I know I’m going to get a lot of heat for discussing “politics” on this blog. But if Jeremy Lin can use his platform to do work that he personally sees as being good (i.e., preaching about God), I will follow his example and use this blog, which is my platform, to discuss the most consequential election we have ever had, because it involves the most unusual (in a very bad way) presidential candidate we’ve ever had.
SIDE NOTE: To the regular readers and commentators here, I revamped the Comments section to use Disqus’s platform and in doing so, all of the comments from every post have disappeared. I’m still working to see if I can get them back.
This is not about politics, because I don’t care what your political affiliation is, unless you’re insane, there’s no way you think Trump is qualified to be president. If you do, then please lay out your arguments in the comments section below. I would sincerely love to hear them, because to me, I can’t see it and I pride myself on my ability to see things from multiple angles, even things I don’t agree with. so if you somehow manage to convince me that Trump is qualified to be president, then that means I’ve learned something that I never thought I would learn and that’s something I always welcome.
To me, it’s so obvious that Trump is grossly unqualified to be president that I would feel silly actually laying this out for you. To begin with, former U.S. republican presidents won’t endorse Trump. These are guys who have done the job and have some idea what it takes and they won’t support their own party’s presidential nominee! But do we really need former presidents to tell us that Trump is not fit for the job? I mean, he’s Donald fucking Trump! I mean, c’mon! A reality TV host and the butt of jokes for late night talk show hosts long before he was a presidential candidate.
Trump ran for president to increase his brand as a marketing ploy and somehow winds up as the Republican presidential nominee. He’s unstable, petulant, inane, selfish, self-absorbed, juvenile, lacks self-awareness, lacks curiosity, irritable, thin-skinned, compulsive liar, etc. The list of the most abhorrent human qualities goes on and on for this wretched man. A president’s character and temperament are very important and Trump is severely lacking in both. I can’t even talk about his policies because he’s got none. The one thing he does seem to repeat over and over is that he’ll “build a wall to keep the Mexicans out”. I’ll let Elizabeth Warren tell you more about Donald Trump:
Now, I see myself as someone who’s open-minded and can at least empathize with differing opinions, even if I can’t agree with them. But when it comes to Trump it’s cut-and-dry to me. If you support Trump, then I do think a lot less of you as a human being and for both your sake and society’s sake, I would suggest intense psychotherapy or a brain transplant. I’m sorry, but there’s no way anyone in their right mind could support Trump.
How can you support a man that has no idea what he is saying most of the time and just spews complete nonsense? You can pick pretty much anyone off the street and they’d know more about any given issue than Donald Trump. The reason Trump isn’t very knowledgeable is because he thinks he knows everything. When you think you know everything, you don’t bother seeking knowledge from else-where. When Trump was asked who he consults with on issues, he says that he consults with himself. He even says that he knows more about ISIS than the Generals. And he backs this statement up simply by saying “Trust me.” You can see him make this incredulous, inane remark, as well as other insane remarks here, starting at the 7:30 minute mark of this video:
And this is why I will think a lot less of you if you support Donald Trump. I don’t even want to voice the things that I think of you if you support Donald Trump. And if you support Trump, I’m sure you couldn’t give a rat’s ass what I think about you and I’m more than okay with that. I know that there are Trump supporters who don’t like Trump, but think that supporting him will be the way to blow up the entire system and start over. To those people, I say you’re playing a very very dangerous game, because we have a myriad of very complex global issues that need to be confronted and it doesn’t take very long for things to go very very badly. The president of the most powerful nation on earth does have lasting global impact. So it is actually very consequential who is in office. I know this is going to sound political, but if we had Gore instead of Bush, we wouldn’t have been mired in the Iraq war. I’m not trying to get into politics, just providing an example of how U.S. presidents do have lasting global consequences. So this year is not the year you want to be playing games with the election and inadvertently elect Trump as an expression of your anger at the system.
Besides, like it or not, the reality is that we need big institutions, such as congress, in order to confront a lot of complex global issues, so it is not in our interest to blow up the system and start over. It is in our interest to fix the big institutions. You can’t solve the big issues of the country and the world without institutions, despite what we want to believe. The reason why there are so many unresolved issues is because our institutions aren’t functioning properly, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t need them. The fact that we have so many unresolved issues proves that we need properly functioning systems so blowing it all up and starting over may seem tempting, but it is not the answer and could have disastrous repercussions. Also, the rebuilding process takes a lot lot longer than most people think, so blowing it all up and starting over will take a lot longer to get to a functioning system than trying to fix it now. And there is no way electing Trump will help fix the system. David Brooks has some very interesting and “uncool” things to say about the importance of institutions at the 40:50 mark of this Charlie Rose interview if you want to hear more about this. Actually that entire 1-hour long interview is well worth a listen.
