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“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

The nation’s wounds will never heal as long as there are groups of people who continually pick off the scabs. Those groups show malice to some and charity at the expense of others. A negative outcome is sure to manifest if consensus thought of a country’s people is negative as government is only as good as its people allow it or will it to be.

A majority of those calling themselves Republicans chose businessman billionaire, entrepreneur and entertainer Donald Trump as their candidate and a majority of Democrats chose influence-peddling life-long politician Hillary Clinton as their candidate. The quality of these chosen candidates reflects the intelligence, ethics and values of the people who chose them. Unfortunately there is a silent majority of Americans who now have to suffer the consequences of their silence and perhaps now are most vocal in their whining and complaining about the candidates.

If you are part of the silent majority then understand that these two candidates are your only viable choices so get out and vote but don’t throw your vote away by not voting for either one of them or writing in a candidate or voting for a third party. If you don’t like either of the major candidates then consider who you think will nominate members of the Supreme Court who would be most likely to interpret the law based upon the Constitution and not write the law based upon popular sentiment.

A President is only in office for a few years but Supreme Court members are on the bench for life. - AOD

Trump was nominated by a plurality of Republicans, not an outright majority. I agree, though, that one of the two major party candidates will be president (spoiler: it will be Hillary).

I'm not voting in the election because I'm turned off by the choices and disgusted with the process. Not voting is itself a choice and, in a way, a statement.

I've been stressed over this for ages because all my American friends are non-white, gay, trans, and/or disabled (mostly disabled), and I can't vote for the candidate most likely to not ruin their lives because I'm not in America. It's not fun not being a citizen of a primary world power. I have been cheering them up by pointing out that according to British playground slang we would then have a President Fart.

Michael, great post!

Except for this:

"I'm not voting in the election because I'm turned off by the choices and disgusted with the process. Not voting is itself a choice and, in a way, a statement. "

I strongly disagree. Your *post* is your statement, a true contribution to our national conversation. You explain your reservations about both candidates, and describe the only solution that makes sense: talking *with* each other, not *at* each other.

By writing this essay, you're encouraging Republicans to take a hard look at who's representing them this year, and forcing Democrats like me to be honest about the compromises Hillary Clinton (and others) introduce into our politics.

But not to vote? While it's certainly a choice, it's in no way a statement. Though your motivation may be clear to you, abstaining says nothing at all to anyone.

What it is, is a dangerous move, and I pray others don't follow your lead.

I hope you reconsider! Don't let the polls hypnotize you into thinking we've dodged a bullet. If too many people think like that, Trump can still win.

Look at Brexit, and how terribly wrong the pollsters were.

Now that I think about it, Michael, if voters like you do abstain in large numbers, that does make a statement. It says that they're disgusted with the whole process and have simply abandoned it.

And what's the good in that? Isn't it better to be disgusted, and yet to say:

"I'm unhappy with both choices. But I'm not giving up on this democratic process because as flawed as it is, it's still the best we humans have devised. So I'm voting, with reservations, for the most qualified candidate we've been able to come up with this year. And I'm praying for, and will do my best to bring about, a better result next time."

That's the statement *I* choose to make.

Not voting is a statement that nobody hears. - AOD

Bruce wrote, "It says that they're disgusted with the whole process and have simply abandoned it."

I *am* disgusted with the whole process (this year) and I *have* simply abandoned it (this year). I'm sitting it out because there's nobody I can, in conscience, vote for.

AOD wrote, "Not voting is a statement that nobody hears." Okay, but ... what's my alternative? This election is like Sophie's Choice, only without Meryl Streep. There's just no acceptable option.

Michael said:

"I *am* disgusted with the whole process (this year) and I *have* simply abandoned it (this year). I'm sitting it out because there's nobody I can, in conscience, vote for. "

Except that we will have to live with the consequences for the next four years. And the consequences of a Trump win would be far worse than the alternative. That was how you felt earlier in the year, and I respected you for it.

To simply let the cards fall where they may leads to the sort of vacuum that allows the Trumps, Hitlers, and other degenerates of the world to come into power.

I fail to see how not voting at a time like this is in any way a responsible course of action.

"In this country there’s still enough innate suspicion of government to prevent a Hitler, Stalin, or Mussolini from gaining power"

Only if we vote.

"This election is like Sophie's Choice, only without Meryl Streep. There's just no acceptable option. "

So I guess if you were in her shoes, you wouldn't have chosen either child? :)

Michael, one option might be to consider which candidate for President would be likely to appoint judges to the Supreme Court who will be Constitutionalists and vote for him or her. In my opinion three new leftist judges would not bode well for liberty and freedom of the American people.

I feel the same as you Michael and a week or so ago decided I would not vote at all. But as more and more negatives came out about Hillary Clinton and I thought about it more, I decided to vote. I have a 100% success rate in always voting for the loser. Probably it will be the same this election Nevertheless I will vote, if only to vote for people running for offices other than the President.

