It’s time to Break It Down!
According to the official Election 2016 Clock, only six days remain before D-Day, or as it were, E-Day. By the time I release my next post, the polls will have closed in most states, with the possible exceptions of Alaska and Hawaii. There is a better than reasonable chance that results from enough states will have been tallied to determine the next President. If not, that would be a sign we are probably in a down to the wire nail biter of an election.
This marks the third Presidential Election during the nine years I’ve done the blog. In the previous two instances, Obama-McCain in 2008, then Obama-Romney in 2012, I opted not to make a formal endorsement. Over the years, Presidential Elections are often framed by caustic and rambunctious exchanges…between the candidates, their surrogates, and certainly their supporters. I am sure I don’t have to tell you this year has featured all of the above.
In the midst of the hoopla that is a Presidential Campaign it is not uncommon to hear principals and others characterize “This Election” as the most important in our lifetimes. I am not sure if I have ever felt that way before. The election and re-election of Barack Obama, our nation’s first African American President, were critical development in the history of governance in our country. Likewise, if Hillary Clinton were to become the first woman elected President; that too would be of similar critical notoriety.
This year, however, for reasons well beyond symbolism, racial barriers, and glass ceilings, I am fully persuaded that “This Election” is the most important in my lifetime. Yes, so important that I am compelled to endorse a candidate. If you noticed the title, it is apparent that there is no suspense in my choice. And that is fine. In my view there is little to compare the two leading candidates. If you listen to the candidates themselves, they have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to disqualify each other. The thing is, from my vantage point, one candidate is eminently qualified, while the other is utterly unqualifiable.
America 2016 is separated by a huge and deep ideological chasm. In addition to the uncivil political war waged daily from each side of the aforementioned divide, the two candidates have between them the highest negatives in the history of tracking Presidential candidate popularity, or as is the case in this instance, the lack thereof.
Mrs. Clinton has had a host of detractors since her days as First Lady…of the State of Arkansas. As her profile elevated, so did the pushback, much of it partisan. She left Little Rock for Washington when her husband was elected President, and she became a very nontraditional First Lady of our country. She led the charge on behalf of the Administration for Healthcare Reform, in a losing effort. Also during her husband’s tenure, he proposed, and she supported a crime bill that passed through Congress and is to this day blamed for the spike in America’s prison population that makes us the largest incarceration machine in the world. But, among all her issues, in Arkansas, and later in Washington, perhaps the one that raises the most hackles is the assertion that she bullied a number of women who accused her husband of having engaged them in various sexual entanglements. She then went on to become the Junior Senator from New York, and after that, U.S. Secretary of State. The record reflects that her approval rating soared during her time in both posts.
Near the end of her service as Secretary, she was ensnared in controversy, stemming from an attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi September 11, 2012. Then in March 2015, the now infamous email scandal emerged, based loosely on Clinton having used a personal email server while in her capacity as Secretary of State, and possible having communicated confidential information. While Mrs. Clinton was questioned during multiple Congressional hearings on both matters, as well as by the FBI on the email scandal, she was not found to have committed any crime.
Donald Trump spent many years, primarily known as business titan. Along with co-author Tony Schwartz he wrote a biography entitled the Art of the Deal in 1987. But Trump, partnering with his developer father, Fred, had already gained a measure of notoriety. In 1973, the Nixon Justice Department sued the Trumps for racial discrimination because they would not rent apartments to African Americans. At the time, the 27-year-old Trump presided over Fred Trump’s realty company, Trump Management. The suit, against Trump, his dad, and their company alleged that the Trumps violated the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The case was settled and Trump never admitted guilt, although, Trump Management had to sign an agreement, which included stipulations intended to prevent future discrimination at their properties.
In 1989 Trump took out a full-page ad in the Daily News that included the headline, “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!” This was in relation to a case familiarly known as The Central Park 5. Five black and Hispanic teens were accused of raping a Central Park jogger. Trump, convinced of their guilt, wanted them to face the Death Penalty. Subsequently another individual confessed to the crime, and his DNA corroborated his guilt. The City went on to grant the 5 innocent defendants a $41 million dollar settlement. Trump was livid, and argued that the teens had confessed, even though they insisted during trial that their confessions were coerced. Of course, that should have been irrelevant, given the subsequent confession and DNA evidence. But, apparently, Trump was being Trump!
In 2011 Donald Trump contemplated running for President. In February of that year when speaking to a conservative conference, he said:
“Our current President came out of nowhere. Came out of nowhere. In fact, I’ll go a step further: the people that went to school with him, they never saw him, they don’t know who he is. It’s crazy.”
