This is a message for all my readers who are still — for whatever reason — supporting Donald Trump. I would like to present two reasons for you to reconsider that choice: experience and demeanor.
As I wrote in my post where I endorsed Clinton, she hands down has the most and best experience: “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. ”
But what about Donald Trump. He has never held elected office, he has never negotiated with world leaders, he has never worked in a legislature, and he is not a lawyer. He has only been a top-level executive in the corporate world. To some, this is a plus, but it really is extremely bad. As an executive in his companies, which have been privately held, he had full power. He could hire and fire at will, and set corporate direction without having to consult and win the approval of governing boards. In fact, if the boards said no, he could fire the offending board members. As President, this is not true. A President has extremely limited authority. For almost everything, the President has to obtain approval of Congress — and that means demonstrating the ability to work with both sides, even those he does not like. His appointments might not be approved, and his policies may be changed or modified by Congress.
A President also has to work within the legal confines of the office. He has demonstrated here, through his remarks, that he doesn’t understand this. His constant claims that Clinton wants to repeal the 2nd Amendment demonstrates that he doesn’t understand how amendments are either ratified or repealed. His argument that she should have been able to, as Senator, change tax law also demonstrates lack of understanding of the office: Revenue bills must originate in the House, and a single Senator does not have the ability to either originate a revenue bill nor ensure its passage. His call for a special prosecutor for Clinton ignores the fact that special prosecutors are called by Congress, and must operate within the rules of evidence. In fact, his constant calls that Clinton is guilty misunderstands the proof that is required in a courtroom. His threats to sue newspapers for making negative reports on him demonstrate a misunderstanding of the 1st amendment. His bringing up claims that Clinton was wrong for defending a rapist demonstrates he does not understand the 6th amendment.
Trump has not worked within our political system, and has demonstrated that he neither knows how it works, or knows the constitutional limitations of his office. Indeed, he does not understand what the Constitution actually says, he appears to know only what he’s read on the Internet. He simply does not have the experience and knowledge for the job.
Clinton, on the other hand, does. Disagree with her policies if you will, but the best way to fight those policies is to elect House and Senate members that are congruent with your views who will work the way you want in Congress. Clinton has demonstrated the ability to work with Congress and find a middle ground. That will not happen with Trump. In terms of experience, you should vote for Clinton and the down-ticket candidates with whom you agree.
Let’s turn now to Trump’s demeanor — what some call his temperament. Further, for this discussion, let’s set aside his racism, sexism, and all the other -isms he embodies. Yes, they are horrible. Yes, it appears that he uses his power to make sexual advancements against women (which might be harassment in many contexts). Yes, it appears that either the candidate or his supporters are racist or antisemitic, and he does not denounce such behavior. Ignore all of that. Set it aside, as many of his supporters do. For if you ignore all of it, he still doesn’t have the right demeanor for the office. Here’s why:
He doesn’t put his brain in gear before he puts his mouth in motion.
A President, in public speech, must be measured. What you say is important, and how you say it is even more important. Words must be chosen carefully, and be chosen to convey and exact unambiguous meaning. Trump simply does not do this. He speaks off the cuff, and seemingly has no filters in what he says. He tweets at all hours, and those tweets are not reviewed. He often says things that are misinterpreted. He speaks without thinking, and then has to scramble to apologize for it later. He does not realize when his words are being recorded, and that they might be used against him later.
Although in a candidate this may be refreshing, in a President, they can start a nuclear war.
Now, add back in Trump’s attitude and speech towards women. Consider what happens if he slips up with a female head of state or prime minister, or makes a pass at the Duchess of Cambridge. What happens when his stereotypical attitudes erupt during a formal meeting with mid-east leaders. When he calls Hispanics names when meeting with a Latin American dignitary. Will it be easily excused, or an international incident?
Clinton has been cast as cold and calculating. That may be the case, but that is what you want in a President. You want a President that thinks before she speaks, that considers the possible impacts of what she is saying and how she is saying it before it ever leaves her mouth. The last thing you want is a President who has to apologize for saying something that is stupid, or that was interpreted the wrong way. Whether you like what Trump says or not, you must agree that he does not always think about the consequences before saying something. That is dangerous, for the leader of the free world.
Donald Trump simply does not have the knowledge of the position, the experience, or the demeanor to be President. Hillary Clinton does, but (at least to you) she has policies that you don’t like, and you don’t trust her. So what should you do that is best for the country?
The answer is simple.
Vote for Hillary Clinton as the only candidate with the right experience and demeanor. Then… vote for congressional and senate candidates with whom you agree, and who will represent your position in Congress and hold Clinton’s “feet to the fire” for your views. That is why we have Congress, and that is why we have a President with limited constitutional authority.