Why I Will Vote for Hillary


WARNING: This is something of a rant
.hillary-clinton

My brother, who leans to the right politically, often engages me in political conversations. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I lean to the left. The conversations infuriate me and make my blood pressure go up. But I appreciate both my brother and the political disagreements we have. He forces me to think through my own positions, which sometimes results in a blog post (like this one). So, thanks Carl for being a part of my life. I really do appreciate you and our conversations, and I happily grant you permission to hold beliefs that are obviously wrong.

donald-trumpThe other day, he asked me WHY I will likely vote for Hillary Clinton rather than Donald Trump in the general election this year (assuming they are the nominees, as seems likely now).

I offered two reasons, which I have decided to share here because I am sure I have friends out there who wonder the same thing. The first reason has to do with the disaster that has befallen the Republican Party over the last twenty years. The second has to do with who is the most qualified person for the job.

I will not be offended if you disagree with me, dear reader, and I would welcome such disagreements in the comments section. I will, however, be disappointed if you take to calling me vile names, which seems to be the norm in today’s political climate. Name calling is just plain childish; it’s what people do when they run out of rational arguments. Don’t do that.   

The dysfunctionality of the Republican Party

Although I have voted for Republicans in the past, at the present time I will not vote for any Republican as a matter of principle. The Republican party has, in my opinion, forfeited it’s right to govern. Their behavior since Gringrich’s Contract with America in 1994 has been appalling. They have demonstrated time and again since then that they are committed to putting ideological interests ahead of national interests. One has only to look at the Bush administration’s disastrous neo-conservative economic and foreign policies to see what happens when the current Republican Party is in power. For example, two badly bungled wars, at least one of which should never have happened, and the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression seventy years ago.   

Consider the refusal of the Republicans in Congress to reach compromises with the other party in Congress to govern the nation (Democracy cannot function without compromise). Consider their willingness to bring the entire government to it’s knees, a unbelievably irresponsible and juvenile thing to do. Consider Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s declaration in 2008 that the number one goal of the Republican caucus was to make newly elected President Obama fail as a President. Consider the fact that the demagogue Donald Trump (the most mean-spirited, xenophobic, race-baiting, unknowledgeable and unqualified Presidential candidate in my memory) is now the leader of the Republican Party. Examples like this demonstrate that Republicans no longer has the ability to govern the Republic in a responsible manner.

With Donald Trump at the helm, the Republican party’s dysfunctionality has reached almost comic proportions. It’s like watching a soap opera or a reality TV show. This makes them not just incompetent to govern, but a potential danger to the Republic itself.

I will not vote for any Republican in any race, even if he/she is the most qualified candidate in that race. Not until the Republican Party gets its own house in order and becomes a responsible party again. Which I hope they do soon, because the alternative is a one-party system, which would spell the end of the Great American Experiment.

Who is the most qualified person for the job?

The second reason I will vote for Hillary Clinton is not because I especially like her, but because she is the most experienced, most knowledgable, most honest (see http://www.politifact.com/personalities/hillary-clinton) candidate on the field today. Her views are obviously left-leaning, but basically centrist. As were her husband’s. She knows how to lead and she understands how governments work. She knows the players internationally and is a known quantity to them. She understands how the economy works.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate, can claim none of these things. He has no relevant experience, is abysmally ignorant on economic matters and embarrassingly ignorant on foreign policy matters. The few policies he has proposed that have any coherency at all are destructive and dangerous. Whatever you might say about Hillary Clinton, she’s not likely to destroy the economy and alienate the rest of the world. Donald Trump, based on everything I have heard him say and do so far, is likely to do both.

Hillary Clinton is not a perfect candidate, and will not be a perfect President. But she is competent and qualified. Donald Trump is neither competent nor qualified. In fact, he might turn out to be down-right dangerous to the health of the United States of America. The last Republican we elected President destroyed our economy and damaged our relations with nearly every country in the world. Let’s not repeat that mistake. Show me a competent and qualified Republican candidate for President, and I’ll vote for him. Donald Trump is not that candidate.

