Which Lying Alleged Criminal Gets Your Vote and Which Alleged Sexual Predator Goes to The White House?
More Importantly, What Does That Say About You?
I’ve not necessarily written this document for mass public consumption; however, you may share it as you’d like. I view it more as an attempt at catharsis for me. Throughout the following text you’ll see underlined text. Please click or tap on these as they link to sources for additional information. In an effort to be objective, I’ve often linked to Google search results so that the reader may choose which sources carry weight. Please take your time and explore the links at your leisure. I believe this “project” will be more beneficial if it’s explored slowly and not rushed through.
I believe that it is both necessary and appropriate to divulge a bit about myself in order to provide context to my point of view.
I have never been a member of any political party, and I have voted for Democrats, Green Party candidates, Libertarians, and Republicans. I voted for Bill Clinton twice, George W. Bush in 2000, John Kerry in 2004, Ron Paul in 2008 and Dr. Jill Stein in 2012. I do have some regrets about having never voted for Barack Obama because I do believe that history will be quite kind to him; however, my convictions regarding our nation’s foreign policy drove my vote in 2008 and 2012.
I consider myself a social liberal or progressive, foreign policy libertarian and fiscal conservative. Note the lack of party affiliation as I describe myself. Full disclosure: My social liberal or progressive policy positions would likely force me to join the Democratic Party if push ever came to shove. I realize that some may perceive me to be self-contradictory regarding the labels I’ve chosen to attach to myself; however, I choose not to preemptively defend assertions that have yet to be made. I am happy to entertain arguments from readers who may chose to argue the point.
It’s with this background that I’ll attempt to articulate my views on the 2016 presidential election.
On November 8, 2016, the citizens of the United States will elect a proven liar to be our next president. It would not matter if your pastor were running or even the Pope, we would still elect a proven liar. No matter who is elected to the presidency, that person was, is, and will be a liar. How can I state this with such assurance? Simple. Shhh…don’t tell anyone but…we all lie. Scientific studies have demonstrated that humans lie. The following video discusses humans as liars:
No matter if Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump are elected president on November 8, 2016, the American voters will have elected a liar but also, an alleged criminal. Through her use of a private email server, it has been alleged that Hillary Clinton violated criminal laws. Through the recent release of a video from 2005 and the coming forward of alleged victims, Donald Trump has been accused of behavior that is criminal in nature. I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to give weight to the degree to which each candidate is an alleged criminal but the facts remain that each candidate has been accused of behavior that violates criminal statutes. With respect to lying, Donald Trump is significantly more prone to dishonesty as you will see from this chart. As stated, both candidates are liars but not nearly to the same degree.
No matter if Donald Trump wins or if Hillary Clinton wins, an alleged sexual predator will occupy the White House. Bill Clinton has well-documented allegations of sexual assault and sexually inappropriate behavior. Donald Trump has his own allegations of sexual assault. So, no matter who is elected, a man with a history of allegations of sexual assault WILL occupy the White House for the next four years (at a minimum). Again, I’ll leave it to the reader to assign weight and credibility to the allegations but please check your own biases when doing so.
This election may have begun as being about the issues or the parties or the candidates; however, that’s no longer the case. This election is now about you and I and us collectively as I’ll delve into later.
II. The Physiology and Psychology of Partisanship
The partisan divide in American politics is, by all accounts, quite wide. Science reveals there are differences in the brains of Democrats and Republicans and even in the unconscious reactions of liberals and conservatives. These differences in brains and unconscious reactions of people are significant factors in the partisan divide; however, there are other factors. These other factors are confirmation bias, feedback loop, groupthink, desire to feel superior, and use of propaganda.
Confirmation bias is, according to Wikipedia (I don’t hold out Wikipedia as definitive but I don’t mind using it to either put forth a framework for a concept or to describe a concept that can easily be confirmed via other sources), is described as follows: “Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.”
A feedback loop may occur when we do not set aside our confirmation bias and continue to feed our mind with information that only comports with our preexisting beliefs. It may, I believe, be accurately described as resulting in a mental doubling down (even tripling and quadrupling) on our preexisting beliefs.
