I don’t have the luxury of making a gesture with my vote

I was glad he was going to lose, but wanted to make a statement about Nixon.

I was glad he was going to lose, but wanted to make a statement about Nixon.

In my morning reading today, I ran across two things that impressed me. Both were from Republicans trying to explain just what a nightmare Trump is. Bret Stephens, deputy editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, had another strong column headlined “My Former Republican Party.” An excerpt:

Foreign policy: In 1947 Harry Truman asked Arthur Vandenberg, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to support his efforts to shore up the governments in Greece and Turkey against Soviet aggression. Vandenberg agreed, marking his—and the GOP’s—turn from isolationism to internationalism.

Since then, six Republican presidents have never wavered in their view that a robust system of treaty alliances such as NATO are critical for defending the international liberal order, or that the U.S. should dissuade faraway allies such as South Korea and Saudi Arabia from seeking nuclear weapons, or that states such as Russia should be kept out of regions such as the Middle East.

Where, amid Mr. Trump’s routine denunciations of our allegedly freeloading allies, or Newt Gingrich’s public doubts about defending NATO member Estonia against Russian aggression, or the alt-right’s attacks on “globalism,” or Sean Hannity’s newfound championship of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, is that Republican Party today?…

Then there was the piece from Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post‘s duty conservative, headlined “The Republicans who want to beat Trump by as much as possible.” An excerpt:

Trump and the mind-set of slavish Republicans who follow him deserve repudiation. Some Republicans think the party can be disinfected after the Trump experience and some want to start all over. (“These are generational problems. So maybe over time, over a number of decades, these changes can be made, but the reality is the conservative movement doesn’t have time for that,” said McMullin in defense of the latter approach. “And if the Republican Party can’t make the changes, as wasn’t able to do after 2012, the conservative movement will need a new political vehicle.”)

Either way, McMullin and others who want wholesale change on the right are rooting for Trump’s annihilation and his flacks’ and bully boys’ humiliation. The bigger the margin by which he loses, the more preposterous Trump’s claim that the election is fixed. Indeed, it’s more important for Republicans — if they want to get back their party — to vote against Trump than it is for Democrats. “By taking the leap to Clinton, these Republicans have set an example for all Americans to shed the home-team culture and put country before party,” Stubbs said. Maybe if they can recover some self-respect and devotion to principle by repudiating Trump, they will be prepared to create something superior to replace the GOP.

Absolutely. Republicans who care at all about their party and what it supposedly stands for have far more reason to want to see Trump utterly crushed than Democrats do. If you’re a partisan Democrat, you’re happy for Hillary to just squeak by, giving you more of an excuse to spend the next four years raising money to help you stop those horrid Republicans.

That is, if you’re the blinder sort of partisan Democrat. But whatever your party affiliation or lack thereof, if you understand the situation and care about the country we share, you want to see Trumpism crushed so that it slinks away and is never heard from again.

Which is why I, as a voter who cares, have no choice but to vote for Hillary Clinton. The same goes for you, if you can see it. She’s the only person on the planet who can defeat him, and just squeaking by won’t be enough.

We’ve had some terrific arguments here on the blog about that. And I still run into otherwise reasonable people who think an adequate response to Trump is to vote for neither of them. But that is NOT an adequate response.

Yeah, I understand the concept of using your vote to make a gesture, independent of any consideration of whether the candidate you vote for can win. I’ve done it myself — but only in rare circumstances when I had the luxury to do so. Or thought I did, anyway.

In 1972, my first election, I stood in the booth for awhile, undecided still. But in the end, I decided this: I voted for McGovern. I voted for him purely as a protest. I did it even though I thought he’d be a disaster as president. If the election had been close, if there’d been any chance of my vote deciding the outcome, I’d have voted for Nixon, because I trusted him more to have the judgment and abilities to run the country. But there was NO danger of McGovern winning, and even though I saw Nixon as more competent, I had a big problem with what I was sensing (but did not yet fully know) about Watergate.

So it was a protest vote, pure and simple.

I did the same thing in 1996, although the positions of the parties were reversed (which matters not at all to me, but I realize does to some people). On a personal level, I preferred Dole to Clinton. I thought Dole was the better man. But the abysmal campaign he had run had utterly persuaded me that he would be a disaster as president. He simply lacked the political skills to be effective. Had the election been so close that my vote could conceivably decide it, I’d have voted for Clinton, as the more competent leader between the two. But I had a lot of problems with Clinton by this time, and there was no way my vote would make a difference — South Carolina would go for Dole, and the country would go for Clinton; that was clear by the end. So I expressed my distaste for Clinton by casting my vote for Dole.

Another pure protest, without any intended practical effect.

Silly, really, in both cases. What good is a protest if no one even knows you’re making it? And no one did know (apart from a few intimates), until now. In each case, I was just making a gesture, for my own, private satisfaction. It was childish, in a way — I’m so mad at you I’m going to vote for this guy I don’t even think should win!

In both cases, I thought I had that luxury. This year, I absolutely don’t.

Oh, I could make a private gesture expressing my dissatisfaction with both candidates by, I don’t know, voting for Evan McMullin, or someone else who doesn’t have a chance.

But I can’t. Either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is going to be president, and it is my duty as a citizen to do whatever I can to affect which way it goes. And whatever else I think or feel about Hillary Clinton (I’m not going to waste time here going through a list of her shortcomings, because they are beside the point in light of Trump), she is a person with the skills, experience and understanding to do the job. Donald Trump absolutely does not possess those qualities, and is a walking, talking negation of what this country stands for.

Yeah, she’s probably going to beat him, but that’s by no means certain. (Remember, as Trump keeps reminding us, Brexit was supposed to lose.) And that’s not enough. Trump must lose badly (or “bigly,” if you prefer), as Ms. Rubin suggests.

So I really don’t have the luxury this time to make a gesture with my vote. It matters too much this time.

How could a guy who ran such an awful campaign run the government?

How could a guy who ran such an awful campaign run the government?

105 thoughts on “I don’t have the luxury of making a gesture with my vote

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    I uderstand what you are saying, but I believe that Democrats like me want HRC to win bigly (btws linguists think he was saying “big league”) so she will have a “mandate.” After all, to be thought as competent as a man, a woman has to be twice a good, so she needs a LOT of mandate.
    That said, what about all of us who think HRC is a fine politician and will be an excellent, well-qualified President, but believe that but for the yanking of American politics rightward by Fox and Breitbart, et al., HRC would be a Republican? The Clintons and their DNC colleagues are pretty centrist.How do we get our voices heard?

  2. David Carlton

    What Kathryn said. *This* partisan Democrat would love to see Trump demolished–and, yes, in part for the same reason Jennifer Rubin does–so that a reasonable center-right party can emerge from the debris. I have scant hope of that–I don’t think a rational center-right party is viable without also being a vehicle for white identity politics, and the Rubins are thus fooling themselves by thinking they can extricate themselves from what Trump has brought to the surface. BTW, I voted this morning–and not a single vote was a protest.