Hold your nose, Michael and go vote! - AOD

"Let’s wash the stain of this election season off our hands"

Maybe we should wait until the work is done, as unpleasant as it may be, before we wash our hands.

I think the people urging me to vote are the ones who've already made a choice; they already believe that one candidate is clearly superior to the other. And for people who've made such a choice, voting makes sense.

But I think both candidates are terrible in different ways, so I'm not going to vote for either. And it will make no difference whatsoever. Hillary Clinton will win "bigly," no matter what any individual voter happens to do.

No, Michael, neither candidate is superior to the other. Either one will sully the office of the president. It is true that I have made up my mind to vote for Trump, not because I think he is qualified to be President but because I think he might appoint Supreme Court justices who will uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. I think Hillary will lead the country into a socialistic society from which it will take many years and perhaps a revolution to recover. - AOD

"Hillary Clinton will win "bigly," no matter what any individual voter happens to do."

What a crazy statement to make in a democracy—even a flawed one. The only thing that matters is what individual voters do.

"What a crazy statement to make in a democracy—even a flawed one. The only thing that matters is what individual voters do."

I mean any one individual voter. A single vote rarely, if ever, is significant in a major election.

Bruce, don't you live in California? Trump is losing that state by something like 20 points. I guarantee that your one vote will make no difference to the outcome. (Nor will it affect the balance of power in the Senate, since there are no Republicans running for Boxer's seat.)

"No, Michael, neither candidate is superior to the other. ... I have made up my mind to vote for Trump ... because I think he might appoint Supreme Court justices who will uphold the Constitution .. I think Hillary will lead the country into a socialistic society ..."

So obviously you do think one candidate is better than the other. Maybe not a better person, not a superior human being, but a better choice for the country. That's your considered opinion. I don't think either one of them is an acceptable choice. That's my considered opinion.

For me, American politics in 2016 is like global nuclear war as described in the movie War Games - "a strange game. The only way to win is not to play."


"A single vote rarely, if ever, is significant in a major election."

Well jeez, Michael, that's pretty obvious. But suppose every voter adopted that attitude?

Your words reach readers from around the country. Do you really want to sell them on the idea that individual votes don't matter?

"I don't think either one of them is an acceptable choice."

But you've been saying all along that despite disliking her, you'd rather see Clinton in office. Has that changed?

I agree with Michael about Trump and Clinton - both are terrible choices for president and I wouldn't vote for either if I lived in America, and I get what he's saying about individual votes, he's saying the gap between Clinton and Trump is so high that a vote here and there won't affect the outcome, so him not voting doesn't really matter - I think?

AOD - I don't share your fears of Socialism even slightly (you guys already have some Socialism, as does the UK, Canada and various European countries and we're all doing fine in those areas) but to say that Clinton will turn the country Socialist is baffling, she is a corporatist capitalist through and through and policy wise is nothing close to being a socialist. You also said Trump would appoint someone who would uphold the constitution - which part of the constitution is that? His suggestion to ban Muslims from entering the USA violates religious freedom which is unconstitutional itself.

Being in the UK I'll not comment much on the US choices (except to say from the outside the anti-Clinton fixation, or the idea of equivalence between them, is largely incomprehensible), but on the principle of voting or not voting because you won't have an effect or don't like the choices.... All my life I've lived in an area which votes for the party I support. This means in effect that I have never ever had an effect upon the outcome of an election. They win or lose without me. But it seems to me the act of not voting would be a huge folly. Because any thought I have on the pointlessness of voting is likely to not be unique to me. If abstention becomes an acceptable option you don't end up with "neither" candidate or a different form of government, you just guarantee the one least palatable to you has a greater likelihood of winning. Time and again in the UK the governing party...or succesful side of a referendum...has not been voted for by a majority, because the sheer number of non participants means life changing decisions for everyone are actually decided by little more than a third of the population.

In terms of "holding your nose" and voting for the party you've always considered your "enemy", the great example I can think of was in France about 20 years ago. Because of their system of a second round of voting between the top two candidates in the presidential election, and because of fracture or non voting by a significant number of people, the race ended up being between the conservative Jacques Chirac and the bigoted thug of the far right LePen. The half of the population who considered themselves socialist or communist had these to choose from. It wasn't a difficult choice. Chirac was their ideological opponent, but LePen was unthinkable. So people who would never in their lives have voted for the leader of the opposite party voted for him in their millions. The consequences if a significant number had said "they're as bad as each other" or "I hate LePen but could never vote for Chirac" and so abstained aren't worth thinking about.

Yeah, if I had the right to, I'd be voting for the one least likely to kill my friends.

Well Michael, you are forcing me to say that one candidate is 'better' than the other when I believe that both of them are not suitable candidates for the presidency of the United States. I will vote for one so you believe that I think one candidate is better than the other. So since I will vote for one, I suppose you are correct.

