It’s mid-October. Less than a month to go until America elects a new president. Are you planning to vote for Trump? Cool, cool…
Hey, quick question: What the actual Muslim-banning fuck?! How in the name of molesting Tic Tac can this be true?!
Listen, I understand. You dislike Clinton. You really, really, really dislike Clinton. Crooked Hillary. Benghazi. Emails. “Hillary For Prison.” Loud noises. Okay!
I’m not here to defend Clinton. She does happen to have the next-worst favorability rating of all presidential nominees in history, second only to Trump himself.
But again: Why are you still voting for Trump?
You have alternatives. Vote for a third-party candidate. Don’t vote. Stay at home and pretend to vote for your dog. Write “I vote for Benedict Cumberbatch” on a piece of paper, make a little airplane out of it, and launch it from the nearest window.
All of these are objectively better options than the Trump alternative.
Yet you’re still set on voting for Trump. Why? What aspect of a Trump presidency is appealing to you?
Is it his positive character?
Trump is a demagogue. He scores cheap political points by appealing to the lowest human instincts. He makes sweeping generalizations and dehumanizes whole groups of people based on their religion and heritage. He demeans, degrades, and mocks. At his rallies, he condones – if not outright encourages – physical violence. You didn’t need to hear the appalling Billy Bush tape or learn about the new sexual harassment allegations to know Trump was a misogynist. It’s been palpable in his language throughout his campaign.
Whether he seeks it or not, Trump gets broad support and endorsements from the alt-right, the Neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan. If there ever were a “Horrible Fan Club Lottery,” Trump would score the goddamn jackpot.
Yet you’re still voting for him. Why?
Is it because he “tells it like it is”?
Pulitzer Prize–winning fact checkers PolitiFact rule the majority (70%) of Trump’s statements as either “mostly false,” “false,” or “pants on fire.” Incidentally, “Crooked” Hillary has the best truth-telling score of all 2016 presidential candidates and is four times less likely than Trump to tell a lie. (Which might not be saying much, to be sure.)
But you’ll still be voting for Trump. Why?
Is it because he’ll build a wall?
First off, why a wall? Yes, you’re worried about illegal immigration. Data indicates that those fears might be exaggerated and that illegal immigration has been stagnant or on the decline in recent years. But okay, illegal immigration. Is a literal, physical wall the best solution the US can come up with? Wile E. Coyote has had less zany schemes to catch The Road Runner.
Trump’s flagship campaign promise – The Wall – is an insanely expensive endeavor that’s likely to have limited to no effect. Instead, it might do serious harm to the environment. Oh, and then there’s the minor matter of it being an ultra xenophobic thing to even consider doing in the first place.
Why are you voting for Trump?
Is it because of his other visionary policies?
Trump’s political “visions” are mostly empty rhetoric and a collection of catchy soundbites about China, ISIS, and America’s greatness. When pressed, Trump is unable to articulate a coherent position on almost any issue and instead resorts to vague, bombastic statements.
Trump’s plan for defeating ISIS is, and I quote:
“If I run, and If I win, I don’t want the enemy to know what I’m doing. Unfortunately, I’ll probably have to tell at some point, but there is a method of defeating them quickly and effectively and having total victory.”
Trump’s plan for healthcare is, and I quote:
“I would end Obamacare and replace it with something terrific, for far less money for the country and for the people.”
Trump’s plan for job creation is, and I quote:
“I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”
That’s not to mention that Trump’s stance on most issues is about as consistent as a Michael Bay plotline. Here’s an excellent rundown of Trump’s impressive flip-flopping on topics ranging from immigration to taxes.
Trump’s bewildering statements on foreign policy issues from NATO to nuclear weapons and his continued praise for authoritarian leaders like Putin, Assad, and Kim Jong Un are understandably causing major concern to US policymakers and the country’s allies.
His casual stance on waterboarding is, “If it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway.” Think about it. These words are coming not from a cartoon villain but from an actual, current presidential nominee.
Yet you’re still ready to vote for him. Why is that?
Is it because of his respect for logic and reason?