    1. Brad Warthen

      As one who for years championed what we called “pragmatic conservativism” at The State, I’m up for a good, serious center-right party. The Christian Democrats, perhaps?

      Actually, with the popularity of “Hamilton,” dare I hope for a Federalist revival? I think it’s time…

      1. Stanley Dubinsky

        Modern Whig. I’m not sure that “Christian” Democrats is a party that would be appropriate outside of Europe, where there are many officially Christian countries (even if nominally so).

  3. Brad Warthen

    Kathryn and David… I was talking about “the blinder sort of partisan Democrat.” That doesn’t describe either of you. Y’all fit squarely within the category of those who “understand the situation and care about the country we share…”

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      I think that there are far fewer of those than you do. Dick Harpootlian, but not Jaime Harrison (and his counterpart Matt Moore also impresses me!)

  4. Bill

    “If you’re a partisan Democrat, you’re happy for Hillary to just squeak by”

    Huhn? That’s a new one on me. I’ve never heardof a Democratic voter who thinks this way. Sounds to me like the figment of one person’s very strange fantasy. Comes close to conspiracy theory type thinking.

    1. Brad Warthen

      My Democratic friends are really going off half-cocked today. No one seems to get to, “That is, if you’re the blinder sort of partisan Democrat.”

      And if you’ve never heard of that sort of partisan, I need to send you some of the emails I get daily from the Democratic Party. All about gloom and doom. Always going on about how close the contest is. It is essential to them to paint the Republicans as a huge threat. Things are ALWAYS hanging in the balance, so you must give RIGHT NOW…

      1. Bill

        Hmm. Maybe I should send you a few mailings from my congressman (R). Whenever I read one, I think: What world is HE living in? Because they’re always about how Obama is threatening to or actually succeeding in destroying the rule of law, the economy, the country’s standing in the world, freedom in general, etc and so forth.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yep. And to me, those are the “other side.” Whether messages like that are coming from Republicans or Democrats, it’s all one. They are so unlike me in their worldview, I find them very difficult to empathize with…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            And I try to resist my mind working that way, but it does.

            Sometimes I’ll see a familiar name and realize it’s that of a frequent letter-writer, and one who used to give us hell at the paper in years gone by. And while I don’t think these words exactly, my brain reacts in a way that is something like “Yep, there’s one of those people on the other side.” But I can never recall whether he’s a rabid Republican or rabid Democrat. I just know that he always accused us of being on the OTHER side — because to people like that, there are only two kinds of people in the world, and if you’re not with them, you have to be their polar opposite — and gave us hell for it.

            This is something that my friends here who are always accusing me of “false equivalence” have apparently never experienced. They haven’t felt the irrational anger from both sides, I guess. Or something. I don’t know…

            1. Kathryn Fenner

              I believe that perhaps 95% of letter-to-the-editor writers are cracked or at least out-of-touch. They are possibly more polite than commenters on The State’s website, but…..

      2. Kathryn Fenner

        Those are fundraising emails. The sky is falling! The sky is falling! You must send in cash!

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Of course they are. Here’s a classic I received yesterday, signed by Nancy Pelosi. It was headlined “kiss all hope goodbye.” And no, I don’t know why the headline was ee cummings-style. Here’s the text:

          We’ll be blunt:

          If 105 supporters don’t step up to open the match by midnight, you might as well kiss all hope for a Democratic House goodbye.

          Please, step up right now to unlock our donor match program. If we hit our goal, every contribution will be matched >>

          Republicans are successfully spending their way out of the trouble they got themselves in by supporting Donald Trump. Polls are tightening in races across the country.

          We have never needed to double grassroots support more than we do right now. That’s why we need you to step up and open the match. Will you rush in $5 before midnight?

          We have a real opportunity here to win back the House, don’t let it slip through our fingers in the last 11 days. Help save the day by giving $5 right now >>


          Team Pelosi

          Reminds me of Trudy Rubin’s columns on international affairs. I used to tell Mike Fitts almost any one of them could be headlined, “Oh, My God, We’re All Gonna Die!”

  5. Harry Harris

    I want a large enough win by Clinton for a few things to happen. Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. Republicans to do some soul-searching that was lip-serviced after the ’08 and ’12 elections. A serious discussion about living wages vs government-subsidized subsistence, community policing, concentration of wealth and power, continued polarization or a sense of community. Add to that a push toward policies and partnerships to reduce abortion that respect individual conscience and don’t codify religious belief into law. An angry, obstructionist Congress can only continue our path toward ungovernable self-interest and interest-group intransigence. A continuation of obstruction of judicial appointments can only further diminish the legitimate power of our courts to build respect for both law and individual rights and further the interests of partisans like McConnell (“make him one term”) and DeMint (“Waterloo” man).
    Clinton will be facing as big a challenge as any in modern times. She will need all the help obtainable to face the forces who want to delegitimize any election that doesn’t go their way.

    1. Claus

      Funny I want just the opposite, Trump in the WH, Repubicans taking control of the Senate, and retaining control of the House.

      A living wage isn’t the government’s responsibility. If you’re only able to earn minimum wage then the issue is with you and not the employer. Minimum wage is for low-skilled and entry level employment. If you’re 40 years old and can’t do anything but flip burgers then you deserve what you earn. If you can’t be a shift manager or a store manager then the issue is with you not the employer.

      It sounds like you’d prefer a Socialist form of government.

      The only thing either candidate will accomplish in his/her first four years is maybe seating one or two SC justices. Other than that they’re nothing more than a figure head… they have about as much power as Prince Charles.

      1. Harry Harris

        I probably tend toward socialism less than you tend toward feudalism. A living wage for people who work, regardless of their “abilities,” is a goal I readily claim and support. The policies that have helped concentrate wealth and the societal attitudes that have destroyed our sense of community need to be examined. and in my opinion, replaced. I blame our folk religions as much as I do government, but government is easier to change.

          1. Kathryn Fenner

            I think he may be referring to the fact that almost everyone follows the “faith” s/he was born into–maybe a different flavor, but still Christian, Jewish, etc.

          2. Harry Harris

            Religions more tied to the surrounding culture than following the teachings of their founders or holy writings. Adherents who choose the religion, faith, or church that best fits their needs and wants. Our roots in paganism lend a tendency to shape a God who does our bidding, heals our illnesses, filsl our bank accounts, or at least will fight on our side when times get tough.

  6. Doug Ross

    I’m voting for Gary Johnson because Trump and Hillary are both terrible options. It’s not a gesture except to say that both parties will never get my vote until they put up someone who isn’t a corrupt liar. Trump is where he is because many Americans think the current two parties are useless.

    I vote based on issues and character. Hillary is wrong on every issue and her character is unacceptable. She will be a horrible President. I would have voted for Sanders. Never Hillary. And judging by the rhetoric I see coming from my Facebook friends (mostly 40-50 year old professional men and women, most with college educations, from New England to Arizona) there is so much anti-Hillary sentiment out there that a mandate for Hillary is a pipe dream. Thankfully. Hillary won’t even get 50% of the total popular vote and that’s great news.

