Everything was lining up for a Republican to take the White House in 2016.
It’s the natural course of things in this country — after eight years of Clinton, America wanted Bush. After eight years of Bush, America wanted Obama. After eight years of Obama, it was likely the country was leaning toward a change in tactics and vision.
But the GOP nominated Donald J. Trump, and the possibility that the party would take back the White House immediately went up in smoke.
Quite simply: Trump represents the worst of America, is an affront to the essential values of this country and has no business anywhere near the White House.
Here are a few nonpartisan reasons:
▪ He is trying to undermine the entire American democracy, claiming that the election will be rigged weeks before any voting even took place. Trump has not yet said he will accept the results of the election — thus putting at risk the country’s long history of peaceful transfer of power. Being the sore loser and publicity hound that he is, one can imagine Trump undermining the legitimacy of the next president for as long as the cameras and crowds allow him.
▪ He oozes greed and narcissism. Throughout his life, he has done everything he can to cheat his way out of his obligations via bankruptcy and tax loopholes, and stiffing the little guy whenever his clout and power allowed it.
▪ He is blatantly working in concert with one of America’s enemies — in this case Russia — to undermine our democracy. That bears repeating: He is working with information supplied illegally by a foreign government and a foreign non-state actor to defeat his opposition.
▪ He is a xenophobe. He has inflamed white supremacists across the country, refusing to denounce them in every campaign stop and interview. He has done irreparable damage, especially to young minds, with his vicious verbal assaults against Mexicans, Muslims and African-Americans, just to name a few groups he has targeted.
▪ He treats women terribly. He has left one wife after another — cheating on each — and is a serial abuser of women. He admitted to that fact in the leaked 2005 video, and plenty of women have stood up to corroborate Trump’s own words.
▪ He has undermined faith in the media. The media is not tasked with fair and equal handling of unequal candidates. Our job is to test and poke and prod each candidate fairly, and Trump failed those tests to a far greater degree than his competitor. We tried to find one newspaper that has endorsed Trump, and have been unable to do so. And that’s the way it should be. Anyone of unbiased mind, with the facts in front of them, has to come to the conclusion that Trump is a far weaker choice. What he sees as conspiracy is simply consensus.
▪ He has inflicted terrible damage on the Republican Party. He is not a conservative and believes in none of the core beliefs of the GOP — small government, free trade, personal responsibility. He has laid waste to the party in his self-absorbed sprint to November, and may have handed Congress to the Democrats and Hillary Clinton.
▪ He has committed crimes against common decency. His language, his casual support of violence, and his continuous, bilious insults of others will be what this campaign is remembered for. When we look back upon a man who said such awful, ignorant things in front of thousands of cheering fans, we are bound to be shocked and saddened, embarrassed by ourselves and the way we turned against our neighbors and our democratic institutions.
Yet despite all that, while it is clear that Trump is an odious person, that does not necessarily preclude him from being a good president.
But the plain and simple truth about why Donald Trump cannot do the job: He has no idea what he’s talking about.
Literally, no idea. We doubt he could pass an eighth grade civics test. He has learned so little through the campaign process and refused to prepare substantively for any of the debates.
Trump’s promise was that he was so brilliant and successful, that given a few weeks or months he could know more than the dumb generals and bring peace to the Middle East, know more than the dumb economists and boost American incomes, know more than the dumb politicians and untangle all the intractable problems that America faces. Yet, when faced with the daunting task of forming and then defending his positions, he gave up with a whimper. Instead he sat in his hotel room, turned on CNN and Fox News, and tweeted about how nasty everyone who disagrees with him is.
And now a word about the next President of the United States: Hillary Clinton. She is a noticeably poor campaigner. She doesn’t have the oratory skills of her husband or her predecessor in the White House. She doesn’t have the natural instinct for politics and people that those men do, either.
Obama and Bush are excellent speakers. Bush especially seemed to relish the competition of an election much more than the daily grind of governance.
Hillary is the opposite. She fails to whip crowds into a frenzy, fails to dazzle us in debates. And her constant shading of political positions and personal beliefs is maddening, her hawkish foreign policy a clear cause for concern.
But she is a dogged, determined policy guru. She will put her head down and work, looking for solutions to every possible problem this nation will face. She may even help rebuild the Republican Party just by being who she is — a straightforward foil that half the country reflexively opposes.
Clinton is worthy of the office. She has worked all her life to get there, and no one will work harder once she arrives.
Her opponent isn’t worthy of anything except sitting in his chair in his lonely, gilded hotel room, flipping through cable news channels and complaining about them.