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This is something I’ve found myself explaining to some of my friends with stronger party affiliations (I am a progressive, but don’t vote a straight ticket). This election in particular has brought out a lot of acrimony for people on the other side of the party divide. Even here on Medium, which tends to be one of the most civil and accepting online communities I’ve found, we’ve seen articles calling anyone thinking of voting third party (let alone for Trump) a “human tire fire”.

So if anyone is interested in why one particular progressive hasn’t decided to check the Clinton box come November (actually, in my state, it’s fill in the arrow), read on. If not, feel free to go directly to telling me what a horrible person I am (“human tire fire” is the current bar for best political insult, please try to clear it).

  1. Trump and Clinton’s stated policies are nearly indistinguishable on surveillance and intelligence community oversight. While they express it differently (as in most cases, Hillary is more effective), both of them seem to be strong proponents of weakening encryption and expanding warrantless surveillance of Americans.
  2. I strongly disapprove of several policies of the Obama administration, most notably the prosecution of journalists under the Espionage Act. I would like to vote for someone who will change those policies, but I am not confident that someone who served as Obama’s secretary of state will do so.
  3. I am seriously worried that a Democrat appointee on the supreme court will lead to the D.C. vs Heller decision being overturned or walked back. I also expect the issues at play in Peruta vs County of San Diego to make it to the supreme court in the next 8 years (though probably not as a result of that case), and am not confident that a Democrat appointee would decide such a case in a manner I find consistent with the constitution.
  4. As someone who works in an IP-reliant industry, I am deeply concerned with the current trajectory of copyright and patent law. The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is extremely problematic on this front, and while she has since reversed course, Clinton was a strong proponent of it for most of its development. Trump is strongly opposed to it. Here again, Clinton’s time under Obama (whose DOJ unwisely sided with Oracle in their recent lawsuit against Google) does not inspire confidence.

While I expect most readers here either disagree with me on these points or assign them less importance than others (like immigration policy or not having the highest office in the country occupied by a blustering buffoonish bigot), I hope I have shed a little light on how an informed voter could consider an alternative to voting for Clinton.

People feel very strongly about political issues and both nominees this year tend to be polarizing, but I find it is usually a mistake to make moral judgements about people based on a view as narrow as their stance on a particular election. As offensive and problematic as he is, Donald Trump is not Adolf Hitler. And assuming that anyone who disagrees with us is doing so out of some combination of ignorance and bigotry is foolish; it robs us of both the opportunity to understand a fellow human being and the ability to effectively work with them to make the world a better place.

Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your thoughts and experiences both eloquently and publicly.

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