    This is Brexit happening again. Michael Moore had it right the other day. This vote is a chance for Americans to say “F.U.” to politics as usual.

    1. Doug Ross

      Let’s not forget how Mitt Romney was demonized by Democrats four years ago. It doesn’t matter who is on the ballot on the other side – Democrats will turn him into a monster who wants to force raped women to have children, starve the poor, allow banks to destroy the middle class, pollute the air and water, and deport millions of beautiful immigrant babies.

      The hypocrisy on both sides is what’s wrong with this country.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Yes, so you shouldn’t listen to Democrats about a Republican nominee. You should listen to all the independents and Republicans who are telling you what a unique, foul phenomenon Donald Trump is, and giving you all the reasons why this is NOT about Democrats and Republicans; it’s about a choice between someone who CAN be considered for the job and someone who ABSOLUTELY cannot be.

        And if that doesn’t come across loud and clear on this blog, what on Earth am I doing typing all these words?…

        1. Doug Ross

          Because I have listened to Hillary Clinton myself and have enough knowledge of her experience and character to know she is a terrible choice. I don’t vote for terrible choices. You do. Do you seriously think you can convince even a single voter to switch to Hillary at this point?

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I know you won’t get this, Doug, but if I were reach the point that I didn’t believe at all in the power of reason to make a difference in people’s thinking, I might as well lie down and die…

              1. Doug Ross

                Well, it comes down to whether you convince other people, doesn’t it? How many have you flipped on voting for Hillary?
                Anyone on this blog who is following your lead?

                Can you convince Bryan or Bart to do it? Both reasonable and intelligent men…

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Well, I’m not giving up on them.

                  Maybe someone will say on this blog, “Brad, you’ve changed my mind!” That happens sometimes. But most people don’t do that. Normal behavior is for people to take exception to this or that thing I’ve said — the Democrats with the thing I said about partisan Democrats, and Republicans with other aspects. People who agree with me are more likely to just nod their heads and go away.

                  Over the years, I have met SO many people who come up to me out of the blue — strangers — and say they agree with practically everything I say. Or, as someone did last night, they mention how a certain column I wrote once, years ago, so deeply impressed them that they often repeat its main points to others. And you know what? Almost NEVER have those people ever written a letter to the editor, or an email, or a blog comment, to SAY so.

                  All of that said, if ONE person who was going to throw away his or her vote on Gary Johnson or Evan McMullin or someone else like that becomes convince that they need to vote instead for the one person who can stop Trump, it almost certainly won’t be SOLELY because of something I say.

                  As I say over and over and over again, human beings are complicated. They’re not about ones and zeros. They’re not all this or all that, despite the efforts of partisans and interest groups and media people to paint everything as binary.

                  Somebody doesn’t think one way, read something I’ve written, and suddenly think the other way. Oh, it CAN happen, or at least APPEAR to happen that way, on rare occasions. But the most I really hope for is for my words to play a role in the complex matrix of information and arguments and evidence from multiple sources that persuade an individual to do what needs to be done. A person who is persuaded in part by what I have to say may not even realize that I played a role. That’s the way the world works.

                  All of this is sort of second-nature to me, but I realize it’s not obvious to everyone…

    2. Doug Ross

      Everyone thinking there will be a mandate for Hillary needs to check out the number of people who came out to see Trump the other day in Tampa. 20,000 or more… the level of disgust with politicians is at an all time high and that means people will be motivated to go to the polls. Hillary’s voters are only motivated by “Not Trump” and that doesn’t carry the same passion.

      Trump has a strategy to win just enough electoral votes to squeak by. He’s outworked Hillary every day for the past six months. Not saying he will win but I can respect what he has been able to do without spending anything close to what Hillary spent and without relying on the support of the Republican establishment.

  7. Bryan Caskey

    I’m going to disagree with your fundamental premise that you don’t have the luxury of a protest vote. Trump is up an average of 7.7% here in South Carolina. If you lived in North Carolina, Florida, or Ohio, it would matter.

    I hate to be the one to tell you this, but South Carolina’s electoral votes will be going to Trump, regardless of how you vote. Accordingly, it’s quite safe to protest vote here.

    Hypothetically, if it even becomes close in South Carolina for Trump, then that means he’s already lost all the other states he needed to win, and he’s going to suffer a defeat of Cannae proportions.

    So, you know…relax bro.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yes, I know that is conventional wisdom. (I am, after all, an experienced professional observer of South Carolina politics.) And the only way to change the equation is for me — and others — to persuade enough people how imperative it is not to engage in brainless partisan voting, and stand up for the country, and deliver defeat to Donald Trump.

      As I keep saying, it’s not enough for him just to lose — in other words, for the battleground states to go against him. He has to be CRUSHED. And if South Carolina went for Clinton, by even one vote, he would indeed be crushed.

      As I keep saying, and saying, and saying — because it is manifestly TRUE — this is NOT a normal election. And I’m not looking for a normal result. I’m looking for something extraordinary. Because the country NEEDS something extraordinary.

      I’m calling on my fellow South Carolinians not to be fools, not to be automatons. I’m calling upon them to open their eyes and LOOK, to open their ears and HEAR. And then to THINK, and to ACT accordingly.

      You’re thinking “He wants an awful lot, and it’s not practical.” You’re right. I think this country needs something that all the odds run against. But we don’t need it any less.

      I KNOW the odds are against me, which is why I’m so insistent, so adamant. But I believe I’d be betraying my country to be any other way…

      1. Doug Ross

        ” He has to be CRUSHED.”

        It isn’t happening. And if it doesn’t happen, then perhaps you should examine your own motivations and actions. By going off the deep end on Trump, you make him look sane in comparison. He has run a campaign better than John McCain ever did.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          And as for “perhaps you should examine your own motivations and actions.”

          Really? That’s all I do, day in and day out. I am CONSTANTLY examining my “motivations and actions.” I have to, in order to write about them. I am profoundly, intimately knowledgeable about my “motivations and actions.” (As much as anyone can be, of course. As I keep saying, we’re all terribly complicated, and to some extent remain mysteries even to ourselves. But to the extent that I AM knowable to myself, I’m probably putting in the effort as much as anyone you’ve ever met.)

          And you know what? So are all of YOU, because of my compulsion to TELL you all, in great detail, what I’m thinking and why I’m thinking it…

    2. Mark Stewart

      Actually, Bryan, I think it matters even more in South Carolina. If one lives in MA one could throw away one’s vote on someone other than Clinton. In SC it actually matters that Republicans cross-over and vote for Clinton, and not waste their vote on “making a statement”. Don’t make a statement; make a stand for our country.

      I would actually be surprised if Trump carries SC by that purported margin – and that’s not just my hopes speaking. It’s easier for people to go rah rah for Trump now as a kind of perverse protest poll vote. It is going to be harder for people, Republicans, to actually vote for Trump in the election. I heard a lot of that from people who have only voted Republican in this century last weekend; the quiet acknowledgement that the party’s candidate is unbackable. So I hope that a stunner is the case and Clinton carries SC next month. It will be okay, everyone will get that it was an aberration brought about by extreme circumstances.

