After more than a year of campaigning, voting in the 2016 presidential campaign has begun — citizens around the country are submitting absentee ballots and lining up at their local courthouses to cast early votes. The leading contenders are Hillary Clinton, the Democrat, and Donald Trump, the GOP nominee. Third-party candidates like Jill Stein, Gary Johnson and Evan McMullin are also on the ballot.
Who deserves your vote? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.
Hillary Clinton isn’t my favorite presidential candidate ever.
Her Senate vote in favor of the invasion of Iraq still rankles. Her cozying up to Wall Street leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Her reflexive defensiveness against GOP criticism leads to unforced errors like the email scandal.
Then again, I felt the same way about her husband way back in the late 1990s. As a result? In 2000, I cast my presidential vote for Ralph Nader. And I wasn’t the only one. There are a lot of reasons George W. Bush entered the White House after that election, and liberal disillusionment with centrist Democratic politicians was one of them.
Turns out, we were wrong. Or, at least, not entirely right.
The Bush years ended up being much worse. A budget surplus became a deficit again. America responded to 9/11, in part, by abandoning the country’s laws and values in favor of embracing torture and warrantless surveillance. We got bogged down in an endless war with a country that had nothing to do with the attacks. At the end, the economy was in tatters. Republican governance was devastating for the country.
If you’re a liberal, this is why you should vote for Clinton: Because she alone among the presidential candidates is prepared to defend and advance the achievements of the Obama years —everything from expanded health insurance to higher taxes on the rich to executive action on climate change. It’s a long list of accomplishments. It deserves defense.
If you’re on the fence, here’s why you should vote for Clinton: Because Donald Trump is, quite simply, awful. He might be appealing in some of his stances, such as his refusal to simply accept orthodoxy on trade and foreign policy, but his temperament renders him unfit for office: He is consumed with personal grievances instead of the business of the American people.
There is plenty of that business to be done. Clinton may be imperfect, but this year’s field doesn’t offer a better option. She’s the best candidate to represent and lead the American people.
A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for at least four years of triangulation and permanent campaigning — the seamless interweaving of policy and polling that made her husband’s political career so successful. It’s also a vote to undermine the Constitution. No, that isn’t an exaggeration.
After her stint as secretary of state, Clinton delivered 45-minute speeches to big banks for around $225,000 a pop. Nice work if you can get it. (Sorry, you can’t.)
In 2013, she told a group of Brazilian bankers that her “dream is a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders.” At the third and final presidential debate, she claimed she had been talking about green energy. She wasn’t.
Then again, truth has always been the first casualty of Clinton’s ambitions. In another speech, she told her audience that as a politician, “(Y)ou need both a public and a private position.” Her private position, when she’s paid handsomely to offer it, is quite a bit different from what she’s willing to say publicly to U.S. voters.
She’s somewhat less coy about her contempt for the First Amendment and free speech. Clinton has been open about her vow to appoint judges who will overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which liberals have made out to be the worst decision since Dred Scott.
Only once in awhile will she mention that the case had to do with a private organization broadcasting a movie critical of her. And she never mentions that the federal government argued that it could ban movies and even books under the 2002 law that the Supreme Court quite rightly found in conflict with the First Amendment’s protections against censorship of speech and the press.
Imperfect? No. She’s corrupt. And she’s made violating her oath of office — “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” — central to her campaign.
Republicans agonizing over their votes say they want to be true to their consciences. But Republicans who cast their ballots for Clinton have no recourse to moral rectitude or sound ethics.
Don’t like Trump? Fine. Vote for anybody you like. Or vote for no one. Just don’t vote for her.
Joel Mathis is an award-winning writer in Kansas. Ben Boychuk is managing editor of American Greatness. Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or www.facebook.com/benandjoel.