A Rock and a Hard Place

12 Aug

Part … something … of my series on the US election.

Is it terribly wrong of me, as I start writing what will be (hopefully) the final post on the coming US election, that I have Anything You Can Do on the brain? I just keep imagining Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton singing it …

Trump: How do you keep getting away with it?

Clinton: I’m a Democrat!

Ok, I’ll be serious now.

Before I go any further, I will say that Donald Trump is a better candidate than Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, this isn’t saying very much. This year, both parties seem to have found themselves candidates who – in a rational world – would have been dismissed out of hand. It doesn’t bode well for the future.

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But there is no realistic alternative. A mass swing of Republican voters to Gary Johnston will probably hand victory to Hillary Clinton (in the same way Ross Perot handed victory to Bill Clinton); a mass swing of Democratic voters to Jill Stein will probably hand victory to Donald Trump. Neither the Greens nor the Libertarians have the nation-wide influence required to have a realistic chance at the Presidency, something that has made their politics more absurd than usual.

The problem facing both major parties remains the same – they are held together by the certain knowledge that a break-up will hand permanent dominance to their rival. America has problems now, but a party in unchallengeable control over the US would be far worse – at best, there would be the baleful influence of the Scottish SNP, at worst there would be the staggering corruption and unaccountability of the South African ANC. American politics might become more representative, more reasonable, if both parties separated at roughly the same time, but I would not care to count on it.

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Donald Trump has been excoriated for daring to suggest that the 2016 election will be rigged, if he loses. And yes, it was a staggeringly irresponsible thing to say. But tell me … given what we now know about how the DNC’s selection process was slanted in Hillary’s favour, is it actually wrong to worry about Hillary trying to rig the national election?

The results of a nation-wide election must be above suspicion. There must be no doubt that the winner is the genuine choice of the majority of the country (or at least of those citizens who can be bothered to vote.) Hillary’s conduct and Trump’s claims both call the results of the election into question (before the election has even been held) and undermine the fundamental basis of American democracy. If the winner cheated – or even if vast numbers of people believe the winner cheated – does the US even have a democracy? Will the entire country just go along with it?

Michael Ramirez / Weekly Standard

And another issue that has reared its ugly head is Hillary’s health.

There is evidence – not conclusive evidence – that Hillary is dangerously unwell. Is this actually a valid concern? We do not know, but the simple fact that the Clinton Campaign hasn’t dowsed the fire – by releasing her medical records, for example – is worrying. Once again, they act as if they have something to hide.

I can understand being reluctant to be seen to bow to pressure. Demands that the campaign do this or that will always lead to more demands, forcing the campaign to keep jumping through hoops to prove this or that. But there comes a time when allowing rumours to fester merely lets them get out of hand. The campaign must answer the questions as quickly as possible.

What is the current state of Hillary’s health? Does she have any health conditions that threaten her ability to do her job? Can she handle the stress of the Presidency, a post that has wrecked the good looks of every previous President? Is there a possibility that she might die in office, dumping the job on her ‘policy wonk’ VP?

And if Hillary cannot handle the job, we need to know now.

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And then we have the question of Putin’s involvement in the DNC email scandal.

The United States (and Hillary) doesn’t have a leg to stand on, if it wishes to complain about foreign countries interfering in American elections. Putin has ample reason to be pissed at America – and Obama/Hillary personally – for American involvement in Eastern European elections. Obama’s clumsy attempt to convince the British electorate to reject BREXIT was a flop, at least in part because it was clumsy and foolish.

And – to be blunt – the fact that Putin might have released the emails does not detract from the simple fact that the DNC was engaging in criminal activity.

The problem facing Putin – and every other foreign leader – is that he has very good reason not to want Hillary Clinton to become President. Clinton played a major role in a foreign policy based on wishful thinking, rather than realpolitik; the collapse of US influence over large swathes of the world owes a great deal to America losing sight of the cold realities of the world. In some ways, this has worked in Putin’s favour; in others, it raises the spectre of a collapse of American power that will leave a vacuum, a vacuum Putin doesn’t want to fill.