      Because really the choice is either that, or the GOP is dead.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        “I would actually be surprised if Trump carries SC by that purported margin”

        I pulled it from the RCP average of polls. Take that for whatever it’s worth. Maybe there will be some sort of Bradley Effect as you alluded to, but I’ve heard it argued the other way, also.

        If Clinton does manage to carry SC, we’ll be looking at a wave election.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        Boy, do I hope Mark is right about this:

        I would actually be surprised if Trump carries SC by that purported margin – and that’s not just my hopes speaking. It’s easier for people to go rah rah for Trump now as a kind of perverse protest poll vote. It is going to be harder for people, Republicans, to actually vote for Trump in the election…

        But there’s plenty of reason to fear the opposite — that Trump will actually do BETTER in SC, and nationally, than polls predict. And that’s not only because of the Bradley effect, or the Brexit surprise. It’s because of what Michael Moore is saying in this video.

        That video was brought to my attention by someone whose comment I did not approve today, someone who saw it as Moore endorsing Trump. And my initial reaction was “Awesome! If I weren’t convinced before to vote against Trump, Moore’s support would seal the deal for me!”

        But I listened to the video, and Moore — who as much as I dislike him is a person way more in touch with the disaffected than I am — made the point that Trump supporters just can’t wait to say a big “F__ You!” to all of us by voting for Trump. This is their big moment, and they wouldn’t trade it for anything, they are so alienated.

        I find that persuasive. And chilling. Because I fear we have a lot of people like that in South Carolina…

        1. Mark Stewart

          They may be loud and they may be alienated, but the math is just not in their favor.

          These are the same people who stood against the Civil Rights movement – and lots of other stuff before and after. They have always been with us – and society as a whole has always politely found ways to politically marginalize them. That is until the “conservatives” in the Republican party chose to give credence to their fearful bile. Trump is the spawn of the Tea Party. The perfect summation of that wilful, fearful, raging ignorance.

          1. Doug Ross

            “The perfect summation of that wilful, fearful, raging ignorance.”

            If you went through the dozen or so Trump supporters on my Facebook friends list, you’re characterization would fit only one of them. They are people like a hairdresser who says she only gets 58% of her paycheck… an ex-government employee (VA Information Systems manager) who is an avid outdoorsman, a man who owns a successful window installation company, one of the nicest, kindest, most humble people I ever met (married to a doctor, father of another doctor in SC), an IT consultant who also owns multiple rental homes in Arizona. None of them would ever fall into the categories of fearful or ignorant. They are highly intelligent with strong personal and work ethics. All of them look at Hillary and see the opposite of what they want for this country.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                And that’s the thing.

                I’ve spent WAY too much of my life this year reading thoughtful, respectful explanations of all the supposedly legitimate reasons Trumpistas are alienated…

                And it makes ZERO sense that anyone would see HIM as the solution to those problems…

              2. Douglas Ross

                Imagine – there are people out there who don’t agree with you. Kind of mind blowing, isn’t it? It’s not you, it’s them.

                I forgot to add two people to my list of Facebook friends who will never vote for Hillary. It’s a married couple in Colorado. She’s an ob/gyn doctor who was high school valedictorian. He’s a high level management consultant who travels from Hawaii to New York. The doctor I’ve known since first grade. She grew up in the same very lower middle class small town I grew up in. They are both retiring at the end of this year at age 55 because they’ve spent 35 years working hard and reaping the benefits of their efforts. They aren’t lucky – they’re successful. The husband is always posting photos of young minority men and women he has been mentoring for decades.

                They despise Hillary (and Democrats in general) for what they represent. They’ll vote for Johnson but if forced to choose, Trump would be their choice.

                Anyone who tries to put Trump supporters into some basket of deplorables is out of touch with reality. Trump is the embodiment of the general disgust many feel for the government. Sanders was as well.

  8. Doug Ross

    For those thinking a Clinton landslide has any chance —

    Nate Silver’s 538 blog has Clinton getting 332 electoral votes to Trump’s 205 currently. But if Trump wins Florida (he’s within the margin of error), Iowa (pick ’em right now), and Arizona (2 points down), that would make it 251 for Trump. He’d need 19 more to win. Ohio is 18. North Carolina is 15 and Pennsylvania is 20.

    Those five states will determine the election.

    Expect a lot of anxiety from Democrats on Tuesday night. Imagine if one of those five goes to Trump early on in the evening. The freak out will be glorious.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Glorious? Really? As in, something to enjoy, or celebrate? The threat of the utter degradation of our democracy?

      That’s it. I’m going to take a little break from engaging you on this subject now…

      1. Doug Ross

        Our democracy has already been utterly degraded. We need a big change to improve it. (That’s not nihilism, by the way).

    2. bud

      Actually you’re wrong. Hillary can lose Fl,OH,AZ,NC,NV and still win. Still, it’s not quite over. PA is an extreme long shot but that would do it.

      1. Doug Ross

        Uh, no, I’m not wrong. I started at Nate Silvered 205 baseline and worked up.

        You can play numbers games but the reality is that if Trump wins Ohio and Florida, he will likely win the election. The other states will just be along for the ride.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Which can still happen. Which is why I don’t let up for a second.

          And I get really, really mad every time I read or hear someone talking like the election is over, and Hillary has it won… That is dangerous foolishness.

          As y’all know, I get irritated in general at people who look at some data and say they KNOW what the future is. I expressed that irritation last night when they announced that the 2nd game of the World Series would be moved up an hour because of the forecast of rain tonight:

          How idiotic. There are way too many variables for anyone to say with certainty exactly what time it’s going to rain, 24 hours out.

          And humans are even LESS predictable. No one KNOWS how this election is going to come out.

          I say that even if nothing happens to change the equation. But there is a high probability that something like that WILL happen. For instance: This morning I saw the latest Wikileaks Clinton emails story, and as usual, it made me yawn. And then I thought immediately: They MUST be saving their most damaging broadside for the last possible moment, when it’s too late for Clinton to recover. THAT’S how much Wikileaks hates America.

          Maybe they don’t have anything. But that is just one of many, many things that could happen to turn this election around in a day…

          1. Bryan Caskey

            “How idiotic. There are way too many variables for anyone to say with certainty exactly what time it’s going to rain, 24 hours out.”

            It’s 2016. We have radar, satellites, and (I’m sure) lots of other stuff to predict the weather very accurately in the near future (24 hours out). It’s really common-sense to adjust the start time of the game since baseball and rain do not mix.

            I mean seriously, ol’ chap, have you never adjusted your plans based on a weather forecast? If the weatherman says, “Bring your umbrella to work today folks, it will be raining this afternoon“, do you just harrumph and just ignore him?

            You sound ridiculous.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Yes, I know, to you folks who hold with science and book-larnin’ and all.

