The Presidential Election for the United States of America is tomorrow so it’s about time I do some sort of post about it.
I usually don’t like talking about politics with people who aren’t my friends. It’s pretty much guaranteed to be divisive, but I suppose I should use my teeny soapbox of the GoCorral website for what it’s worth.
I’ve got two categories I want to go over for the election, who should be President and California’s propositions. I’ll start with the propositions.
California has 17 propositions in this election for voters to decide on. A quick summary and perhaps better description of the propositions is available here: https://ballotpedia.org/California_2016_ballot_propositions
Most of the props are self-explanatory and easy for you to make your own mind up about. I’d like to remind you that even if the proposition does not specifically benefit you, it may still benefit the place that you live as a whole.
The more complicated props are 52, 53, 57, 60, 61/65, and 64.
52 keeps in place an already existing tax on California’s hospitals. This tax is put into a fund that gets matched funds from the federal government. The money from this fund is then given back to hospitals. Basically the hospitals are taxed a certain amount and then given twice that amount back in a scheme to get money from the federal government. It helps hospitals out which is good for the medical care of the state, but it feels a little weird that this sort of thing is standard. I don’t like the method, but I like the result so I recommend 52.
53 prevents any public construction project from proceeding if it costs more than $2 billion dollars until it is approved by a majority of voters. This puts an unnecessary restriction on necessary works projects like bridges and railroads.The effect is that if the SF Bay Area needs something like a new bridge, the citizens there would have to wait for people in the LA area to approve it or vice versa. We elect people to make fiscally responsible decisions for us. Let’s let them do it on this one and vote no on 53.
57 gives non-violent felons more opportunities for parole. Allowing more chances for parole is an appropriate step for turning our penal system into a rehabilitation system instead of a retributive system. The argument against the proposition is that sexual assault without the threat of violence is a non-violent crime so you’d have more rapists getting parole. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it could alter your perception of the proposition. I think the parole system is a good way of encouraging good behavior paths in convicts, so I vote yes on 57.
60 requires porn actors to wear condoms. Seems good, but there’s a couple reasons this is bad. First, aggressive STI tests are already required in the porn industry. Second, the person who designed the proposition is also automatically the administrator for it with no reasonable method for the state to remove him from this position. He’s basically trying to create a job for himself that the state would have trouble removing him from if he did a bad job. Third, the prop allows ANYONE to sue violators of this law. There isn’t a fine for violating it, just litigation from random people who watch condomless porn and feel that it was recorded in California. This third reason is why most organizations recommend voting no on 60. It doesn’t make porn actors safer. It could actually just open them up to needless litigation.
61 and 65 go together because only the one with the most votes will pass. 61 abolishes the death penalty in California. 65 fast tracks people on death row, giving them less chances to appeal their sentence (and likely sending a few wrongly convicted people to the grave before they can prove their innocence). I have a complicated stance on the death penalty. I would have trouble telling a victim’s family members, “No,” if they requested that their relative’s murderer be put to death. However, I feel that requesting that death is not something that should be done (similar to how most people feel about abortion). You might say I am pro-choice on capital punishment.
I decided to vote yes on 61 more for financial reasons. The endless appeals for death row convicts are quite expensive compared to life sentences. 65 will also save money for the state, but as I said, will lead to innocent people dying. I voted no on 65. I you feel that 65 is the right way to go for cutting costs, I don’t blame you. If that’s the case, vote for 65 and against 61. If you like the status quo right now, then vote no on both.
64 legalizes recreational marijuana in California for people 21 and up. Decriminalizing pot sounds good and matches the American values of having the freedom to do what we want, even if it’s arguably a bad decision. I voted yes on this one because I feel that the United States has always valued the right to have fun doing whatever we want as long as it doesn’t hurt other people. That said, Colorado recently legalized recreational marijuana and Denver has seen a 50% spike in marijuana related crime and accidents (I don’t know how much 50% actually is in raw numbers). Take that into consideration when you vote on 64.
I am a registered Green Party member but even I’m not going to fool myself into thinking that there are more than two real choices for the Presidency. Jill Stein is a doctor, not a politician and her stance on questionable medical practices makes her a poor choice even for Surgeon General. She is not qualified for the Presidency and her particular stance on some issues is too far to the left to be practical.
Gary Johnson is also a terrible choice. Libertarianism is a fine policy for states, but it honestly only works because states where it is practiced get federal funding to make up for their glaring deficits. Capitalism needs to be regulated and controlled as the Great Depression and Recession have shown. Privatizing everything from hospitals, schools, roads, and healthcare as Johnson wishes are awful awful ideas. Johnson is probably the best person running for President, but his platform is the worst.
Then we have Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. I like Clinton better. My post will likely have no effect on the outcome of the California election (Democratic landslide assured) or any other state. I think most of my readers are liberals who made up their minds long ago. Let’s go through the Clinton first and then Trump on qualifications, policies, and controversies.
- Qualified via her service as First Lady, US Senator for New York, and Secretary of State. She knows how to accomplish goals in the political realm.
- Female, which may be important for some people.
- Favors most of the traditional Democratic policies such as continuing Obamacare, the right to an abortion, stricter regulations on finances, increasing spending (or at least not reducing it), and higher taxes on the wealthy.
- Bernie Sanders convinced her to be in favor of free college education and against the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United vs. FEC which allowed corporations to spend as much as they wanted to influence elections.
- Wants to continue assisting the “good” rebels in the Syrian/Turkey/Iraq conflict. This policy could heighten tensions with Russia, thus reigniting (refreezing?) the Cold War.
