Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Do Not Vote for Donald Trump

After everything that has been said and done in this campaign, I know that nothing I can say is going to sway anyone. But everyone who cares about the country has an obligation to say this. So, I am saying it.

Do not vote for Donald Trump.

If you already hate Donald Trump, then this isn't for you. If you're on the fence, or you don't like Trump but kinda agree with what he's saying, think maybe he's the best of some bad options, or are a sincere Trump support - then I am asking you-  Please. Think about this. 

You should only vote for Donald J. Trump to be President of the United States if you can honestly say he is prepared to honorably and capably serve in that office. He is not. Trump has shown us time and again, in so many ways, that his not someone well-suited to be President of the United States.

Donald Trump is a horrible person. We require many virtues in our president: Wisdom, sound judgement, intelligence, eloquence, the ability to soothe the American people during times of trouble. Trump lacks all of these virtues. He is thin-skinned, cruel, vindictive, paranoid, undisciplined and self-centered. He associates with bigots and conspiracy mongers. Trump has been enthusiastically embraced by our nation's racists and white nationalists. His treatment of women make him, at best, a foul-mouth, pervy, serial-adulterer. At worst, he's a sexual assault repeat offender. He lacks the temperament and good judgement to be president.

Trump does not know anything. About anything. Most people running for President don't start out as a expert on every issue. There is a certain expected learning curve. Trump has not shown even a rudimentary understanding of any of the issues facing the nation. Time and again, in interview after interview, debate after debate, Trump has shown the same pattern. He gets a question, he spouts some vacuous campaign slogan, pivots to some nonsense on a vaguely relevant or unrelated topic, and then just spins to whine and complain about something he thinks Democrats have done. 

On issue after issue, Trump claims he knows more than anyone else on the topic, and then demonstrates he knows nothing at all. He has no idea what his wall will cost or what impact it will have. He has no understanding the economy, how to craft a trade deal, or how to bring back manufacturing jobs. Trump's foreign policy consists of insulting, alienating, and abandoning our military allies and economic trading partners. His military strategy consists of vague notions that vary from naive, to childish, to dangerous.

His ignorance could be mitigated if he surrounded himself with "good people" and accepted their guidance. He doesn't. He surrounds himself with sycophants and yes-men and isn't interested in their advice.

His secrecy and corruption should trouble you. Trump's primary claim to the presidency is that his successful and reputable business career has prepared him for the office. And yet, in defiance of decades of tradition, he has refused to release any of his tax returns. Without them we can't evaluate how ethically, honorably, and effectively he has run his business. It is expected that the President of the United States will place his assets in a blind trust to avoid conflicts between his self-interest and the interests of the nation. This too Trump has refused to do. Trump has business interests around the world and, incredibly, he wants to serve as president without severing these ties or even revealing his debts, obligations, holdings, conflicts, domestic and overseas partners and debtors. The reason he won't release his tax returns if that if we knew the truth, we would find it unacceptable. We can't accept that.

This might be tolerable if Trump had a history of ethical behavior and putting others before himself. He has no such history. He's been avoiding paying his taxes with dubious loopholes. His charitable foundation is a sham. His "Trump University" was a fraud designed to con money out of the poor dupes who put their faith in him. Trump has been involved in thousands of lawsuits. Many of them stem from his failure to honor contracts and willingness to stiff, rip-off, and abandon the individuals and business, large and small, that are foolish enough to work with him or put their trust in him. 

Donald Trump does not understand or respect the constitution. There was a time when Trump supported reasonable gun control measures. He doesn't any more. For some people, that'll be enough to say he supports the constitution. He doesn't. Trump opposes freedom of speech. He has repeatedly tried to use the legal system to silence his critics. He opposes freedom of religion and plans to persecute religious minorities. He opposes freedom of the press. He supports torture, the very definition of cruel punishment. He supports "stop and frisk" searches without a warrant. Trump advocates voter suppression and voter intimidation efforts to deprive people of their right to vote. 

Trump's admiration of authoritarian leaders, like Vladimir Putin, is well established. His unwillingness to stand up to an aggressive, expansionist Russia should be deeply concerning. His emulation of Putin's tactics is even more disturbing. Democracies can die. They can become dictatorships. Trump has put up plenty of signposts to indicate where he wants to take this nation. When politics is criminalized and political opponents are imprisoned; while minority rights are not respected and leaders focus more on stoking resentment against some scapegoat "other" than trying to address the real problems in the country; when a free press is attacked and discredited; when the truth no longer matters; when the electoral process itself is threatened - then we are on our way to tyranny.

Even as private citizen, Trump abuses the legal system to extract revenge and silence his critics. We should be fearful of what he will do with the full powers of the executive. He can not be trusted to be an impartial executor of the law and to safeguard our democracy.

Trump is not a protest vote. You might be hoping to "send a message" or that, somehow, Trump is going to work some outsider magic in Washington D.C. He won't. Trump is the nominee of one of our two main parties. The main arguments for supporting him are: the supreme court, passing the Ryan agenda, and that he's "better then the alternative" (because the alternate is a Democrat). Notice that these arguments could be made no matter who the nominee is. They allow you to rationalize and justify overlooking Trump's own failures and shortcomings. Voting for Trump sends the message that you'll vote for literally anyone the GOP chooses to nominate, no matter how awful. That's not a protest vote. That is a puppet vote.

This is your vote. Who you support is a reflection on you. It is a reflection of your priorities and on your values. Donald Trump is not worthy of your vote. Whatever your principles are, he does not share them, and he does not live by them. Whatever your standards are, he does not rise to them. Whatever you want for America, he cannot provide it. Whatever qualities you look for in a President of United States, Donald Trump does not have those qualities.

Do not vote for Donald Trump.

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