Apr. 18, 2016

Why I Cannot Vote For Donald Trump

Tomorrow is Primary Day in New York. The winner of the NY Republican Presidential primary will almost certainly by Donald Trump. The most likely Republican nominee after the convention in Cleveland this summer will be Trump. There are also no circumstances under which I would vote for Mr. Trump.

            Trump began his campaign in 2015 with his vicious attacks on Mexican immigrants, and he has only gotten worse since then. He has run the most openly racist campaign since the segregationist George Wallace in the 1960s and 1970s. He has embraced conspiracy theories ranging from President Barack Obama’s supposedly false birth certificate to Justice Antonin Scalia being murdered to linking vaccines to autism. Trump has shown a complete disregard for the rule of law, openly endorsing torture and murdering the families of terrorists. He has disgracefully encouraged hatred of Muslims by pledging to ban them from entering the United States and essentially treating Muslim Americans as second-class citizens to be kept under surveillance. His policies are usually incoherent and have little depth, from pledging to “bomb the shit out of ISIS” to his signature promise of somehow making Mexico pay for a “big, beautiful” wall along the Southern border. He shows little understanding of the international economy in the 21st Century and instead endorses a crude form of mercantilism.

            Trump has said he would ramp up defense spending while implementing unaffordable tax cuts and maintaining entitlements while at the same time rapidly reducing the deficit.  There is no doubt that this is all mathematically impossible, but who needs facts when the fantasy sounds great?  He has been revealed to have a stunningly weak grasp of crucial issues related to national security. He promises to overthrow the entire national security strategy that has been in place since Harry Truman was President and destroy important American alliances with powers like Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, the European Union and pretty much all of Latin America.

            As awful as Trumps policies have been (frankly, calling them policies is a big generous) his character has been even worse. Over the course of his career, Trump has been more than happy to use illegal labor to build his tacky buildings. His casinos have files for bankruptcy several times, and Trump’s business empire almost completely collapsed in the 1990s. He became more of a celebrity businessman in the 2000s with his reality show The Apprentice. Perhaps there is no greater condemnation of current American society than the fact that a reality TV show host now stands a good chance of becoming the leader of the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.            

            Throughout his campaign, Trump has shown all the character of a 10 year old playground bully. Instead of debating issues, he calls his opponents names and threatens them. He openly contemplates changing libel laws to make it easier to silence reporters that dare to call him out on his nonsense. He surrounds himself with thugs who are happy to intimidate anyone who gets in his way and encourages a brutal, Munich beer hall atmosphere at his rallies that can quickly turn violent. Trump revels in hatred and seems happy to bring out the worst in many Americans. When he loses, he throws tantrums and rages that the election is being stolen from him, even though the truth is that his campaign is often just too incompetent to understand how the process works (so much for being a great boss who hires only the best.) He is more than willing to mutter dark warnings about riots and violence if he does not win the nomination. He openly praises tyrannical regimes such as Vladimir Putin’s gangster kleptocracy regime in Russia and the Chinese government for massacring protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989. For Trump, might makes right and laws can be trampled on. Trump seems to think that democracy is for “losers” only.

            Trump is, frankly, un-American. His candidacy has been the most repugnant phenomenon in American politics in quite a long time. Trump defines everything in terms of “winning and losing.” He is a “winner” because he is big and strong and smart and able to bully people into doing what he wants. “Losers” do things like follow the law and carefully think about what is best for the country after studying the issues. But being smart, reasonable and open-minded is apparently “stupid” according to Trump. He does not care in the slightest for American values and institutions that go back to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and that have made the United States such a unique nation. This strain of anti-intellectualism never ends well in any society, and it remains to be seen how much damage Trump has really had on America. But he is certainly damaging our country. Tomorrow, in the remaining primaries, and on Election Day in November, I beg Americans to say enough. We are better than this