A Follow-up about My Position on Presidential Election 2016
On July 28, 2016, I published a post entitled, “I Will Vote for Hillary Clinton Because I Cannot Possibly Vote for Donald Trump.”
I received an entire spectrum of reactions to that post.
Some readers jeered and called me names (not many).
A number expressed their disappointment and even stopped following my blog. (Some added that they could not trust me anymore and included statements like “thanks for nothing” and that my work was “all for nothing.”) But the disappointment was not unified. Some were disappointed because
- I publicly expressed an opinion about whom I would support.
- I would not be voting for Trump.
- I would not be boycotting the election.
- I did not write an enthusiastic endorsement of Clinton.
- I would not be voting for Johnson or Stein.
Others did not express their disappointment with my position but did let me know of their concern; still others openly yet respectfully disagreed and said that they were taking a strong stand opposite mine (i.e., voting for Trump because they could not possibly vote for Clinton).
Some expressed that they knew early on I would endorse Clinton; others went further and added that I was only looking for some excuse to do so.
And there are those who wrote that they understood my dilemma because it was their dilemma, as well.
Among my friends, a number will vote for Trump. They have told me so. And a number will vote for Clinton. They have told me so. This election is a tough one, and I have been surprised more than once about which candidate a friend supports. But I have told none that I am disappointed; I have tried to argue none into my own position, and I have ended no relationships over a friend’s choice of Clinton or Trump (or neither).
I have had some readers ask if I have seen the movie, Hillary’s America. I have not. And a number asked if I had seen Clinton Cash.
I watched about half of Clinton Cash before writing this post. And I read from a few articles related to the Clintons’ involvement in other countries and related to their foundation: Politico’s “King and Queen of Haiti”;New York Times’, “Rwanda Aid Shows Reach and Limits of Clinton Foundation,” and the New York Post’s, “Bill Clinton’s Pardon of Fugitive Marc Rich Continues to Pay Big.”
And I’ll tell you, I wish there were a viable Curtain Number Three for this upcoming presidential election.
I thought of not voting. I knew about the Clintons and their resounding conflict of interest with their decades of holding high political offices and their operating a foundation– a mix guaranteed to foster a complicated web of conflicts of interest and potential abuse of office.
But I also have a problem with Donald Trump’s having zero political background. He is riding the corporate ed reform mantra of “zero experience being okay because none is needed if he is a businessman” not into the school house but into the White House. And behind that inexperience lay yet another problem:
Trump is able to completely conceal his own financial dealings in the name of “private citizen.”
Yes, the Clintons have quite the nest of shady and shaky dealings, but the reason that the likes of Clinton Cash is even possible is that the Clinton Foundation is a nonprofit, and as a nonprofit, its finances are a matter of public record.
Donald J. Trump is able to keep his financial documents completely hidden from the public. There will be no exposé called Trump Cash because Donald Trump is able to conceal his financial records from the public he repeatedly tells to “believe him.”
I initially thought that Trump would not release his tax forms because they might show that he is not financially solvent. That still might be an issue, but now I wonder if what he is trying to cover are his business dealings with other countries, such as Russia.
Apparently, the July 30, 2016, Guardian wonders the same:
With Democrats and journalists now trawling through Trump’s past dealings with “all the oligarchs”, as he once put it, as far back as the time of the Soviet Union, the candidate has repeatedly and angrily stated that he has “zero, nothing to do with Russia”. He has however continued to refuse to release his tax returns, which could prove his claim definitively.
If he doesn’t have anything to do with Russia today, Trump certainly has in the past. As far back as 1987, he was attempting to build branded hotels and condos in Moscow. “It’s a totally interesting place,” he said at the time. “I think the Soviet Union is really making an effort to cooperate in the sense of dealing openly with other nations and in opening up the country.”
His desire to build a Trump Tower near Red Square continued throughout the 1990s and in 2013 the businessman travelled to Moscow, hoping to meet Putin while taking in the Russian debut of his own Miss Universe beauty pageant.
Putin cancelled a meeting at the last minute, according to an oligarch who spoke to the Washington Post, but sent a gift and personal note. Trump did collect a a share of the $14m paid by investors including Aras Agalarov, a Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire property developer and close Putin associate, for bringing Miss Universe to Agalarov’s 7,500-seat Crocus City Hall.
In 2014, Trump told a press luncheonthat he “spoke, indirectly and directly, with President Putin, who could not have been nicer”. A year earlier, he told MSNBC: “I do have a relationship and I can tell you that he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today.”
The American public does not get to know about Trump’s foreign business dealings with Russia or possibly other countries because Trump gets to refuse to show his tax forms because they are private documents.
Again we see overlap with the world of Trump and the manner in which corporate ed reform operates: Financial dealings and histories are conveniently hidden from public view in the name of “private.”
Still, the public is able to know about what kind of businessman Trump is to the Americans he will supposedly champion; one can get an eyeful if one reads about Trump University in the May 2016 New York Times article, “Former Trump University Workers Call the School a ‘Lie’ and a ‘Scheme’ in Testimony”:
Mr. Trump, who started the university in 2005, owned 93 percent of the now-defunct company. From the start, he acted as its chief promoter, rather than day-to-day manager, selling it as a tool of financial empowerment that would improve life for thousands of ordinary Americans. It would, he said, “teach you better than the best business school,” according to the transcript of a Web video.