From Putin’s point of view, a businessman would make a better partner. A smart American President would understand Russia’s concerns, then come to a mutually-beneficial agreement that would benefit both sides. A businessman would also understand the value of keeping one’s word, of sticking to an agreement, of remaining consistent even when the world threatens to turn upside down. Trump is probably not Putin’s ideal American President, but he’s better than Hillary Clinton.

There might be something to be said for the prospect of blackmailing Hillary after she wins the election, but Putin – I suspect – would see it as a ‘high-risk, low-reward’ option. Hillary’s ability to keep secrets is seemingly non-existent these days. If it leaked out that Putin was blackmailing her, she’d be impeached and the US would be far more inclined to confront Russia wherever possible. Taking revenge by damaging Hillary’s chances of getting elected would suit Putin far better (and besides, if Trump is grateful, that’s an added bonus).

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The core of the problem, as I noted earlier, is that the government has simply grown too big to function efficiently. This has allowed the growth of a political elite, which – through an incestuous relationship with the media and big business – has secured control over most of the levers of power. And, like most aristocracies throughout history, the elite has lost touch with the commoners and, in doing so, it has provoked resistance and rebellion.

This shouldn’t be surprising. A group – isolated from the rest of the world in gated communities – can fall prey to all sorts of delusions, once it has lost touch with reality. It is easy to believe that pushing social change is a good thing, if one happens to be isolated from the effects of one’s changes. The religion of ‘social justice’ would not have taken root if the elite had not started to class people as numbers, rather than living breathing individuals. And it is easy to believe that one’s opponents are doing it because they are evil, not because they have a valid point.

If government does not represent the interests of the voters, why should the voters continue to vote for it? Neither the RNC nor the DNC asked this question, which is why Trump crushed all of the elite candidates for the nomination and Hillary Clinton’s nomination is tainted by the suggestion she cheated. The average American is increasingly sick of the political elites – Donald Trump, for all of his flaws, seems more connected to the population than Hillary Clinton.

The credibility of the political elite – and the government – is gone. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that Hillary wins the election – and, a year later, there is a disease outbreak in New York. Would anyone believe Hillary if she told them to keep calm and carry on? No; her reputation as a habitual liar, a person who lies even when there is no need to lie, is well-established. Realistically speaking, would anyone believe Hillary when she talks about anything? And Trump, it must be admitted, has the same problem.

But Trump and Hillary are merely the tip of the iceberg. The true problem lies in the growth of government, of the political elite, of government bureaucracy, of endless regulations …

… In short, Atlas Shrugged is starting to seem alarmingly plausible.

Throughout history, there have been a number of failed revolutions.

These tend to fall into two categories. On one hand, we have revolutions – like the 1905 Revolution in Russia – where the forces of reaction eventually regain control and crush all opposition. On the other, we have revolutions – like the French Revolution – where the rebels win, only to give birth to the next generation of tyrants. Napoleon and Stalin were both born out of chaos, taking advantage of the collapse of the old order to establish their own order; they were both able to build power structures that favoured their dominance. There were no counters to their power – they couldn’t allow them to exist.

The handful of successful revolutions occurred, at least in part, because there was an alternate power structure up and running when the revolution took place. Parliament won the English Civil War because it controlled many of the levers of power; it’s later failure to keep the revolution occurred because Cromwell centralised power in his hands. The American Revolution succeeded – both in separating America from Britain and in creating a whole new governing structure – because, again, there was an alternate power structure, which morphed into the federal government.

Where are the alternate power structures today? Gone.

And part of the reason they are gone is because the left – and to some extent the right – has savaged them. Freedom of speech, the freedom to express dissident viewpoints, has been curtailed. People who question Obama are called racists, people who dislike Hillary Clinton are called sexists, people who have concerns about Islam are accused of Islamophobia … this is done, not out of valid concern, but out of a desire to delegitimize dissenting opinion. If you can play the ‘race card’ against your opponent, you win …

… At least in the short term.