Trump is alarmingly anti-science. He gives credence to the thoroughly studied and discredited link between vaccines and autism. He thinks global warming is a Chinese hoax. His Twitter is a stream of dubious sources and conspiracy theories.
These traits might be sort of acceptable in your kooky friend who shares Facebook posts about the Free Masons vaccinating lizard people in order to take over the world’s supply of genetically modified corn. They’re genuinely terrifying traits for a person running for the highest office in the United States.
How can you seriously consider voting for Trump?
Oh…it’s because he’s a shrewd businessman and knows how to run things, right?
But is he, though? Trump’s history of business failings has been well-documented long before he started running for president. He’s mired in literal thousands of lawsuits. He brags about exploiting loopholes. There’s credible evidence of him having exploited undocumented foreign workers…similar to the ones he’s now telling you are stealing your jobs. He’s been sued for labor infractions by hundreds of his employees.
Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter who’d penned The Art Of The Deal on Trump’s behalf went on record to say:
“I put lipstick on a pig. I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.”
At best, Trump is cynically abusing the US tax code to avoid paying taxes in a country he wants to make “great again.” At worst, he’s a terrible businessman mired in controversy, litigation, and bad treatment of the very workers whose rights he claims to champion.
Why are you still voting for Trump?
Maybe it’s because he has a strong political backing from his own party and the ability to reach broad bipartisan compromise?
Let’s take a look-see…
On August 4, the Harvard Republican Club, the oldest College Republican organization in the country, whose sole reason for existing is to promote Republican principles and support Republican nominees, broke with its 128-year-old tradition and explicitly refused to endorse Trump, stating that Ronald Reagan would be “ashamed of Donald Trump. We are too.”
On September 27, The Arizona Republic, a newspaper that hasn’t once – not ever – endorsed a Democrat since its first publication in 1890, endorsed Hillary Clinton, stating that “being the leader of the free world requires a sense of propriety that Trump lacks.”
On October 9, the editorial board of Alabama Media Group, acknowledging that Alabama has voted for every Republican nominee since Ronald Reagan, endorsed Hillary Clinton, stating that “Trump shows a staggering ignorance of world affairs and the issues the next president faces.”
The same day, the otherwise proudly neutral Foreign Policy issued a statement endorsing Hillary Clinton, which opened with the following lines:
“In the nearly half-century history of Foreign Policy, the editors of this publication have never endorsed a candidate for political office. We cherish and fiercely protect this publication’s independence and its reputation for objectivity, and we deeply value our relationship with all of our readers, regardless of political orientation. It is for all these reasons that FP’s editors are now breaking with tradition to endorse Hillary Clinton for the next president of the United States.”
More than 160 Republican leaders have explicitly refused to support Donald Trump. A good number of them have gone on record to say they’ll vote for Hillary.
On October 11, Trump picked a public fight with House Speaker Paul Ryan and “disloyal Republicans,” triggering what many have begun to term the “GOP civil war.”
But you’re still convinced that Trump is the right person to lead the country. Why?
Maybe you just like a good “underdog” story? A scrappy newcomer appears out of nowhere to stick it to the man and turn things around. Sounds exciting…if it were a movie and if our protagonist wasn’t a man who’s uniquely, dangerously unqualified to lead the world’s largest superpower. But we’re not in a Hollywood movie. You don’t get to leave the cinema and go home after this. This is reality, and it’s scary.
And you know what the crazy part is? I doubt I’m telling you anything you didn’t already know. I’m certainly not the first person to bring these topics up. You’ve heard them all before. They’ve been discussed ad nauseam by everybody and their grandma.
You’re voting for Trump because, somehow, even knowing all this, you find a way to excuse every awful thing he said, every awful thing he did, along with all evidence of his incompetence and his lack of basic qualifications for presidency.
You’re consciously ready to ignore all of this because of…what, exactly? Is there nothing at all that Trump can do to discredit himself in your eyes? Is he actually right when he says he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and [he] wouldn’t lose any voters”?
If so, ask yourself why.
In the meantime, I’ll try and stay well away from Fifth Avenue.