              I’ve gone into this before. I’ve told the story of using my pickup to move my daughter from Charleston back home about three years ago, and deciding not to worry about buying a tarp when I stopped at Walmart for bungee cords because my weather app assured me there was ZERO chance of precipitation at both ends of my journey, only to have the heavens open up on me a little outside of Charleston, and POUR onto me all the way to my house. Thereby ruining a bunch of her stuff.

              If the weather forecast says it’s going to rain today, I think there’s a really good chance that it will rain, sometime during the day. But I don’t plan my day around it. I really don’t mind being rained on, and very seldom change my plans based on it. That’s why the driving from Charleston incident stands out so strongly in my mind — that was one of the rare cases in which I paid attention to the forecasters, and relied on their prediction.

              I just think it’s ridiculous to think you know within an hour exactly when it will rain, a full day out. You may be right. I’ll go so far as to say you PROBABLY are right. But it’s the implied KNOWING that irritates me. Because you don’t know…

              I go with the Fremen saying: “Be prepared to appreciate what you meet.” Which means in part, don’t assume you know what that will be.

              A Mentat knows his limitations better than anyone…

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                It’s not like the Weatherman told me the chance of rain was low, and I took a risk. I was told the chance of rain was ZERO!

                You might see how my faith in his omniscience might be shaken a bit.

                ONE TIME, I failed to live by the Boy Scout motto, because I trusted the “experts.” Never again…

        2. Claus

          What peaks my interest is why can’t Hillary draw the crowds that Trump is drawing? Hillary is drawing a few dozen to a few hundred, Trump is drawing 10’s of thousands. Where are all the supporters for Hillary? I live in Lexington and still haven’t seen one Clinton yard sign, don’t know anyone who is voting for Hillary, don’t know anyone who wouldn’t spit on Hillary if she were on fire, on and on… I did see a Hillary bumper sticker on a car the other day, it was intermingled with about 40 other stickers on the car, as I drove up I think the woman driving had one IQ point for every sticker on her car… and that number was less than 50.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I don’t expect to see many yard signs for either. I have seen exactly ONE Trump-Pence yard sign so far — and I live in a staunchly Republican precinct.

            As is usually the case, most yard signs are for school board and legislative contests — things that are actually in question in South Carolina. You can see those in great profusion in my neighborhood.

            You’ll see more presidential yard signs in SC at primary time. You’ll see LOTS of them then. But ever since SC became so solidly red, presidential yard signs haven’t been that huge in SC, near as I can recall…

            As for rallies — Trump (like, ahem, Hitler) is all ABOUT rallies. People who like him love to hear him say outrageous things, so they go to his rallies in order to hear them.

            You’ll recall that Bernie Sanders was all about rallies, too. Populists need rallies.

            Rallies are about emotions, and populists are about emotions. While Hillary Clinton has a certain number of supporters who are REALLY EXCITED about having a woman running for president. Outside of that subset, I can’t see most of her voters being interested in the rally experience. I certainly would never be. I went to one of her events early in 2015 simply to get pictures for my blog. (I’ll go to one event like that and use the pictures for YEARS — remember, since I’m not at the paper, I don’t have access to AP photos or anything like that.) But I couldn’t get close enough to get anything decent with my iPhone, so I left pretty unfulfilled….

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I will say this, though — I went to a live Kasich event (and got some great photos, since I ended up sitting about three feet from him), and ended up deciding then and there that I was voting for him.

              But that was kind of the opposite of a Trump rally — it was in the boardroom at the state Chamber of Commerce, and it was very low-key, quite cerebral, nothing like a rally…

  9. Brad Warthen Post author

    Well, at least some of my non-liberal friends are engaging the subject now.

    It was weird at first. I write a post aimed at the folks who still aren’t convinced that the ONLY available option for stopping Trump is to vote for Hillary Clinton, whatever they think of her, and what do I get?

    I get Kathryn and David Carlton and Bill and to a certain extent Harry — people I was NOT trying to persuade — all arguing with me about a throwaway line about Democrats…

    Actually… I SAY it was a throwaway line, but it played a role in my argument. My POINT was that REPUBLICAN have good reason to want Trump crushed. I was saying REPUBLICANS should care more about that than a certain sort of Democratic partisan would.

    But still, it was a small thing. Yet for awhile there, it seemed like the only thing anyone was going to react to…

    1. Bill

      Regarding that first line of yours up there: It may come as a shock to you, but I don’t actually consider myself a “liberal.” I consider myself part of the sensible center of American politics – that is to say, where the center USED to be before the political spectrum got skewed rightward by the combination of the religious right, libertarians, tax cutters, trickle-downers and other movement conservatives who’ve taken over the Republican Party. Fact is, early on in my voting career, I did vote for a few Republicans. But that was before the party had completely succeeded in killing off its Nelson Rockefeller wing. So, yeah, I’m a partisan – but not an unthinking one. As I see it, between the two major parties, there’s only one left that still values the public sector, that still seeks pragmatic solutions to genuine problems and in taking steps to improve the lot of the majority. On top of this, we now have the spectacle of hypocrisy of Republican figures who can’t “support” Trump – but will nevertheless vote for him. So the party is managing to represent both everything I don’t like — and nothing at all.

  10. Bryan Caskey

    “Trump is where he is because many Americans think the current two parties are useless.” -Doug

    Analysis: True.

    The number one reason Trump won the GOP primary was angry and disillusioned Republican voters.

    What compounded this problem was the GOP’s primary system was essentially a first-past-the-post system which allocated a higher percentage of delegates to Trump vs. the percentage of votes he received.

    The winner take all system was set up intentionally. It had the effect of making an early favorite very hard to stop. Everyone who designed that system should be fired and never allowed to work for the GOP again.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Good points, given the current evidence.

      Of course, the way it worked in the past was that Republicans in places like South Carolina gave that early leg up to the most mainstream Republican with the best chance of winning the election. So it worked — until 2012, when all of a sudden it didn’t. Even then, the sanest candidate remaining (after Huntsman dropped out) still got the nomination.

      Only this year did the system fail, and fail, and keep on failing until it was too late to do anything about it.

      Not that I want to stick up for party people. But their system DID work, until now…

  11. Bryan Caskey

    Thinking about how to defeat Trumpism, you’re going to have to figure out how to defeat the disillusioned/angry voters who are determined to wreck the system. Would a landslide defeat of Trump do that?

    Not sure. I don’t know if a massive landslide would do that. It might only further entrench those people. What if it were a really close election? Wouldn’t the Trump people be confronted with the proposition that if only the GOP had nominated someone like Kasich or Rubio, they would have won? Wouldn’t there at least be some buyer’s remorse for Trump in such a scenario?

    In a landslide election, I don’t think you get as much buyer’s remorse from Trump voters. Obviously, this is all just speculation. Your mileage may vary.

    Also, I think a scenario where other GOP candidates win elections while Trump fails would be persuasive. That certainly has to be Trump’s worst fear, right? That he’s somehow the outlier?