But a person who raises valid concerns isn’t going to be satisfied by a barrage of “racist, Racist, RACIST!” They might be cowed, they might scurry backwards, they might kow-tow to the whims of social justice, but they won’t be satisfied. Their concerns will not have been addressed, merely driven underground. People resent not being able to express themselves, people resent being accused of evil and bad thinking … particularly when they know, all too well, that they’re nothing of the sort. We live in a world where the merest hint of dissent can lead to destroyed careers and broken lives. Why would anyone consider this a good thing?

And the rules change at random. What is right at one point may be cause for shunning the next. People are becoming neurotic, because they don’t know what will offend someone next. Justice is a joke when the race, or sex, or whatever of the criminal becomes more important than the crime. People are scared, people are angry … people no longer trust. The idea of honest debate has been lost, replaced by people who – on one hand – virtue-signal like there’s no tomorrow and – on the other hand – people who take pride in saying the most outrageous things possible.

You know, like Donald Trump.

There’s no room for compromise because there’s no good faith. There’s no belief that one’s opponent is a man of goodwill, even if he disagrees with you.

And if the political elites want to know who to blame for this, they can start by looking in the mirror.

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I’m betting on Donald Trump.

I know, he’s a poor candidate and likely to make a worse president. But he has two advantages that – I think – need to be taken into consideration.

First, Hillary is an even worse candidate. It is impossible to believe a word she says without independent verification. Nor does she have the ability to inspire her supporters – Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton could and did. Instead, she comes across as a self-righteous entitled nagger, so tone-deaf she doesn’t realise just how bad she sounds. Her past hangs over her like a thundercloud, constantly reminding people of her weaknesses and moral failings. And who knows what scandal will next pop out of nowhere to bog her down, once again.

Donald Trump can be inspiring. Donald Trump’s past lies outside politics. (And really, what can Hillary use against him that can’t be turned back on her?) Donald Trump is a breath of fresh air to an electorate thoroughly sick of elitist candidates.

Hillary’s only real advantage is being a woman. It is why she suggests that it is time for a woman to occupy the Oval Office. But even that is a problem. Hillary’s conduct does not suggest tender feelings for other women, particularly the ones who get in her way. Modern feminists might like the idea of a female President, but shudder at Hillary’s obvious contempt for her husband’s affairs and her willingness to smear his lovers. Why should they vote for her?

The issue is not that there are plenty of reasons to vote for Trump. The issue is that there are plenty of reasons not to vote for Clinton.

Second, there’s the ‘Shy Tory’ factor.

In 2015, the British Conservative Party (The ‘Tories’) won a decisive victory in the general election, a victory that was not predicted by the opinion polls. One of the theories advanced to explain this oddity was that Tory voters weren’t admitting to being Tories – they felt that openly expressing their political affections would have negative effects on their lives. And in this day and age, it would be true. A Tory voter would be called all sorts of horrible things by self-righteous left-wingers.

But that didn’t stop them casting their votes for the Conservative Party.

I suspect that the true number of Trump voters is much higher than estimated, even by the alternate media. Like I said, people resent being treated as public enemies for daring to have an opinion of their own. A vote for Trump is a quiet rebellion against self-righteous social justice warriors, humourless prats who sneer at ordinary people who merely want to live their lives in peace. It is a blow struck against the PC Police, an expression of the resentment and rage people feel at being told how to live their lives, at being insulted and talked down to by idiots who don’t have the slightest idea how the real world works …

… Trump isn’t much. But he’s all they’ve got.

Depressed yet?

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32 Responses to “A Rock and a Hard Place”

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 12, 2016 at 7:28 pm #

    Depressed yet?

    Yep. 😦

    While I’d prefer to be voting for some Republican besides Trump, I also don’t believe he’s the monster that the News Media and the Democratic Party (is there a difference) claim he is.

