After reading Scott Aaronson’s “Daddy, why didn’t you blog about Trump?” post and Terence Tao’s “It ought to be common knowledge that Donald Trump is not fit for the presidency of the United States of America” — relax, Tao is not indulging in liberal tribalism but rather is using a technical definition of “common knowledge” in a very interesting way — I realized that anyone who agrees should make a similar post.
So here’s mine:
The United States should not elect a narcissistic con-man to the Presidency.
Donald Trump has already done a measure of harm to our country; if elected President he would do much, much greater harm. This country is important to me. If you’ve ever lived in a place that doesn’t have freedom of speech, freedom of association, and a widely-shared commitment to the rule of law, you’ll understand that that patriotic sentiment is wholly unironic. We’re not perfect, but we’ve got a lot that’s worth preserving, and we should try to keep it (and if possible improve it). Donald Trump understands nothing of this; he understands nothing to be more important than his own overweening self. His Presidency would be a disaster for the United States and for the world.
Thanks to a very poorly thought-out voting system, the best way to prevent Donald Trump from becoming President is to vote for Hillary Clinton in November. That’s what I plan to do, and I hope you will do so too, if you’re a citizen of the United States, even if you aren’t a Hillary fan. Remember, you’re not voting for a candidate, you’re voting for an outcome. If the outcome you want is for Donald Trump not to be President, then vote accordingly.
Here’s something you can retweet or redent, if you want a convenient way to signal that you’re on board.
Update 2016-09-25: Sadly, my original last paragraph (below) was overly optimistic. I’ll leave it here, because a blog post with a date stamp ought to be honest, but obviously he not only became the nominee but now has a reasonable chance of winning the general election. That is the most depressing thing I’ve written all day :-(.
I think there’s actually a chance Donald Trump won’t be the Republican nominee, because his candidacy is cratering rapidly in the polls, and he’s psychologically incapable of persisting in a situation where he can’t think of himself as a winner. If he withdraws before the convention, then great. But if he’s on the ballot in November, please do whatever you have to do to prevent him from becoming President.
I think you’ll be fascinated by reading Scott Adams’ blog (of Dilbert fame). He supports Clinton, but believes Trump will win, due to his “persuasion” skills. (then again, since he makes such a good argument, reading his posts might just depress you)
Hey, Greg! I’d actually seen the post, yeah. I think Scott Adams is talking about a real phenomenon — but in Trump’s case he’s operating in a much more con-hostile environment than he usually has to: there’s an organized and mightily motivated opposition dedicated to countering everything Trump tries to do. That makes a difference.
Or so I like to think, perhaps wishfully :-).
Still, watching Hillary Clinton try to supply that opposition is not easy. She makes so many unforced errors herself! Her latest was “We can’t let him roll the dice with our children’s futures.” No doubt she thought that was a good line, because ‘everyone knows’ gambling is bad, right? She doesn’t have the ability to put herself in the mind of the swing voter. To someone whose children’s futures aren’t looking very bright right now, “rolling the dice” is probably a very attractive idea. Things couldn’t get much worse, so heck, why *not* roll the dice? All it takes is a little optimism… It was the exact wrong thing to say. I think she’s very risk-averse herself, and she probably unconsciously assumes that everyone else is like that too.
What I don’t get is why she and her surrogates don’t hit Trump on his weakest and most obvious trait: the way he conspicuously avoids taking responsibility for the things he says. He’ll say something completely ridiculous and then hedge it with “I’m not saying that’s the case, it’s just something that’s out there” or “It’s what some people are saying” (these aren’t exact quotes, but you don’t have to dig very much to find plenty of examples of Trump doing this — he started it early, with the birther nonsense, even before he was a candidate). I remember thinking the first time I heard him do this that it was a totally McCarthyite technique, and lo, today’s New York Times has a long piece about Trump’s close association with Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s former aide. I guess Trump learned from the master, or at least from the master’s student.