AS260: President Trump

Get used to it! That’s what’s going to happen if we screw around and vote third party and all that because we can’t get around our dislike for Hillary. Yes, there are reasons to dislike her. I go into two BIG ones today. But Trump is WORSE. It’s a simple calculation. I make one last appeal to Bernie or Bust people.

See me at a conference!

New Yorker Trump piece:

19 thoughts on “AS260: President Trump”

  1. Love the show but I will not be conned into voting the lesser of two evils. If Hillary doesn’t inspire me to vote for her, who’s problem is that? I have been voting the lesser of two evils since ’92 and it stops now.

    1. Normally, I would say that the two sides might both have evil. But in this case, I liken this election to sitting down to 4 years of meals wwhere you have to eat one or the other. You pick, or someone picks for you.

      Meal Trump is 4 years of chocolate covered bars of arsenic soaked shit.
      Meal Clinton is 4 years of stew from kale, turnip and bitter herbs with maybe a few or more than a few bugs stirred in. (And you hate veg, and you really hate bugs.)

      So which one do you want to eat? One looks lovely and maybe smells delicious, but it might kill you and for sure will make you very sick. The other smells gross, turns your stomach, but it has nourishment, and will let you continue living even tho you hate it.

      The comparison of the two is not on the same scale.

  2. It’s against most (if not all) professional codes of ethics for mental health workers to diagnose people they haven’t met, so I’ll resist the urge to theorize about whatever’s going on with Trump. Instead, I’ll just agree with your point about Trump being pretty good at responding to a room and delivering noncommittal statements in a confident manner (e.g., “We definitely have to look into that” is a go-to response). For some reason, people seem to interpret this as a certain kind of genius.

    As for Clinton, on the first day of the Republican National Convention, when the mother of someone killed in Libya spoke and personally blamed Clinton for her son’s death, I started wondering how Republicans all seem to have made themselves so personally invested in this incident. Even when less evocative speakers mention the word “Benghazi,” there’s a visceral reaction in the crowd.

    I don’t mean to defend Clinton on this wholly, but to the points raised in the episode, I wonder if it’s slightly too reductive to analyze Clinton’s behavior based on speculation about personal motives and self-interest.

    One of the reasons often cited for the lack of heavier security (surprisingly not the Republican’s refusal to authorize funding for it) was that they didn’t want to draw attention to the CIA base near the embassy. I won’t pretend I know whether that was a complicating factor in the hours following the attack, but I don’t know that there weren’t sound justifications for presenting a narrative while investigating (e.g., were the attackers aware of the CIA’s presence?).

    Again, I’m not arguing that this was the right narrative to present (for many reasons…), but I think it’s important not to assume we know about Clinton’s personal motivations for statements made in an official role, particularly in that potentially classified intelligence was potentially involved.

  3. Trump is life-long-slippery-little-shit…it’s not that he doesn’t know what to, which a lot of the time he doesn’t, its more of that he trained himself to never say anything factual that he can be held to that he doesn’t say anything at all.

  4. Thomas, I agree with your assessment of Trump. But I wish I had your degree of optimism about progressive change in the years and decades to come. Time and time again the choice comes down to one truly awful horrible candidate and one that’s basically of mixed reviews and only is at all desirable when compared and contrasted with the other. Trump may be particularly horrible, but it’s not THAT different from Bush or McCain (with Sarah Palin!). How WILL this ever change? Stepping back from this election, one could see that FROM THE BEGINNING, Hillary was set up to win the nomination all along. Bernie and his enthusiastic supporters gave it a good try, but Hillary’s win was inevitable. Every step of the way. The system is all set up favoring the establishment, rich, priveleged moderate candidate. Again, I agree, DT is a despicable jackass and I don’t want a despicable jackass as president. So, AT BEST, again and again, we’re left with greatly watered down progressivism. The question remains: how will this EVER change?

  5. (sarcasm alert) Since nobody I’ve ever voted for has ever won (except a county coroner). Perhaps I should vote for The Donald™ to make sure he doesn’t win. (end sarcasm)

    Also, one big problem with that “I Side With” website is that not all of the candidates answered all of the questions. So the more questions you answer the less likely you are to get the results you think you should be getting if your favorite candidate didn’t answer all of the questions. If they didn’t answer a question it shows up as “I disagree” with this candidate, which may or may not be true.
    I’m not sure how “I Side With” chose Trump’s answers since he has probably answered both sides of every topic in the poll.

