The conventions for both the two major political parties are fading in memories. Most Bernie supporters are moving toward Hillary Clinton, and Republicans are moving away from Trump—although most of them can’t openly confess that they’ll vote for Clinton.
Gail Collins has a message for those people who understand that Trump would be disastrous for the United States but can’t bring themselves to vote for Clinton. She addresses Republicans, but the statements fit Hillary-haters as well. Excerpts from Gail Collins’ column, “You Choose or You Lose”:
If you’re a Republican politician, announcing you’re not going to vote for Donald Trump is a little like declaring that you’re not going to rob a bank to finance your next campaign. Really, you don’t get any credit unless you say what you’re going to do instead.
“I truly don’t know,” said Senator Susan Collins unhelpfully.
Collins made news this week when she penned an op-ed for The Washington Post, announcing that she couldn’t support her party’s nominee because “Mr. Trump’s lack of self-restraint and his barrage of ill-informed comments would make an already perilous world even more so.”
It’s tough being a high-profile Republican these days. People are always demanding to know what you think about your candidate’s latest horrific remark. But unless you come up with an alternative, disavowing a candidate is more like a sulk than a solution.
There’s been a lot of this going around. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, an early evacuee from the Trump train, said he was going to wait until October to deal with the problem. Senator Lindsey Graham said he might “just pass — I may write somebody in.” Mark Kirk, who’s generally regarded as the Senator Most Likely to Be Defeated in November, gave Illinois voters an excellent example of his leadership capacity when he announced that he was going to write in David Petraeus or maybe Colin Powell.
Obviously, all these people are trying to avoid taking responsibility for Donald Trump without being accused of betraying their party. But it’s very strange to hear elected officials embracing various versions of a don’t-vote strategy. Nobody knows better than they do that politics is a world of imperfect choices.
Collins freely admits that she’s worked well with Hillary Clinton in the past. But she ruled out voting for the Democrat, telling CNN that Clinton wanted to spend too much money. (“Promises of free this and free that, that I believe would bankrupt our country.”) Faced with a choice between a guy who could compromise national security and a woman who wants universal early childhood education, the former chairwoman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee claimed to be at a loss for an answer.
Here’s the bottom line: There are only three things you can do when it comes time to elect a president. You can stay home and punt; you can choose between the two major party candidates; or you can cop out by doing something that looks like voting but has no effect whatsoever on the outcome of the race.
The only third party that might have a line on all state ballots is the Libertarian, whose platform includes eliminating Social Security, ending gun control and wiping out drug laws. This year’s Libertarian candidate is Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico. Johnson does not seem to agree with the platform on many points, but to be honest, he’s not the world’s greatest explainer. Libertarians like the idea of a charisma-free candidate, since he’d be incapable of getting much done.
Voting for Johnson is exactly the same as staying home, except that it involves going outdoors. Ditto for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, a doctor who appears to have a rather ambiguous attitude toward childhood vaccinations.
Susan Collins said she could support the Libertarian ticket if only it had been reversed, with vice-presidential candidate William Weld on top. You can’t totally dislike Weld, who once told me that being governor of Massachusetts was pretty much a walk in the park. (“I used to go on vacation for a week at a time and I wouldn’t even call in.”) However, he’s been out of office for nearly 20 years. He is not the presidential candidate. And the Libertarians are never, repeat, never going to be elected.
Right now we live in a world that’s been messed up by the bad decisions George W. Bush made about invading Iraq. He was elected president in 2000 thanks to a few hundred votes in Florida. A state where Green Party candidate Ralph Nader got 97,488 votes.
Most of the Green voters undoubtedly thought they were showing their disdain for both Bush and the deeply imperfect candidacy of Al Gore. But look where those 97,488 votes got us.
If you think that Hillary Clinton is as bad as Donald Trump, you’re delusional.
Trump Watch: Hannity’s Take on Trump’s Campaign – People watching Fox network’s campaign center for Donald Trump (aka Sean Hannity’s show), “learned” this about Trump last week.
- Two infamous Islamophobes smeared Gold Star father Khizr Khan.
- Infamous “medical experts” proposed that Hillary Clinton is brain-damaged.
- More infamous “medical experts” said that Clinton had a brain injury, and Hannity defended Trump’s suggestion that gun nuts could (should?) kill Clinton. Rudy Giuliani accused the system of being “rigged.”
- More doctors, including past presidential candidate Ben Carson, talked about Clinton covering up brain damage, and Hannity supported Trump’s statement that President Obama is the “founder of ISIS.” Oliver North, indicted for his part in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal, was there to agree with Hannity.
- Mike Huckabee replaced Hannity and praised Trump’s “stamina” while interviewing Trump.
Trump’s Experience in Getting People Jobs – For people who look upon Trump as a jobs savior, Carey Purcell’s tale of her brief experience as a receptionist with Trump Magazine, formerly Trump World, is a reality check. During her brief tenure there, her pay check of about $2,000 a month bounced twice (in her fourth month), the magazine’s electricity was sometimes turned off because of unpaid bills, the landlord evicted the magazine, and Purcell lost her health insurance after surgery and during treatment for thyroid cancer despite federal law requiring COBRA after job termination. Trump was paid a licensing fee of $135,000 per issue in 2007 although the magazine lost over $7 million. A look at the United States if Trump is elected.
Tax Returns – Trump still refuses to issue his tax returns although GOP VP candidate Mike Pence said he will release his. Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine have already made their tax returns public. An op-ed from Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), the former governor who traveled to be with his Argentinean girlfriend while he claimed to be hiking the Appalachian mountains, even finds Trump’s actions to be fishy.
“The presidency is the most powerful political position on earth, and the idea of enabling the voter the chance to see how a candidate has handled his or her finances is a central part of making sure the right person gets the job. There is a reason a banker wants to see tax returns in determining whether you are eligible for a mortgage. You may talk a good game; tax returns don’t.”
Since Richard Nixon was caught owing $476,431 (about $2.3 million in current dollars), every GOP presidential nominee has released his tax returns except Gerald Ford in 1976. In the same year, Jimmy Carter released only one year of returns.
Foreign Policy – This morning, Trump gave his “great” ISIS speech, highly overshadowed by the news that his campaign manager Paul Manafort, who isn’t being paid, might be in the employ of Russia. Jason Easley described it as a “low energy repetition of Republican conspiracy theories and a defense of many flip-flops.” The U.S. shouldn’t have into Iraq, but it should keep the oil. Corrections for some of Trump’s lies:
- President Obama did not set the terms for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq—George W. Bush did.
- Under the current president, the U.S. is not in the era of nation building—that was George W. Bush.
- Trump did not oppose the Iraq War “from the beginning”; a 2002 interview with Howard Stern shows his support for invading Iraq.
- Trump could not use federal legal authority to implement his “extreme vetting” proposal.
- The San Bernardino shooters did not “openly” support jihad online.
- The San Bernardino shooters’ neighbors did not see “bombs on the floor.”
- Clinton did not say she wanted 620,000 refugees to resettle in the U.S.; a GOP-led subcommittee made up that number.
- Trump supported democracy in Libya, pushed for immediate regime change in Syria, and supported Mubarak’s overthrow in Egypt.
If elected, Trump promises “extreme vetting” for immigrants—including issues of religious freedom, gender equality, and LGBT rights? Huh!? Republicans can’t pass that one.