Stop it. Just for a few days — or, at least, a few hours. Stop making arguments for your preferred presidential candidate that simply amount to broadsides against the other guy . . . or gal.
I guess my pitch is a variant of “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Your mother is on my side.
The presumptive nominees of the two major parties, Donald J. Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton, are nothing if not presumptuous, which the dictionary defines as “failing to observe the limits of what is permitted or appropriate.” Both would-be emperors might stand stark naked in the court of public opinion — a horrific image indeed — were they not protected by the ample shade from the harsh light they direct to each other.
Sure, in a way, every presidential election comes down to choosing the lesser of two (or more) evils. Presidents are no doubt better judged by their lack of damage to the body politic than by their positive I’m-from-the-government-and-I’m-here-to-help assistance in our lives.
But this year, the emphasis is more on evil, less on the lesser.
Let’s not toss around a harsh word like “evil” without defining it. I’m not alleging the forces of Satan, per se. By evil, I mean consciously corrupt, perhaps sociopathic — or espousing dangerous policies so catastrophic that matters of intent pale into insignificance.
Or all three.
Even more than usual.
Not merely “misguided.”
Count me a decades-old member of #NeverHillary. I can sum up my opposition to Mrs. Clinton in two words: cattle futures. Roughly 38 years ago, while her husband was attorney general and then governor of Arkansas, I’m convinced that Hillary took a $100,000 bribe disguised as amazingly lucky trading in cattle futures. The lucrative trades were arranged by a lawyer for Tyson Foods, one of Arkansas’s largest corporations.
Were that her only ethical run-in, one might be more forgiving. But scandals have followed Hillary from her Arkansas days to her secretive national healthcare overhaul as First Lady to the Clinton Foundation’s questionable ethics, foreign influence-peddling and lack of transparency.
And I didn’t even mention her private email server.
Bill and Hillary Clinton have cashed in on politics, on “serving others” and “serving the poor,” like nobody’s business. In a way that exacerbates income inequality — one $250,000 Wall Street speech after another.
Meanwhile, Mr. Trump eked out another wasted week, spent in a dust-up with leaders of his own party, who are compelled to call him out for making “racist” remarks about a federal judge in the fraud lawsuit over Trump University. Even so, Team Clinton matches Trump below-the-belt blow by blow.
Yes, former President Bill Clinton has his own phony university scandal.
Of course, the mainstream media doesn’t much cover it, but Mr. Clinton knocked down $16.5 million from 2010 to 2015 in nice-work-if-you-can-get-it pay for being chancellor of Laureate Education, a for-profit college. During the time Mrs. Clinton was at the State Department, a not infinitesimal $55 million dollars went from State to an entity “run by Laureate’s founder and chairman.”
Granted, Hillary Clinton might (wisely) disavow her husband. But she has chosen not to do so. In fact, Mrs. Clinton has promised that her husband, Bill, will be “put in charge of revitalizing the economy, ’cause you know he knows how to do it.”
Not a small job, since . . . it’s the economy, stupid.
Then, there are Hillary’s policy preferences for Big Government to be made larger at every turn. And the imagined jurists she would nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court as president.
Trump enthusiasts are certainly enthusiastic at this point, perhaps a smidgen over-confident. Surely, for conservatives and libertarians and independents, Donald Trump is at least the lesser of two evils?
Yet, the lesser of two evils is still evil . . .
Another item apparently under the mainstream media’s radar is the connections between billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted pedophile, and Bill Clinton . . .
. . . and Donald J. Trump.
Seems Mr. Clinton was a frequent flyer on the convicted sex offender’s plane, nicknamed “The Lolita.” For his part, Trump called Epstein a “Terrific guy,” adding, “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”
The Daily Wire led its reporting by highlighting this tweet, asking, “Is it too much to hope that one of our parties would pick someone with no links to a pedophile sex-slave island?”
No wonder, then, that many Republicans are having trouble supporting Trump. His demeanor, with the name-calling and nasty language, turns people like me off.
The popular Speaker of the House was slow to endorse Trump, and continues to criticize his statements. The two living former Republican presidents have not endorsed Mr. Trump. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, has gone so far as to express interest in the Libertarian Party ticket.
From a libertarian perspective, Trump is an authoritarian who opposes free trade, criminal justice reforms, and limited, constitutional government. One reason the Libertarians have snagged two former, popular GOP governors to head their ticket. Gary Johnson from New Mexico and Bill Weld from Massachusetts are polling 10 percent. And the duo will be on the ballot in all 50 states, giving libertarians and others a lever to pull that’s not Hillary or Trump.
Hillary Clinton seems to be the only Democrat who could possibly lose to Trump. And The Donald may be the only Republican who could lose to Hillary.
Are they so bad that they could lose to the outsider ticket that is, truly, outsider, if possessing more practical government experience than the insiders?
It probably depends upon how much reflection Americans can manage, before the election.
Supporters of Trump, like supporters of any candidate, must come to grips with just how good or evil others perceive their candidate. Just as GOP opponents of Trump, horrified by the prospect of a disastrous Trump campaign, are considering how to dump the bellicose billionaire.
This year, too many voters will opt for something other than the evil lessers now being offered by the Rs and Ds — neither of which offer a solid alternative to the non-evil Libertarian Party ticket.