    What worries me is “who will be the next candidate if Trump loses?”

    If Trump loses, especially if there are claims (true or not) of voter fraud, then the angry people who supported Trump (and even Bernie) could support somebody who would really be a monster.

    Of course, few non-Liberals really trust the News Media when it “screams” racist, sexist, fascist, etc.

    So if the US got a real Hitler running for the Presidency, then very few would trust the News Media if they warned us about him.

    Of course, I suspect that if we had a real Stalin running for the Presidency, the News Media would ignore the warning signs. 😦

    • Billy August 13, 2016 at 3:27 am #

      I still remember election night for Ronald Regan,
      on the 3 news channels (I flipped back and forth )
      NBC, ABC and CBS. They all said it was a tie or 50/50 that all the polls said that it was going to be hard to tell who would win.
      (I was feeling like the Democrats were going to win and the country would go further down the tubes)

      Then……

      It was a landslide for Regan. All the news talking heads started spinning . (That was my impression)

      It was wonderful.

      • thundercloud47 August 20, 2016 at 4:14 am #

        That’s pretty close to my own observation Billy. They would not admit it was a landslide until they just had to.

        What amazes me is the pundits today who claim he barely won the election. It’s like they don’t want younger people today thinking that Reagan won by a big margin.

    • Sergiu Moscovici August 14, 2016 at 12:32 am #

      Hey Chris
      Maybe you should concentrate on the 3rd Angel book.
      Just saying.

      • chrishanger August 14, 2016 at 5:30 pm #

        Completed and we’ve had the first set of edits. Book 4 will be written next month.

        Chris

  2. Glen Romero August 12, 2016 at 7:29 pm #

    In this case is like saying that being bitten by a death viper is better being burned to death by the poison on it’s skin. Donald Trump is actually worse for America because right now his party is trying to set civil rights back decades and not just with the LGBT community but with women’s rights. If you just look at him and her side by side and look at the negatives their bad characteristic balance. You made a point that voting for either 3rd party isn’t likely to result in a win because to many people believe the same false logic you do, a vote for Gary/Jill is a vote for Hillary/Donald. If someone votes their conscious we could have a 3rd party president this election. We need to send a message to the RNC and DNC and dismantle the laws and rules that make it impossible for a 3rd party from having a chance to bring fresh blood into a very broken system.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 12, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

      ROFL!

      Same old Same old

      It doesn’t matter if the charge “racist”, “sexists”, “fascists”, etc.

      Liberals will buy anything that tells them that the “other side” is evil.

    • MishaBurnett August 13, 2016 at 11:31 am #

      As a member of the LGBT community, I have never seen any evidence that Trump poses the slightest threat to civil rights. Honestly, I have no idea where anyone is getting that idea.

      Clinton, on the other hand, bends over backwards to empower large numbers of people who believe that homosexuals should be killed and women should be property.

      The only real threat to homosexuals in America today is the rise of Islam in America. Clinton supports that, Trump is opposed to it.

    • Drowe August 13, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

      “Donald Trump is actually worse for America because right now his party is trying to set civil rights back decades and not just with the LGBT community but with women’s rights.”

      First of all, Trump is not his party, he has little backing from the republican party leaders. Which rights of the LGBT community do the republicans want to roll back? Which women’s rights? As it stands, women are not legally discriminated against at all, in fact, they are consistently given advantages, like women quotas. And since gay marriage was legalized, I can’t think of any rights, gay people don’t have, but straights do. And honestly, even as a liberal I don’t fault christian concervatives for their opposition to gay marriage, it is a religious institution to begin with. In my opinion, establishing a legally equivalent status, like a registered partnership, would have served just as well.

