The American people now have a clear choice for their next president. Do we select someone who is knowledgeable and informed about every issue or someone who knows nothing about many important domestic and foreign issues?
Do we want someone whose campaign is built around facts and the issues or someone whose campaign is built around insults and boasts?
Someone whom PolitiFact considered the most truthful of all the candidates or someone who lies in every speech and even vilely stooped to telling the odious lie that he knew a child who got autism from a vaccination?
Someone who has remained calm and restrained in the face of 25 years’ worth of false accusations or someone prone to fly off the handle and make outrageous statements?
Someone who has always stressed inclusiveness and spent decades working on behalf of minorities or someone who has fomented hate against immigrants and minorities?
Someone who has admitted when subsequent events or facts proved her wrong or someone who digs in and refuses to admit he’s been wrong or even made an inaccurate statement?
Someone who has spent decades working for the rights of women, or someone who constantly denigrates women and evaluates them solely on their sexual charms?
Someone who showed her commitment to traditional marriage by working things out with a philandering husband or someone who twice had public affairs while still married?
Do we want someone from the upper middle class who represents the American ideal of meritocracy by working hard and succeeding in every position she has had or someone who was born into wealth and by some accounts did worse in his business dealings than he would have passively investing the hundreds of millions he inherited? Someone who has always been a success or someone who sent three companies into bankruptcy, making money while investors lost millions?
Do we want someone whom virtually every foreign leader knows and respects or someone foreign governments fear as an irrational hothead and despise because of his insulting statements about Muslims and Hispanics?
As these comparisons of the character and experience of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump demonstrated, even people who believe that Hillary Clinton is too left wing or too right wing have plenty of reasons to vote for her.
Donald Trump is at best a narcissistic blowhard and at worst a deranged, self-centered lunatic. In either case, he is masterful at public relations and self-promotion, prone to lying, and inconsistent about his position on the issues—except for his odious stands on immigrants and his insistence with every other Republican candidate that we need to lower taxes even more on the wealthy. That many leaders in the Republican Party are beginning to embrace him instead of talking about running a third-party candidate only further solidifies the notion that they believe that the president doesn’t matter much, as long as he (or she, giving the GOP the benefit of the doubt) supports tax breaks for the wealthy and hates unions. After all, they have rallied behind an actor and liar before, although Ronald Reagan had at least been an ultra rightest for years and also had experience serving as head of a union and governor of a large state. Republicans who are lining up behind Trump believe that doing so they have the best chance of keeping control of the House and Senate and maintaining their dominance of state government. That belief may prove to be as wacky as Trump’s notion that one could round up 11 million people and ship them out of the country.
The Republicans share blame with the right wing media for getting the public used to believing lies and fantastical notions. The mass media also deserves criticism for creating the grounds for Donald Trump, as they have steadily turned elections into celebrity contests and reality shows by their focus on personalities, the race itself and miscues, and their inability or unwillingness to expose candidates and elected officials who lie about such matters as tax policy, the effectiveness of government programs, global warming, abortion, gun safety, unions and foreign policy. The Republicans also fomented the anger of those hurt worst by their policies and deflected that anger to minorities and our African-American president. It is those voters who are flocking to Donald Trump—along with the hardcore nativists and racists who have always made up about 10-15% of the population. Now the GOP is stuck with a demagogic, self-centered con man with barely controllable urges and a strong authoritarian streak.
But making certain that Donald Trump does not seize power is only the second best reason to vote for Hillary Clinton.
The best reason is that she is a competent and caring liberal who knows how to get things done. Given a majority in the Senate and the House—a very possible outcome if we get a large voter turnout in November—I believe that she will build on Barack Obama’s start in bringing the country back from the excesses of Reaganism. More about that in a few days.