This discussion of blowing up the system is actually a great segue to Bernie Sanders Supporters. I totally understand the enthusiasm displayed by Bernie supporters, because Bernie is essentially an Independent candidate who has managed to go farther than anyone thought was possible. So they’re all fired up, as they should be. But I don’t know if it’s just the Sanders supporters who post on Twitter or YouTube, but Sanders supporters seem to act as if Trump doesn’t exist at all in this campaign. The democrats have reached a stage where Hillary is the presumptive nominee and when Elizabeth Warren publicly endorsed Hillary, pretty much all of them called her a “sell-out”. You can see all the inane comments here:
Instead of realizing that Warren is doing the right thing for progressives by preventing a Trump presidency, Sanders supporters call her a sellout, an opportunist, and immediately question her principles. If you don’t agree 100% with these people and do EXACTLY EVERYTHING they want you to do, you’re the enemy. Sound familiar? This is what allowed the Tea Party crazies to take control of the Republican party several years back. Never mind that Warren has been a champion for their progressive causes from day one and probably even long before they knew what being a progressive entails.
I’ve read more YouTube comments from Sanders supporters than I care to admit, and not ONE of them even MENTION Trump. I totally understand that Bernie supporters want to take the campaign as far as they can to effect as much change as possible along the way and have a bargaining chip when it’s all said and done. So they want to just focus on Bernie and not get distracted with the general election. I get that. But when I see overwhelming comments that pretty much amount to “Bernie or Bust” or “Never Hillary”, it’s completely baffling and highly disturbing to me and it tells me that they’ve been blinded by their extremism. And THIS is why they eerily remind me of the Tea Party crazies, that a lot of these very Sanders supporters probably made fun of and abhorred from several years back.To me, extremism in all form is bad no matter if you’re on the right or left. Extremism results in violence. The problem is, everyone probably thinks their views are the right views and never stop to think that they may be subscribing to extremist views. But that’s a whole other topic.
I hope the “Bernie or Bust” and “Never Hillary” type statements are just all posturing and that they’ll come to their sense once the general election starts, because it’s completely insane. A lot of them make this statement out of some narcissistic notion of not wanting to be a sellout (which is a term they LOVE to throw around). A lot of these extreme Sanders supporters make insane statements, such as Hillary is no better than Trump. Really?! Whenever I see these statements, I want to shake them out of whatever crazy trance they are in.
Setting politics aside, just from merely a qualification and temperament standpoint, Hillary is EXTREMELY different from Trump. The fact that you can’t see that tells me you’re completely blinded by your extremism. I understand how this happens, though. They’ve been so focused on taking down Hillary in the primaries that they’re overly fixated on all of Hillary’s faults. It’s been their job for months to dig up the most heinous things about Hillary in order to help their guy Bernie. They’ve been surrounded by people like them who have been doing the very same things. They’ve been so busy with finding more and more things to hate about Hillary that they haven’t had time to really think about how much more heinous Donald Trump is by orders of magnitude.
Because they haven’t really thought much about Trump, they just dismiss him as some unknown entity, since Trump hasn’t put together a coherent policy. And this is highly disturbing to me. They’ve let their over-fixation on their hatred of Clinton blind them to what an obvious disaster Donald Trump would be as president. These Sanders supporters fixate on Clinton’s ties to Wall Street, implying that Clinton will give favorable treatment to the rich. It’s not hard to imagine how Trump will treat the poor and how much more heinous that will be than whatever crazy imagination they have about how Clinton will behave. They complain that Hillary is hawkish. Well what do they think Trump is going to do when he is the Commander-in-Chief? Just a hint, Trump has said that he is going to bring back waterboarding and things that are a lot worse than that. If these Sanders supporters stop to think objectively, they’ll realize that everything they hate about Clinton, Trump will be orders of magnitude worse. Just because Trump spews a bunch of nonsense, you can’t use that as an excuse to dismiss and even accept him as an unknown entity so that you can clear your conscience and continue to overly fixate on your hatred of Hillary.
In past elections, Independents could conceivably make the argument they always make that there’s not that much difference between the two major party candidates, although, I would still see that as extremely short-sighted and tribal-thinking. But in THIS election in particular when you have Donald fucking Trump. This is no ordinary election! It’s not OKAY for Bernie Sanders supporters to not vote for Clinton. I get the whole “I don’t want to give up my precious principles” thing, but THIS election is not the time to be playing egotistical, narcissistic games, such as not wanting to be seen as a sellout by voting for Hillary.
Whether you vote or not, you’re still impacting the election. So if you’re progressive and you don’t vote for Clinton in the general election, then that’s saying you’re okay with Trump being president. Writing in Bernie Sanders’s name on the ballot is the same thing as accepting Trump as president. Encouraging Bernie to run as an independent (I’m talking to you Jill Stein) tells me that you failed math in grade school, because it would mean GIVING Trump the presidency.