      Having only two viable parties is a direct and inevitable result of the american democratic system, there are no laws or rules to discriminate against a third party. In the US system, the party with the most votes wins, it doesn’t matter if more than 50% voted for a different party. There are other democratic systems, where this is not the case, but that doesn’t mean they are better. And since that system is defined in the US constitution, as far as I know at least, it is almost impossible for that to change, you just have to work with what you have.

  3. David K Matthewson August 12, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

    Hmmm … I wonder if you make too much out of Clinton’s health issues (if any) – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_physically_disabled_politicians#United_States and also don’t forget FDR.. he didn’t do too bad ISTR..

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 12, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

      There’s a difference between “physically disabled” and “in poor health”.

      For that matter “Being in poor health” can hamper a person mentally when it comes to “doing their job”.

    • chrishanger August 14, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

      It depends.

      If she was in a wheelchair or simply old, but (like my grandma until 3 months before her death) her mind was still sharp, i wouldn’t be worried about it. But if there’s something wrong with her that does affect her mind, yes I would consider it a disqualification.

      Chris

  4. Bret Wallach August 12, 2016 at 8:12 pm #

    Well, the US is a big place and even though I’m American I won’t claim to know what everybody is thinking. However, I think people have mostly become immune to being called racist and sexist, with the response being, “Yeah? So?” to the point where it’s more of a joke than anything else and sometimes even used jokingly (“Damn, I forgot to buy beer” … “You racist!!!”).

    Hillary’s health is hardly a factor I think. If she dies or become unfunctioning, we get Kaine, who’s probably no worse and might actually be relatively quite good compared to both Hillary and Trump. In fact, bad health would make me MORE likely to vote for her. In fact, if I was certain she was going to die quickly, I WOULD vote for her.

    The winner will NOT be a “genuine choice of a majority of the country.” Not very many people vote. I will almost certainly not vote because I don’t want the responsibility for either of them winning (and, the fact that I’m in California, where Hillary will win by an overwhelming majority so my vote doesn’t really count anyway). But, we’ll carry on and deal as best we can, just like for the other terrible presidents.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 12, 2016 at 8:56 pm #

      One aspect of “Hillary’s health” is IMO the Wilson example.

      Wilson had a collapse and was unable to fulfil his job as President but his wife took over the job and nobody knew how bad off Wilson was.

      Now, at that time there was nothing in the Constitution concerning “what to do if the President couldn’t do his job” and an Amendment was added to seal that hole.

      However, while Kaine would likely be in a position to know if Hillary wasn’t well enough to “do her job”, I have to wonder if some of Hillary’s people would try to hide that knowledge from him and the American people.

      Still, I hear what you’re saying about her health and understand your position.

      Oh, as for you living in California & your vote won’t count, I live in Illinois where the dead vote Democratic but I’m still planning to vote for Trump. 😀

  5. Bret Wallach August 12, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Chrishanger wrote: “There must be no doubt that the winner is the genuine choice of the majority of the country (or at least of those citizens who can be bothered to vote.)”

    Just to be clear. In not that much under half of the elections, neither candidate got a majority of the popular vote, and in 4 cases (Adams, Hayes, Harrison, Bush), the winner got less of the popular vote than the loser. So the calculus in American presidential politics has little to do with “majority of the country” no matter how you slice it.

  6. bc August 13, 2016 at 1:17 am #

    First off forget the polls. Around this time in the American elections polls are rigged to show the democrat with a commanding lead, most of the time the pollsters over sample democrats but there are other ways to show a false lead.
    Second forget the polls, most of them are national and in the American election the race really comes down to a small number of states like Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Trump is going to lose California and Hillary is going to lose Texas, it doesn’t matter if it is by a few thousand or a few million. (Do not bother complaining about it, it would take a constitutional amendment or massive agreements between the states to change it and that is not going to happen)
    Third forget the polls, as we get closer to the election the pollsters will adjust the polls based on what kind of election they think they are seeing. This election is very different than any before it and the pollsters models will not work this time.
    Forth forget the polls, most people have made up their minds of who they would vote for but haven’t decided whether or not to actually go and vote. A poll that shows Hillary ahead by four points means nothing if 10% of those people decide to stay home.
    Fifth forget the polls, remember that in recent years the pollsters have called some very important elections wrong.