I am trying to look beyond the candidates to see what may happen to the country if either of them is elected. I fear for the country if Hillary Clinton is elected. I believe that she will steer the country into an Alinski Socialism/Communism government. I believe that both Obama and Clinton are self-serving egotistical narcissistic individuals (As is Donald Trump) who believe in Alinski's eight levels of control to create a socialistic government. Here they are. See if they seem familiar to you.

"How to create a social state by Saul Alinsky:

There are 8 levels of control that must be obtained before you are able to create a social state.

The first is the most important.

1) Healthcare — Control healthcare and you control the people

2) Poverty — Increase the Poverty level as high as possible, poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.

3) Debt — Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.

4) Gun Control — Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government. That way you are able to create a police state.

5) Welfare — Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Housing, and Income).

6) Education — Take control of what people read and listen to — take control of what children learn in school.

7) Religion — Remove the belief in the God from the Government and schools.

8) Class Warfare — Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to take (Tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor."

Of course it is your choice not to vote Michael. If you choose not to vote your lips are sealed from further comment about the resultant government.- AOD

Strategically for the good of the union I think the best thing might be Clinton victory and Republicans winning Congress.

Will be harder to claim the election is rigged if Republicans get victories outside of Trump.

First, nice piece, Michael. I like the sentiment you expressed. I sincerely hope it can realized. Unfortunately, I doubt it. I will try to explain in the most non-partisan and non-emotional way I can manage.

1. Already in the comments we have people likening a Trump win to a fascist take-over. Hitler has been invoked. I have been talking to liberals on line (there aren't any where I live other than college kids)for months now and they are all certain that Trump = Hitler and that Trump supporters = the Nazi Party. That's hardly a mindset that will open to togetherness with at least 40% of fellow countrymen/women.

2. The media factor - we have reached a point where the media avoids any in depth discussion, let alone investigative journalism. It's all memetics and sound bites crafted from thinly veiled (if veiled at all) vitriol.
a) the media clearly selected Hillary Clinton as POTUS. From wikileaks we know that the media promoted Trump, in conjunction with the wishes of the Democratic Party, because the Ds thought Trump would be the easy candidate to beat.
b) I agree that Trump is a horrible candidate (I preferred Rand Paul), but, that is what happens when democratic processes become rigged by the media/political/elite establishment.
c) The above points must be understood so as to avoid it happening again. Sadly, from what I am seeing, the liberals are perfectly happy with the outcome thus far and deny rigging. They prefer to believe that Clinton was, objectively, the best possible candidate, left or right (Obama even said so, "Most qualified candidate EVER") - which is pure hyperbolic idiocy. It's all fun and games until your on the side selected to lose. What goes around, comes around.
3. The people are radically divided on the actual issues. The left wants open borders, mass migration (legal and illegal) into the country on top of a bad economy where jobs are scarce in wide swaths of the country, government handouts to these people, thinks that diversity is the end all be all of culture, yet hates a large demographic of people that have lived in the US for generations (e.g. Obama's "bitter clingers" and Clinton's "irredeemable deplorables"). The left imagines that everyone is going to be employed in small high tech start-up businesses. Opposing this is the Right, which likes their bibles and guns, wants manufacturing jobs and knows they got screwed by Clinton 1's NAFTA and recalls being told back then the same economic fantasy about transitioning from traditional manufacturing to high tech; something that didn't happen.
4. Issues that don't get discussed by candidates, but that people talk about among themselves. Clinton panders to the left's accusations that police in the US are racist and kill blacks for sport and she at least tacitly supports black retaliatory riots. Trump is for law and order and his supporters see little to no evidence of law enforcement racism. They are horrified by race riots. The left promotes all kinds of attitudes that the right sees as cultural affronts. The Bruce Jenner incident is a prime example. It wasn't enough for the left to garnish acceptance of Bruce/Caitlyn. They had to go on to make this person (who killed someone in a drunk driving crash) a national hero. The transgender bathroom issue is another wherein if one doesn't gush over the wonderfulness of the associated laws, one is labeled by the left as a bigot, hater, etc. The right has had enough and is worried about where this goes next (pedophilia garnishing approval? It's already been proposed that the age of consent be lowered to accommodate Muslim immigrants).
5. The kinds of issues outlined in #4 are deep at the core of what culture is. Who we are. The divide between the left and right is massive and, I have to say, the left is responsible for the size of the divide b/c they are so completely ideological that they are convinced they are righteous and anyone not on board is evil. It a religious crusade for them.
6. Given #5, there is constant and ferocious demonizing of the other side. The choice of Supreme Court nominees is critical here and the candidates are as far apart as possible as to who they would nominate for the openings.
7. Issues not discussed by the media; or, if discussed, presented in a shallow government propaganda kind of way. This includes foreign policy. I am a foreign policy buff. That doesn't mean I am right in my views. It does mean that I read actual foreign policy journals and blogs. What most people think they know about FP would fit in a thimble and is a misinformed as misinformed can be. It is clear from selection of advisors and from statements made on the campaign trail the Clinton is a hawk. She seeks to establish no fly zones and to shoot down Russian and Syrian aircraft. She also supports jihadists that are attempting to effect regime change in Syria. As in Lybia, once the jihadists have done their part and eliminated a sovereign govt, there is no plan for how the jihadists can be removed from power. Those who have served in the longest wars in US history know that Clinton means yet more war and possible nuclear conflict with Russia over escalation of armed conflict in Syria, the Ukraine or the further establishment of missile launchers on Russia's borders (already ongoing) by the US/NATO. Counter this, Trump wants to work with Russia to crush out the Jihadists and focus attention on domestic issues.
8. Among the veteran community -aside from all the equality, LGBT type issues, #7 is one of the greatest sources of hate for Clinton and for fear of what is to come should Clinton prevail.

