As some of you know, I’ve been doing my best to avoid the Chernobyl-like levels of political radiation sickness that enveloped me whole back during the early-Dubya years. It wasn’t easy. Much like anything you have an interest for, it’s easy to fall into old habits. But I was pretty happy that I was able to avoid getting into verbal fisticuffs with some right-wing nutjob who just learned how the three branches of government worked a week prior. It just wasn’t worth it, I’d say to myself. When Donald Trump announced his candidacy, all bets were off. It has become absolutely impossible for me to function without tuning in to see what particular brand of narcissistic bullshit fell out of his mouth in the last four hours. To anyone who has paid attention to the past few elections, the past 14 months have been something on a true political enigma. Everything that past candidates have done to end their political stardom seems to be not only acceptable for Trump, but it’s become expected. I feel cheated if Trump hasn’t claimed that Hillary Clinton is responsible for the Bay of Pigs in the last 24 hours.
There has been a great deal of conjecture over how, precisely, Donald J Trump became the nominee for Republican ticket for President. My favorite so far has been a piece that was put together by Cracked wherein two comedy writers are hired to run a parody political campaign for Donald Trump, who isn’t actually interested in the job. Despite their best efforts to piss people off, Trump ultimately becomes the choice candidate. This is pretty much the only explanation that make any real sense.
What has made this election somewhat of a new experience for me has been that I’m not backing the Democrat, one Hillary Rodham Clinton. My reasons are numerous, but it basically comes down to the fact that she’s a thinly veiled political opportunist who’s powered by two motivations: What’s politically popular, and what’s good for the Democratic Party. This isn’t exactly a new concept on the political scene — politicians regularly take a public stand on something only to quietly change their mind. With Hillary, to my eyes anyway, her sails catch the populist trade-winds fairly rapidly and usually late. I don’t subscribe to the “Crooked Hillary” meme, though. When you get to a certain level of, say, Presidential nominee for a major political party, it’s pretty much a given that you know how to screw people over to get what you want. It’s kind of part of the skill set, especially when you’re talking about international diplomacy. LBJ was an asshole who regularly intimidated people, but the man got shit done.
What I’ve come to realize is that this election, to regular voters, is about political insider versus outsider. Fundamentally, I can respect that. Most people hate career politicians, though they’re much more vocal about the ones in the “other party”. I can usually be included in that group. I like fresh ideas, outside-of-the-box thinking, etc. But let’s be really goddamn honest here: Donald Trump is not that person.
Now I’m sure there’s a certain number of you out there who are just brimming over with Hillary Hatred Juice (copyright Nichoman Enterprises) that I would dare question the great Trump. Stop right now. Take a breath. Take another. Now I’m going to remind you that I’m not a Hillary supporter.
To my great delight, that usually defuses the vast majority of Trumpers. When forced to actually talk up their candidate, they usually freeze in their tracks. This campaign, above all others in modern history, has been about voting against someone more than voting for someone. And let’s face facts: Trump is a living, breathing example of anything and everything that anyone else would’ve been disqualified for. In short, it’s beyond easy to criticize him.
John Kerry was a “flip-flopper” in 2004? Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, Trump doesn’t agree with Trump 10 minutes ago. He’s the only candidate I’ve seen that you can actually see him struggling to answer a question in a way that will win him the most popularity. Also, as Jon Stewart so clearly pointed out, a great number of criticisms laid at President Barack Obama for the past eight years are almost completely tailor-made for Donald Trump.
“Yes, a thin-skinned narcissist with no government experience. Yes, that sounds exactly like…Barack Obama.”
Even the things that Trump’s biggest supporters have said as to why they support him have turned out to be a fallacy. “Trump tell it like it is.” No. Actually, Trump goes for the bumper line that has served him so well in years of “reality TV” that he’s a living soundbite machine. That has been and always will be Trump’s greatest strength. But for every statement he’s made on one position or another, a casual Google search will quickly reveal that he once loudly and proudly proclaimed the opposite, simply because that line made him worthy of a headline or hashtag at that point in time. The truth is that Trump has a gift for social irreverence; a quality you want in a late night talk show host, but exactly the wrong type of person you want in a position of unparalleled international influence.
Now, I realize that I’ve just written a lot of words on a rant about Trump. That seems somehow hypocritical when my chief complaint about Trumpers is their reflexive “Hitlery”, “Killary”, “#NeverHillary” answers to any criticism of Trump. Well, my point is that there are literally no redeeming qualities about Donald Trump. None. Zero. So I have nothing to offer by way of defending him and that’s chiefly because his supporters really don’t, either. I’m not being hyperbolic, I can literally think of nothing about the man that represents what a good candidate for president should be. The fact that he has a great number of supporters is actually really goddamned depressing. It solemnly makes me question the state of my nation’s intelligence and judgment.
I would love to explore, in depth, my problems with Hillary Clinton — her candidacy assured as early as June 2015 and nearly destroying the DNC with underhandedness and corrupt political bosses reminiscent of the early 20th century. Unfortunately, it feels like studiously reviewing the more subtle nuances of economic and social opportunism that make up Hillary Clinton’s existence would be wasted on folks who simply want to talk about how she’s a murderer who wantonly ordered Americans to be killed in Benghazi while suffering from dementia. It would be a simply fantastic waste of my time and energy. But then again, it feels like this whole election has already been just that.
This year marks the first time that all of my children are old enough to vote. I have done a great deal of things to ensure that they’re getting the best information on every candidate so that they can make a smart and informed choice at the voting booth. But I have to say that I feel so awful for them. This is, beyond a doubt, the worst election ballot I’ve seen in a very long time, if not all time. Both major parties should be absolutely ashamed of the fact that their candidate enjoys unprecedented negative approval ratings. This is a historical and international embarrassment. The United States is supposed to be a beacon of democracy in the world, and it looks like we’re voting off of the island the last contestant of Survivor: White House.
I will do my civic duty on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016. But I will do so in mourning of my country.