Before voting, I decided at a young age to consider the following:
1) Does the candidate pass the “good neighbor test.” Would I want want my kids to observe this person and would they see an example of a life well-lived? Would I give them code to enter my house? Would I enjoy an evening with this person on the deck with an adult beverage?
2) Do I think they have the skills to be effective at the office they are pursuing?
3) Do I agree sufficiently with their views on the issues most important to me?
In the 36 years I’ve been voting, in general, whether they be Republican or Democrat, in most elections I have thought both candidates would be good neighbors and had the skills to be effective. In the few times a Republican couldn’t pass #1 or #2, in a general election state-wide race, I am sure I skipped the race because I don’t recall finding enough issue agreement with the Democrat to give them my vote. I think maybe I’ve voted for a Democrat or two in legislative or local races.
About when Donald Trump announced for President, here on SDWC, Pat asked the question “Have you selected a candidate yet” and I responded I was sufficiently comfortable with all the candidates on the issues. “I’m still watching to see who demonstrates the breadth of skills to be good candidates. . . . For me it is going to be a process of elimination as the campaign goes along. So far, I have only eliminated Trump.”
My rationale was Trump didn’t pass the “good neighbor test” and I doubted he had the skills to work with Congress, be Commander in Chief, and discern international matters.
When it became clear our choices were to be Trump and Clinton, I decided for the first time to set aside #1 (one is a bullying cad and the other is a lying crook) and #2 (one has no experience and the other has learned all the wrong lessons from her experience).
In short, I found Trump better on the issues despite him being the most politically and personally moderate (concurrently holding a disproportionate number of conservative and liberal positions) Presidential candidate the GOP has nominated in my voting lifetime.
When the infamous Billy Bush video broke, I admit being shaken to my knees. Not because I never heard or couldn’t handle crap in that vein. I’ve been in plenty of locker rooms. But, never before has such a person asked to be my President, someone my grandchildren will be expected to respect. And, most importantly, even in the most private of “locker rooms,” I don’t recall anyone ever saying crap like that with the proviso “because I’m rich and famous, I get to do it without permission.”
My first reaction was Trump has to drop out of the race. Besides my personal revulsion to the video, there is the practical matter it could be the difference between having Clinton as President or not.
Since the conventions and prior to the first debate, Trump had the momentum and had crept up to being virtually tied with Clinton. But, since then, the race is worse that it was after the two conventions. Currently, Clinton is up 5% or more in enough states to win the Electoral College.
To win the Electoral College, Trump essentially needs to attract over 90% of the undecided to have a chance to squeak out a razor thin victory. If I was behind in the final minutes of a football game, I’d rather put on the field my second string quarterback than my first string quarterback who just broke both his legs.
Contrary to popular perception, we don’t vote for President but select Electors of the Electoral College. If either Clinton or Trump died today, we wouldn’t just give the Presidency to the other. We’d have the election with the voters choosing between the Clinton/Kaine Electors and Trump/Pence Electors. So it could/would be if Trump dropped out.
Because Trump is that quarterback with two broken legs, we need a substitute who is at least healthy. Somebody had to stand up and call for a new quarterback and I’m proud and grateful Senator Thune and Governor Daugaard were among those who tried to induce Trump to drop out.
When Trump announced he would stay in the race no matter what, my second reaction was I’m just going to skip this race. The thought of voting for Trump makes me feel dirty, he obviously only cares for himself and not the country or down-ballot Republicans (right now both the RNC and DNC believe not only is it likely we will lose control of the Senate but the House is even in play), and voting for Gary Johnson felt like the easy way out to make myself feel good. Frankly and ironically, while I have confidence Hillary will pursue most of the harmful policies she has promised, I don’t have much confidence Trump will follow through on his promises because I don’t know if I know what he really believes.
But, over the last five days, the latest leaked emails bring me back to the discernment table as we learn:
1) Despite Hillary’s call for “getting money out of politics,” her campaign violated election law by coordinating with Super Pacs.
2) Hillary’s campaign induced/cooperated with DNC senior executives willing to violate their own neutrality rules.
3) Hillary’s campaign considered the State Department and Justice Department arms of her campaign as they coordinated how to obfuscate and/or minimize public disclosure of her conduct at the State Department.
4) The deepening melding of Clinton Foundation interests with State Department business.
5) The depth of the covert cooperation and support from the mainstream media to enhance Clinton’s persona and failure to report news because it was unflattering to Hillary.
6) And now we find out the career FBI and DOJ attorneys all wanted her to be charged and have her security clearance yanked. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/10/12/fbi-doj-roiled-by-comey-lynch-decision-to-let-clinton-slide-by-on-emails-says-insider.html
While probably so remote to be unrealistic, I still hope Trump just says “I’m fired” if for no other reason than it will take away any Clinton claim to a mandate. Only 25% of the electorate say they support Clinton for who she is. The rest either oppose her or say they only dislike her less than they dislike Trump. As more and more of the recent Wikileaks information gets processed, I just can’t believe the voters will give to Hillary both the Senate and House to pursue her agenda unfettered by a Republican Congress. In fact, the greater her chances of the winning the White House might diminish the chances of Democrats winning the close Senate and House races.
If he drops out, we can then rally around Governor Pence, put him on stage for the last debate, and urge voters to vote for the Trump/Pence electors.
If the Trump/Pence electors get a majority of the Electoral College (270 Electoral Votes), the Constitution and Supreme Court will be tested to figure out what isn’t specifically provided for in the Constitution or Law.
Will the Supreme Court allow the Electors to select Pence as President? If not, Hillary doesn’t have a majority of the Electoral College, the House of Representatives selects the President.
In short, even if I wanted Trump to be my President, his only chance is a “Hail Mary” pass and we know how often they work out.
Personal Message to Donald J. Trump: If you really care about our country and don’t want Hillary to be President, drop out and let us take our chances. Whatever modicum of reputation as a man you want to retain, it is only possible if you put country before yourself and drop out. While I will still vote for you if you stay in the race, I beg you to take that cup from me.
Sidenote: Over the past few weeks, President Obama’s job approval numbers have been creeping up. Does anyone really think in the context of what is going on domestically and internationally people are saying he is doing a better job? Or could they just be saying he looks good compared to Clinton and Trump?