Groupthink has been defined as follows: “Groupthink, a term coined by social psychologist Irving Janis (1972), occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment” (p. 9). Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions that dehumanize other groups. A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink when its members are similar in background, when the group is insulated from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making.” I think the impact of group think is quite relevant to politics but particularly so with respect to reality testing.
The following two articles are good examples of confirmation bias, feedback loop and groupthink as these concepts relate to race and religion.
Given that our political beliefs are shaped by our brains, largely influenced by social factors such as family, community and geography, and reinforced by confirmation bias , feedback loop, and groupthink, it’s quite evident why there is such a partisan divide in our national political discourse.
I often listen to the Rush Limbaugh show on my lunch hour. Over the years, he has frequently used the term “low-information voter”. Implicit, I think, in his usage of that term is that people who listen to his program are high-information voters. I believe this is a propaganda technique designed to appeal to the innate desire of humans to feel superior to other humans and designed to contribute to confirmation bias, feedback loop, and groupthink.
I kindly ask that you please battle against your own confirmation bias, no matter which way your bias leans, as you continue to read the remainder of this writing. I have discovered that Real Clear Politics is a great source for political information because that site aggregates articles from across the political spectrum; however, the site is only useful if you read articles that challenge your preconceived ideas.
III. Analysis of Selected Issues Viewed Through Partisan Lenses
Deaths of Americans in the Middle East
There has been much discussion of the deaths of four Americans in an attack in Benghazi, Libya and the role then U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton played in that horrific event. The 2012 Benghazi attack refers to a coordinated attack against two US government facilities in Benghazi, Libya by members of the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Sharia in September 2012.
This has become a very partisan issue with some on the right holding Hillary Clinton personally responsible for these tragic deaths. The mother and sister of slain Ambassador Chris Stevens have called for the GOP and Donald Trump to stop using her son’s death to score political points while surviving family members of others killed in the attacks have sued Hillary Clinton. The fact that surviving family members of those killed in Benghazi have reacted in such vastly different ways shows how divisive this issue is without partisanship. Include partisanship and it becomes a maelstrom. Most loss of life is deeply saddening to me, and the savage deaths of the Americans in Benghazi is infuriating. Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State in September 2012, is responsible for the deaths in Benghazi in the same manner that the CIA Director is responsible when an agent is killed. Those at the top are always seen as ultimately responsible for those beneath them in the chain of command. I’ll leave it to you to determine for yourself the degree to which Hillary Clinton was responsible for the loss of four American lives in Benghazi, Libya. Please take into consideration what the two previous Secretaries of State, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, (both Republican appointees) had to say about this topic.
Many readers are familiar with the Iraq War. Over 4,000 plus American lives have been lost in the invasion of, war in, and occupation of Iraq. The primary basis of the Iraq War was that Iraq, as a matter of fact, possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD’s) as stated repeatedly by members of the Bush Administration in the lead up to the war:
This article details WMD’s in Iraq after our invasion.
If you’re angry about Benghazi but not about the Iraq War, it’s quite possible that it’s simply because you’re a partisan. If you hold Hillary Clinton responsible for the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi but you did not hold former President George W. Bush responsible for the deaths of 4,000 plus American lives in Iraq, that, my friend, makes you a partisan hypocrite.
A lot of attention has been given to the email scandal involving Hillary Clinton’s private email server and the deletion of 33,000 emails. During this time, did you happen to recall an email scandal from the administration of President George W. Bush where it was alleged that 22 million emails including those of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney housed on a private server owned by the Republican National Convention were lost? The comments alone from the Newsweek story are a case study in partisanship.
Each scandal appears to have originated due to a public servant or servants using private email servers to circumvent transparency and the public’s right to access information via the Freedom of Information Act.
I do believe there are objective distinctions that can be made to differentiate the degree of “wrongness” involved in these two scandals but that’s not actually my point. In focusing on these email scandals, I’d like to express that I’m outraged, frustrated and flat out furious by both. One distinction is that Hilary Clinton received classified information via email while we do not yet know if members of the Bush administration did.