  6. Trump’s speech is worse than vacuous. He stops in the middle of many of his sentences, and lets his listeners assume the ending that they like. If you read his speeches, they are incoherent. This is on purpose, so he can’t be pinned down. But reading vs listing highlights the incoherence like a neon light.

    The thing about him is that there is NOTHING about him that is predictable except for his ego. Will he start a war? Start a pogrom? Outlaw free speech? Occupy the office of the president in name only?
    Who the fuck knows? At least Clinton is predictable!

  7. Yep. Hillary was a poor choice this time. Providence, the Universe, dumb luck or whatever provided us with the right candidate for the situation and we eschewed him and spit him out. The DNC still doesn’t get it. This election cycle was not about Donald or Hillary or Bernie or Republicans or Democrats or progressivism or conservatism—it was about establishment vs. anti-establishment. We had a very anti-establishment guy to put up against their anti-establishment guy, only ours was sane and cogent and real. But we chose to put up our uber-establishment life-long corporatist candidate instead—exactly what the electorate have been screaming they DO NOT WANT.

    Much of the punditure agrees, that with Trump running on the Republican side, the election is the Democrats’ to lose. Well, we may have lost it. My progressive friends all start their pro-Hillary arguments with, “Can’t they see . . . ? When they see that . . .” etc., etc. Trump supporters are not going to see anything. You won’t get them with intellectual arguments. They don’t think with their minds; they think with their guts and their gonads. That’s why Trump can say that he could shoot somebody dead in cold blood on Fifth Avenue and he wouldn’t lose any supporters and have it be believable. He would probably lose very few supporters—their viscera, where they feel Trump, wouldn’t know the difference.

    There is no intellectual component to Trump support. Bernie got people emotionally charged up and intellectually stimulated and enthused about future possibilities. Hillary doesn’t do that. Evey one of us that dutifully votes for her so that we can say that we didn’t vote for Trump, will be holding our nose while we do so. That’s not good.

    Viva Il Duce! (Just so I can say I was a Trump supporter when they come around on November 9th to round up all of the former Hillary supporters.)