    1. Doug Ross

      Republicans tried McCain and Romney and failed. They rejected zealots like Cruz and wishy-washy boring guys like Jeb and Kasich. They want different. They want representation of their views and they want someone to push back against the progressive agenda. Romney was about as pure as you can get and he couldn’t get it done because Democrats are the party of gender, race, and poverty.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Interesting ideas, but…

      “Trump voters” are not monolithic. I think the only ones capable of buyer’s remorse are the ones who didn’t like Trump but voted for him anyway because they are partisan automatons, or because they hate Hillary Clinton SO MUCH that they’re willing to destroy the country to express their disapproval of her.

      The Trump true believers are unreachable. Reason doesn’t work on them, I fear, because we don’t share a common language of political concepts. The very fact that a moderate, Establishmentish person like me is raising the alarm makes them like him all the more. I am FULLY aware of that. That’s a given.

      The only people I, or Jennifer Rubin, or Bret Stephens, or Bill Kristol can reach are the others I mentioned above.

      And here’s the thing — if Trump IS crushed, it will be because the persuadable people held their noses and voted for Hillary. So THEY won’t have buyer’s remorse.

      Whether Trump is barely defeated or routed, the true believers will be convinced it happened because the system is rigged.

      The best we can hope for is that persuadable Republicans, however they vote, come away from this election convinced that they must work to make sure nothing like this ever, EVER happens again…

      Or that the Republican Party goes away and is replaced by something better, a true center-right party that would never nominate a bomb-thrower…

    3. Brad Warthen Post author

      As for what happens after the election, I need to say something and I hope everyone will remember this on Nov. 9 and thereafter…

      At best, it’s going to be AWFUL. But “awful” is the best we can hope for.

      It’s essential that Hillary Clinton wins, whether by a landslide or a little. But the moment she does, we are going to experience a partisan backlash — from the Republicans who hate Trump almost as much as from the True Believers — that makes what we’ve been through during the W. and Obama administrations look like a picnic. Bush and Obama Derangement Syndromes will be a happy memory by comparison. Neither of those guys went into office with so many people already hating them, with so many people having hated them for DECADES.

      It’s going to be truly awful for four years, and quite likely for eight — unless Republicans are unable to fix all their problems and come up with a strong candidate to run against her in 2020, which seems unlikely at this point, their problems are so profound.

      Republicans are going to get up every morning FURIOUS that she is president, and Democrats will get up every morning furious at Republicans for not giving her a chance (after all, she’s not only THEIR person, but she’s the First Woman President, and things like that mean a lot to Democrats).

      The best reasonable people will be able to hope for is that both parties implode under the sheer pressure of their mutual detestation, and something better — something capable of bringing forth qualified people who can appeal to a consensus of the country — takes their places.

      But that’s pie in the sky. For the foreseeable future, it’s going to be AWFUL.

      Anyway, I want all of you to remember that. I don’t want Doug or somebody coming to me in a few months and saying, “See how awful it is? See how wrong you were?”

      No, I’m not wrong. I just know that we’re out of attractive options….

      1. Doug Ross

        And yet if Gary Johnson was elected President there would be no awful period. But you chose awful over more awful (in your view). If you accept responsibility to getting people to vote for her, you have to accept responsibility for the result.

        A reasonable person would look at the third party options and realize awful doesn’t have to be a choice. But you are just as deranged when it comes to libertarians as the Bush and Obama lunatics. Freedom and limited government frustrate you as much as war and government dependence frustrate me.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I can’t in good conscience vote for Johnson, just as you can’t in good conscience vote for Hillary.

          I can identify with the Republicans who don’t like her but understand they have no alternative but to vote for her.

          But if it makes you feel better, I recognize that your views make it much, much harder for you to reach a similar conclusion.

          After all, she is more of a neocon than anyone who ran for the Republican nomination with the exception of Lindsey Graham (and maybe, maybe Bush). That makes it easier for Republicans like Kristol to hold their noses and vote for her, and it makes it a LOT easier for me, since I don’t have their partisan prejudice. I, unlike them, have occasionally voted for Democrats in the past.

          But those same factors make pulling the lever for her an insurmountable problem for you…

          1. Doug Ross

            I’ve said it before but if Bill Kristol is for something, I would immediately be against it. He is one of the worst elitist neocons. I can see him in a former life working as an aide to Goebbels.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Oh, come now, Doug. Neocons are the precise opposite of a Goebbels. That is so grossly unfair.

              Neocons are the people who fought most fervently against the Nazis, and knew exactly why they were doing it, because they are by definition champions of liberal democracy. Remember, neocons are disaffected liberals.

              And yeah, they got us into Vietnam, because they were still fighting totalitarianism. And when the Democratic Party abandoned the views of FDR, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson, they turned away from the Democratic Party.

              Back when we were fully involved in Iraq, a lot of people on the left (and folks like you) sort of got confused about what “neocon” meant. They thought it was some kind super-duper right-wing conservative. Which is totally wrong. The REAL conservatives, the paleocons, were against our going into Iraq.

              Neocons are people who believe liberal values are worth fighting for, and that the United States, as the most powerful liberal democracy in the world, has an obligation to stand up for them…

              1. bud

                Neocons are people who believe liberal values are worth fighting for,

                Sorry Brad, as the VP would say that is a load of malarkie. Doug has a point, even if a bit overstated. Neocons are boorish liars with a huge propensity to get the nation into disastrous wars and engage in torture. Nothing virtuous about that indefensible bunch.

  12. Ralph Hightower

    I’ve made peace about my vote. I wish that we had two viable choices; instead, we have none. I am not a member f either party. Trump and Clinton are not my choices for the Republicans 92nd Democrats. Kasich vs Mallory would’ve better.
    My choices are “don’t want to vote for” and “can’t vote for”, so Clinton is the only vote to make a difference. I doubt that I can convince anyone in the line at the poll since Lexington County is a Republican county. Trump demonstrated from the very beginning that he s unfit as president.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Amen, Ralph!

      By the way, Ralph, if my arguments had ANY influence on your decision that you no choice but to vote for Hillary (however much it hurts), if it formed even 1,000th of a part of your decision, please tell Doug. 🙂

      1. Ralph Hightower

        Nah, you didn’t have any influence. I knew that I couldn’t vote for Trump during the primary season; his temperament and demeanor demonstrated during the primary that he wasn’t fit to be president. Of the three dozen candidates in their primary, I could’ve voted for three: Jeb, Kasich, or Lindsey. Jeb’s commercial featuring Terry Schiavo turned me off; I could vote for him in November, but not for February. Other candidates were flawed.
        Running America is not a game show! I don’t want to imagine Trump calling Angela Merkel a “fat pig”. If a “girl” knocked Trump off kilter, just imagine how he would be facing Putin; Trump would be like a puppy dog.

        But because of the political environment, whoever wins, the next president will be more polarizing than Obama. While I hope that our president will be the best ever, I doubt that will happen. Nothing will change in Washington. Hopefully, this will be a one term president and the Republican and Democrat parties will come to their senses in 2020.

