Editor’s Note: Sometimes, you sit down to dinner, and you have to choose between a plate full of parrot droppings and a bowl of ground glass. It is a sad day when we have the choices we have today, but we have no one to blame but ourselves.
nothing like an election to bring out the clichés. By far the most ubiquitous
of this campaign is The Donald’s “Make America Great Again.” And it’s
the “Again” in that cliché that delineates the opposing sides.
words “Make America Great” on a red baseball cap would be just one
more bromide, but adding “Again” conjures up a halcyon era we’ve
somehow lost. This differentiates progressives, who value “progress”
toward the future, from conservatives, who hope to “conserve” a
mythical past that needs to be reclaimed for us to be “Great Again.”
of The Donald’s contribution to the electoral jargon has involved
insults directed at his opponents — from “Little Marco” Rubio and
“Lyin’ Ted” Cruz to “Crooked” Hillary Clinton and
“Pocahontas” (Elizabeth Warren). I’m still hoping my coinage for the
GOP nominee — “Orange Mussolini” — gains traction in the
journalistic lexicon; however, comparisons to World War II dictators are
generally too hyperbolic, despite Trump’s rather uncanny resemblance and
some eerily similar facial tics and mannerisms.
If there’s one election year phrase that’s really gone viral this time around (and with good reason), it’s “the lesser of two evils.” Mrs. Clinton’s unfavorables are at 55%, and The Donald’s are near 70%. “Daily News” columnist Mike Lupica has pointed out that, in this race to the bottom, the popular vote will be less important than the “unpopular vote.”
The GOP primaries were, for me, like an NCAA basketball game between Duke and North Carolina. I was born in Connecticut, graduated from UConn, taught at UConn and have never had an area code that wasn’t 203. Hence, I’m required to despise Duke, but my distaste for coach Roy Williams makes it equally hard to root for Carolina. Because I always hope both teams will lose, I rarely watch when they face each other.
the end of the primaries, Republicans began to focus on the lesser of two evils,
as the viable options came down to Trump and Ted Cruz, of whom erstwhile GOP
candidate Lindsey Graham said, if you killed him on the Senate floor, “nobody
would convict you.” Graham also compared Cruz versus Trump to a choice between
“being shot or poisoned.”
had “no dog in the fight” during those primaries. It reminded me of the
1980s Iran-Iraq War, which I’d hoped would go on indefinitely, and both sides
would lose, because there were no good guys on either side. That war ended
better than the primaries — neither side won. However, this general election
will magnify the lesser-of-two-evils concept. There are probably as many
Republicans who would vote for The Devil before Hillary as there are Democrats
who are finding it hard to differentiate between Satan and Trump.
1776, a population of 2.5 million produced men like Thomas Jefferson, John
Adams, and Ben Franklin to write the Declaration of Independence. They then
appointed George Washington to lead the army, in which would serve such titans
as Alexander Hamilton and future presidents, such as James Madison. Today, with
more than 320 million people, the best we can come up with as potential
presidents are someone who spent the Fourth of July weekend being grilled by the
FBI and a lying, bigoted game show host.
could swing a dead cat in a bordello and hit two people with more integrity than
our current nominees. According to a “USA Today” survey, 61% of Americans
are “alarmed” by their choices in this election. However, two evils
shouldn’t create what talk show host Bill Maher has described as “a false
equivalency.” During World War II, Stalin’s Soviets battled Hitler’s
Nazis, but we still had to pick a side.
Director James Comey’s litany of Mrs. Clinton’s sins in the email scandal
was disturbing; however, when he didn’t indict her, he left it up to the
American people to decide, at the ballot box, what they think of her. After
Comey’s report, I felt she should have handed over the nomination to Bernie
Sanders; however, according to nonpartisan fact checker PolitiFact, 59% of
Trump’s statements are verifiably false (i.e., he’s lying
more than half the
time), versus 12% for Clinton. There’s simply no palatable alternative.
In past elections, I had ideological reasons for voting against people like Ronald Reagan, Mitt Romney and George W, and, although I backed Obama and Bill Clinton, I didn’t always agree with everything they stood for. Yet the one thing they all had in common —winners and losers, Democrats and Republicans — was that, their policies aside, they were (other than Dick Cheney) decent human beings and patriotic Americans, who meant well and cared about their country. In 2016, this is a questionable proposition.
events, including her husband’s schmoozing of the attorney general, have
further eroded Mrs. Clinton’s approval rating, which was pathetic
already. Meanwhile, the GOP is lining up behind the worst person to run
for the Oval Office since George Wallace in 1968. Regardless, we need to
avoid drawing a false equivalency: All five living presidents (three
Democrats and two Republicans) consider Trump unacceptable.
party before country, Marco Rubio has endorsed Trump, while calling him
unfit to be commander in chief. When asked if he still believes Trump
can’t be trusted with access to nuclear weapons, Rubio told the
conservative “Weekly Standard” that, “I stand by everything I said
during the campaign.” (Calling Trump “dangerous,” he warned, “We
can’t hand the nuclear codes of the United States to an erratic
If the movie “Primary Colors” caused you to view the Clintons as sleazy and arrogant, rent Stephen King’s “The Dead Zone” and consider whom crazed candidate Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen) reminds you of. Conservative Joe Scarborough recently said, “We have two candidates completely disconnected from the truth”; however, Americans should be most alarmed by the “Orange” candidate, who seems disconnected from reality as well.
the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never liked Hillary or Trump, not even
in 2008 when he was a Democrat helping to fund her campaign and praising her
qualifications. All things being equal, I’d rather spend election day watching
the musical “1776.” However, in politics, few things are ever equal, and,
with the Supreme Court in play, I’ll have to vote for Hillary, even if I do so
without much enthusiasm.
in the interest of full disclosure, I do sometimes watch Duke play North
Carolina, and I root for Carolina … but just a little.
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