  7. bexwhitt August 13, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

    Chris, have you been writing another learning experience book?
    It’s the only reason I can think that you could write this nonsense.
    Yes, the fact that for no real reason HRC wants to be (and probably will be) President seems unnecessary, but Trump seems more and more deranged as the weeks go by and there is no reason why anyone would vote for him.

    • chrishanger August 14, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

      I am not one of those halfwits who cannot tolerate disagreement. If you think I’m wrong, please tell me so – in detail – as calmly as possible. Calling it ‘nonsense’ without backing it up is not helpful.

      Thanks

      Chris

  8. Don Yu August 14, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    I don’t understand why so much hate towards Hillary?

    Far as I am concern Trumps indicate his willingness to use Nuclear weapons and allowing Korea and Japan to develop them is too dangerous to be president.
    Place where World War 3 can happen and with Nuclear weapons used if Trump is president.

    If there is choice of lying and stable person to unstable person access to nuclear weapons then there is no choice at all.

    Both WW1 and WW2 happen when US went into Isolationism policies and there is
    direction that US is going towards.

    I just wish there was someone else who I can support to go against the “establishment”. Trump could be president since polls are not as reliable as before but someone who are not willing to show their tax return like others seem to be hiding things like not paying taxes as they should, shady tax structures and bad business practices.

    Trump for big business since he is one is not too hard to see. That family who had been super rich for their whole life don’t understand rest of us and no empathy toward us should be easy to see as well.

    Even so poor choices.

    • bc August 15, 2016 at 12:21 am #

      You have put forth some reasonable reasons to vote for Hillary over Trump, there are numerous others and I can respect those who hold their noses and vote for her because they fear a President Trump more than a President Hillary.
      What I hate, what I despise are those people who think she should be elected because she is a woman (a fact that the MSM only discovered during the DNC convention), or because they think that the many sc

      • bc August 15, 2016 at 12:28 am #

        criminal accusations against her over the years are all made up by a vast conspiracy. If you accept she has gotten away with it but think Trump would be worse I share your misery when I vote for Trump and I accept he is a deeply flawed candidate.

    • Matthew Bird August 18, 2016 at 6:39 am #

      The problem I have is, Hillary virtue signals she does not like war and yes has signed off on all of those on her watch. Her willingness to use pay for play to garner money for the Clinton Foundation and to increase their families speaking fees. The scandals which have repeated throughout her life from Travel gate to White water are not proof of a right wing conspiracy but instead show the deep corruption in the system. Bill Clinton was linked to Republican president George Bush before he defeated him (controlled opposition) and there appear to be links to his involvement in Iran Contra.
      The Clintons did not get off because they were innocent, they got off because the people judging them could be influenced by certain republicans, and democrats plus other elites that found them useful tools.
      Hillary has said she will not take first strike use of Nuclear weapons off of the table. Her actions show her to be completely focused upon staying near the center of power and using that to enrich herself and her family. If I were as skilled as Chris, then I could sit here and write a book about all the crimes the Clintons have committed and gotten away with not because they were innocent but due to being politically connected. I believe an argument could be made for treason.
      Trump on the other hand is not a good guy. Trump and Bill Clinton were friends with Jeffrey Epstein, the hedge fund, billionaire pedophile and the Donald had commented, in friendlier times, about their mutual appreciation for “younger women” . The Donald doesn’t pay his bills and he goes bankrupt regularly, An examination of his business record shows that he is a ruthless businessman with all the negatives that entails. The problem for the Clintons is that for every scandal of his that shows him in a really bad light they have a similar one.
      In conclusion, I don’t know if Trump will be a bad leader or a really bad leader, but there is no doubt that Hillary has shown herself to be corrupt and evil.

