Lester and certainly cyber is one of them.
This is something that an elementary school student might have said at a science fair — and been detained for questioning and stopped-and-frisked by the principal— but the fact that a presidential candidate said it on national TV was truly unsettling.
That said, Hillary Clinton is one terrible candidate so without further adieu, here is the best case I can make for Trump. (Disclosure: As with the Top Ten for Hillary, I cobbled this list 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.)
1/ Dynastic politics is bad for democracy, as one person wrote me. If Hillary wins Chelsea Clinton could become a potential presidential candidate down the road. Maybe I’m naive but I cannot believe this country is dumb enough that Trump’s wife or one of his kids could become serious presidential contenders in the future. Either way, if Hillary loses it will significantly diminish the Clinton family’s political influence and network, in the same way that the Bush family’s influence faded after George W. Bush’s humiliating exit from the national scene, as partly seen by Jeb’s pitiful performance during this year’s campaign. The Bushies just don’t have that much political juice left.
2/ If Hillary loses, contributions to her family’s hideously corrupt foundation will sharply drop. The Clinton Foundation does more harm than good and raises enormous sums of money that might otherwise go to better charitable entities. The foundation is a political vehicle that allows donors to curry favor with the Clintons and if Hillary loses, a lot fewer people are going to want to curry favor with her.
3/ Four years of Hillary — or god forbid eight — would consolidate the rule of the most rancid cabal of the Democratic Party. Look at the damage Bill Clinton did in 8 years — the crime bill, welfare reform, NAFTA and on and on — and the stranglehold Wall Street (and various other powerful special interests) has on the country after nearly eight years of Obama. This country is at a tipping point and electing Hillary would entrench and expand the widening social and economic inequalities that the past two Democratic presidents have actively abetted.
4/ OK, Donald Trump is not going to try to redistribute wealth but if he’s elected, there will be, I pray, a strong political movement to challenge him. Hillary’s election will breed complacency. Also, there are only a handful of decent Democrats but in general the party will oppose Trump and rubber-stamp Clinton’s sure-to-be awful policies. Democrats suck but they are usually better in opposition than they are in power.
5/ Speaking of Hillary’s awful polices, as one person wrote me, “Clinton is a deeply conservative person. Her fiscal brain trust, led by Bubba, Robert Rubin, and Larry Summers want to PRIVATIZE Social Security. Obama already has begun the process through his Social Security trustee appointees and manipulation of the Consumer Price Index.” Another commented, “Clinton has consistently opposed a single payer health care system and supports an incoherent market driven system, Trump’s plan as described here as “a mixture of socialism and incoherence” at least has the socialism part in his stump speech.” Furthermore, as one writer said, “Hillary will globalize American capitalism.”
These are important issues, and there are many, many more where Hillary’s policies are indistinguishable — or worse — from Republican policies. Another person wrote, “Given the Clintons’ actual, not hypothetical, historical record of blocking single-payer health care reform, promoting, supporting or ordering war crimes, economic sanctions, mass incarceration of African-Americans, increased economic inequality, welfare cuts for poor people, NAFTA, imprisoning Leonard Peltier, and personally enriching themselves (while posing as ‘philanthropists and public servants) by accepting large book contract payments from U.S. media conglomerate’ subsidiaries or director fees/speech payments from corporations like Wal-Mart and Goldman Sachs, etc., it’s morally contradictory…to endorse Clinton’s candidacy.”
6/ Some of the very worst people in the world are promoting Hillary’s campaign and will thrive — even if some are too tainted to be named to official positions —under her presidency. To cite just a few examples, Sidney Blumenthal, Rahm Emanuel, Cheryl Mills, Neera Tanden and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Then there are thousands more Democratic lobbyists, hangers-ons and sycophants who toil on her behalf in Washington and elsewhere and who constitute a permanent overclass, not to mention most of the neocon leaders who led us into Iraq and Libya and tried to start wars with North Korea, Iran and Syria. So to sum up, one reason that Trump winning is preferable is the great pleasure it would be to watch all these people eat shit.
