My latest newspaper column:
This is for Hillary-hating liberals. And it’s for independents, self-respecting conservatives, and reluctant party-line Trump voters who understand the damage he’s doing and will do to their party and to our country: The man who wrote the “Benghazi mom” speech at the RNC, in which the lady read his words blaming Hillary Clinton for the death of her son, now says that whereas the thought of voting for Hillary is uncomfortable, under the circumstances (i.e., Trump), not voting for her is “terrifying.” Or how about that WSJ poll of all living economic advisers to presidents? If they see it, why not you?
Liberals of the farthest left can be Sarandonally self-righteous, vowing they’ll never vote for Hillary, no matter what. Jill Stein, they think, or Gary Johnson. (Stein is another physician – the rest of whom are Congressional Republicans -- who completed medical school without learning to evaluate data. Her V.P. choice calls President Obama “Uncle Tom.” Johnson is typically Republican on health care, taxes, entitlements, abolishing the Department of Education, publically funding private schools. He’s not sure the climate is changing. Maybe the liberal appeal is his attitude toward weed. I like Bill Weld, though.) Willing to register a symbolic vote, conceivably Naderizing the election, empowering a horrifying candidate and the nastiest of his supporters, those “liberals” invoke higher morality. Some even deny the Nader/Bush/Gore connection.
I’m not bonkers for Hillary Clinton, some of whose comments make me squirm. Like all successful politicians, she has a record to defend, and it’s not perfect. Along with the rest, she takes money from big donors; she’s said and done dumb things about those emails. Yet, after millions of tax dollars spent on unending camera-ready investigations, there’s no finding of willful wrongdoing, of any quid pro quo regarding the Clinton Foundation (which is saving millions of lives), or of breaches of her private server. In contrast to Donald Trump, she educates herself on issues. She’s a policy wonk; he gives policy a wink. Unlike Trump’s, her domestic policies would actually keep America great. And safe. Her career has included promoting women’s rights and helping those in need around the world. But even some liberals have bought the distorted, dishonest, highly effective Foxolimtrumpian attacks. Pretending away his expanding compendium of dishonesty, full time liar and grifter Donald Trump calling Hillary Clinton “crooked” is Jeffrey Dahmer extoling veganism.
Donald Trump, unmoored, is a multi-tool threat to democracy, to the environment, science, public education, health care, to stability around the world. The lies he’s told about trade, borders, Hillary, the climate, and himself could fill Xfinity Arena* and, by golly, they did; after which he went to Mexico and lied about that! He’s unbridled the worst among us, legitimized, in their heads, ominous threats and actions by supporters, and, yes, engendered some disturbing responses to his ugliness from the left. Confirming his perfidious character, he’s hired as his campaign manager Stephen Brannon, the tax-evading, wife-beating, illegally-registered, allegedly anti-Semitic head of the right’s most toxic, dishonest, conspiracy-promoting website. Trump’s announced intentions to stifle press freedom with lawsuits, to ignore our intelligence agencies, to delegitimize a losing election while enlisting people to intimidate voters, to use government entities to punish detractors (or, as his “minority outreach” czar Omarosa said, make them “bow down to him”) should be frightening to everyone, not excepting conservatives.
There was a time when liberals and conservatives worked together. They didn’t build a wall, as it were, between each other. Trump, who says anything and believes in nothing, and those of his supporters who are faux-conservative, nativist, bigoted, simplistic, Constitution-rejecting, lie-ignoring people he’s brought out from under their rocks need not only to lose, but to be electorally vanquished, ushered off the national stage forever. Somewhere inside them, true conservatives know this. Real conservatism will have its day; if libertarians or Greens demonstrate ability to govern somewhere, so might they. But the enormously consequential stakes in this election – climate change denial alone ought to do it for every sentient voter -- demand that thinking people on all sides reject the allure of vainglorious or habituated votes. Reflect on the clarity of the aforementioned speechwriter and economists. There’s no time for self-indulgence.* Trump just spoke at this arena in my town.