He continued with these debunked assertions until September of this year, 15 months into his Presidential Campaign. He made numerous factually discredited statement about the subject, including the four below:
March 28, 2011, on Fox News
“He doesn’t have a birth certificate, or if he does, there’s something on that certificate that is very bad for him. Now, somebody told me — and I have no idea if this is bad for him or not, but perhaps it would be — that where it says ‘religion,’ it might have ‘Muslim.’ And if you’re a Muslim, you don’t change your religion, by the way.”
May 29, 2012, to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer
“An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that @BarackObama’s birth certificate is a fraud.”
August 2013, to ABC News
“How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s ‘birth certificate’ died in plane crash today. All others lived.”
December 12, 2013, in tweet about the death of Loretta Fuddy.
“Well, I don’t know — did he do it? … Well, a lot of people don’t agree with you and a lot of people feel it wasn’t a proper certificate.”
January 6, 2016, in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“I’ll answer that question at the right time. I just don’t want to answer it yet … I don’t talk about it anymore. The reason I don’t is because then everyone is going to be talking about it as opposed to jobs, the military, the vets, security.”
Finally, Mr. Trump decided to drop the charade. Friday, September 16, Mr. Trump, during a press conference at his Washington Hotel, uttered this tersely worded statement on the subject:
“President Barack Obama was born in the United States. “Period.”
Only hubris could make anyone think that after a five year campaign arguing that President Obama was not “Made in America,” the conversation would be ended by a 10-word statement. As they say, “Hope springs in the human breast.”
Those are just a few of the highlights. During this campaign, Mr. Trump has left a trail of comments, most of which would be considered outrageous, untrue, or straight up ridiculous, had anyone else had the temerity to submit them in any public discourse, to say nothing of a Presidential campaign. I have included below a non-exhaustive list Mr. Trump’s comments including him saying:
- Mexicans are thugs and rapists
- We should ban Muslims
- The blacks
- The blacks are living in hell
- What the hell do you have to lose (purportedly seeking black votes)
- He didn’t mocked a disabled journalist…after he did
- The media and the electoral system are rigged
- McCain is not a war hero
- Thousands of Muslims in NJ celebrated 9/11
- Obama is a Muslim
- He could walk Down 5th Ave & shoot someone & not lose votes
- If he wins he’ll lock Hillary up
- He will repeal & replace Obamacare…with something terrific
- He be dating his daughter if he wasn’t her father
- Said not paying taxes made him smart
- Said he knows more about the military than the generals
- Said multiple bankruptcies means he knows how to work the system
- He get his military strategy from TV
- A judge was unqualified due to his Mexican Heritage (Indiana born)
- Grab ‘em by the genitals (using a crude term)
There is more, so much more. But that’s enough to make the point (I certainly hope). I’ve heard a lot of folks say the candidates are so bad, or I wish we had better choices. I think I will just write-in someone, or maybe I’ll stay home and not vote. Do not do either of those things. The idea that both of these candidates are bad, and for all practical purposes, equally so, is just plain wrong. The premise itself is an assertion of a false equivalence. This is a dangerous moment in time.
Whether one calls it discouragement or straight up suppression, if you might vote for Hillary, Mr. Trump and the GOP want you to stay home. That is how they win. The reality is it’s the only way they can win. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they cannot win, or even that it’s improbable. Rather, I’m saying if Democrats and left leaning Independents vote, Hillary wins. Democrats know that, Republicans know that, Independents know that, even Assange and Putin know that.
The GOP currently employs what I call Political Dred Scott Syndrome. They believe Democrats have no policy designs Republicans are bound to respect. They endlessly prosecuted Bill Clinton, they obstructed President Obama from day 1, and they are now desperately trying to suppress and depress the vote in order to deny Hillary’s path to the White House. The fact is, we long ago reached a point at which the GOP Mantra is no Democrat is worthy of the Presidency, and no amount of success, experience, or skillful rigor will change that…in their minds. This is painfully clear when one considers the GOP is now rallying around its Nominee, whom incidentally, has zero experience in managing or operating governmental enterprises at any level. Add the non-existent experience to his propensity to wing it, to lose focus, and to denigrate anyone and/or any institution that does not kowtow to him. That he is a mere six days away from possibly being catapulted into the leadership of the most powerful nation the world has ever known should give each and every one of us pause.
Democrats and reasoning Independents must exhibit steely resolve and exercise their franchise, lest we be saddled with a President that even a large segment of his own Party admits is politically, morally, ethically, and temperamentally beneath the office. So, Raise Up Obama Coalition, let’s do this. Vote. Vote Early! “For President: Vote Hillary Clinton!”
I’m done; holla back!
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