My Republican friends tell me that they don’t like Trump but they will vote for him because, as bad as he is, he is better than Hillary. My Democratic friends tell me they don’t like Hillary but they will vote for her because, as bad as she is, she is better than Trump.
That is what is called a dilemma, wherein you have a choice between two unattractive options. Actually, it is more like a Morton’s Fork where there is a choice between two equally unattractive options that lead to the same unpleasant conclusion.
To say that this election cycle has been a disaster is to state the obvious. It would be great entertainment if it were a different country. But it isn’t. Shame on us for letting it happen.
Our politicians promise us many things. If they could solve our problems by those promises they would already have done so and we would be living in their promised Utopia. After all, they’ve had 80 years to do so. Their tool kit hasn’t changed much over the years, yet we still vote them in. We must challenge the intellectual status quo or resign ourselves to creeping stagnation and social disunity.
In past months I have detailed the failings of Hillary and Donald’s policies. Both candidates threaten our economic well-being and individual freedom as well as our security. Here are my concluding thoughts.
Trump appeals to populist, racist, and nationalistic ideals. He says whatever he thinks will appeal to his supporters no matter how big the lie. And most of what he says are lies which are well documented and proven (see Politifact.com).
Trump keeps beating the populist anti-free trade drum and his supporters accept as fact that it causes unemployment and economic decline. “We lose jobs to foreigners in the worst trade deals ever negotiated.” If that were true, then why has employment and GDP grown over the past 30 years? Free trade makes us wealthier, not poorer and the supporting evidence is overwhelming. Erecting trade barriers will cause an international depression; it was one of the main causes of the Great Depression (see Smoot-Hawley).
Ditto Trump’s outrageous threat to put 11 million illegal immigrants in boxcars and ship them points south (this is not necessarily hyperbole). The thought should frighten anyone concerned with human rights as expressed by our Founders who, as products of the Enlightenment, enshrined those values in our Constitution. That exodus would also result in economic depression.
I believe Trump would be a dangerous president, unbound by, and ignorant of, ideology, ideas, or history. He would be a threat to the freedoms granted us by our Constitution. Most Republicans seem to dismiss his rhetoric as campaign excess and have faith that this successful businessman will properly shape America’s future to their liking. They are wrong. At some point they need to focus on what the man says and see him for what he represents: a demagogue in the mold of a classic strongman. He himself says “believe me”, and we should.
In recent days as Trump’s poll numbers decline he appears unhinged, threatening, and authoritarian. He lies unabashedly, threatens his opponent, and challenges the basic institution of our electoral system.
The fallback argument of most Republicans is “the Supreme Court”. “If Hillary wins we’ll lose the Court for a generation.” Their faith in Trump is misplaced and their understanding of the Court is limited. Many conservatives including George Will and that conservative bastion, the National Review, argue that the Court’s impact is important but limited, that justices voted unanimously more often than not, that they voted against the Obama Administration unanimously 13 times from 2012 to 2014, that you cannot trust Trump to do as he says, and that so called “conservative” justices often sell out (Roberts, Kennedy, and sometimes even Scalia).
As National Review’s Ian Tuttle puts it:
“[T]hose who cite the Supreme Court as a compelling reason to vote for Trump are of the befuddling opinion that the same man who has demonstrated willful ignorance of the Constitution, who has promised to subvert the Constitution, and whose dealings with the judiciary demonstrate contempt for the Constitution, is the man who will save it.”
Hillary Clinton’s Progressivism will lead the economy into continued, steady stagnation. She has proposed an ocean of new regulations to reward her friends and buy votes from special interests. Far from bringing about progress, Progressivism does the opposite by deterring investment, innovation, business formation, competition, jobs, and prosperity.
Think of Hillary as Obama’s third term presidency.
I have detailed my criticism of Hillary’s Progressive policies in two previous articles (Why Hillary’s Progressive Policies Will Fail, Parts 1 and 2). She, like Trump, proposes populist policies that will do the opposite of what is intended. Increasing income taxes on the “rich”, raising the capital gains tax, increasing taxes on corporations, and more business regulations will deter investment in businesses and jobs, the very things that America needs for a thriving economy.
Hillary has proposed new costly programs that will be impossible to fund without huge tax increases or more deficit spending which raises the national debt. Contrary to what she says, there is a rich history of the failure of programs like massive infrastructure spending, “free” college, restricting free trade to keep labor unions in power thus encouraging companies to offshore production, fixing Obamacare with a single-payer (government run) medical system are just a few of her costly “solutions”.
Both candidates propose budget busting spending programs, but Hillary’s Progressive populism outdoes Trump. Her policies would lower the standard of living of ordinary Americans. There is only one way for America to prosper and that is to encourage businesses to invest and grow their businesses here in America. Heavy taxation of businesses and capital and heavy-handed business regulation makes it difficult for entrepreneurs and investors to justify new investment here. And without prosperous private businesses there would be fewer jobs, less growth, and long-term stagnation. Japan is the best example of Progressivism – for the past 20 years their economy has stagnated and their debt has skyrocketed to dangerous levels, threatening their standard of living. We must not take that path.
What to do?
Hillary, like Obama, is a known quantity. She will use the Progressive playbook to impose on us her vision of how we should live our lives. The Obama Administration’s Progressive policies have led us into the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression. Our economy is stagnating and, like Japan, we face years of low or negative economic growth because of bad policies. Hillary will lead us further into decline.
Trump is an unknown quantity. We have no idea what he will do. But what we do know is that his anti-free trade policies would be an immediate disaster for the economy. If, as he promises, he erects trade barriers to protect American businesses, other countries would reciprocate and exports will drop, and, as the second largest exporter in the world (e.g., Boeing, Caterpillar, GE, Dow, Weyerhaeuser, DuPont, Ford, GM, Cargill), there will be massive unemployment, business failures, and depression.
Both have authoritarian leanings. Hillary’s Progressive policies assume the right to impose her social utopian vision on us depriving us of our rights to make choices about our own lives. Trump is clearly willing to sacrifice the Constitution and human rights to carry out his plan to expel 11 million immigrants. He fits the classic authoritarian strongman persona.
Both stress an aggressive interventionist foreign policy that will further entangle us in the Middle East with no real strategy for success, that will inspire terrorists, and that will increase military spending and grow our national debt.
Both would be bad for America.
There is only one party that supports limited government, fiscal responsibility, free markets, free trade, less regulation, more economic growth, more personal freedom, and a restrained foreign policy. I will vote for the Libertarian candidates, former governors Gary Johnson and William Weld.
The candidates don’t matter as much as the message. No one expects Johnson to win, and, in keeping with their long tradition of nominating poor candidates, the Libertarian Party has done it again. But that isn’t the point.
This is a protest vote. A strong showing by the Libertarians will help change the direction of American politics from the anti-intellectual chaos of Trump and Hillary to one of principled, issue-oriented policies that will turn America around.
For Republicans It is a moral choice they must make. It is likely that Trump has destroyed the Republican Party so Republicans must stand up for the principles the party used to support; those principles are the foundation of the Libertarian movement.
Experience has shown me that it is unlikely I will convince Progressive Democrats to change their belief in a failed movement.
My hope is that independent voters will see the failure of the Democrats and Republicans to solve America’s problems. Like most of us, independents want prosperity and peace, yet the two parties have failed them. The Libertarians offer an alternative that history has shown will achieve those goals.
If there ever was an election to send a message to the establishment, it is this one.
Remember, the lesser of two evils is still evil.