by Benn Ray
So tomorrow, Tues. Nov. 8 2016, is the big day. It's the culmination of an election cycle that began about two years ago. And while it has been fascinating and entertaining, it's also been absurd and utterly embarrassing.
While the Democrats flirted briefly with offering the country a socialist, it instead gave us the first female presidential candidate of a major party. And Republicans (the party of gave us Richard Nixon and George W. Bush) offered Donald Trump.
Look, I know there are a lot of people out there who are frustrated, a lot of people who are angry. I know there are a lot of people who see the country changing and it freaks them the fuck out. And yes, there is the temptation to lash out from frustration, anger and fear and want to just smash everything - to just burn the whole thing down.
I also believe that deep down inside, the friends and family I have who are thinking about voting for Donald Trump know, really know, it's the wrong thing to do. They know that while he might make an entertaining reality TV star, as a human being, he's utterly despicable. He's campaigned in the way a snake oil salesman sells "medicine". And in the end, if you vote for Donald Trump, you are voting for the real life equivalent of Lex Luthor (except that comic book villain is smart). I believe in you. I believe you know it's wrong to give Trump your vote. And I believe you won't do the wrong thing.
But just in case you need a little extra convincing, let me break it down.
"LIES AND THE LYING LIARS WHO TELL THEM"
Okay, so you claim Hillary is a liar. And that makes her so evil, so terrible, that you can't possibly vote for her. Okay, then let's just apply that criteria to Donald Trump. He is a far more prolific liar than Hillary. He lies about everything so much that we really don't know what he believes. He lies so much, a small cottage industry of Trump fact checkers has been created to point out his lies.
The Toronto Star has created a database of nearly 500 lies Trump has told during this campaign.
Donald Trump has never held elected office. He is a businessman of questionable skills. He is an unpleasant reality TV star.
Hillary Clinton has worked in public service all her life. She has been a well-liked Senator of New York, and she has been a very successful Secretary of State. Now I know that view (which was largely non-partisan prior to this election) has been revised since then if you rely on getting your information from right wing news sources, so let me just refresh your memory.
She has received praise for her work from Republicans Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice, Sec. of State Tom Ridge, Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. Mitch Daniels, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Gov. Jon Huntsman, Gov. John Kasich, Gov. Rick Perry, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Rep. Jeff Duncan, Rep. Michael Grimm, Rep. Peter King, Rep. Paul Ryan, Gen. David Petraeus, Sen. Sam Brownback, Sen. Jim DeMint, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Judd Gregg, Sen. Jim Inhofe, Sen. Jon Kyl, Sen. Richard Lugar, Sen. John McCain, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. James Risch, Sen. Alan Simpson, Sen. Olympia Snow, Sen. George Voinovich, and Sen. John Warner.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump's companies have had more than 4 bankruptcies and countless lawsuits.
"The system is rigged," Donald Trump likes to point out. He kind of conflates a number of "systems" when he says this, but part of what he is referring to is our economic system. And he's right, our economic system is rigged against people like you and me. But here's the thing, Donald Trump has been one of the people paying to have it rigged in his favor against us. Putting the rigger of a system in charge of the system is not going to unrig that system, it's going to result in a far worse rigging than we've ever seen.
TELLING IT LIKE IT IS
His supporters claim they like Trump because he speaks his mind, he "tells it like it is." If this is an asset, why did his advisors take away his Twitter account this weekend? If this is an asset, why has Trump been relegated to reading off teleprompters in the past two weeks?
When you look at how much he lies, you know he isn't telling it like it is, he's just throwing red meat to an angry audience. And while "telling it like it is" and speaking his mind might be entertaining attributes in a reality TV show host, it is not necessarily something we want in a president, where we do need a modicum of self-control and diplomacy.
Trump supporters need to look at the company they keep, because they will forever be tainted by association.
First, there are the racists. Common sense would tell most people that whoever the Ku Klux Klan endorses, you should vote the opposite. One of only a couple of newspapers to endorse Donald Trump was the KKK's The Crusader.
All my life, as a lefty, I've had Republicans say to me, "If you love Russia so much, why don't you just move there!" I can't believe that I can now say to many Republicans, "If you love Russia so much, why don't you just move there!"
It's common sense for most Americans that when the Ku Klux Klan and the Russians unite behind a candidate, that is probably not the candidate we should elect.
Donald Trump has not released his taxes. Aside from this being dangerous and highly worrisome (as we don't know who he has economic ties to), it also sets a terrible precedent for elections to come. He also hasn't said he'd put his businesses into a blind trust - all of this should be a big red flag to anyone who rightfully suspects that Trump is seeking the highest office in the land for his own personal economic gain.
YOU'VE BEEN WARNED
You've been warned by a lot of serious people who spend a lot of time thinking about these things to not vote for Donald Trump.
Okay, so let's say you don't care what I think (you'll recall I was warning against the invasion in Iraq, and I also urged you not to vote for George W. Bush - which by 2008, many of you agreed was the correct position), how about the mainstream media. I'm not just talking partisan pundits (although it has been very confusing to watch so many Republican conservatives suddenly sounding like centrist Democrats), I'm talking mainstream media sources. Yes, I understand you feel the media is in the tank for Clinton. And while I may want to debate the specifics of such a claim, I will admit it has seemed to me that most established, respectable media (which typically skews right/Republican) has done everything but just come right out and say "seriously, don't vote for this guy."
But it's not just the media, look at the Republican Party itself - so many Republicans can't bring themselves to endorse or even vote for their own party's nominee. Republicans historically are team players - they line up behind their candidates, and in this instance, many can't bring themselves to do it. THEY KNOW voting for Trump is the wrong thing to do.
Trump voters, we know you are angry, frustrated, and afraid. But you also know deep down inside that voting for this wannabe strong man, this groping, molesting, horrible vulgarian is the wrong thing to do. Listen to that voice.
Some may say, "Well there's just something about her, I can't vote for Hillary." This is just like 2008 and 2012, when we heard people say that about Obama. Back then, most of us translated that into racism. Now we are translating that into sexism. But don't worry about that. I would never discourage anyone from voting, but even if you can't bring yourself to vote for Hillary, that doesn't mean you have to vote for Trump. Want to send a message to a supposedly "rigged" two party system? Vote third party. Or, remember, you can still vote in the 2016 election without casting a vote for president.
Whatever it takes, I'm asking you, don't vote for Donald Trump. It's the wrong thing to do, and I know you know that.