      • bc August 24, 2016 at 1:33 pm #

        If I lived in California or Texas I could comfortably “feel the Johnson”, but since there is some possibility that my state will be a battle ground I must chose the lesser evil.

        The polling booth, the last place in America where a real man can weep openly and without shame.

  9. Johnz86 August 15, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

    I think that what is fundamentally flawed is the entire system of electoral college. Value of one vote is depended on the state of origin. It is not a true democracy if your vote has not the same value as votes of others.
    From my point of view I see both Trump and Hillary are alike. They are full of entitlement and go back on their words in different ways. The problem is Hillary humble to admit it, Trump is not. Trump constantly rephrases his words and explains their different meaning which come from his mind/mouth. Hillary has problem to apologize for her past policies. Both Hillary and Trump can inspire (I can see that Chris is not in Hillary camp). Trump additionally inspires hate and disdain. He can get along only with himself and those that agree with him. If something good comes out of something it was his idea. If not, then it is your fault and you did not get his meaning. Trump has a big ego and this goes deep in each of his decisions (Trump+Pance=Trumpence?).
    Hillary will not achieve anything because of congress and senate. She is used to backside deals, backstabbing and she brakes her word or changes her mind. Even with this attitude she will be bound by republican mojority and will try out to bribe other parties in backside deals like she done forever.
    Trump will leave all decisions to his kids and vice president, he will just fiddle with the nuclear launch codes and brag on twitter. He will not negotiate. His kids and advisors will. For a fee. Trump will just sell it as “his idea”.
    The entire election can be sumarized in “Crook vs Loony match in heaven, win your hell”.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 15, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

      The Electoral College makes sense when you look at the US as a union of separate independent countries.

      Thus, the President was chosen by the States not the people.

      There is nothing in the US Constitution that governs how the States chose their members of the Electoral College or decide who their members would select as President.

      Likewise, the US Senators were originally chosen by the State Legislatures not the people of the States.

      The writers of the US Constitution intended that the Senate represented the States in the Federal Government.

      Oh, the US has never been a true democracy but is a Republic.

      • Drowe August 16, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

        “Oh, the US has never been a true democracy but is a Republic.”

        That really depends on what kind of democracy you are talking about. When the US constitution was written, democracy was equated with direct democracy, so the distinction was meaningful at the time. This is not the case anymore. The United States are a representative democracy and a federal republic, the United Kingdom is a representative democracy and a parliamentar, constitutional monarchy. Even Switzerland is a federal republic, and it has more elements of direct democracy than any other sovereign nation.

        At the time the US were founded, the electoral college was basically the only practical way to elect the president, given the much more independent nature of the states and the lack of fast communication technology. The current system allows the legitimacy of the president to be called into question, because it allows for a candidate to be elected by more than 50% of the population and still lose the election. The cause of this is the minimum of 3 electoral college members for the states with small populations, instead of representing each state solely by their population size. But there is a good reason for why the system is as it is, to protect the less populous states from being dominated. Another cause is the winner takes all system most states practice, combined with the minimum of 3 electors, this leads to a theoretical possibility, that a candidate only needs 22% of the votes to win the presidency, and thus a candidate can lose even if 78% of the population voted for him, by winning all the small states by a single vote while not getting any votes in the large states. It is only theoretical of course, but there are 3 cases where a president lost the popular vote but won in the electoral college.

        However, a fundamental change of the system isn’t really necessary. As you pointed out, the states can decide how to choose their representatives in the electoral college and two states have chosen a different approach, and more could do so if they wanted. As it is, unless a majority of US citizens wanted to change it, it shouldn’t be changed. Doesn’t mean the topic shouldn’t be discussed though.

  10. Stuart the Viking August 15, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

    Looking at the comments, it is interesting the things people will believe.