7/ Trump is scary but I think Hitler comparisons are way overblown. He can do a lot of damage in four years — I’m pretty sure he would not be reelected — but this country is not going to turn into the Third Reich. Also, he’s an idiot and laughingstock and it’s unlikely that he’ll manage to get anything done, especially given that Washington’s permanent bureaucracy will block him every step of the way. Almost the entire Washington political class hates him, so in compensation for the relatively small risk that the U.S. becomes a fascist state or that he provokes a nuclear holocaust, we get, as one person wrote me, “four years of him lambasting our political class with the showmanship of a reality TV show star.” That would be sort of fun, you have to admit.
8/ Hillary is robotic and everything she says is totally scripted and utterly banal, reflecting her policy goals. Watching her at the debate conjured up images of what it would be like to be stranded on a desert island with Thomas Friedman. Death seems preferable. Trump is nuts but every once in a while he says something interesting. During the GOP debate on foreign policy, he savaged the Iraq War (yeah, I know, he was for it before he was against it). Sam Husseini sent me a few public remarks from Trump, such as, ”We’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had, we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.” And he also said, , Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State “killed hundreds of thousands of people with her stupidity….The Middle East is a total disaster under her.” OK, I’m grasping at straws here, but those are refreshing sentiments that few politicians utter.
9/ Now we get to the two key issues. Trump is running way to the left of Clinton on war and trade, and those are major issues. For Trump, foreign policy and overseas military operations don’t seem to be a big priority. (Thank God. And yeah, I know there are exceptions.) Whether hypocritically or not, Trump has spoken harshly about the Iraq War and about the Hillary-approved plan to topple Muammar Qadaffi in Libya. Both countries are arguably far worse off now then they were before and these types of interventions and other idiotic schemes of “nation-building” inevitably end in disaster. Very rarely foreign military involvement is imperative — World War II, to name one example — but it’s generally a bad idea.
Furthermore, Hillary will routinely employ covert action and economic pressure to destabilize “enemies,” big and small, and she has a long list of enemies. Her record as secretary of state was appalling. In addition to issues cited above, there was also her support for the coup in Honduras and the terrible consequences that followed, including the death of Berta Cáceres. She is going to meddle in Latin America — and elsewhere — big time because she’s a classic imperialist in the 19th century mode.
As one of her friends, champions and advisors, Madeleine Albright, once said, “What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” In 1996, when Albright was U.S. ambassador to the UN, Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes raised the question of the impact of sanctions on Iraq, saying, ”We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima.” In reply, Albright said that it was a “hard choice but…we think the price is worth it.” That’s the sort of morality that will drive Clinton’s foreign policy.
And then there’s NATO, which Trump has trashed and said he would not automatically dispatch U.S. troops if, say, a Baltic country were invaded. Good, let Baltics die fighting for their countries or let their European neighbors help them out. Don’t send poor kids from the United States to fight and die overseas in stupid ventures, as Hillary and her liberal friends will do.
Who will squander more blood and treasure, Trump or Hillary? You know the answer, so remember all those nice non-white young men and women you’ll be sending off to war when you pull the lever for her. OK, Trump may bomb China if the Premier’s daughter turns him down, but he’s not going to be able to mobilize a global coalition to invade _____ because he’s an international laughingstock.
10/ This story is way too long but there’s also trade. Trump has said he is against the terrible Trans-Pacific Partnership deal. Hillary claims she is against it until it is improved but let’s be honest, she’ll work hard to get it passed, just as Obama is doing in his remaining days in office. Hillary supported NAFTA and virtually every terrible trade deal of the past twenty years and it’s obvious she will promote “free trade” and globalization with all her heart.
Trump has criticized free trade relentlessly and a recent poll showed that Republicans are far more critical of free trade deals than Democrats — and his base in particular has been creamed by free trade and is especially angry about it. So Trump’s more likely than Hillary to at least bring a skeptical eye to this issue and that is desperately needed given the widespread negative impact, from NAFTA onwards, that unrestrained free trade has had on this country and, even worse, the poorer countries we have struck deals with.
So that’s it. I can’t stand Trump or Clinton. I won’t vote for either and I hope you won’t either, but I’ve now made my strongest case for both. Have a good day.