So these are not small issues in some cases. Complicating that, everyone has an opinion that they mistake for fact as to how things (e.g. the economy) work. Which is stupid b/c no one knows. PhDs have studied these things for generations, written volumes, and these knowledgeable scholars disagree with each other.

If - just if - we could all decide on some basic principles, like people who see things differently aren't evil as long as they're doing their own thing e.g. live/let live and we stopped trying to impose our beliefs on others, stopped trying to change their minds, stopped trying to correct bad their wrong think, stopped with the crusades, stopped trying to have govt impose right think, respected each individual's right to live free and - and this is important - stopped seeing others as victims that need saving (by us, the heros), but rather that they and their situations are the end product of a series of life choices and natural abilities, then we could all get along reasonably well. Clinton is a social justice moral crusader. Another reason I despise her. She will try to ram a lot of her type of thinking down our throats. Those who like what she stands for will cheer. Again, what goes around, comes around. Today you may be the rammer, but, since that's how you want to live, tomorrow you just might be the recipient.

wow...I sure rambled on for ever here....

"Suppose every voter adopted that attitude?" Suppose every American adopted my profession as a writer. There would be no more farmers. We would all starve to death!

I'm responsible only for my own choices, not for other people's.

"But you've been saying all along that despite disliking her, you'd rather see Clinton in office. Has that changed?" Somewhat. She's just so corrupt and dishonest. And she and her advisers have unlimited contempt for the American public. They think (with some justification) that we are all a bunch of rubes. Her low point was when was she popped out of Chelsea's condo claiming she felt "great" after collapsing an hour and a half earlier, and then acted out a "spontaneous" meeting with an adorable little girl who just happened to break through the Secret Service cordon to give Grandma Hillary a hug. I felt like I was watching a piece of banana-republic agitprop. They really do think we're that stupid. And they're probably right.

But Trump is also awful, for all the reasons I've mentioned at length in the main post. And for other reasons I didn't bother to list.

Basically, when I think about Trump, I feel Hillary is a little better. When I focus on Hillary, I think Trump might be worth a shot. But the truth is, I hate hate hate them both. I mean seriously. It is scary to me, how much I hate them.

It's like being given the choice between arsenic and hanging. When you think about arsenic – the convulsions, the pain – then hanging might seem a little better. But when you think about hanging – strangling slowly, feet kicking – then the arsenic might seem a little better. How can you pick? Why should you? You are screwed either way.

Anyway, why should anyone care what I do? I don't care how you vote, or if you vote at all. It's none of my business.

I agree with SPatel about strategy, I think ... although a case could be made that only an across-the-board rout will cleanse the GOP of Trumpism. George Will has argued that the GOP must suffer a massive, stunning defeat to recognize the folly of empowering the alt-right wing of the party. He compares it to chemotherapy - a painful but necessary process to excise a dangerous malignancy.

"Anyway, why should anyone care what I do?"

Because that's how we humans are, Michael. While we ultimately come to our own conclusions—or should—don't we learn from each other? As a music teacher, as a friend, as a commenter on your blog, I'm mindful that everything I say has an effect on the people to whom I'm speaking. Just as their words affect me.

I know you feel a similar responsibility because you've mentioned, for one thing, your concern that certain conversations here might tempt people to experiment with drugs in harmful ways.

So I'll say this: as I see it, Clinton's sin is that she's a career politician, with all that implies.

But do I also detect a concern for the welfare of others? Absolutely! I don't see how anyone can look at her life story and not see that.

Can you say the same of Trump?

Clinton is a flawed human being for sure. Just as we all are. But I have a hard time understanding how you can not believe her to be more qualified to be president than a venomous bully who's track record consists entirely of shady business dealings.

Let me put it this way—wouldn’t you be terrified to live on a nuclear-armed planet on which Donald Trump was the single most powerful person? I would!

It certainly seemed you felt that way for much of this election cycle, and that you had decided to bite the bullet and vote for someone you disliked, but who frightened you less.

Well, now you’ve changed your mind, maybe because you live in NJ and feel that the state will go for Clinton no matter what you do.

Now maybe I'm wrong about that. But if there's any truth to it, than my point is this: the notion that one vote doesn't count is a dangerous attitude. Relying on the accuracy of polls and depending on others to prevent a catastrophe is exactly what we don’t need.

Maybe we can learn that lesson from Brexit.