So, there you have it. That’s why I will most likely vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know via the comments section. And thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

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4 Responses to Why I Will Vote for Hillary

  1. David Crook says:

    Very significant elements to this blog. I cannot really find anything that goes against my grain as far as facts mentioned. I lean to the right. But my leaning is to the philosophy that identified the conservative position historically. I detest the corruption in the republican party. I detest the corruption in the democratic party. There was a time I could have gone either left or right without devastating consequences. Now the right is so extreme but guess what…so is the left. I can’t discuss that intelligently as I do not understand the nature of politics. I only see what I am shown. My opinion is that Trump does not represent what many of us value in a conservative position. It may be that his emergence is a reaction to the right/left inertia that has cemented itself in Washington D.C. I don’t think Trump can fix anything but his presence reveals the corresponding frustration of the general public. It appears we have a much bigger problem that right/left philosophy and I am the first to admit I have no idea the best course. I am not ready to by the argument that it is the republican party that will not compromise, thereby causing the deadlock in D.C. I am seeing that it appears that they are not compromising…but guess what? That does not appear to me to be a singular party issue. I am frustrated that so much deadlock is due to the multiple issues that are attached to one bill. Both may agree on the one thing in the bill and remain separated on the attachments. I don’t understand why you cannot just vote on a single item upon which there is agreement and work on compromise on the more controversial items. Deadlock is not just a Republican issue. I might be missing something in policy determination but at least this is how it appears to me.

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    • Michael says:

      Thank you for your comment, David. In terms of corruption and political machinations, both parties bear considerable responsibility. There is an old joke: “How do you know when a politician is lying? His lips are moving.” There is something to it.

      In terms of gridlock, I’d like to believe that both parties are equally responsible, but I don’t. The Democrats have not been wonderful partners, but the Republicans have actually articulated a no-compromise position. The have made themselves the party of “No.”

      Another way to look at it is to note that the Republicans have assumed something of a Parlimentarian approach. In Parlimentary governments (e.g., Canada), the minority coalition’s main job is to be a critic of the majority coalition. Their coorperation with the majority party is not needed. In Britain, they are referred to as “The Loyal Opposition.” The problem with the Republicans taking this stance is that it is antithetical to the Balance of Powers approach set forth in our Constitution. Without compromise, governing becomes nearly impossible in our country.

      This started with Gingrich’s Contract With America, which basically said (after you get through all the underbrush), “No more compromise with the Democrats.” The Party has continued in this direction up to the present.

      Thus, I hold the current incarnation of the Republican Party largely responsible for the gridlock we see in Washington DC. Everyone likes to say that both parties are responsible, but it is an assymetric responsibility, with the Republicans bearing much more of the weight than the Democrats. Personally, I consider this stance to be unpatriotic and verging on treasonous. But that’s just my opinion.

      I’m with Lindsey Graham, who said, “My party has gone bat shit crazy.” I hope they come to their senses soon. The Republic needs them.

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  2. Chuck McCallum says:

    Trump versus Hillary? OK, I will weigh in on that.

    But first, since you and I have had so little discussion over the past few decades, let me start out by attempting to describe “where I’m coming from”.

    I consider myself a “conservative” in the sense that I tend to want to ‘conserve’ traditional American values which I see as being founded on the Christian values which overwhelmingly dominated the overt religious discussion during the period of the founding of our nation. I tend to self-identify as a conservative economically in the sense that when I hear progressives talk of expensive social programs and seem to think that cost, efficiency, feasibility and similar factors are just irritating unnecessary details that get in the way of their soaring wishes and dreams for social justice, then I feel the warning bells going off and often I am tempted to feel resistance and even offense. Interestingly on the rare occasion when I get into a prolonged discussion with a liberal or progressive then after a few hours they seem likely to say “You are not really a conservative” which I generally interpret to mean that their view of “conservative” is inseparable from ‘narrow minded hateful bigot’ and they have concluded that I am not that.

    I believe that good civil discussion in the country is becoming more difficult in part because our various groups of people (most basically the ‘right’ and the ‘left’) seem to more and more use entirely different lexicons with the result that much that passes for discussion is actually a futile exercise in talking past one another. In my view this is largely because the left seems to believe that by simply calling for a change in the meaning of a word or phrase that they can fundamentally change the underlying realities – and if you disagree then you are obviously a hateful bigot.

    Both parties have gone further and further apart from each other (not just the republicans but both parties policy trajectories have changed course for the worse.) While I find myself closer to taking a position of never voting democrat on principle than never voting republican I now cannot identify with either party – My party affiliation is “Undeclared” and has been for over ten years. Both parties seem to assume that they can count on the large silent middle, despite their neglect and failure to deliver on promises made, to back them while they give huge favors to minorities that they see as their swing votes.

