The upcoming November ballot, at least in my precinct in Los Angeles, California, is large. As the Donald might say, it is “Yuuuuuge”. So I’m splitting my regular sample ballot analysis into five posts: one covering the Presidential ticket (although you know where I’m going there), one for the down-ticket races, two covering the state-wide propositions on the ballot (50-59, 60-67), and a final post covering the county, city, and special district measures. I’ll also include one additional post summarizing all my positions. This post covers the top of the ticket — the office of President of the United States. As always, if you have different views, I urge you to comment and try to convince me to change my mind.
President of the United States
- Hillary Clinton / Tim Kaine (D)
- Donald J. Trump / Michael R. Pence (R, AIP)
- Gary Johnson / Bill Weld (L)
- Jill Stein / Ajamu Baraka (G)
- Gloria Estela La Riva / Dennis J. Banks (P&F)
You probably have an idea where I’m going with this, especially if you’ve read my past posts:
- Chummin for Hillary
- Understanding Trump Supporters
- Leading By Example
- I’m Tired of Repeating Myself / Changing the Focus to the Issues
- Two Big Problems in a Political Summer
But let’s do something different. First, let’s get rid of the outliers. La Riva, when you go to her website, is the Socialist candidate, despite being on the ballot for Peace and Freedom. Johnson and Stein, as I’ve noted before, are not only batshit crazy, but have no chance of winning. At all. To win, they need to get a majority of electoral votes. That simply will not happen. If you want to support a third-party candidate, do it the right way: start at the local and state level, and build up your parties. Demonstrate that your doctrine can lead and be successful. President is not the place to start.
So we’re left with Clinton vs. Trump, and I think I’ve already made the case as to why one should vote against Trump. He is just does not have the temperament to be president. He puts his mouth in gear before he puts his brain in motion, and it is unclear that even if his brain was in motion, it wouldn’t get a ticket for impeding traffic. He has expressed horrific attitudes towards women, the disabled, minorities. He has demonstrated the worst of what is in America.
But let’s set that aside. Let’s also set aside that almost every paper has taken a stand against Trump, and most — even traditionally Republican papers — have endorsed Clinton.
Let’s also set aside the fact that, amongst all the candidate, there is none with the experience of Clinton. None. She has an experience as an executive, from running the State Department. She knows intimately the demands of the office of President, having been First Lady. She has been in the legislature, having been Senator from New York. She hasn’t been a judge, but she is an attorney, so she knows the law. She knows foreign policy, having been Secretary of State and having negotiated with world leaders. Trump, on the other hand, has only been a businessman (and not a successful one at that, given the extent of his losses). He has never run for public office, never done public service, never worked out compromises with a legislature. He has no foreign policy experience. If he was any other person, this lack of experience would have disqualified him during the primary season. Even Ronald Reagan had been a governor and union leader before running for President. Experience-wise, Clinton wins hand down. We’re just in a weird time when a number of people hate government so much they want an inexperienced leader, figuring he’ll blow things up. The problem is: his inexperience could blow us up, literally.
- Education. Trump wants to set aside an additional federal investment of $20 billion towards school choice, giving states the option to allow these funds to follow the student to the public or private school they attend. Vouchers, in other words, allows any desegregation to further erode and strengthening religious education. Trump also wants to work with Congress on reforms to ensure universities are making a good faith effort to reduce the cost of college and student debt in exchange for the federal tax breaks and tax dollars. Translation: We’ll give schools tax breaks, and hope it trickles down to students. Clinton, on the other hand, wants to launch a national campaign to elevate and modernize the teaching profession, by preparing, supporting, and paying every child’s teacher as if the future of our country is in their hands. She also wants to modernize students by teaching every student computer science. She wants to double the Build America Bonds subsidy for efforts to fix and modernize America’s classrooms—from increasing energy efficiency and tackling asbestos to upgrading science labs and high-speed broadband. She wants to improve and support our public schools. For higher education, she wants to ensure every student has the option to graduate from a public college or university in their state without taking on any student debt. By 2021, families with income up to $125,000 will pay no tuition at in-state four-year public colleges and universities. And from the beginning, every student from a family making $85,000 a year or less will be able to go to an in-state four-year public college or university without paying tuition. She’ll make community college free, and ensure that existing borrowers will be able to refinance loans at current rates, providing debt relief to an estimated 25 million people. They’ll never have to pay back more than 10 percent of their income, and all remaining college debt will be forgiven after 20 years. Winner to me: Clinton.