"But do I also detect a concern for the welfare of others? Absolutely! I don't see how anyone can look at her life story and not see that."

All I see is a thoroughly rotten human being who despises ordinary Americans like me. I see the same thing when I look at Trump. It's not surprising that Hillary and Trump were friendly in the past. They're actually quite similar.

For most of the election season, I leaned toward Clinton because I wasn't thinking about her very much. When I did focus in on her, I remembered just how much I dislike her and everything she represents. She's the candidate of oligarchy, kleptocracy, and special privilege - one set of rules for the common people and another set of rules for the elites. As I wrote in the main post, by electing her we're moving that much closer to formal acknowledgment of our status as a banana republic where the law applies only to people without political connections.

If I were forced to choose between the two candidates, I don't know what I would do. There's a chance that Trump would serve as a figurehead and leave his administration in the hands of his vice president, chief of staff, and cabinet members. That might work out fairly well, depending on whom he appointed – though I suppose there's no reason to think he would make good appointments, since he seems to surround himself with imbeciles. The greatest danger is that he would take an active interest in the job, in which case he would certainly screw everything up, maybe in catastrophic ways.

Hillary Clinton's entire history shows that she is hopelessly incompetent. Her tenure as Secretary of State was an unmitigated disaster that left the world much worse off than it was before. Her very first public policy project, formulating a new approach to health insurance, was such a failure that even a Democratically controlled Senate and House wouldn't approve it. She accomplished nothing in the Senate. She has spent her whole life failing upward. There's no doubt she'll be a failure as president also.

We simply don't have a viable choice here. You prefer arsenic, AOD prefers hanging. I prefer to leave my fate in the hands of my jailers.

* The last Trump ... With this post, I hope to close the book on this election so I can get back to our usual subject matter.

I'm also in the stage of gradually abandoning any talk about the elections. Inwardly, I'm reconciling with the possibility of any outcome.

* The election, of course, is not yet over – and yet it is. At least at the presidential level, the outcome is already known. Indeed, one bookmaking outfit is already paying out to its clients who bet on Hillary Clinton. There’s no reason to think the firm will regret its decision.

... Just a minute! If that is so, what is this?

"Rasmussen Reports, Friday, October 21, 2016: Early results from their final debate are in, and Donald Trump remains barely ahead of Hillary Clinton in the White House Watch.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey of Likely U.S. Voters finds Trump with a 43% to 41% lead over his Democratic rival."

See for yourself, and make your own judgement.

* The American system of government and the American people have both proven exceptionally stable ....

The American real system of governance, the system of power relations has changed radically over time, in ways outlined here:

* Our best hope for the future is to reach out to those with whom we disagree, to respect each other’s differences, and, in the famous words of Lincoln’s second inaugural address, to “bind up the nation's wounds” while showing “malice toward none [and] charity for all.”

In a hearty agreement with that spirit, I'm submitting this informative article :


Michael, you raise some points about Clinton that do, to an extent, ring true. You write with such authority that I actually find myself beginning to question my own tepid approval of her.

But then I remember what you've said about Obama, a man I've observed for eight years, and whom I remain delighted to call my president. (Especially now, when I compare him to his potential successors.) And the fact is, you've spoken of him in such ridiculously and unremittingly vile terms that ultimately, I feel I have to take all your political judgements with a grain of salt.

When it comes to politicians, where's your positivity? (If that's a word.) Where's your capacity to see the good as well as the bad?

This election has definitely had a depressing effect on me, starting somewhere around March or April.
It's hardly the only thing I think about, but it occupies way too much of my discretionary time. Not just leisurely moments, but even times when I drift into casual thought. It's too damn distracting, in a rabbit-transfixed-by-the-snake kind of way.

Except for Facebook, I hardly post anything anywhere else. I have a lengthy chapter by chapter review of Nancy Evans-Bush's new book, Buddha in Hell and Other Alarms that I've intended to write, but I can't seem to psychologically sit still long enough to write it.
There's a loud voice subconsciously yelping at me in the background, all but screaming "This isn't healthy!", but I can't help it.

Perhaps I'll vote for Clinton, Evan "Egg McMuffin" McMullin, or just sit at home, I don't know. In any event, I'll be so damn glad when this thing is over. Then again, maybe not.

Well, this from "The Onion" seems to sum up the choice pretty well:

"Poll Finds 30% of Americans Still Undecided Whether to Vote Out of Fear or Spite":

Personally, I believe the massive amount of money now in politics has absolutely ruined U.S. government. It's not just that candidates take money from big corporate interests and Wall Street, and then are beholden to those interests for their next campaign. Of course, politicians are going to favorably rule for those interests. It had to take Wells Fargo literally and brazenly committing felonies for all to see before our elected officials even batted an eye. And don't think any of the big wigs at Wells will ever be held accountable, they won't.

It's also that that big money has ruined what the public considers important issues, seemingly forever destroying the ability of people to focus on what the issues actually are, brainwashing the public with constant ads and propaganda.