- Used a secured but private server during her tenure as Secretary of State. This mixed her personal and professional emails and was a potential weakness that foreign hackers could’ve exploited (although given the amount of information on the Democrats that has been hacked and released, I think if it was exploited we would’ve known by now). While this was a stupid action, it was a policy that Colin Powell, a past Secretary of State, had used. Internet defense is still a new concept and the United States is learning. Clinton certainly learned her lesson with the amount of bad press this is generating and she is not going to repeat her mistake.
- The US embassy in Benghazi, Libya was attacked during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. While it was Clinton’s responsibility to ensure the safety of that embassy, it was appropriate for her to delegate that responsibility. She did so in an appropriate fashion and the failure to protect the embassy occurred further down the chain. Clinton was not a fault.
- There are a lot of rumors about the Clinton Foundation being a corrupt way for the Clinton family to take bribes. And the rumors are only rumors. The more facts that are released, the more the rumors are proven false. Hilary Clinton never gave people more attention if they donated to the Foundation and the hacked emails have revealed that there was constant vigilance to prevent and assure that conflicts did not take place. The Clinton Foundation is not a weird bribery bank account, it’s a charity.
- Qualified via his business experience? I looked to see if there was ever a Major Presidential Nominee that was less qualified than Trump. Wendell Willkie is a close second, never having had a government position, but being a political activist for 20 years (Willkie lost to FDR in 1940). Trump’s prior political experience consists of the racist act of doubting President Obama’s birthplace and citizenship because he’s half-black (and overlooking that his mother was an American citizen so Obama’s birthplace was irrelevant).
- Trump’s business experience isn’t that great either. He may have accumulated around $4 billion, but it appears that a decent portion of that was stolen or winkled out of people. His companies have declared bankruptcy six times and the bankruptcies often had the condition that he no longer be involved in the business due to his colossal mismanagement.
- Favors most of the traditional Republican values such as ending Obamacare (with no reasonable replacement), restricting abortion, protecting the 2nd Amendment, reducing spending (but with more plans that would increase spending than decrease it), simplifying the tax code, and reducing taxes.
- I think the tax plan deserves its own section. Even traditionally conservative estimates have said that Trump’s tax plan would be a disaster that damaged the economy. Engaging in trade wars with China and defaulting on the US debt are not good strategies for a stable economy.
- Flip-flopped on many issues while campaigning, making it uncertain that he will attempt to follow through with his campaign promises. To really drive this uncertainty point home, remember that Trump said he would consider the threat of nuclear war when negotiating with Europe.
- Anti-immigration to the point of wanting to violate the 1st and 14th Amendments.
- Wants to ally with Syria and Russia in the Syria/Turkey/Iraq conflict. While this is the fastest and safest conclusion to the conflict, it also supports dictators who torture people and restrict free speech among other human rights violations.
- Accused by multiple women of sexual assault/harassment. There are too many corroborating reports for a reasonable person to doubt these accusations. Additionally Trump habitually acts in an extremely misogynistic way.
- Numerous racist statements against African, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern people. The Trump business was even found to be engaging in racially discrimatory housing practices in the 70’s.
- His manner of speech and inflammatory comments (publicly arguing with a beauty queen, decorated war heroes, accusing Obama and Clinton of being the founders of ISIS, and encouraging espionage against his opponents among other things) have already proved an embarrassment to the Republican Party. If elected he would do the same thing for the United States and ruin many of the peaceful relationships that Obama has built around the globe.
- Trump has denied contacts in Russia even after evidence of such contacts surfaced. That’s just the most recent lie. He’s stated multiple times that he was against the Iraq War before it started despite that not being the case (His interviews from 2002 show that he didn’t really care either way). He routinely lies about statements he’s made during the campaign and then either claims he was “joking” or making the small legal distinction by claiming “he didn’t say that” because it was on his Twitter account so technically he didn’t say it.
- The Trump family has refused to take steps to ensure there are no conflicts of interest between the Presidency and their company if elected and seemed confused why such steps would be necessary when asked. If you think the Clinton’s Charity Foundation is corrupt with all it does to avoid conflicts of interest then just wait!
- Trump has openly stated that he plans to restrict the freedom of the press by denying left-leaning newspapers access to his Press Secretary if elected. He’s also sued many people in the past for exercising their 1st Amendment rights by insulting him.
- Believes that “global climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese” despite China actually having stricter carbon emission laws than the United States.
- Final reason to vote no on Trump.
Essentially Clinton is qualified and prepared to execute a liberal agenda. Trump is unqualified and unprepared to execute a conservative agenda. He is far more likely to damage the Republican Party’s chances in subsequent elections than he is to do anything good for conservatives. If you value a long-term conservative agenda, it might be a better idea to simply only vote for national legislative positions. Then you could hope that Clinton loses re-election without getting the chance to replace any other Justices besides Scalia. If Trump attempts to follow through with some of his campaign policies he will be impeached. Nothing harms a political party’s chances in the next election more than having an impeached President.
I’m definitely voting for Clinton and you should too. She may not have been an amazing Secretary of State, but all the other choices are just awful. Even if you usually vote Republican you should consider whether this Presidential election is worth damaging the Republican Party and the entire electoral system. Validating Trump’s inflammatory campaign style will encourage future candidates to do worse things than encourage voter intimidation and insinuate that their opponents should be assassinated. Is that worth four years of an ineffective conservative President who doesn’t really know what he’s doing? I don’t think so.