  8. Before I start this off, I want to apologize for the length, though I tried to be as thorough as possible and best present why many people I personally know and I am on the fence, at best (though perhaps someone can convince otherwise). I also acknowledge that I will probably come off sounding like a Trump supporter, but understand that I truly despise him as well. However, I won’t waste time pointing out all of his flaws because I am certain anyone reading this is fully versed in what those are. Furthermore, I want to concede that the one issue that might sway me is that I am nearly certain HRC will nominate better SCOTUS justices, and these are obviously of utmost importance. Even with this consideration, however, I think Hillary’s negatives balance this out, but that is probably the area where I am most confident HRC is the safer bet.
    Now to the issue: I think there are two main problems that Hillary supporters have in convincing us “Bernie or Busters” to side with them. The first is simply that they seem to feel as though they are entitled to our vote, and that we are the problem if we don’t vote for her. We supported a good candidate, the Dems chose the shit one. It is not our fault, nor our problem that the Dems chose this terrible candidate and its not on us to fix it. You broke it, you buy it. Now the second main issue, and this one is where the real meat of my discussion is, is that they drastically underestimate how truly terrible Hillary is. We always hear “but Trump is so bad!”, but never hear any solid reasons why anyone should get behind Clinton. (A popular meme that is going around is the one that says “explain why we should vote for Hillary without using the word Trump”… I understand that Trump is in the equation, but I think the difficulty in doing this illustrates my point.) Yes, on paper she looks like a much better candidate, but her personal track record is worse than what I can even imagine Trump’s record being.
    In fact, just looking at her website, there is a massive amount of hypocrisy in nearly every issue listed under her “issues” tab, and even the ones where she has actually been consistently decent in, she doesn’t actually plan on doing enough to make any difference to most Americans.
    Let’s start with the area where she is most experienced, which is national security and foreign policy. I am certain she is well versed on which poor Syrian or Iraqi kid to drone strike next, but that is actually at the heart of so many problems we have today. We are not only spending way too much on these attacks, but it is also making us the enemy of the world and killing literally thousands of innocent people. This issue alone essentially negates any moral high ground that she could have over Trump. Which is really worse, a president who says insensitive things towards minorities or one who actively murders other minorities? While we are on this topic, I will also point out that she has, as secretary of state, sold about $30 billion worth of military jets to the Saudis, along with some smaller arms. Yes, these are the same Saudis that funded the 9/11 attack. This is, of course, not to mention the emails, Benghazi, Libya, or the myriad of other disasters that she oversaw as Secretary of State. I just fail to see how Trump, who mostly wants an isolationist policy, could be much worse than her on the area where she has the most experience and should be a far and away better candidate.
    So now lets look at domestic issues; I’ll start with criminal justice reform. Trump hasn’t, to my knowledge, said much about this issue, but Hillary once again has a terrible track record. The low hanging fruit on this tree is the 1994 Crime Bill, which lengthened prison sentences, expanded the death penalty, eliminated funding for inmate education (which leads to increased recidivism), and basically increased everything that is wrong with the way that the United States does criminal justice. However, to me, the more interesting case is one that is far less known, which is the case of Ricky Ray Rector. This was a case of an African American man who was sentenced to death, but had shot himself in the head and destroyed his frontal lobe before he was in custody, making him severely mentally retarded (He actually even asked that they save his dessert from his last meal for later). At the time, Bill was catching some flak for the Gennifer Flowers dilemma, so he flew down as Governor to personally oversee his execution. Now you may say “well that was Bill, not Hillary”, but I would argue that Hillary not only was certainly helping Bill call those shots, but more importantly, this is the same person that she is married to, professes to love, and shares similar values with. She would have thrown that switch herself, given the opportunity. Now this, along with her infamous “super-predator” remark should be an indication of how much she really thinks black lives matter. As a quick aside, she also has “campus sexual assault” as an issue on her website, which should be disturbingly laughable considering her role in Bill’s past.
    Moving on to the next topic, there’s health care. Her solution is to continue down the Obamacare path, which has proven to be a disaster for most working class people. Yes, more people are technically insured now under it, however it is not essentially useless healthcare. Given that some 63% of Americans have $1000 or less in their bank accounts, and deductibles of $3000+ for a single person or $7000+ for a family, I must ask if we can really consider these people insured? Meanwhile, many people who struggle to make ends meet, are now forced to pay ever increasing premiums for this terrible insurance (speaking from personal experience -yes its an anecdote- I pay more for my insurance than I do for my car, which I bought new). Trump’s plan, while being no godsend, will at least make the free market work to the best of its ability and would remove many of the barriers imposed by the states and federal government which reduced competition.
    The one area where some of those protectionist barriers would have been helpful, in trade policies, Hillary and Bill have a legacy of malfeasance with. Until Bernie twisted her arm about the TPP, she was on board with every single free trade policy, which has cost American’s millions of jobs. I often hear from the media that this is blown out of proportion, but if you really think this is a non-issue, come visit Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, or any of the mid-west states that had a strong manufacturing background. We literally built Mexico’s economy and are in the process of building China’s with the jobs that used to be here, all under either Clinton’s own or Clinton approved policies.
    This is actually another area where the left seems to be in denial of the immigration reality. The reason the immigration thing strikes such a strong note with Trump supporters is because many of them actually have seen their jobs first hand being taken by illegal immigrants. Anyone who has worked construction knows this is reality, and its not just that they come here to take jobs that Americans won’t do. In some cases, its jobs that Americans won’t do for the slave wages they pay illegals, but in all cases it lowers the wage floor. Construction jobs, for example, used to pay good living wages, often around $15-25/hr. However, for basically any job that a contractor thinks they can slide under the table, they will hire illegals for less than half, sometimes a quarter of that. So even when the illegals are not taking the jobs, they are making citizens work for less to compete, or at least try to compete, with them. The end result is that middle class jobs now become low paying jobs, and many entry level jobs, which could go towards reducing the 51% unemployment of 17-20 year old African Americans. While I support a path towards citizenship and think Trump’s wall is a stupid idea, Hillary’s policies (both proposed and past) are extremely weak on immigration and will do little to nothing to actually ensure that the illegal immigrants become actual citizens, and actually seem like they will create more loopholes and encourage illegal immigration.
    The bottom line in all of this is that Hillary’s policies are not only morally bankrupt, but they are also killing the middle class. Under Hillary, we face an almost certain slow death, while under Trump, we might actually do better or we might blow up the world. I am honestly not sure which one is worse, which is why I will be voting my conscience, and going with Dr. Jill Stein.