    I am not interested in what I see as the equivalent of “But Mommy, Johnny started it!” as giving any kind of permission to solely blame the republicans for the current political divide as a foundation to support a ‘never vote republican’ stance. I do hear your complaint about the Contract with America and I certainly was often taken aback at what can only be described as the political hatred shown Bill Clinton (by the way – Those who say that conservatives hate Obama because he is black are close to delusional in my opinion) but the Democratic party has abandoned the common working man having been seduced by wall street on the one hand and they now seem to only pander to every minority which views itself as looked down upon while showing no budget restraint at all. Republicans, on the other hand, are either blind or duplicitous with regard to fiscal restraint because they run up the deficit in pursuit of war (good for business?) while they bitterly complain that the democrats run up the deficit in pursuit of social justice. Sure, there is plenty of blame to justly lay at the door of the Republican Party but the issue facing our country has a fundamentally larger scope than just that.

    While this may sound inconsistent and despite the fact that I think Sanders to be economically out of touch I find myself taking him seriously, as I do Trump, because I think we need to break the current political party log jam to have any hope of getting on a path toward a more healthy capitalist structure and civic condition in our country. I think Trump is more likely to do that than Hillary and not because she would be more of Obama but because she is also just more of the same ol… You do know, I trust, that one of the Koch brothers said that Hillary might be better (I assume for the rich class) than Trump. Of course Trump is a wild card as is Sanders and Hillary is in many ways the most stable political choice. But who needs stability when the status quo is so screwed up? Now that doesn’t sound very ‘conservative’ does it? But consider that it isn’t very likely that Sanders or Trump can destroy this nation and either of them is more likely than Hillary to break the current system (i.e. toxic party politics and crony capitalism) and give us a chance to find a healthier equilibrium.

    While I am not in the ‘never Trump’ camp I wanted him to stay out of the race and when he did get in he was never my first choice for Republican nominee but now that we are likely to have a Trump v Hillary race I don’t want same-ol’ Hillary even though it is not such a wild argument to cast her as the most conservative candidate.

    Nor is it clear to me that Trump is the racist, misogynist, xenophobe that many take him to be and I strongly suspect he is not. It seems more likely to me that he is very good at playing the demagogue to maximize his primary performance. I recall watching a Fox news dialogue between O’Reilly and Krauthammer which I found very amusing – O’Reilly was saying that Trump really doesn’t mean the stuff he says to which Krauthammer countered with “So you want as President a man who says what he doesn’t mean?”

    I recall a couple of stories in Plato’s Republic that seem appropriate here. There is the lion tamer who knows how to survive being in the cage with the lion (a picture of a politician in a democracy with the lion as the people) and the story of the Ships Captain where the captain has died and in the process of trying to pick the next captain it becomes clear that the skill of convincing the other ship mates who should be captain is different from the actual skill of being able to be a good captain. The knowledge that Trump is playing the demagogue is not, in itself, an adequate reason to absolutely rule him out – not when we have only two choices in the voting booth. Yes Trump is a gamble as would be Sanders. Hillary is less of a gamble but she will only put off a political reckoning until later when the electorate may be even angrier (and perhaps make an even wilder choice for nominees).

    Several times I was very close to not being able to vote for Trump and I can’t say what I will do when the time comes but I have never been able to take seriously the proposition of voting for Hillary. Yes, she can ‘do the job’ so she is technically ‘competent’ in that minor sense. I think Benghazi shows that she is not a ‘the buck stops here’ kind of person and she will lie, dodge and twist to avoid the truth if she thinks it is just those bad ol’ right wing conspiracy wing nuts that are after her again. Her email scandal is about her judgement and I don’t care who else you compare her to (e.g. so and so did the same thing.) These security issues are very serious and anyone who violates these rules should have heavy consequences and no one should be beyond the reach of the law. [Note: If Nixon had gone to jail perhaps our political elite might not have learned to play such awful political games which the left seems to think we should now accept as normal expected behavior.]

    Trump doesn’t have a track record and while I have, from time to time, doubted he could do the job, he probably can and this will be what I am judging for as I see who he picks for what positions and how he conducts himself going forward. I do not think Hillary is the right one to take this country forward from here. Still, it is not outside the realm of possibility that I might not be able to vote for either candidate but voting for a third party candidate is not a winning strategy either.

    You say that “The Republican party has forfeited its right to govern” but Trump is not “the republican party” and he has a chance of forcing change in the Republican Party (and perhaps the Democratic Party also) where Hillary does not. Maybe after all he will not do well but I doubt that he will be the completely dangerous disaster that many fear.