Bernie Sanders was right, no big money in politics.

Anyone who thinks that "Clinton's sin is that she's a career politician" has got to have their head in the sand. Of course she has a concern for others except that she wants me and you to pay for it while those others sit on their behind and do nothing to earn their keep and she and Bill collect millions of dollars which they channel through their 'Foundation' keeping a large portion for themselves. And did she have a concern for those Americans in Benghazi? I don't think so! Did she have concern for Americans when she sold uranium to Russia? And tell me, how much real concern did/does she have for the residents of Haiti?

Do you know who had real concern for his people---Chico Xavier, a poor Brazilian philanthropist and medium that's who. He gave everything he earned from the sale of his books, which was a considerable amount to the poor. He didn't die with a multimillion dollar estate like the Clinton's will leave behind; he died poor like the people he tried to help.

Hillary Clinton's real concern is for Hillary Clinton. Mother Theresa she is not! - AOD

Michael, I don't think that Mike Pence is an imbecile, do you? I would take Mike Pence over Tim Kaine any day. I expect Trump to choose similarly qualified people to fill his cabinet.

I suspect that the reason Trump did as well as he did in business is that he surrounded himself with competent capable people to advise him. Certainly his tax consultants were no slouches. I think he will choose qualified people when he becomes President. Trump understands his own weaknesses. - AOD

"I prefer to leave my fate in the hands of my jailers."

Michael, this defeatist comment doesn't sound like the Michael Prescott I used to know. What happened to you? You've let this election cycle get you down. Buck up! Whoever wins is only there for four years, eight if they don't screw up. It will not be the end of the world if either Trump or Clinton gets elected provided that the American people and its representatives pay attention and not be afraid to stand up to the President and exert their Constitutional power.

Just say "What the hell" and go vote for somebody. Don't be a part of the problem, be a part of the solution.- AOD

Apparently Lady Gaga has endorsed Clinton. When asked what she thought Clinton could do for the United States she said,"I think she will do a good job. Some people want to win races. Other people want to be President of the United States. It's about the intention. I believe that will reveal itself. People are smart [Not you Babe!] and I am hopeful that our nation is coming together. There's a lot of young people that really, really love each other, and if we can re-establish that human connection, and get everyone to start speaking, I believe this divisiveness can change."

Now that's a Clintonite's reason for voting for Hillary.

God help the U.S.A. - AOD

JR, I had to comment on that link from Cracked that you posted, stating that American politics is rural-versus-urban.

The thing that I don't get is that, yes, rural America, has had a much tougher time emerging from the recession (if at all in some cases). And yet LONG BEFORE this election, rural voters almost always voted Republican. Those rural voters voted for the very Republicans who advocated for both NAFTA and the repeal of Glass-Steagal, both of which they wound up suffering from. They've voted against their own best interests for DECADES. They vote for the party that wants to do away with Social Security retirement and Social Security disability insurance, both of which they depend on more than many many others. But still they vote for this party. I'll never understand it. And then they think shady-businessman Trump actually cares about them? I can see why they voted against Jeb Bush, et al, because they finally realized that they were being played...but Trump? He can't even keep a promise to the contractors who've worked for him.

It just blows my mind...maybe it is time, like others have said, to start tuning out at this point.

Robbie, In case you haven’t read the U.S. Constitution, Amendment 1 of the amendments to the U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . . “ Banning Muslims or anyone else from entering the USA is not unconstitutional. The President of the United States has the right and duty to protect the borders of the country. If that means that certain people will be denied entry into the country, the President is within the law to do so.

I say this acknowledging that I am not a Constitutional scholar. - AOD

"If that means that certain people will be denied entry into the country, the President is within the law to do so."

That's true. The Supreme Court has ruled more than once that the federal government has an unlimited right to bar any noncitizen from entry into the US for any reason.

Anyway, Constitutional rights and protections don't apply to citizens of foreign countries. It's surprising how few people understand this. They seem to think the Constitution is like a UN charter that applies to all the people of the world. It's more like the CC&Rs that apply to every resident of a condo community, but not to people who live outside that community.

"You've spoken of him in such ridiculously and unremittingly vile terms."

I think "vile" is a bit strong. My opinion of Obama is that he's a shallow narcissist who ignores criticism and does not learn from, or even acknowledge, his mistakes. I think he knows little of American history, and his intellect is greatly overrated. He's a good campaigner, delivers good speeches, and can be charming in the right venue.

His foreign policy, assisted by Hillary Clinton, has been marked by retrenchment of the US around the world and growing chaos in the MIddle East, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere. His domestic policy has been one of very slow growth, persistently high real unemployment, and the Obamacare program, which even Bill and Hillary Clinton acknowledge to be a mess. On the other hand, Obama did not get us into any new wars, though he did pointlessly drag out the Afghanistan quagmire, and we've avoided another financial collapse on his watch. Opening Cuba to US commerce and tourism was a smart move. And he did approve the operation that resulted in Osama Bin Laden's death.