Within the documents made public Tuesday were internal employee guides encouraging customers with little money to pay for the tuition with their credit cards. “We teach the technique of using OPM … Other People’s Money,” explained the internal instructions for salespeople. The documents pushed employees to exploit the emotions of potential customers. “Let them know you’ve found an answer to their problems,” read confidential instructions to salespeople.
The most striking documents were written testimony from former employees of Trump University who said they had become disenchanted with the university’s tactics and culture. Corrine Sommer, an event manager, recounted how colleagues encouraged students to open up as many credit cards as possible to pay for classes that many of them could not afford.
“It’s O.K., just max out your credit card,” Ms. Sommer recalled their saying.
Jason Nicholas, a sales executive at Trump University, recalled a deceptive pitch used to lure students — that Mr. Trump would be “actively involved” in their education. “This was not true,” Mr. Nicholas testified, saying Mr. Trump was hardly involved at all. Trump University, Mr. Nicholas concluded, was “a facade, a total lie.”
The article continues by noting that Trump’s lawyers said the above testimony had been “completely discredited” in depositions that the lawyers refused to produce.
Knowing about Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns and knowing about Trump University, I knew I would not vote for Trump. I had decided that I would vote, but not for Trump.
Add to the above list of “Reasons not to vote for Trump” Trump’s words against the “Mexican” judge overseeing the Trump University lawsuits, as the June 03,2016, Wall Street Journal recounts:
Donald Trump on Thursday escalated his attacks on the federal judge presiding over civil fraud lawsuits against Trump University, amid criticism from legal observers who say the presumptive GOP presidential nominee’s comments are an unusual affront on an independent judiciary.
In an interview, Mr. Trump said U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel had “an absolute conflict” in presiding over the litigation given that he was “of Mexican heritage” and a member of a Latino lawyers’ association. Mr. Trump said the background of the judge, who was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrants, was relevant because of his campaign stance against illegal immigration and his pledge to seal the southern U.S. border. “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest,” Mr. Trump said. …
For judges, being criticized for rulings comes with the territory, but court watchers say it is a degree far different when the critic could win the nation’s highest office, is involved in a pending case and references the judge’s ethnicity.
Even knowing the above, and deciding that I would not vote for an unelectable candidate, I had no plans to publicly announce that I would vote for Clinton (ouch). Then I read this July 23, 2016, New York Times op-ed entitled, “Is Donald Trump a Racist?”:
HAS the party of Lincoln just nominated a racist to be president? We shouldn’t toss around such accusations lightly, so I’ve looked back over more than 40 years of Donald Trump’s career to see what the record says.
One early red flag arose in 1973, when President Richard Nixon’s Justice Department — not exactly the radicals of the day — sued Trump and his father, Fred Trump, for systematically discriminating against blacks in housing rentals.
I’ve waded through 1,021 pages of documents from that legal battle, and they are devastating. Donald Trump was then president of the family real estate firm, and the government amassed overwhelming evidence that the company had a policy of discriminating against blacks, including those serving in the military. …
As Trump moved into casinos, discrimination followed. In the 1980s, according to a former Trump casino worker, Kip Brown, who was quoted by The New Yorker: “When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor. … They put us all in the back.” …
The recent record may be more familiar: Trump’s suggestions that President Obama was born in Kenya; his insinuations that Obama was admitted to Ivy League schools only because of affirmative action; his denunciations of Mexican immigrants as, “in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists”; his calls for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States; his dismissal of an American-born judge of Mexican ancestry as a Mexican who cannot fairly hear his case; his reluctance to distance himself from the Ku Klux Klan in a television interview; his retweet of a graphic suggesting that 81 percent of white murder victims are killed by blacks (the actual figure is about 15 percent); and so on.
By this time, nothing anyone could say to me could persuade me to vote for Donald Trump. Even so, still no outright Clinton endorsement from me. I had not planned to openly support her as my way of combating a Trump presidency.
But when he made the comment as though he were speaking directly to Russia and inviting the hacking of an American’s email, that put me over the edge.
This man wants to be president, and he cannot control his own mouth.
I have had readers excuse his behavior as a casual comment, but that is not good enough. This man demonstrates a dangerous lack of self control when it comes to the need to win, or confronting being snubbed or otherwise wronged.
And even when he tries to display some modicum of self control, his words require explaining, as CNN notes in its July 28, 2016, article entitled, “Trump Says He Would Like to ‘Hit’ DNC Speakers Who Disparaged Him”:
Donald Trump, after hearing speeches at the Democratic convention this week, said Thursday he wanted to “hit a number of those speakers so hard, their heads would spin.”
“They’d never recover,” he said.
Trump often uses the term “hit” to mean verbally attack, rather than physical contact.
Trump does not have the self possession of a statesman. That lack of self possession coupled with his apparent need to readily defend his abundant ego are a dangerous combination when international diplomacy is concerned, and it is the Trump running of the mouth that pushed me to openly (albeit reluctantly) support Clinton.
I realize that many will want to argue me out of my position, but I will not be engaging in any arguments. My decision has not been a pleasant one to make; however, I thought I would at least try to clarify my thinking to those who are perhaps perplexed, perhaps disenchanted, by my choice.
One issue is for certain: I will not condemn anyone for her or his position regarding this election, including a loss of confidence in me for mine.