      2. Ralph Hightower

        I wish that I could do a write-in vote, but that’s not allowed in South Carolina. Also, since I live in Lexington County, any vote for the Greens or Libertarians would be a vote for Trump. Johnson proved that he is not fit for international affairs when he answered with a Jeopardy question: “What is Allepo?” and I saw a news article where it showed that he was disinterested in governing whatever state he was governot of: five minute cabinet meetings, not diving into details.

  13. Bart

    From the beginning of the Republican primary process, every time I saw Trump on the dais with the other hopefuls, a line from an old TV series kept coming to mind. “Danger Will Robinson, Danger!” When he won the SC primary, the message continued to resonate but this time with an emphasis on the danger of a Trump candidacy and potential of becoming POTUS. Now there is a very real possibility he might win because the polls are slowly reverting back to a close race. I believe Clinton will win not with the popular vote but because she will carry all of the states with the greatest number of Electoral College votes, enough to guarantee a victory. Her husband was successful his first try by pursuing states outside the solid South.

    It was obvious from the beginning that Sanders would be a fly in the ointment for Clinton but he never had a chance in hades to win the nomination. All he could do is as Jeff Dunham’s character Walter said, “run to the end of his chain and bark”. He did win some concessions for the Democrat platform but that is about it.

    South Carolina will go for Trump but it will be closer than in the past. Not enough to endanger a solid Republican victory in SC but enough to be a harbinger of things to come.

    Brad, you can accuse me of being irresponsible, un-American, or anything else you wish to say about my decision to not vote for Trump or Clinton. I too have a conscience and a deep abiding love for my country. For me, because I do have strong feelings for my country, I cannot in good conscience vote for Clinton or Trump. I am not in the Never Trump or Never Clinton camp, I am in the camp of Never Trump OR Clinton, at least for me. For others, I cannot speak and I will not change my mind on this issue.

    We see and view things in a different light in this matter and each one of us truly believes our position is the right one. I believe if enough people across the nation would not vote for either but write-in a legitimate candidate’s name, it could change the course of history and our election process.

    If we had candidates of the same caliber as the framers of our Constitution or even if they were at 50% of their character and willingness to work together, I would vote for one of the two but neither one comes close to the 50% mark or at least in my estimation they do not. Maybe 10% – 15% but that is simply not enough to go against my conscience and core beliefs and to be frank, I do resent anyone trying to tell me I am wrong if I don’t vote for Clinton simply because one believes she is the better choice of the two. It would be deciding between death by cyanide or by a thousand cuts. Trump being cyanide and Clinton by a thousand cuts. Neither one is acceptable to me.

    I will vote and write-in my choice. Not that I really want to vote this time because of the totally poor choices but if I don’t vote, then by fiat, in my reasoning as John Denver said when 18 year olds were first eligible to vote, “If you don’t vote, don’t bitch.”

    1. Doug Ross

      I think it’s better for Hillary to fall short of 50% than to vote for her as the lesser of two evils. Under 50% sends a clear message. Under 50% tells her she better do something meaningful in her first term or she’s a one and done.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Doug, that’s a very interesting thought, and I think it has merit.

        It MIGHT be a good thing for her to win with far less than a mandate — as long as there are enough people voting for Johnson, McMullin, et al. so that Trump is soundly defeated. Unlike our Democratic friends, I’m less interested in a Clinton mandate than I am in a Trump defeat.

        If you keep on this way, you’ll persuade me that your voting for Johnson is a good thing.

        But I’m not there yet, for this reason: I don’t feel safe enough in knowing that Clinton — the only person who CAN beat Trump — will get enough votes to ensure that she DOES beat Trump.

        So I continue to see it as essential to persuade as many people as possible to vote for her. And I have to push pretty hard, because so many independents and persuadable Republicans dislike her so much. It’s heavy lifting…

        1. Doug Ross

          Clinton 48, Trump 40, Johnson 9, Stein 3 sends enough of a message to both parties.

          And I have to say I have been extremely disappointed in the Johnson campaign. Not about slipups on Aleppo or who his favorite world leader is. But on the actual strategy. He had no chance of winning without making the debate stage. When that didn’t happen, he should have focused the campaign on one or two states only to send a message. New Mexico and Massachusetts would have been good targets. Or Colorado.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Good one!

                I had to stop a moment and think who Mark meant by “Stein.” I expect she gets mentioned a lot more up in Massachusetts than she does down here…

                1. Mark Stewart

                  Not really; which is good. She does seem like the best person in the race; though certainly the least qualified.

          1. bud

            Johnson 9%? LOLOLOLOL. That’s a good one Doug. I needed a good laugh today. I’m betting he gets about 3- 4% tops. He’s kind of been the comic relief of the election. If he wasn’t such a buffoon I’d be horrified at his Ayn Rand policies. The numbers will probably look more like this:

            Clinton 52%
            Trump 42%
            Johnson 3%
            McMullen 2% (concentrated in Utah)
            Stein 1%

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          To argue with myself a little…

          I say I don’t want a Clinton mandate, and in many ways I really don’t.

          But in other ways, it could be good. For instance, I much prefer the Clinton who was confident enough in her position to say TPP was the “gold standard” than the person who’s running scared from that position.

          Also, I think a strong and confident Clinton is more likely to reach out — as she has done in the past — to us pro-lifers to work on making abortion truly RARE. (I was reminded of this imperative last night at the Bernardin lecture, when Father Holtschneider, president of DePaul University, noted that her traditional, typically Methodist position on that provided an opening for those of us who believe in the Cardinal’s Consistent Ethic.) I’d prefer that to an insecure Clinton who felt she had to shore up her base by acting like the President of Planned Parenthood rather than POTUS.

          At the same time, one could argue that an insecure Clinton would be more apt to reach out to people like me. But I’m kind of doubting it. Scared people hug their bases.

          So as I say, I can see it both ways.

          There’s only one thing of which I am certain: Trump must be utterly defeated.

    2. Norm Ivey

      In South Carolina you cannot write in a name for President or Vice President. Will you choose not to vote for those offices at all?

      1. Bart

        Norm, you are correct and thank you for reminding me that South Carolina is one of I believe 7 or 8 states that do not allow a write-in for President or Vice-President. And I do believe this is unconstitutional on every level. Since I will not vote for Clinton or Trump, I have 2 options. Will decide after reading more about each but I will hold true to my word and not vote for Clinton or Trump. I may opt to not vote for those offices. To some it may be a wasted vote but for me to vote for Clinton or Trump is a waste of my vote according to my conscience. However, it matters not to me what others think about my personal choice.

        1. Doug Ross

          “However, it matters not to me what others think about my personal choice.”

          That pretty much screams Libertarian, doesn’t it? 🙂

          1. Bart

            Co-opting and rephrasing the poem by TS Elliott.

            “This is the way the Republican Party ends
            This is the way the Republican Party ends
            This is the way the Republican Party ends
            Not with a whimper but a bang.”

            A big, orange comb-over bang!!