    1. Here in New Mexico it’s not that Hispanics are chosen over Anglos for construction and agricultural jobs, it’s that no Anglos show up to be chosen. Hispanic workers, legal, illegal or otherwise, are the ones who show up at five or six in the morning and work till two or three in the afternoon (after which the heat becomes unbearable) and are there the next day ready to do it again.

      There are at least two strata in what passes for a Republican party these days: The Republican Elite and the Trailer Park Republicans. Trailer Park Republicans (TPRs) are the xenophobes who think Mexico is sending their rapists to get us and that immigrants are “stealing” the jobs that the TPRs won’t apply for. The Republican Elite love immigrant workers, the less legal the better, because they can be paid near nothing and have no rights under he law whatsoever: a despot’s dream if ever there was.

      Hillary, for better or worse, believe it or not, is part of the Republican Elite. That’s why there has never been nor will there ever be any substantive action taken on immigration policy. Both parties will pound their fists on podia without number and rant for years without end, but NOTHING will ever be done. It is the way it is because the people who own and run the country like it that way.

  9. Yeah, listened to your episode and still Bernie or Bust. Insulting the intelligence of your audience by calling us tribal and religious isn’t going to engender us to your side.

    Your apologencia for Clinton is weak. You said she took hundreds of thousands for speeches during a time when her political career wasn’t that big and you played it off like it wasn’t a big deal. We’re talking about millions of dollars paid directly to her by wallstreet and big banks. C’mon….be better than that.

    You bring up Trump’s uncertain nature on the issues. Well…there is one thing that is CERTAIN about Hillary: she will almost always inevitably – and drastically – change her mind.

    Iraq war vote
    TPP (which she will get passed)
    Patriot Act
    marriage equality
    the Wall (she wanted a border fence)
    she was for harsher drug sentencing and now pretends like she was always a champion for the civil rights of minorities and is against young blacks being locked up frivilously

    Which is funny since she refuses to agree to supporting Marijuana legalization so that blacks WILL continue to be put in jail at a disproportionate rate for non-violent drug crimes. I wonder if it had anything to do with her donations from private prison corporations?

    Speaking of obvious policy reversals due to political donations: she used to be for single payer healthcare and now she wants to keep Obamacare as is and “strengthen it”. I’m sure insurance companies had no say in that.

    The mere fact that she voted for the Iraq war is enough to disqualify her. Bernie Sanders voted against it. So did half of the liberals in congress; they are all eligible for the presidency. 200k innocent civilians – at a minimum – were killed in Iraq alone. You don’t to be president when you make such a collosal error in judgement. There are no mulligans and do-overs. If she believes hell does exist, she should be spending the rest of her life (and everyone else in congress who voted for the Iraq war) atoning for their sins.

    And you want me to vote for her to be president?! HAHAHAHA IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

    Look, we Bernie supporters warned the Hillary supporters A LONG TIME AGO that Hillary wouldn’t get our vote. If you voted for her without taking that into account then it’s on YOU if Trump wins.

    I will NEVER vote for Hillary clinton and the idea of it makes me absolutely and utterly sick to my stomach.

    1. This entire episode felt like one giant plea to emotion. “but c’mon trump is like so totally worse”.

      I was expecting at least the “but trans bathrooms” or “the wall” or something. Give me something to weigh against the pro-corporate policies Hillary will enevitably push and her penchant for being one HELL of a war hawk.

      Sorry trans people, Hillary is already baring teeth. She’s never met a war she didnt’ like and i don’t trust her FOR A SECOND to keep us out of another b.s. protracted war in the middle east. I can’t vote for that. I can’t in good conscience vote for Hillary Clinton. I’d rather drink bleech.

      1. I don’t think it was a plea to emotion at all. Thomas stated why he thinks Trump is much worse. He was explicitly and apologetically making a much much much “lesser of two evils” argument.

