You’ve Met Hillary and Donald


“I don’t vote,” I used to boast, with arguments you’ve heard before: 1) Electoral college, swing states, etc. 2) If we’re to have a revolution, we first need to boycott the broken system. 3) Both candidates are Ivy-league-educated grownups who work in politics. They’ll agree on ethics though their policies differ. We’ll be fine either way.

It’s not about politics this time. It’s about two people, people we all know.

Hillary Clinton is your fifth grade teacher. She’s your therapist who holds her tongue and holds your secrets. She’s your college president, who’s been so polished by the ladder of academia that you’re not sure she’s human under there.

Hillary Clinton is the woman at the head of the table during your third internship who reminds you that girls can be bosses one day. She’s the person in the conference whose questions make sense and cut the presenter down to size. She’s the lady in the suit that’s always taking mental notes even when she’s not in the spotlight, and when you see her, you remember to behave. She’s not friendly, but you respect her.

Hillary Clinton has raised you. She’s been the example you needed when your mom seemed to fall off. Do all women go crazy when their children grow up? Hillary Clinton’s the role model you find in your twenties who answers definitively, “Nope, they don’t.”

Hillary Clinton punishes your enemies. She’s the person you look for when you have a conflict because you knew she’s not quite neutral. It’s not so much a soft spot for people who suffer without cause; its a damning intolerance for people who do evil things without logic.

Hillary Clinton is a logic machine. She’s the person who takes Risk too seriously and forgets to drink at game night. She’s the annoying partner in your group project who thinks it has to be perfect. She’s your nemesis in poetry class who quotes obscure Yeats like it’s Anchorman.

Who is Donald Trump? I know him. You know him. We all know him. He’s the reason you don’t make the basketball team in middle school even though you put up more points than all of his daughters put together. He golfs with the coach.

He’s the reason you give up your WNBA dreams.

Donald Trump is the guy in the meeting who fills the room with his body language. He keeps his eyes on your wife, even though she’s not presenting; her partner does the pitch. After a while, she’s forced to smile, too self conscious. Why won’t he stop looking at me? And after they leave, he says to his colleagues, “Aside from the fat slob’s proposal being a total disaster, the assistant’s got potential. Brian, scale of one to ten, would you fuck her?”

“Uh, sir,” Brian hesitates, “that’s not really a scalar…”

“I said yes or no,” he insists. “Would. You. Fuck. Her.”

When Donald Trump agrees to meet your wife again to discuss the details, it’s over drinks. There’s a sudden spike in her confidence, the sharp decline that follows. You want to kill him, but she won’t let you try. She won’t let him kill her career entirely.

Donald Trump is the kid who throws parties at his parents’ beach house. He’s impressed with himself and with the turnout, which he takes as a sign of his late-blooming popularity. In return for the lavish hospitality, you let him carry the conversation. He commands young women to sit on his lap, but he only talks to the guys about his business aspirations. He claims to have his own company, but you all know his dad’s responsible.

Donald Trump is the man who sits in first class and judges you as you pass. He makes it clear you’re ruining his day by snapping at an attendant for help. He fake-whispers, “Excuse me, hun, can we hurry it up with these people?” She looks confused. “My god, is this what you call service? It’s like I’m dealing with degenerates. Losers.” Clasping his briefcase, he shoves his way back up the ramp of traffic and into the terminal. He scores a full refund, a free trip on the next flight, and the sincerest apologies from customer service while you cross the Atlantic in the back of a flight you’ve spent a decade saving for.

Donald Trump is supposed to sit next to you, but he never attends class. When he shows up for the final, he declares the test a scam and argues with the professor about its unfair scope, the argument weak and difficult to follow. You get a B+ on the final—after weeks of studying—and you consider the class enlightening. After Christmas, you hear a rumor that your professor, a black man, has lost his tenure because of grading bias.

You know these people. They’re natural winners, by hard work on the one side and lifelong privilege on the other. When you spot one of them, you notice.

We vote for a voice this election, for a head at the biggest table we own. Picture yourself at that table. You know these guys. You may even know them well. Which one will you invest in? Which one has your best interests in mind? Which one is effective in a game they don’t control?


P.S. Mom, if you wanna vote Green or whatever, I mean—I don’t know. You do you, as always.