A New Low

trump-clinton

I don’t think I could forgive myself if I didn’t  speak up about this nasty presidential election that is unlike any I’ve seen. And I’ve seen a few. Harry Truman had just become president when I was born. Yeah, I’m old. The first time I voted for president was in 1968,  the year of the riots at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. It was Hubert Humphrey vs. Richard Nixon. I voted for Humphrey, and for the past half century, I’ve voted in every presidential election.

But I’ve never seen a campaign like this. I’ve liked and disliked different presidential contenders, but  until this election I’ve never feared that someone would be elected. But please God, I pray, if you exist, don’t let Donald Trump become the leader of the most powerful nation on the planet.

Donald Trump is a racist, a liar, an egomaniac. He’s a pompous boor, a con man, a vanity queen. I’m not sure he can tell the difference between reality and his own bullshit. He’s unfit to be a dogcatcher. He’s filled with hate, derision and bigotry for everything about America that isn’t white.

Here’s what’s even worse, that racism is still widespread enough in our country to propel him to the nomination of a major party. No, not all his supporters are racists, but they are a big bloc and without the support of racists, he wouldn’t be in this race. I mean, less than eight years ago when Americans elected the first African-American president, we had cause to believe that we had progressed against the forces of racism. Guess not.

The big ugly truth of this election is that racism is alive and well in America. When Trump started putting out his racist clarion calls directed  against Latinos, African-Americans, Women, Gays and even the handicapped, the racists came running. They’d been seething and fomenting for eight years over the indignity of having a Black president. They’re locked, loaded and white. Trump’s base is lily  white. None of America’s minorities support him.

Just hating Hillary is not a good enough excuse to vote for this monster Trump. You  have to be a full-on  bigot to back this blowhard.  I know Hillary isn’t the most appealing person to seek high office. Frankly, I wish the first woman president  (please, God, please)  wouldn’t have gained name recognition by being the wife of a president. But she’s smart, experienced and qualified. Three things that can’t be said for Trump. If Hillary lapsed into a coma tomorrow, I’d still vote for her, because the very idea of Trump being president is unthinkable. I’d vote for slime mold before I’d vote for Trump. His being a candidate is embarrassing. A Trump presidency would be disaster.

I’m truly disappointed we’re at this point in America. The rest of the world thinks Trump is a ridiculous clown. Sure, Putin and the Russians would love to see an idiot in the Oval Office. So would the Chinese, the North Koreans, and the Iranians. All our country’s enemies are hoping Trump gets elected. But that doesn’t bother his base, which is fueled by hate and conspiracy theories.

I think this is a crossroads in American history. We are now a multi-cultural society but a large portion of white people cannot accept the fact that they’re no longer in charge of everything. They want to take America back, like a hundred years back. In this election, we will either move forward by electing our first woman president, or we will return to the dark days of white supremacy by putting a racist in the White House.

 

Why Your Vote May Not Count

Even the name is misleading. It’s not a college.

Remember the 2000 Presidential election, Gore v. Bush? Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote in the country by a margin of more than half a million votes. But George Bush became president because he won in the electoral college.

This year, there’s a chance that could happen again. Statisticians say it’s only a 7 percent chance, so it’s unlikely, but possible. If it happens, the most likely scenario would be that Mitt Romney wins the popular vote but President Obama would win a second term.

With the technology we possess, it just  seems wrong to have someone become president who came in second in the popular vote. Back in the 1700s when the system was set up, it wasn’t possible to hold a national election. Now it is and we should.

There’s another negative aspect to the electoral college that seldom gets mentioned. It damages voter incentive. For example, why should I go out and vote Tuesday in my state when it’s already clear who will win? My state will be voting for Romney, and all my state’s votes in the electoral college will then go to Romney.

You vote counts only if you live in one of the eight states still in play. That’s why the candidates in these final days only campaigned in the states that were close.

But if we had direct popular vote for president, my vote would mean something. It would also mean the candidates would have to bring their message to every part of the country, not just concentrate on the swing states. With direct popular election, a vote has the same value, no matter what state it’s in. I’ll vote anyway, but with direct popular vote, I’d  be a lot happier.

There also is a significant group of disaffected voters who have dropped out of the political process. For the past two presidential elections, voter turnout  rate was 64 percent. Which sounds pretty good unless you think about the fact that over one third of voters who could vote choose not to. I know many of these types. Some of them think all politicians are corrupt. Some just don’t see a choice they like. Some are trying to send a message that they are angry by not voting. They are a large group of Americans who no longer believe in the system.

There has been a tremendous amount of coverage by the media of a tiny sliver of undecided voters. But I’ve yet to see one reporter talking to someone who does not plan to vote. Though this is a group of more than 30 million people, the media has ignored this issue.

Maybe one reason for this is that our political system no longer seems to be able to get much of anything done, even something that makes a lot of sense like getting rid of the electoral college. You would have thought that the 2000 election would have changed attitudes, but no change has happened.

My biggest fear is that, no matter who becomes president, there will be four more years of gridlock in Washington with nothing getting done to move the country forward.