My point in discussing these scandals involving members of each major political party is this: If you defend one scandal while attacking the person or persons involved in the other, you’re likely doing so for purely partisan reasons and that, my friend, makes you a hypocrite. Neither of these scandals, even if one may be “worse” than the other, are defensible. They are each separate subversions of the public’s right to information and therefore, threats to our democracy. Every citizen of our nation should be equally outraged by these events. Public access to federal government information should not be a partisan issue, period. No, your party affiliation does not make the actions of members of your party acceptable; however, your defense of the indefensible makes you a hypocrite.
Much has been made during President Obama’s presidency about his use of executive orders; however, sources show that he has issued less than his predecessor, President George W. Bush. As I’m not a constitutional scholar and I lack the time and desire to research the issue, I’m not going to attempt to give analysis as to which president has issued the most constitutionally questionable executive orders. If you choose to research this issue, please check your own biases and attempt an objective analysis. Again, this seems to be a purely partisan issue. If you are angered by President Obama’s use of Executive Orders but you gave President George W. Bush a pass on using them, that, my friend, simply makes you a partisan hypocrite.
IV. Donald Trump vs Traditional Republican Values
The Republican Party has branded itself as the party of Conservatism, Constitution defense, Faith, Family Values, and Patriotism. How does Donald Trump measure up to these ideals?
I believe this article quite clearly demonstrates the various ways in which Donald Trump is NOT a conservative. He’s not a religious conservative, a social conservative, a fiscal conservative, nor a constitutional conservative. He simply has no track record of supporting conservative principles. Quite the opposite is true. A case has been made that he is a typical New York City liberal.
Donald Trump can NOT and will NOT defend a document that he does not seem to understand. Click here and conduct your own search on this topic. Suffice it to say: Donald Trump is no defender of the United States Constitution. In fact, he is an enemy of the First Amendment.
The Republican Party has long branded itself as the Family Values party so it’s ironic, considering his history, that Donald Trump was elected as its standard-bearer. I do not raise this issue to make moral judgments against Donald Trump. Instead, I mention it simply to point out the seeming hypocrisy of the Family Values party nominating a person who seems so at odds with it’s own branding.
The Republican Party has marketed itself as the party where true patriots abide. Donald Trump appears to run counter to that narrative.
Donald Trump attacked John McCain by saying he was not a war hero because he had been captured. Ironically, Donald Trump never served in the United States military. How can the party of patriots accept that? Better yet. How can John McCain have endorsed Donald Trump?
Donald Trump engaged in a well-documented war of words with the Khan family. His behavior toward that family does not embody patriotism.
Donald Trump has spoken highly of Russian President Vladamir Putin. Donald Trump is alleged to have financial ties to Russia, and a Putin ally has warned that Americans should vote for Trump or face nuclear war. What could Russia, a decades-long adversary of the United States, have on Donald Trump that they would want him in a position to manipulate, bribe, threaten, coerce, or leverage as president of our country? Trump’s own running mate, Mike Pence, concedes that Russia is behind recent hacks thought to be done in an effort to influence our presidential election.
Donald Trump is not a conservative. He seemingly does not understand or respect the Constitution of the United States of America. He’s of questionable faith (Calm down. If President Obama can be called a Muslim as a slur, surely I can question Trump’s faith). His values do not appear to objectively fit those espoused by the Republican Party. Lastly, he is not a patriot. A true patriot would not have conducted himself in the manner that Donald Trump has in this campaign.
So, if Donald Trump does not hold traditional Republican values, what is he? Patience, dear reader, we shall soon get to that.
V. Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton-A Study on False Equivalence
Hillary Clinton is a slimy career politician, and Donald Trump is a slimy businessman. They’re both alleged criminals but are they equally bad as candidates? That likely depends on a variety of factors unique to you. These factors include personal values, party affiliation, policy preferences, religious affiliation, gender, race, national origin, sexual orientation, etc.