You want to vote your conscience and stick to your principles? If you’re a progressive, how is your conscience okay with essentially giving the presidency to a man who makes bigoted statements, is clearly a chauvinist, is against immigration, and for torture among so many heinous things? Basically everything Bernie Sanders and you (if you’re his supporter) stand strongly against. Is your ego that important to you that you would play a role in electing the most unstable, insane, unfit presidential candidate ever? Bernie Sanders supporters need to wake up to reality and think about the consequences of their actions. If Trump becomes president and you didn’t vote for Clinton or you wrote in Bernie Sanders on the ballot, you have no one but yourself to blame. Enjoy four years of some of the most UN-progressive policies ever. And, oh, by the way, you do realize that the next president will nominate the supreme court justice that Obama is supposed to be naming right now, but is prevented from doing so by the Republicans, right (note, this is not a political statement, it’s just a simple fact)? Isn’t it in your best interest as a progressive to do EVERYTHING in your power to not let Trump name a supreme court justice?
Some Bernie Sanders supporters have this romantic notion of wanting to make a bold statement by electing Trump in order to tear down the two-party system. I totally understand this impulse, but I don’t think it’s very well thought out. They say it will all be well worth it, regardless of the short-term negative impact if it means returning the government to the people. But I think in their blissful dreaming and their over-fixation of an ideal vision of how things should be, they fail to really grasp what this can look like in practice. For example, the phrase “short-term negative impact” is easy to accept in theory, when it’s just words on a page, but when you really think about it in practice, is it acceptable? Besides, whatever system that is cobbled together in the aftermath may not be any better than the current system, because the truth is there is no perfect political system. Most political systems are extremely flawed and actually the one in the U.S., as much as we all may hate it, is less flawed than most. But that’s a whole other topic.
Getting back to “short-term negative impact”. Imagine what it would be like in practice to have Donald fucking Trump as the president of the United States. I won’t even touch on the potentially devastating global consequences of this. Let’s just focus on domestic, since that’s all these Bernie Sanders and Trump Supporters seem to really care most about anyhow, never mind the fact that Presidents have way more impact on foreign policy than domestic policy. But that’s also a whole other subject.
For now, just imagine what it would be like domestically, to have Trump as president. Think about what Trump supporters are like and think about how much Trump loves polls as if they’re TV ratings. These Bernie Sanders supporters want to return the government to the people? You know who also wants to return the government back to the people? The gun-toting, xenophobic, homophobic, Tea Party crazies. If Trump is president, which people do you think he’ll give the government to, if he has the opportunity or the ability?
This idea of returning the government back to the people sounds great when it’s “your” people. If it’s not “your” people, it’s a living hell, just ask certain disenfranchise people in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Is it so hard to imagine sectarian violence in the U.S. if Trump is president and the government is completely broken, as some of these Bernie Sanders supporters seem to be hoping for (again, eerily similar to the Tea Party crazies)? I mean, just look at the violence that has been taking place at Trump’s rallies. If Trump is president, is it that hard to imagine that this type of “sectarian” violence will escalate exponentially? What do you think Trump will do the next time a terrorist attack hits the U.S.? Hell, he probably won’t even wait until the next terrorist attack to round up all Muslim Americans and do God knows what to them.
If Trump is in charge and the system is broken, don’t you think he’d take the opportunity to give it to the people who want to build up walls, who want to be suspicious of anyone who isn’t white. Knowing Trump, he’ll find a way to take advantage of a broken government to create some sort of dictatorship. We’re talking about a man who says a judge is unfit to preside over his case because Trump feels that his Mexican heritage makes him biased against Trump, due to Trumps own bigotry (you can’t make this stuff up). We’re talking about a guy who only has “Yes” men around him all day long. We’re talking about a guy who actually admires dictators of other countries. You don’t think, in a broken government, he’ll try and find some way to create some sort of dictatorship? By the way, it’s not hard to imagine a broken U.S. government with Trump in power, because he’ll take advantage of the first opportunity to reform tax and make it so that people like him don’t have to pay taxes and the U.S. government will be in default, because who needs the government, right? You progressives think income inequality is bad now, wait until Trump is president! Besides, Trump has had a lot of experience with being in default, so he doesn’t see being in default as a bad thing at all.
I know Sanders supporters will accuse me of fear mongering, here, and that’s understandable. I’m painting a very grim scenario, but I think if you want to think strategically, you need to be able to see the worst-case scenario, not just fixate on your Pollyannish, pie-in-the-sky scenario. That being said, I actually do think the scenario above is realistic if you have a Trump presidency, so if you’re not terrified of a potential Trump presidency, then I think you really need to get out of whatever bubble you’ve put yourself in. Fear is not always bad. In this particular case, there is a very real reason to be afraid. Fear is what has prompted me to write this very lengthy article and go on social message to make sure responsible citizens set aside politics and do everything in their power to make sure Trump never holds ANY office let alone the Presidential office.
