A Pragmatic Approach to the 2016 Presidential Election

I would much rather dance with a demon, than lay with Lucifer.

There seems to be a lot of apprehension this election season, because many feel that there is no truly likable candidate to stand behind. Let me join the collective chorus in this, as I do not find any candidate to be of absolute worth. But I believe we do need to vote, and there are grave consequences in abstaining, or even using your vote as a protest vote. We are faced with one of the most consequential elections in American history, and it’s important to weigh your options carefully, and vote intelligently.

On one hand, we have Hillary. She is a politician through and through. She reeks of the rank odor one only obtains by rubbing shoulders with fat cats in big business. Her decision to migrate her email server was clearly a bad one, and she should not be able to live that down easily. Wikileaks is doing a great job in unveiling the connection between politics and money. Also, her pandering, falsely sanctimonious vernacular is both comedic and cringe-worthy.

However, the one thing you cannot say about her is that she is not qualified. Look at her credentials: she graduated from Yale Law School, was a First Lady of the White House, served as U.S Senator for 8 years, and then the Secretary of State for 5 years. It is not subjective to say that she is competent and well-versed in politics, both domestically and externally as a foreign diplomat. She is, by anyone’s measure, an accomplished politician.

Now let us look at the other presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

I invite everyone to find a clip of Trump answering a question, be it a debate or interview. Note the rhetorical arrangement of his response. He says one thing, and then says it again, and says it once more by jumbling his words as if they are new and insightful. Is he casting a spell? How does saying the same thing three times make it any truer or clearer?

We must seriously look at the implications of his vernacular. Throughout this political tenure, he has consistently shown the inability to say anything meaningful or intelligent. Those who are knowledgeable in what they are talking about can speak clearly about it, unlike Trump. His answers are strewn with factual errors and shallow interpretations — clear evidence that he lacks understanding on issues a President needs to understand. A freshman in high school armed with Wikipedia can do a better job than him. It is not hyperbole to say he is incompetent in politics, both domestically and externally. Being able to understand and contribute to politics in an intelligent manner is not an unfair requirement for the President of the United States. In fact, it is a necessary one. To put icing on this fantastical cake, he is a Birther and believes that human made climate change is a Chinese conspiracy.

Now, examine the moral nature of Donald Trump. Imagine if Hillary openly mocked Chinese accents or disabled reporters on national television. Any normal political candidate would have been castrated and ostracized on the spot — but we let Trump off the hook because “that’s the way he talks.” People are quick to dismiss P****Gate as “locker room talk of ten years ago”, but tell me, does one somehow mature emotionally and intellectually, from 60 to 70?

The crux of his moral depravity comes from the cornerstone issue of his candidacy: the deportation of undocumented immigrants. Put aside the Wall and play the thought-game of the deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants. How would we do this? Round them up in the dead of night and herd them into buses? What if they say no, which is inevitable — will we have to point guns at them and threaten them with violence? The amount of lives lost in this Crystal Night-esque horror show would be incalculable. Undocumented immigrants perform many tasks Americans would rather not do. They are an important part of the service industry. Think about families. How many undocumented immigrants have sons and daughters that are American via birth? How do we emotionally and morally justify the forcible separation of families like this?

Understand that Trump is unpresidential because he is undemocratic and an authoritarian. Two examples clearly define this. In the case with the now-defunct and fraudulent Trump University, he argues that the judge presiding over the case cannot be trusted because he is Mexican. Even if his argument is valid, this is a presidential candidate saying that the judicial system — therefore the federal government — cannot be trusted because of personal prejudice. Understand the legal and social implications of this: if people refuse to accept federal decisions based of personal prejudices, America is done for. In a similar vein, listen to his statement during the third debate that he would not accept the results of the presidential election. This brash and hugely undemocratic stance singularly undermines America’s core values.

I could go on, and though I’ve been comparing Hillary and Trump as if they are on equal ground, it’s really not a fair comparison. They nowhere near inhabit the same plane of intelligence, political understanding, or experience.

This is an election where you have to vote for the lesser of two evils. Hillary has her shortcomings, but they are magnitudes less than Trump’s. Taking the “moral high ground” by voting for a third-party candidate is in fact a vote for your least favored candidate.

I implore everyone to vote with a rational mind and a sound conscience. Take off the blinders of partisanship, and realize that it is incredibly dangerous to vote for someone just because you want a change. Look back in history at countries that put men in power because they spoke well and promised to make a change.

Examine Trump yourself, and you will find that he is the least qualified candidate for the Presidency, ever. Realize that he is so bad, he’s reset everyone’s expectations for what an acceptable candidate is. Half the GOP publicly renounces Trump, and even FOX News has orders to dismantle him.

There is no easy choice this election, but I would much rather dance with a demon, than lay with Lucifer.

Picture Credit: Rich Girard/Flickr

Special thanks to my friend and colleague Nicole Castro. This piece was inspired by the ongoing political tension in America, and the many podcasts I listen to.