Donald Trump is an alleged misogynist, racist, bigot, xenophobe, Islamophobe, and purveyor of fascist rhetoric. He’s undermining our democracy by claiming the election is rigged when it may be him attempting to rig the election. Hillary Clinton is NOT on video saying and doing these same things. Donald Trump IS on video doing and saying these things.
Hillary Clinton is a seriously flawed candidate and this is NOT a defense of her. It is simply a contrast. Suffice it to say that both candidates are historically awful. I strongly believe that claiming the two as equally awful is a gross comparison. Hillary Clinton, for all her baggage, is not the intentionally divisive figure that Donald Trump has shown himself to be through his rhetoric.
There are reasons so many newspapers that have never endorsed a Democrat for president have endorsed Hillary Clinton. There are reasons so many Republicans have endorsed Hillary Clinton. There are reasons so many Republicans have disavowed Donald Trump. These reasons are because these newspapers and people know these two people are not equally poor candidates. These reasons have nothing to do with Donald Trump being a threat to the “establishment”. Quite simply, it’s because he is exactly what we see him to be. He’s a mean-spirited, narcissist with a poor temperament and a lack of substantive policy positions.
In an election where, if you vote for one of the major-party candidates, you’ll be voting for a lying, slimy, alleged criminal whose election will result in an alleged sexual predator occupying the White House, please consider voting against the candidate that is a well-documented misogynist, racist, bigot, xenophobe, Islamophobe who spouts fascist rhetoric, flirts with white nationalists and conspiracy theorists, who praises the Russian president, mocks the disabled and incites violence. Choose patriotism over party.
I strongly encourage you to vote for Dr. Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or Evan McMullin or gasp…even Hillary Clinton. But no matter who you vote for, PLEASE do not cast a vote for Donald Trump. If you have to do so to avoid criticism from Trump loyalists, LIE, and if you ultimately cast a vote for Donald J. Trump, lie to ME forever. Take that to the grave with you, please.
What will your vote in this election say about you and your values? These candidates are extremely less than ideal; however, they are not equally bad. Only one is on record damaging our democracy, mocking the disabled, humiliating a war hero, attacking a gold star family, re-tweeting white nationalist tweets, denigrating women, praising the Russian president, stating that an entire religion should be forbidden from entering our country, attacking journalists and flat out lying to a degree that, frankly, we have never seen before from a presidential candidate.
I’m still undecided on who will get my vote. I’m leaning toward Dr. Jill Stein again; however, as the polls continue to narrow in Texas, I’m forced to consider voting for Hillary Clinton. I’m prepared to do so if I can help defeat Donald Trump. I can live with the known quantity that is Hillary Clinton much more at peace than I can with the known quantity that is Donald Trump. One more closely shares my personal values and one is so far astray from my values that I cannot adequately express it.
If you cast a vote for Donald Trump because you are a loyal Republican and have always voted for Republican candidates for president, then you, my friend, are admitting that your party loyalty means more to you than your loyalty to your country and quite possibly your own values. It means more to your than the principles espoused by your party and most importantly, it means more to you than your sense of common decency. Donald Trump is not a good and decent human. The public record supports this conclusion.
If you cast a vote for Donald Trump because he is an outsider then you do so at the peril of our democracy and in the face of common decency.
The only logical, personally consistent conclusion I can see for voting for Donald Trump is that you share his values. If that’s the case and you are adult enough to admit it, you may be one of the few Trump voters I could respect because at least you’re being honest about who you really are. What will your vote in this election say about your values and sense of decency? My personal voting record will say that I voted against Donald Trump and all the vile things he’s expressed in this campaign. Please don’t allow confirmation bias, feedback loop, groupthink or partisanship to be the reason you cast a vote for Trump.
I close with two things:
- I’ve heard that liberals vote their hopes and conservatives vote their fears. I strongly believe this accounts for the tone of two things: The Republican vs Democratic National Conventions and the commercials being aired by the candidates. Clinton’s evoke a togetherness and hope while Trump’s paint a scary, bleak outlook. He claims that he alone can fix things.
- I’ve read people say they would vote for a woman just not that woman. Well, I’d love to vote for an outsider but I cannot in good conscience vote for Donald Trump.