Saturday, October 15, 2016

Presidential Election: Stein, Clinton, Johnson or Trump?

There's a presidential election coming up on November 8th.  Who will you be voting for at the top of the ticket?  Californians, if you haven't already, register to vote here.  In California you have to be registered to vote at least 15 calendar days before the election you are trying to vote in, meaning you have until October 24th to get that done.

Let me consider the candidates in my reverse order of preference.

The worst possible choice: Donald Trump (Republican)
A habitual liar, racist and misogynist who would cut taxes for the rich, do nothing about climate change (except deny it and make it worse), tear apart immigrant families and in all likelihood plunge us into war(s) because his ego was hurt.  Um, no thanks.  The fact that this guy has gotten as far as he has after calling Mexicans "rapists" and bragging about sexual assault, is deeply disturbing.  This guy really shouldn't have the keys to the nukes.  Since there's "too much political correctness" out there, let me be blunt: he would fuck up the country, bigly.  I have so little respect for this man, I won't even link to his website.  You search for it yourself, if you must.

3rd Best Choice: Gary Johnson (Libertarian)
Socially liberal and fiscally hyper-conservative, at least Johnson would favor things like decriminalizing drugs and a non-interventionist foreign policy.  On the other hand, he would eviscerate pretty much every aspect of federal spending.  Education, health, infrastructure, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid etc., buh-bye.  Not good folks.  Conservatives who don't like Trump, you need to be shifting some votes this-a-way.

2nd Best Choice: Hillary Clinton (Democrat)
She's got the best resume to be president, having served as a Senator and Secretary of State.  She has a range of mostly reasonable and well-thought-out ideas on most public policy topics.  Let's make college more affordable, provide paid family leave, expand on Obamacare, increase the use of clean and renewable energy and make the rich chip in more in taxes to deal with some of the new costs and the national debt.  I do have some grave misgivings about Clinton though.  On foreign policy, her record isn't great.  She voted for the War on Iraq in the Senate (which, now that that decision is unpopular, she says was a mistake).  She has called for stepped-up bombing of ISIS and a no-fly zone in Syria even though that is an undeclared, illegal war, and Syria has a massive refugee crisis.  She supports bombing around the world to "fight terrorism," continuing Obama's drone-based military policy.  Has it ever occurred to you that we are fighting a massive, perma-war that just fuels a cycle of violence and radicalization?  She has uncritically supported the state of Israel, even though it has been taking over Palestinian land and has engaged in some brutal bombing campaigns in Palestine which go well beyond "self defense."  She also dissed Edward Snowden for revealing the NSA's massive unconstitutional spying program.  If you're in a swing state, I can understand voting for Clinton, but only as a pragmatic attempt to defeat Trump.

The Best Choice: Dr. Jill Stein (Green)
What can I say, I'm a registered member of the Green Party for a reason right?  Single-payer health care, college paid for by the state, living wage jobs as a right (where the government would create a job for you if you can't find one in the private sector), phasing out fossil fuels by 2030, cutting the bloated, wasteful military budget and pulling out of our imperialistic, hyper-interventionist foreign policy, etc.  Yeah, it's radical, it's bold, and for the most part, it's what's right.

Of course, Democrats will give you a lot of grief if you say you're planning to vote Green.  "It's throwing your vote away," "she'll never win," "you're helping Trump," etc.  You've got to make your own call.  If you're in a solid blue state like California, you can vote for Stein pretty safely.  Because of the electoral college, all of California's electoral votes will probably go to Clinton no matter what you do.

One big problem with Democrats and Republicans is they never willingly share power with outside parties and independent candidates.  They close off the presidential debates and any reforms that would create broader political diversity such as instant runoff voting or a parliamentary system where if 10% of the votes go to the Green Party, the Green Party gets 10% of the seats in Congress.  Then they complain about how emerging party candidates are "spoilers."

Can you vote for a candidate who has promised escalate the bombing in Syria with a clear conscience?  Would you regret it if your protest vote helped throw the election to Trump?  Decide well.  It's not a pleasant choice.

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