Overall, I'd give him a C minus. Still, we will probably look back on him with some fondness after a couple of years of Hillary.

"Just say 'What the hell' and go vote for somebody." I've never understood the notion that there's some mystical virtue in voting, even if you vote randomly. If I don't care about the outcome but I vote anyway, all I'm doing is cancelling out the vote of someone who actually does care.

If I write in "Mickey Mouse," am I "part of the solution"? What if I vote for a third-party candidate who has no chance? How is that different from not voting at all?

There are some circumstances where I actually think it's immoral to vote. For instance, if I were living in California, I wouldn't vote, because the state has rigged the electoral process to ensure that both Senate candidates are Democrats. (This is the kind of thing that happens under one-party rule.) To participate in a sham election is to validate and legitimize it. It's a mistake to go along with the pretense that you're being offered a choice when you aren't. Why enable the people who are gaslighting you?

Michael said:

"I think 'vile' is a bit strong. "

I stand by it. You just said about Hillary:

"All I see is a thoroughly rotten human being"

That qualifies as a vile remark, doesn't it? And though I can't find the conversations now to back me up, I distinctly remember my dismay at your saying essentially the same about Obama.

Sounds like your opinion of him has softened. I'm glad to hear it. And I hope and pray that if Clinton gets a chance to show what she can do, you'll have good reason to have a similar change of heart.

Michael, I should have said that your opinion of Obama has softened, perhaps, just a tiny bit. "Change of heart" is too strong.

@ Eric Newhill:

"The divide between the left and right is massive and, I have to say, the left is responsible for the size of the divide b/c they are so completely ideological that they are convinced they are righteous and anyone not on board is evil. It a religious crusade for them."

Is the Right really any different? Seems both want impose values on society at large, but the values (and thus the proposed uses of political force) are merely different. Both sides seem quite capable of demonization.

Libertarians seem to be the only ones who have a genuine live & let live policy, though IMO Libertarianism as I understand it is ultimately unworkable as a means of governing at both a macro or micro level.

Even the desire to impose values through laws isn't necessarily bad IMO as any society has to do this on some level.

@ JR:

Aggregates of polls are better than any single poll, with method of aggregation taken into account.

538 & PEC both point toward Hilary at circa-85% to circa-97% respectively.

I think it's pretty much certain now that, barring anything major to change the state of play, Hilary is going to be elected.

Even Trump's own internal polling seems to suggest this if the campaign pulling out of Virginia is true. If he had the $$$ from all his supposed supporters couldn't he play hard for the state?

"You just said about Hillary: 'All I see is a thoroughly rotten human being' That qualifies as a vile remark, doesn't it?"

I'd call it an accurate remark. To me, a vile remark is one that's untrue or unfair. For instance, Dinesh D'Souza recently tweeted that Obama's parents must have known he was no good because they both abandoned him in childhood. That tweet, which was widely criticized, was vile, because it's unfair to suggest that young Barack was responsible for his parents' negligent actions. You don't blame a ten-year-old boy for his mother's decision to foist him off on relatives. Even less should you blame an unborn child for his father's decision to desert him.

Criticizing Hillary Clinton for a her well-documented failings as a responsible adult is very different. Note that I also think Trump is a thoroughly rotten human being. I'm impartial when it comes to despising both of them. (If you doubt that Hillary is a horrorshow, read the accounts of Secret Service agents who've worked with her.)

I can see why some people would vote for one or the other as a purely defensive measure - i.e., they'd do anything to stop Trump or to stop Hillary. But actual enthusiasm for either candidate baffles me. The diehard Trump supporters seem to be caught up in a cult of personality. The diehard Hillary supporters ...? Then again, I don't think many people really like Hillary. Her coming victory is based on Trump's manifest unfitness for office and demographic trends that favor Democrats, not on passionate belief in her as a person. At least I hope so. But I seem to be far removed from the zeitgeist nowadays, so I can't claim to be sure what people think.

One thing I do know: I'm glad to be getting old. This world is wearing me down, and I'm so very tired of it.

"Is the Right really any different? Seems both want impose values on society at large, but the values (and thus the proposed uses of political force) are merely different" -SPatel

What values is the right trying to impose beyond an environment that fosters a sense of patriotism, respect for God and life?

BTW - anyone who thinks this is over based on the polls, has been duped (what else would a Clinton do to you?)

Apparently, leaked email this morning reveal that Podesta suggested in Feb to skew the likely voter poll selctions between democrats and republicans to get the right answer and between minorities and older folk.

zero hedge noted this morning that ABC assumed Dems were 9% more likely to vote, and then suddenly Hillary has a 12 point lead, rather than a 3% and within the margin of error.

For example, Podesta suggests over-sample Hispanics and/or blacks depending on the state. Guidance is provided for each state.

original at wikileaks:

IMO, The polls that have it at a tie or slight Trump lead are the ones you should watch.

@ SPatel: Aggregates of polls are better than any single poll, with method of aggregation taken into account.