        Also, in this election, abstaining or voting third party is equivalent to voting for both Trump and Hillary. Do you really want to do that?

        1. yes

          In the past the lesser of two evils was really more akin to a choice between ‘evil’ and ‘not awesome’.

          The Democratic party decided to go literal with the metaphor and put up someone who has ABSOLUTELY NO BUSINESS EVER BEING PRESIDENT (clinton).

          Now i’m being told I have to vote for her to avoid Trump.

          I gave Thomas the benefit of the doubt on why I should vote FOR Hillary and not just abstain (which is my plan and what WILL happen).

          He decided to tell me why – based on policy – it would be worse to have Trump over Hillary and instead I got an hour+ of how Trump can’t speak well, he’s not smart, he’s narcissistic, he answered a question on religion poorly.

          I need Thomas to not only tell me why Trump is bad but why Hillary would be better.

          He should have brought up the supreme court seat. That’s a good argument. It’s not good enough when the alternative is likely something akin to the TPP and another war in the middle east (given Hillary’s track record).

          Sorry…if trump says he’s an isolationist on military/economic policy THEN I SUPPORT HIM ON THAT.

          I need a pro and con list and the pro Hillary list needed to be convincing enough to get me to not only abstain from voting for Trump (done) but AGREE to vote for Hillary, despite my absolute and utter hate for what she stands for (if you can believe her given her penchant for being bought and sold).

          No…..when I said emotional appeal I meant an appeal to my emotion to avoid big bad stupid dummy mcdumb face trump and not an examination of policy or a conversation about why I WOULD be able to sleep at night striking a vote for Hillary (i just threw up in my mouth thinking about it).

          What will the 2 Americas look like? Why is one better than the other BASED ON POLICY. 4 year of Trump or 8 years of Hillary?

          Is this a lesson we need right now to get someone more progressive next time when the Mrs “it’s my turn” realizes you aren’t obligated to be president?

          I’ll tell you this, and I mean this sincerely. I’m less corrupt than Hillary but I am willing to be corrupt on this one. Any rich ass Hillary supporters want to buy my vote – since they’re supporting someone so easily bought – then I am here ready to accept. No less than 1k.

          Thomas, you down? She took millions from wallstreet and corporate lobbyists…if she wants me to support them – using her a proxy – then I want some of that money too.

  10. How about, at an absolute minimum, do you really want to risk letting Trump decide who is going to take Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court?

    I don’t even live in the US and this idea scares me.

    I am surprised Thomas didn’t make that point.

    1. That’s the kind of argument that I wish he would have made instead of “c’mon but Trump is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO stupid”.

      It’s a check box on the pro/con list. I have a feeling it would be a very long pro/con list. A lot of people take their pet issue and use that to try and justify why I should vote for Hillary.

      LGBT rights
      the wall
      supreme court justice

      but they don’t properly weigh it against the cons unique to Hillary. LIke:

      potential war in the middle east (she’s a war hawk)
      TPP (she only stopped supporting it due to bernie she WILL try to pass it). Trump claims to be an isolationist and I support that side of the argument.

      It’s not as easy as “but trump is like super bad”. Hillary is SUPER corrupt.

  11. There is also the issue of not really being able to analyze what a Trump presidency would mean because he speaks vaguely and contradictory. And the few things he is clear about are awful.

    Case in point, another big Hillary plus that no one has mentioned here: climate change and environmental policy in general.

    Original Bernie Bro, Noam Chomsky, put it pretty well recently in an interview with the Guardian:

    What effect would electing Donald Trump have?

    It’s hard to say because we don’t really know what he thinks. And I’m not sure he knows what he thinks. He’s perfectly capable of saying contradictory things at the same time. But there are some pretty stable elements of his ideology, if you can even grant him that concept. One of them is: “Climate change is not taking place.” As he puts it: “Forget it.” And that’s almost a death knell for the species – not tomorrow, but the decisions we take now are going to affect things in a couple of decades, and in a couple of generations it could be catastrophic.

    If it were between Trump and Hillary Clinton, would you vote for Clinton?

    If I were in a swing state, a state that matters, and the choice were Clinton or Trump, I would vote against Trump. And by arithmetic that means hold your nose and vote for Clinton.

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