    I thought Obama was a wild card (what will a liberal community organizer with such a short political history do as President?) that I could not support but while some of my conservative friends were convinced that the republic was in very real danger from an Obama presidency I, for the most part, did not. I think his Iran deal was a mistake but, assuming I have any understanding, the basic foreign policy idea behind it isn’t (rebalancing power to achieve a new global geopolitical equilibrium serving American national interests at lower cost to American citizens in terms of both dollars and military lives.) I think he strikes the wrong balance but the idea that the US can get better results overseas at lower cost by creating circumstances where other nations must assume greater responsibility seems right. Like a bull enraged by the lance of a matador America charged into Afghanistan and Iraq just as al Qaeda wanted us to. And just as al Qaeda wanted we have drained our treasury while not achieving our goals. Perhaps we would have been better off now if we had reacted to 9-11 with something closer to Obama’s plan than Rumsfeld’s plan.

    Likewise I am not convinced, as many republicans seem to be, that Obama’s economic policies are so bad. The economy was extremely damaged when he took over and I think it entirely possible that who was president wouldn’t have made much difference. Obamacare is a disaster but I don’t have much sympathy for the Republican Party on that score – how many years did they have after HillaryCare’s failed debut to come up with their own version of what they should have understood would eventually come back as a powerful political demand? Nor do I see republicans as trustworthy to repeal and replace – repeal yes, replace, not so much. ObamaCare, however is a disaster and it always was and it was sold with, I believe, consciously deliberate lies to the American people. It seems possible, however, that Obama is playing a longer game here – understanding that in its present form ObamaCare is a bad deal but believing that politically it was the only thing achievable and once in place the American people would want to make it workable and would not want to simply get rid of it. If so it is hard not to have some begrudging admiration for such a Machiavellian political plan.

    Republicans are wrong if they think that conservative middle class America is against instituting new social programs simply because they might be aimed at social justice. IF a proposed program can be understood to have a reasonable cost benefit ratio they may well be for it. However, the fear for conservative voters is that any proposed new social program might be too expensive (wasteful and inefficient), deliver too few benefits, and take their choices away. In this regard liberals seem inclined only to insult the fearful and Republicans tend to stoke the fear in order to avoid the issue.

    On the streets of America both conservatives and liberals seem to feel betrayed by a governing elite that failed to put in jail a single wall street high roller (who really did violate the laws) who’s actions so damaged the economy while shifting the cost of the entire thing onto the common man. It is as though it is the middle class tax dollars that serve as insurance to the wealthy of Wall Street should they screw up and cause the next multi-Trillion dollar conflagration. Many liberal youth seem to erroneously judge this to be an essential part of Free Market Capitalism and, taking that into consideration, I can’t blame them for being against ‘Capitalism’. But I think it nonsense that people should hear the term “Free” in free market and think that it should mean anything fundamentally less constraining than the regular “freedom” that any of us citizens have in our everyday activities. There are laws and regulation which are designed to put checks on our ‘freedom’ to keep us from taking unjust advantage of our fellow citizens and this necessarily entails the implementation of sufficient monitoring and adequate punishments for violators. The constraints on capitalists are essentially for the same purpose as any on the average citizen.

    Capitalism is a social contract construct which the people put up with because it does indeed produce greater wealth for all if and where done well. While I admire and approve Ayn Rand’s insistence that entrepreneurs be respected and valued as producers of wealth for everyone’s use (as in Atlas Shrugged) I think the Randian vision overall is evil in its effects on our national understanding of the nature and place of Capitalism in our civic culture. For example, we should assume (contrary to Rand) that no Capitalist desires to be subject to the rigors of the free market and we should expect that Capitalists will go to regulators and legislatures to ask for ‘favors’ that will give them unfair advantages over their competition, suppliers, and customers. Further there will always be a tendency, given our common fallen human nature, to constantly apply their ingenuity to finding ways to evade the intent of the laws, avoid detection when breaking the laws, and adopting practices that obscure the real effects of their actions. If monitoring and/or punishments for violators is inadequate then violations will abound whether in the law for the street or the law for the corporate boardroom. It is a fundamental job of the people’s representatives in our legislatures to protect the “free” in free market and say ‘no’ to capitalists when they ask for unfair favors or inadequate monitoring or too much leniency in punishments. Who will say ‘no’ now? – certainly not Hillary.

    Then there is the subject of the Supreme Court and many conservatives feel that is enough reason all by itself to support Trump. I really liked reading Scalia’s opinions (I only read two) and most certainly neither Hillary nor Sanders would appoint constitutionalists to the bench as I would prefer. That brings me back to Trump.

    For me Trump versus Hillary = Trump.

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    • Michael says:

      Thank you Chuck. You present a reasonable argument, although I do not agree with you on all points. I don’t wish to engage in a point-by-point rebuttal. I would rather let my argument and yours (and David’s) stand on their own.

      I wish to reiterate that you are entitled to your own (reasoned) opinion. Even if it’s wrong :).

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