    Like the idea that Trump will “set civil rights back” for LGBT and women. Sure, he’s an a-hole, and he has said some pretty stupid things. However, just what civil rights is he supposed to “set back” and how is he supposed to do that? Gay marriage? It looks to me like he’s actually a supporter. Even if he was against gay marriage, now that SCOTUS has ruled on gay marriage it would likely take a constitutional amendment or overturning Supreme Court decision. Either one is extremely unlikely. Popular opinion is actually in favor of gay marriage, so an amendment is very unlikely, and even if Trump’s Supreme Court pick (if he is elected) is anti-gay marriage, he or she would be replacing Scalia who dissented.

    Women’s rights? Again, Trump is an a-hole and says crappy things about women sometimes. However, what civil rights for women is he supposed to be against?

    Gasp! Trump is going to NUKE EVERYONE!!! (yea, they said the same thing about Reagan)

    Trump is going to send all the Mexicans back to Mexico… EVEN IF THEY HAVE IMMIGRATED LEGALLY!!!! EVEN SECOND AND THIRD GENERATIONS!!!! Yes, I have acutally heard someone claim that… As if Trump COULD deport naturalized citizens and/or their US born children and grandchildren.

    How do people believe this stuff?

    Please don’t get me wrong here. I don’t like Trump. I think he would be an awful president.

    On the other hand, I think Hillary would be worse. I care very much about freedom of speech. She seems to be all for freedom of speech until it comes to opinions that she dislikes. Then she’s all for squeltching those ideas. I’m all for freedom of religion (I follow a new-age somewhat made-up religion). Hillary respects religion unless she disagrees with it. I very much care about the individual right to own firearms. Hillary is definitely NOT a fan of that right. Finally, I am aquainted with the proper ways to handle classified material. Hillary using a private email server to transport classified material was a CRIME. A SERIOUS CRIME. She really belongs in the “Big House”, not the “White House”.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 15, 2016 at 10:46 pm #

      Nod, I sometimes think that too many people know just how bad of President Hillary would be so they have to make up garbage about Trump. 😦

  11. Wolfcry August 18, 2016 at 7:14 am #

    Nope, not depressed, because there is always another option.

    I’m a little disappointed at your portrayal of third party candidates. That all they do is “split the vote” and “hand victory to one side or the other”. The idea that “a vote for Gary Johnson is a vote for Hillary” is absurd, it assumes that everyone who votes for Johnson would have voted for Trump instead. Claiming that the votes were somehow stolen from him implies that Trump deserves to win, does getting the Republican nomination automatically mean he should win the election? This absurd notion is part of what perpetuates this dichotomy between the Democrats and the Republicans. We don’t need either of them, if both of their nominees are bad dismiss them and move on.

    Gary Johnson has been going after all sides, including those dissatisfied with both primaries, such as former Bernie Sanders supporters. Since both Republicans and Democrats don’t like their nominees it’s the perfect time to consider a third option.

    An individual person’s vote is an endorsement of the person they feel is best suited to the position. A single vote does not decide the election one way or the other. A vote is not a bet in a horse race on who will “win”. You should vote according to your conscience. Even if the candidate has zero chance of winning. Year over year if more people show their support for other parties that will increase their chances, since it gives them more attention. A vote is not an end in itself, but a beginning, building to something better.

    If you simply choose the lesser of two evils and not the choice you personally think is best, the results will be less than stellar.

    For those of us voting this election I’d suggest taking the ISideWith Test at http://www.isidewith.com/ to see which candidates’ beliefs truly align with your own.

    Decide for yourself who is best, don’t just pick someone because they have a D or an R next to their name.

    Thus ends my little speech about why you should seriously consider third parties, rather than rejecting them out of hand.

    • chrishanger August 22, 2016 at 8:18 pm #

      It’s impossible to be sure, but my gut feeling is that neither prospective third party carries enough weight to win the prize, merely deny it to their closest rivals (if that).

      Chris

  12. charles basham August 21, 2016 at 7:58 am #

    I worry more about the Congressional side than the President. Which party controls Congess will play as big or a bigger role in the long term issues.

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