That is true in environments healthy enough to limit the influence of money and political passions on the surveys.

Just after I wrote & sent the comment to which you respond, I read this:

"Pollsters work for political organizations. If pollsters produce unwelcome results, they don’t have any customers." "Don’t believe the polls"
- P. C. Roberts

Kind of makes sense.

I'm a European living in Europe, hence I tend to quote and rely on what Americans say, than merely utter my opinions (insofar I have them).

There is another set of data that makes me reserved about making a final verdict. It is the discrepancy between polling results and the numbers of followers on social media:
We can come up with good reasons that explain this ... and they would be all speculative. When I don't know something, it's right to say - I don't know.

In any situation, it's very important to keep in mind:
It ain't over til it's over.

The elections could be contested, which, in a substantial sense, they already are. Also, a candidate might suffer an accident. Come next spring, depending on circumstances, the White House incumbent could be: Kaine, Obama, Biden, Pence, the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan ...

"The discrepancy between polling results and the numbers of followers on social media ..."

Many of Trump's social media followers are Russian bots. This long, rather technical article lays it out:

"If pollsters produce unwelcome results, they don’t have any customers." Ridiculous. If pollsters produce *inaccurate* results, they lose customers. This is one reason polling has become much more accurate in recent decades.

"In any situation, it's very important to keep in mind: It ain't over til it's over."

It's over.

"The elections could be contested ..." Not the presidential election. It won't be close. At all.

"Zero hedge noted this morning that ABC assumed Dems were 9% more likely to vote." That's because GOP turnout is likely to be depressed. Many Republicans, like me, are not voting this year. Also, early voting reportedly shows a disproportionate number of Democrats turning out.

In North Carolina, "as of Saturday, Republicans are running behind their 2012 levels by 26,324 returned ballots for a 13% decrease from 2012."

In Nevada, "registered Democrats are voting above their voter registration levels, up 12 points in Clark [County] and 11 points in Washoe [County]. Republicans are running below their voter registration levels, down 2 points in Clark and 1 point in Washoe."

In California, "registered Democrats have returned ballots at 25% over 2012 and Republicans are up only 6%. ... California Latinos' mail balloting is up 45% over their 2012 level, the highest increase for any group."

In Florida, "at a comparable time in 2012, registered Republicans had a lead of 5.3 percentage points over Democrats in returned mail ballots. As of Saturday, the Republican lead was 1.6 percentage points." (Romney lost Florida in 2012.)

In Virginia, the northern (Democratic) part of the state "is running ahead of its 2012 levels by 63%, whereas other regions are running slightly ahead or behind their 2012 levels."

Iowa, Ohio, and Maine look slightly better for Trump, but overall, early voting patterns suggest that Democrats are more motivated this year.

Quotes were taken from this article:

@ Eric Newhill:

"What values is the right trying to impose beyond an environment that fosters a sense of patriotism, respect for God and life?"

Can't anyone frame their positions as positives in this manner ->

"What values is the Left trying to impost beyond an environment that fosters a sense of income/social equality, respect for secularism, and freedom of bodily autonomy?"

Though personally I still think online discussion of politics bring out the extremes - I truly believe there is a sort of addiction to conflict that drives online discourse, of course combined with the shield of anonymity.

In my real life I see people who don't sleeve easily into "Right" or "Left". Online is where I see people battling caricatures of the other side.


On the Podesta email(s?) regarding polls and oversampling, that firm mentions they are devoted to data-driven consulting for progressive causes and candidates. Oversampling is a statistical term:

On polls in general people can look up the methodology used by polling aggregates and examine their success rates. I think it's pretty clear Trump is going to lose, and the campaign's own reactions (such as staff turnover) seems perfectly in line with the way polls have moved this election cycle.

But Trump could release his campaign's internal polls and we could compare them to the aggregates.

IIRC both Red State and National Review have covered why the "rigged election" myth doesn't have wings.

“To participate in a sham election is to validate and legitimize it. It's a mistake to go along with the pretense that you're being offered a choice when you aren't. Why enable the people who are gaslighting you?”

Exactly! That is our dilemma isn’t it. That’s what caused me to pause and still does. I guess ‘we’ (and there are a lot of us) could all just stay home and not vote. That’ll show them! Right? But exactly who would that ‘show’. Nobody cares, nor will anything change if I stay home and not vote. The election will still go on and someone will get elected, probably one of the two major candidates whether I like it or not. The choice in this election places me on the classic ‘horns of a dilemma’ with no acceptable decision or solution that will satisfy me.

I must admit that I have swung back and forth between voting and not voting. Right now 'to vote' is winning, not for someone but against someone but that is a legitimate reason to vote---I think---if I skew up my mind enough to make that reason acceptable for me. I am not going to sit at home and pout!

I think that I will prefer the people that Trump would pick to run the government over the people that I am pretty sure that Clinton would pick. And as you said above, if Trump can manage to step aside and let his staff function without his constant interference then maybe it won’t be so bad. - AOD

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