- The Economy. Trump says he will create a dynamic booming economy that will create 25 million new jobs over the next decade. He will have a pro-growth tax plan, a new modern regulatory framework, an America-First trade policy, and an unleashed American energy plan. No real specifics, other than trade and taxes. Essentially, his plan reduces, in shear dollar amounts, the taxes on the wealthy and expects it to work its way down. Clinton will reform the tax system so the wealthy and wall street pay their fair share. She will implement a “fair share surcharge” on multi-millionaires and billionaires and fight for measures like the Buffett Rule to ensure the wealthiest Americans do not pay a lower tax rate than hardworking middle-class families. She’ll close loopholes that create a private tax system for the most fortunate, and she’ll ensure multi-million-dollar estates are paying their fair share of taxes. She’ll cut taxes for small businesses and working class families. She will also fight to pass a plan in her first 100 days in office to invest in infrastructure, manufacturing, research and technology, clean energy, and small businesses. She will strengthen trade enforcement, and she’ll say no to trade deals like TPP that don’t meet a high enough bar of creating good-paying jobs. And she will make the U.S. the clean energy superpower of the world—with half a billion solar panels installed by the end of her first term and enough clean, renewable energy to power every home in America within 10 years of her taking office. Winner to me: Clinton.
- Immigration. Trump proposes to work on an impenetrable physical wall on the southern border, on day one. Mexico will pay for the wall. Trump will also ensure that anyone who illegally crosses the border will be detained until they are removed out of our country. He will move criminal aliens out day one, in joint operations with local, state, and federal law enforcement. He will suspend the issuance of visas to any place where adequate screening cannot occur, until proven and effective vetting mechanisms can be put into place. He will do many more punitive things. Clinton will introduce comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to full and equal citizenship within her first 100 days in office. It will treat every person with dignity, fix the family visa backlog, uphold the rule of law, protect our borders and national security, and bring millions of hardworking people into the formal economy. She will ensure immigration enforcement is humane, targeted, and effective. Hillary will focus resources on detaining and deporting those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety, and ensure refugees who seek asylum in the U.S. have a fair chance to tell their stories. Hillary will work to expand fee waivers to alleviate naturalization costs, increase access to language programs to encourage English proficiency, and increase outreach and education to help more people navigate the process. Immigrants built this nation, and I’m with Clinton.
There are many more issues; I chose just three for examples. Reading through both Trump’s positions and Clinton’s positions, I find I like what I read from Clinton, and strongly disagree with what I read from Trump. In other words, if you do your investigation and look and think about where they stand on the issues, Clinton’s positions are better thought out and better for the nation. She also has proposals to pay for her plans without further increasing the national debt. One can’t say that about Trump; independent analysis of his proposal show a significant increase in the national debt — on the order of Trillions.
[ What about the emails, you ask? What about the Clinton Foundation? What about her trustworthiness? What about the behavior of her husband, and her implicit acceptance of it? Guess what. They either don’t matter going forward, or her issues are minor when compared to her opponent. But since you ask: The emails aren’t a concern because (a) there is nothing that reaches the level of prosecutable action, (b) the mistake has been noted, and (c) it won’t happen again because the President can’t set up servers. The Clinton’s have already indicated they will downscale the foundation and withdraw from involvement if she is elected. As for trustworthiness, independent assessors have found that Clinton has been significantly more honest and factual than Trump. As for her husband, he is not running for office, and we have no idea what she said or expressed to him in private. Additionally, his behavior (which has not apparently been repeated since he was in office) pales when compared to Trumps behavior, which has been a continual pattern of disrespect for women, and especially, the woman he was married to at the time. All of these issues are McGuffins: items intended to distract your attention from the real important facts, which I have noted above: she has the better positions for the country, and the experience to get them enacted. ]
So, coming back to Clinton’s positions. I think they are the best for the country. Now, add back in all the stuff we set aside earlier. There is only one clear choice. Not because she’s the least worst choice. Not because she’s the better of two evils. Not because she’s only wrong within normal parameters. Because she’s got the right temperament, the right experience, and the right positions.
☑ Conclusion: Hillary Clinton / Tim Kaine (D)