A note on the election

Clinton is terrible, but Trump is far worse.

Both are hostile to freedom. Clinton’s highest priority is to gut the First Amendment in order to settle a personal grudge about a video she wanted to censor. Trump ‘s highest priority is to exercise dictatorial power. Both want to escalate the current set of undeclared wars. Both want to use the terrorist watch list, a set of secret accusations that you can’t defend yourself against, to restrict people’s freedoms.

But they aren’t the same. Clinton knows some limits. Trump is a plain thug. Either he physically assaults people or he lies to make people think he did. He expects the military to obey illegal orders. He has said he will launch massive, nationwide raids on his first day in office. He intends to use his executive powers to jail his opponent, and one of his advisors wants her executed. (I’m not opposed to criminal charges against Clinton, but the chief executive has no business officially instigating it, and the charges certainly don’t rise to the capital level.)

We can endure four years of Clinton. If Trump is elected, I’m not sure there will be a free election in 2020.

I’m voting for Johnson. The Democrats and Republicans are using every means at their disposal to convince Americans that there are no other legitimate candidates besides their two. You must vote for someone you despise, they say, or you’re “wasting your vote.”

Voting for Trump or Clinton is the real waste. The Democrats are Republicans will maintain the cycle of war, terrorism, surveillance, and reduction of freedom forever if they can. I’m not thrilled with Johnson and Weld as representatives of libertarianism, but if the Libertarian Party evolves into a true liberal party, it might provide a viable broad-based alternative to the Democrats and Republicans.

Normally I consider voting a proxy attempt to coerce others which degrades the voter. This year, though, we’re looking at the prospect of outright dictatorship. I want to see Trump not just beaten but overwhelmingly crushed in the election. It doesn’t matter whom you vote for. If you think it’s necessary to vote for Clinton in order to stop Trump, do that. Write in Mickey Mouse if you want. Just vote against Trump.

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3 Responses to “A note on the election”

  1. Eyal Mozes Says:

    I can’t agree with you that Trump is that much worse than Clinton. You’ve selectively pointed out some terrible aspects of Trump, and you’re absolutely correct about each one of them; but I don’t see that it’s any harder to selectively point out equally terrible aspects of Clinton.

    I’d agree with you that if Trump is elected president, and then succeeds in doing everything he wants to do, that will destroy the US. But the same is true of Clinton, and the same was true of Obama. Fortunately we still have a political system that puts many limits on the power of the president and makes it very hard for a president to act unilaterally. Obama has been pushing against these limits, and succeeded in eroding them to a significant degree, but not in breaking them down completely; neither Trump not Clinton will succeed in doing that either. Whichever one of them is president, the next four years will be very bad; but the US will survive.

    I’m not thrilled with Johnson and Weld as representatives of libertarianism, but if the Libertarian Party evolves into a true liberal party, it might provide a viable broad-based alternative to the Democrats and Republicans.

    I very much agree, with all clauses of this sentence.

    The best possible outcome of this election is for the Republican party to be destroyed (which could happen as a result of a Trump loss, and could just as plausibly happen as a result of a Trump win, in the same way that Zachary Taylor’s win in 1848 led to the destruction of the Whig party), and for the Libertarian party to emerge as America’s new major party and the main alternative to the Democrats. If that happens, it will be with a platform that will not be truly libertarian, but will be much closer to liberalism (using that term in its original and honorable meaning), and much better, than what the Democrats and Republicans have been offering for the past century.

    If that doesn’t happen, the next-best outcome will be for whichever party loses this presidential election to make it a major goal to regain some of the voters they lost to Johnson, by moving their platform in a liberal direction and nominating more liberal candidates.

    Clearly either of the above outcomes can only happen if Johnson makes a very strong showing in the election. Whether that happens or not will, in the long run, matter a lot more for the future of the US than whether Trump or Clinton is president.

    I know now that the night of election day I’ll be getting very little sleep, if any. I’ll be staying up to anxiously check up on the election results. But the main cause of my anxiety will not be who’s been elected president – I really no longer care much about that – but how strong a showing Johnson made. That’s the one really important thing at stake now.

    If you think it’s necessary to vote for Clinton in order to stop Trump, do that.

    That’s the one statement in your post I have to really strongly protest against; for the reasons I discuss above, and for the reasons you yourself pointed out in the immediately preceding paragraph. I frankly find the ideas that “it’s necessary to vote for Clinton in order to stop Trump” and that “it’s necessary to vote for Trump in order to stop Clinton” to be exact mirror images, with neither one any more reasonable than the other; and I can’t feel any respect for the people pushing either of them.

    • Gary McGath Says:

      I have very little confidence in Congress’s ability or inclination to stand up to the president. The main thing that’s been holding Obama back has been a Republican Congress. If Trump gets in and the Republicans keep control of Congress, they’re likely to let him get away with unprecedented power-grabbing. The courts will be our best hope, but I don’t know if they’ll be enough. Possibly the most irresponsible thing Congress has done this year is to hand an immediate Supreme Court vacancy to the next president. Garland struck me as not great but not as bad as what Trump or Clinton will doubtless go after.
      Trump scares me the way no other major-party nominee ever has. We’ve had bad presidents before, but not outright brutes.

      • Eyal Mozes Says:

        On the specific issue of influence on the Supreme Court, I’d say Clinton is much more scary than Trump. I can only see one current Supreme Court Justice who maybe willing to become a Trump rubber-stamp; John Roberts. I trust both Thomas and Kennedy to oppose Trump’s power-grabs on principled legal grounds; it seems likely that Alito will do so as well; and the remaining four Justices will be opposing Trump for partisan reasons. So even if Trump gets another rubber-stamp onto the Supreme Court, he’ll still be likely to have a string of 7-2 losses in his attempts to break the rule of law.

        Clinton, in contrast, already has four Justices on the Supreme Court who will very likely be willing to be her rubber stamps. If she gets a fifth one in, she’ll be much harder to stop.


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