Black Votes Matter
A big factor in whether, or by how much, Hillary Clinton wins the presidential election Tuesday is black voter turnout. The polls show it’s down significantly from the last two elections.
That’s understandable, considering that a black was the Democratic candidate in 2008 and 2012. It makes perfect sense that enthusiasm for an African-American on the ballot would exceed that for a Caucasian.
However, failure to exercise their right, and duty, to vote will hurt blacks, as well as the rest of us. That’s because most support Hillary Clinton, and her victory is critical to the well-being of the black community, as it is to all Americans. A decision to withhold a vote for her is, indirectly, a vote for Donald Trump. If blacks can’t see that the man is a racist, they are blind. His whole presidential campaign was founded on the claim that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, an assertion he repeated ad infinitum in the face of proof that he was born in Hawaii. Don’t blacks see that “make America great again” is code for suppressing and reducing minorities? Don’t they realize that putting Trump in the White House would be greatly detrimental to their interests?
As for those few blacks who support Trump … well, I can only say that I am mind-boggled by such a choice.
Don’t blame me or the bossa nova.
If African-Americans help Trump attain the presidency, either by failing to vote or voting for Trump, my position will be that they have themselves to blame for the rise in racism and discriminatory policies that will result.
MSNBC said today that blacks accounted for only 11 percent of the early voting in Florida. The New York Times reported a few days ago that the situation was similar in other states, notably Ohio and North Carolina, where black turnout was down 16 percent while white turnout was up 15 percent. There, blacks should have even more incentive to vote after Republicans, a federal appeals court decided, conducted an “almost surgical” assault on black turnout and Republican-dominated election boards eliminated early-voting sites. If I were black, I would be mad as hell, and show my defiance by turning up at the polling place.
Instead, there exists among black voters such confused people as a 31-year-old mental health worker from North Carolina who was undecided because, he felt, Hillary Clinton had demonstrated a lack of trustworthiness in setting up a private email server as secretary of state. “What were you trying to hide?” he wondered.
Lies, lies, and more lies
Say what? Examination of tens of thousands of her emails has shown that she mainly didn’t want to share her private life with the public, and that she was extremely careless about classified materials. Has Mr. Mental Health Worker not heard the never-ending stream of lies coming from Trump’s mouth? There’ve been so many that a Washington Post editor said awhile back that it was hard to know how to handle all of Trump’s lies in its Fact Checker service. The paper said that he had “amassed such a collection of Four-Pinocchio ratings — 59 in all — that by himself he’s earned as many in this campaign as all other Republicans (or Democrats) combined in the past three years.”
Did the worker wonder what Trump was trying to hide by refusing to provide his income tax returns — before he was outed as having paid none for 19 years?
The North Carolinian isn’t the only person whose view of the candidates’ comparative honesty is skewed. A poll today showed 64 percent think Clinton is untrustworthy, compared to 58 percent for Trump. Sad to consider the ignorance among the voting public.
This is not, as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said, a spectator sport. It’s not a sports contest where you cheer for one team or the other, but don’t do anything else to support it. Because if a sports team loses, you might feel a little down for a short time, but your life will not be affected. Not so with a presidential contest, especially this one, whereby the wrong team losing will harm your lifestyle.
By team, I mean the whole Republican slate of candidates, because that party has clearly demonstrated its preference for policies that benefit whites, particularly rich ones, and its unconcern for the interests of minorities. A Clinton presidency won’t be able to attain many of its goals with a Republican-dominated Congress.
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
I’m not thinking just of the interests of blacks in this screed. People across the board in the middle and lower classes would feel the pain of a Trump presidency. It would make the wealthy even richer with a lowering to 33 percent as the upper limit on income taxes, a big reduction in corporate taxes, and a steep drop in estate taxes (which he proposed eliminating until recently). An abolishment of Obamacare, which has resulted in a much slower rate of cost increases that holds despite the recent spike in insurance costs, would send costs through the roof again. Attempts to bully the leaders of other nations would only exacerbate the turmoil around the world. According to economists, the national debt would skyrocket, resulting in an economic downturn that would cause the stock markets to plummet.
Vice President Joe Biden
I understand the reservations voters have about Hillary Clinton. While the emails are, in my opinion, not a big issue, I am much dismayed by the ways in which she and hubby Bill have accumulated so much wealth. Her huge fees for speeches to Wall Street bigwigs, and the blatant conflicts of interest in the Clinton Foundation’s dealings are reprehensible. And yes, Hillary has built a reputation for a lack of honesty. My No. 1 choice for Democratic candidate was Bernie Sanders, and I would have been quite happy with Elizabeth Warren or Joe Biden. But the choice is Clinton or Trump.
For all Hillary’s flaws, she is light years ahead of her opponent in qualifications for the presidency – a mark not hard to achieve, since Trump has no qualifications for the office.
A dangerous candidate
A former Bush speech writer, Michael Gerson, editorialized this week in the Washington Post about his rejection of Trump: “Trump is a man of dangerously erratic temperament who should not be allowed to control American foreign and military policy. Trump lacks a commitment to democratic ideals and institutions. Trump operates by a materialistic, Nietzschean ethic – an ethic of dominance and revenge in which power and success are worshipped and the weak are treated with contempt. And Trump is deeply and defiantly ignorant, with no basis or background to make informed choices on complex issues.”
David Frum, another conservative pundit and former speech writer for George W. Bush, wrote in The Atlantic last week that he disagrees with Clinton’s policies up and down the list. But he voted for her, and here’s why:
“She is a patriot. She will uphold the sovereignty and independence of the United States. She will defend allies. She will execute the laws with reasonable impartiality. She may bend some rules for her own and her supporters’ advantage. She will not outright defy legality altogether. Above all, she can govern herself; the first indispensable qualification for governing others.” Obviously, for Frum, Trump did not come close to meeting those standards.
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