Both candidates have pasts that would disqualify them in normal times. There are serious concerns about finances involving their supposed charitable foundations and their treatment of the many women who have made claims of sexual abuse — in Trump’s case against him, in Clinton’s, against her husband.
Yes, there are six other minor party presidential candidates on this state’s ballot, including former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson on the Libertarian ticket. His appalling lack of knowledge on foreign affairs (his “Aleppo moment”) and his track record as governor likewise disqualify him. Like the other minor party candidates, including Green candidate Jill Stein, Johnson has zero chance of winning, so if you vote for him, you do so as a protest.
So, voters are left with the choice between a bombastic, crude and undisciplined demagogue — a true megalomaniac — and a corrupt, secretive, reflexive liar whose mannerisms and policy positions shift depending on the crowd to whom she is speaking.
The “Never Trump” and “Never Hillary” columns are both exceedingly long — and got even longer for Clinton on Friday when the FBI in a stunning move announced it was reopening its investigation into her private email server.
Because of all this, it’s hard to forecast what either candidate’s administration would be like. But there is much to be worried about:
Trump wants to expand the network of walls between the U.S. and Mexico to cover the entire border, has troubling ideas about Russian President Vladimir Putin, suggests that perhaps countries like Japan should get nuclear weapons and has questioned the value of NATO.
Clinton favors open borders, and her reset with Russia and this administration’s policies have been an utter failure that left a vacuum Putin was quick to fill. She says that North Korea will not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon — when it probably has close to 20 — and that the United States will not have ground troops in Iraq — when hundreds are already there.
Speech and transparency
Trump has bullied journalists covering his campaign, threatened to sue people who have spoken up against him and has said he will seek the prosecution of his opponent should he win. In a break with tradition, he has refused to release his income tax returns and hasn’t been willing to say he will accept the outcome of the election — an underpinning of Democracy.
Clinton’s litmus test for Supreme Court nominees would include expanded executive power and overturning Citizens United, which affirms the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of political speech. She has gone for long periods without conducting a press conference and has kept secret the transcripts of speeches she gave to bankers and financiers for which she was paid more than $21 million between April 2013 and March 2015.
The Committee to Protect Journalists says the situation is bad in the United States now — not just in Third World dictatorships — and won’t improve regardless of who wins.
Neither candidate’s plans would be good for the economy or the national debt.
Trump would impose tariffs on China, Mexico and other trade partners, lower income and corporate tax rates, and reduce federal spending in part by eliminating the Departments of Energy and Education. In typical Trump fashion, he earlier promised to cut military spending but now says he’ll rebuild the military by cutting waste and bureaucracy (the mantra of nearly every politician who lacks a plan). His populist message may appeal to some, but much of it is fantasy based. Some have estimated that his proposals would increase the national debt by trillions.
Clinton would offer tax cuts to the middle class and small businesses, increase short-term capital gains taxes significantly, increase the minimum wage and create a completely new entitlement program by mandating free college tuition. She says higher income groups should pay their “fair share.” She should know, having with Bill raked in about $230 million, mostly by giving speeches, since he left the White House, according to Forbes Magazine. Hers is a formula for more of the economic stagnation and lousy high-wage job creation the nation has seen for the past eight years. She was all for the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement — until she was against it. Quite a flip for something she once referred to as the “gold standard.” But that’s Hillary.
Trump’s views on abortion have flip-flopped over the years. He currently says he is opposed to abortion except for rape, incest and life of the mother and is against the use of government funds to pay for abortions. He also came down strongly against late-term abortion during the final debate.
Clinton is a long-time strong supporter of Planned Parenthood, legalized abortion at any point in a pregnancy and government funding for the procedure, including late-term abortions.
Views of the populace
When he announced his candidacy, Trump criticized Mexican immigrants saying, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Commenting on Trump supporters, Clinton said, “…you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.”
At heart, both of them view the American people as chumps who are necessary for their own accumulation of power.
It is imploding. Hillary supports and wants to fix it. Trump says he wants to repeal, but it’s not clear what he would do.
Twice during this long and dreadful campaign season — before and after the primary election — the Journal has recommended Trump withdraw from the race and let a serious candidate who could offer America a real choice run against Clinton. But he stayed the course and has remarkably remained strong enough to often be within the margin of error in national polls.
In a speech last month, Clinton wondered aloud: “Why aren’t I 50 points ahead?” Based on Trump’s sordid record as a celebrity, his treatment of women and the unsettling comments he regularly makes as a candidate, that’s a good question.
But the answer is easy. She, too, is an awful candidate. A large part of the U.S. public views Clinton as someone whose first response is to lie and whose many dubious actions over the decades reveal a feckless politician whose first priority is herself and her various personal enterprises. The Wikileaks disclosures of collusion by some in the media, along with complicity and dirty tricks by the Clinton machine — such as hiring agitators to disrupt rallies and disparaging Bernie Sanders, Jews, evangelicals, Hispanics and Catholics — make Nixon look like a Sesame Street character.
Her private email server that was a security risk to the nation and her many lies to cover the political damage are perfect insight into her. To paraphrase Trump, she has lots of experience, but it’s mostly bad.
Yet with two very poor choices, is Trump perhaps worse because he seems unstable, unpredictable and often doesn’t seem grounded in reality?
And if Clinton prevails? Is she less likely than Trump to do something crazy? She is viewed by many on the left as more likely to start a shooting confrontation with Russia. An April profile in The New York Times Magazine states, “For all their bluster about bombing the Islamic State into oblivion, neither Donald J. Trump nor Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has demonstrated anywhere near the appetite for military engagement abroad that Clinton has.”
In either case, the nation can only hope Congress can hold the winner in check.
The Journal has not withheld a presidential endorsement in recent memory. But given their records, it isn’t possible to recommend any of the candidates. Still, it’s important to vote, making your best judgment. And, there are many other races to be decided.