Elizabeth Warren endorsed Hillary because she’s terrified of a potential Trump presidency. Bernie Sanders will endorse Hilary because he’s terrified of a Trump presidency. But Bernie Sanders supporters act as if Trump doesn’t exist. In the bubble in which they live, it’s all about Bernie, Bernie, Bernie. There is nothing else. In their bubble, they think Bernie still has a chance to win if Bernie can convince superdelegates to vote for him and overturn the people’s choice. Never mind that that’s a complete violation of Bernie’s own principles and goes counter to progressive principles as a whole, the very precious principles they purport to essentially live or die by when they say “Bernie or Bust”.
Their extremism and singular focus on Bernie winning has blinded them to their own contradictions. And, of course, they have all these conspiracy theories about how the election is all rigged. Now, I understand where this comes from. It is true that the Democratic Party has been backing Hillary from day one and have been giving Hillary favorable treatment in the primaries. Bernie has had to do it on his own with no help from the establishment. But Bernie knew this coming into the fight so that’s no secret. To enter into the arena knowing the rules and in the middle of it accuse the game of being rigged, even though you knew full well what game you were taking part in shows a lack of wisdom.
Now, I’m not saying that the rules don’t need to change. That’s a whole other topic that I won’t get into here. Again, this article is about how we can avoid electing the most unqualified, unstable, insane candidate to the highest office in STILL the most powerful nation on earth. This is why I don’t see this article as a discussion on politics. Our very own existence as we know it is at stake here, not our party affiliation.
The attitudes of many Bernie Sanders supporters is just one of many examples of how divisive this country and the world at large has become and continues to become. I don’t mean to single out Sanders supporters here, but I just don’t want to bring up some other group that I haven’t discussed in this article for the sake of convenience. I actually blame the divisiveness on the fragmentation of the media landscape. The great thing about a fragmented media landscape is that it disperses power. We have more choices than ever of where we get our information. But the downside is that people can go about their lives without ever having to confront a dissenting view. The result is tribalism and you see this everywhere–especially online.
When Bernie Sanders supporters say things like “Never Hillary” in THIS election, ignoring the existence of Trump, that’s tribalism at work. Sanders supporters have gotten so much dirt on Hillary during the primaries that they’re so blinded by their hatred of Hillary they can’t see that they have a hell of a lot more in common with Hillary than they do with Trump. Nicholas Kristof lays this out pretty well in his Op-Ed. I’m sure Sanders supporters will disagree with a lot of Kristof’s points, though. By the way, in this article Kristof also points out elections in the past where a candidate that seemed to have no shot at winning the general election (Trump) ended up winning, as a cautionary tale.
When you spend all your time with people who share only your views, you get more and more evidence that you’re right and your brain attaches a great deal of emotion to this particular belief and that’s how extremist views are adopted. You think ONLY your source of information is speaking the truth and EVERY source of information that contradicts that truth is IMMEDIATELY WRONG and SUSPECT. You come up with all sorts of conspiracy theories as to why the source of information that contradicts yours is compromised. There’s not even a possibility that whatever niche source of information you subscribe to is not 100 percent correct about EVERYTHING.
For example, A lot of Sanders supporters will probably complain that a lot of things I link to in this article are from the media owned by the establishment, so I don’t have the truth. I would not disagree with that. For example, I know that a lot of media outlets from MSNBC are big supporters of Clinton, so they are biased. But just because someone is biased, that doesn’t mean EVERYTHING they say is untrue.
I know that not all sources of information I use has the truth. But they need to be open to the truth that their sources of information also don’t have all the truth and also have their own agendas. The truth is, no one has all the truth and agendas are pitted up against other agendas. So the best way to get as close to the truth as possible is to look at as many different sources of information as possible (sources that contradict one another) and come up with your own version of the truth and be humble enough to know that even your own version is not 100 percent true.
I long for a return to a more center left and center right (both lower-case “l” and “r”) politics. That’s not “selling out”. That’s called listening to one another. That’s called having constructive dialogue. That’s called being humble to know that you don’t know everything and that maybe someone else has some good ideas that you’ve never even considered. That’s called knowing that you have to give something to take something. That’s called having the wisdom and maturity to understand that you can’t get EVERYTHING you want in life.
Both the Democrats and Republicans need to take back control from the extremists of their respective parties. Maybe then we can begin to have constructive dialogue and find some common ground and actually get some very necessary things done. We are facing a myriad of very complex and consequential issues and, like it or not, it takes large institutions like congress working together, making compromises and deals to even have a shot at solving them.