I’ve made it a point not to write about the election around here for a while. Partly it’s because I’m not an expert (and my lack of expertise is surely readily apparent to anybody who has read a word of my election-related drabble), partly it’s because I’m sure it was tiresome (how much can you really say about these two deplorables that hasn’t been said in this election season), and partly it’s because I needed to preserve my own sanity — nothing frays your edges like trying to make logical sense of people who aren’t using logic to guide their actions.
The fact is, I’ve been puzzled by Trump supporters from the word go in this thing. (I’m puzzled by some Hillary supporters, too, but more on that later.) This is a man who made it obvious to anybody who was paying attention — pretty early on even in the primaries — that he didn’t know or care much about policy, that he was painfully (maybe even dangerously) ignorant on foreign and military matters, and that he would say or tweet anything if his opponents poked him the right way.
And the farther we went, the worse it got. Not only did we learn that he’s simply unprepared, by almost any measure, for the office, but he’s been revealed to be an even worse human being than we all thought. Responding to questions about his pretty detestable attack on Ted Cruz’s wife with “he started it.” Posting his nonsense about former Miss Universe and encouraging the whole of the country to look up a sex tape. Mocking the disabled.Claiming that a judge of questionable lineage couldn’t rule fairly on his court case. Claiming that the election is rigged. And then there was the so-called “boys on the bus” video, wherein the man literally bragged to a fanboying idiot about sexually assaulting women.
His apologists can spin it any way they want. They can divert and argue, well, Hillary is WORSE. But you can polish a turd only so much. The man is a joke and an embarrassment. And even if you think he’ll blow up the system and that’s what the system needs (and that may be true!), it’s hard to get around the fact that electing the man president is a more-or-less tacit endorsement of everything he’s done, everything he’s said, and everything he represents.
I really don’t know how Republicans can swallow that.
But in the waning days of the election, polls show that the race is tightening. His numbers are growing. And he may well have a chance at winning this thing.
What that tells me is that politically and ideologically, things in this country are as bad as ever. It tells me what I began to fear about a month ago: that the Republicans who took the moral stand, who stood up and said no, this man does not and cannot represent us, party loyalty be damned, are suddenly going weak in the knees. When it comes right down to it, even those Republicans whom Trump alienated are going to walk up to the voting booth, look at that binary choice between Trump and Clinton, and pull the lever for Trump. Not because they like him. But because they’re Republicans, and voting party is just what we do. Everything is us versus them. Trench warfare. Never give an inch.
Maybe it’s about the Supreme Court. Maybe it’s about his stand on terrorism (which, at least on rhetorical terms, is stronger than Hillary’s — he at least calls the spade of Islamic terrorism a spade, even if he takes it to ridiculous and unfounded extremes). Maybe it’s because they’ve bought into the Republican crusade against Hillary that has raged for decades.
Whatever the reason, on the day, they’re going to return to the party, much like the Blob reforming itself after being hacked to bits with an axe. (And Trump has most certainly done that to the Republican party.)
And I get it. Hillary’s not a good candidate. I wish there were another democrat to vote for. People who get all glowy-faced and glassy-eyed when they talk about Hillary? I don’t get that either. She’s a politician who represents basically every unsavory thing we associate with politicians: corruption, cover-ups, political flexibility for expediency’s sake. The e-mail thing is a legitimate and real problem for anybody considering a Hillary vote.
But it’s Hillary or Trump.
I don’t fear that she’s going to feed our entire democratic system into the wood chipper the way I fear Trump will. I don’t fear that she’ll feel slighted by a foreign power and reach for the nuclear button the way I fear Trump will. I don’t fear that she’ll abuse the power of her office to jail political opponents or shut down critics in the press the way Trump has explicitly said he will.
This race is bigger than party. I feel for the Republicans — like my own parents! — who are crushed in between the rock of party loyalty and the hard place of voting for the orange monster. It sucks that he’s the guy for Republicans this time around.
But he is.
Which is why all of us who recognize how dangerous he is have to, have to, have to vote.
We see the most recent polls. We know he’s getting a late surge.
We have to surge harder. We have to stand up and say that hate is not okay in a president. That idiocy is not okay in a president. That narcissism and degradation of women and unhinged twitter rants and the constant threat of violence and censorship and and and… these things cannot be synonymous with the American president.
Don’t waste your vote on a third party. While that sends a message (maybe), the fact is that one of these two evils will be president. And making sure Trump is not president is immeasurably more important than whatever message a third-party vote sends.
It’s okay to vote for the lesser of two evils.
In fact, if we think ahead to what might be, one could easily say that voting for the lesser of two evils is a moral imperative.
We need less evil in this world.
We need less evil people like Trump.
That’s why I’m with her.
(As half-heartedly as possible.)