            1. Bart

              To complete the sentiment. Donald Trump is truly a “Hollow Man” therefore the reason everything he has to say comes out much louder because it has an echo chamber with nothing to interfere with the noise he generates from inside.

              1. bud

                He’s worse than hollow, he’s dangerous. And he leads the GOP. Until we can get a reasonable center-right party that is willing to work with the Democrats then we will continue to waller in this political morass. People need to stop all this caterwhauling about some fictional gloom and doom that doesn’t exist. Heck I bet most of the people on this blog that either support Trump or will vote third party are doing very well, probably better than me. And good for you. Yet everyone goes on and on about the need for change. Really? That makes no sense. Let’s get behind Hillary and keep the progress of the nation moving forward. Otherwise we end up with Trump and we really will have gloom and despair to contend with.

                1. Douglas Ross

                  “Heck I bet most of the people on this blog that either support Trump or will vote third party are doing very well, probably better than me. ”

                  Yeah, I wonder why that would be? Luck, right? 35 years of luck in my case. Everything just fell into my lap. No effort, no risk, no skills. Just luck.

                2. bud

                  Doug I know what you can go as for Halloween, Ad Hominem man. Champion of meaningless insults that fail to address a legitimate point but rather deflecting to something totally irrelevant. So you admit you’re doing well because of hard work etc. But how can that be given the horrible headwinds you face from slackers like me who sit around all day eating bonbons and watching TV while living off the government dole. Think about how ridiculous that is. As part of the lazy rabble shouldn’t I be doing better than you? By your logic I should. My point is really simple, since everyone here on the blog is doing pretty well why would we want to risk that on someone as unstable as Donald Trump or some fly by night Ayn Rand wannabe? That makes no sense. Would the logical vote be for someone who wants to maintain the conditions that have allowed us all a certain measure of success? And that would be Hillary.

                3. Doug Ross

                  Why would I expect people living off a percentage of my income to do better? They don’t. They do enough to get by thanks to being dependent on that check, those food stamps, the housing money, and free basic healthcare paid for by others. It’s the psychology of dependency. Give people just enough to get by and some won’t try to do anything else. Then call it a “living wage” or a “safety net”.

                  Aptitude, attitude, and effort makes the difference. You don’t even need all three. Two out of three will get you off the government dole.

                  I hope no one shows up at your house for Halloween wearing an Ayn Rand costume. Apparently she scares you to death.

                4. Mark Stewart

                  And circumstance, Doug.

                  I am cognizant of the fact – fact – that my path in life has been far, far easier and more certain than most people. If I have achieved a modicum of success, it has been because of “aptitude, attitude and effort”, certainly. But the advantages of my starting platform were incalculable.

                  If you would like to see that first hand, I would highly recommend volunteering as a Guardian ad Litem for kids who were not born into advantageous circumstances such as we personally enjoyed.

                5. Doug Ross

                  So, Mark, how would you change their circumstances? Do you believe there is a government program that can effectively move people up and out? Government assistance should be designed to be temporary and provide opportunity, not a perpetual safety net.

                  The circumstance that has the greatest impact on success is being born into a two parent family. Young poor women having children is a burden most can’t overcome. We don’t spend enough on encouraging those women to wait to have children.

  14. Jeff Mobley

    I know I’m late to this party, but I’ve been
    thinking over what I wanted to include in my comments, while also trying to
    sort of keep up with everyone else’s.

    First of all, in response to Brad’s declaration that I
    shouldn’t “throw away” my vote on a third party candidate
    because I “need to vote instead for the one person who can stop Trump”:


    latest RCP average for South Carolina that I’ve seen
    has Trump at
    45.3 percent, with Clinton at 37.7 percent.  In the presidential election of 2012, approximately
    1.96 million South Carolinians cast ballots.  Let’s say, for simplicity’s
    sake, that about 2 million will do so in 2016.  That means that if the RCP average were
    a perfect predictor, then Trump would beat Clinton by 152,000 votes in South

    Closing this gap, such that Clinton wins here, would be a
    tall order.  One way to do it would
    be to convert 76,001 Trump voters (that is, about 8.4% of all Trump voters in
    the state) to Clinton voters. 
    Another way would be to convert 152,001 third-party voters (that is,
    44.7% of all the third-party voters in the state) to Clinton voters.  Either of these seems a pretty daunting
    task.  Of course, if you’re
    just concerned with running up the score for Clinton in the national popular vote,
    then you’d get a better return from converting a Trump voter than from
    converting a third party voter, but there’s arguably a higher degree of
    difficulty involved in the former case.

    So what point am I trying to make with these numbers? 

    I think there’s a sort of inherent contradiction in
    arguing that someone should change his vote on the basis that lots of other people
    will not be changing their votes (this is what is meant by such phrases as, “the
    one person who can stop Trump”). 
    Because of course, to actually make a difference, the argument has to reach
    and persuade large numbers of people. 

    Does this mean my vote doesn’t matter?  Should I despair of voting?

    No.  I reject
    this attitude.  Instead, I will
    change my focus.  I will not vote primarily
    on the basis of what I expect everyone else to do.  This only leads me to a feeling of
    helplessness.  Instead, I will vote
    as if my vote is the only one that matters.  I will vote as if I am appointing the
    president myself, albeit under constraints.

    And I would not appoint Donald Trump.

    And I would not appoint Hillary Clinton.

    I know Brad believes that if all of us would just LOOK, and
    HEAR, and THINK, then we would all reach his conclusions, which are of course
    the only rational conclusions at which to arrive, given the available

    But just because Trump is utterly unfit to be president, it
    doesn’t mean that I can ignore:

    …that Clinton has some pretty
    serious failures
    that occurred on her watch as Secretary of State,

    …that there is strong evidence that she
    about aspects of the Benghazi attack,

    …that she did
    a terrible job
    at drawing a clear line between the Clinton Foundation and
    State Department business, if she even tried to draw that line at all,

    …that as a result, some
    things happened
    that look awfully suspicious,

    …that she has made many false
    concerning her email setup,

    …that she reportedly disregarded
    security protocols
    and treated her security detail poorly as Secretary of

    …and that all of the above fit a pattern of reckless
    self-interest at the expense of the public good, and even of national security.

    So, should Trump be rejected by the voters?  Yes, I believe he should.

    Should the Republican party be humiliated and have its nose
    rubbed in the mess that it made of this year?  Yes, I believe it should.

    Do these beliefs lead me to the inexorable conclusion that I
    must vote for Hillary Clinton? 
    No.  And I won’t.

    1. Jeff Mobley

      I find that, among the writers and contributors of National Review, I tend to agree with Ramesh Ponnuru on most policy questions, but when it comes to Donald Trump, there’s just no one better than Jonah Goldberg. Though he employs more crude language and profanity than I imagine I would if I were skilled enough to do what he does for a living, he gets his point across, and I usually find myself nodding in agreement.

      Here he is on why he’ll vote for neither of them.

      And here‘s and even more profane, but pretty insightful, analysis of the Trump constituency that y’all may have already read a while ago.

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