What a sad debate for America

“Hillary does not look Presidential because she doesn’t have stamina” – 1st debate

“What I admire about her is that she never gives up and works hard.” – 2nd debate

Trump will claim a win. Then Hillary’s team will have the new ads showing all the lies he said. Like last time, he denied saying things he actually said and there will be videos showing him saying those things. (I mean, really, do Republicans even understand how technology works?) Pence did the same thing during his debate, using the old Stalinesque tactic of “repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.”161009232148-trump-clinton-debate-st-louis-obamacare-sot-00002122-large-169

Trump played to his followers, who still cheer when he claims, like a dictator, that he will jail his opponent. I don’t think he widened his base at all, and probably scared away potential new voters.

He has no clue about what Americans want, and does not know how to talk to anyone who isn’t a white male. When a black man asked him a question about bringing people together, he immediately started talking about inner city crime because, of course, all black people live in the inner city, right? When a Muslim asked how Trump could fight against the prejudices Muslims face, he talked about terrorism, because Muslim = terrorist, right?

As the spoiled man-child, he once again whined that everyone was against him and that any time he doesn’t win, it means someone else cheated.  He protested the mean questions he got (because, you know, Presidents never get asked tough questions) and claimed he was not getting as much time as Clinton (even though he actually ended up talking more than her).

Even worse, he was being questioned by two women and a gay man with a woman opponent. You could see his anger as he lurked behind Clinton as she spoke and paced nervously. He just can’t stand not being the center of attention and losing it to a woman? Unthinkable.

The bar was set so low that all he had to do was not throw up and some people would declare him the winner.

This is the saddest election I have ever seen. I am embarrassed for my country. While many of us had predicted this sort of thing happening over the years as the Tea Party radicals on the right controlled the GOP, I don’t think we ever expected it to get this bad.

 

Lowering the Qualifications

“Oh yeah?” someone posted recently in response to Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson’s inability to name even one foreign leader. “Let’s see how many you can name!”

That’s not the point. I’m not running for President. 

If I was applying for a job with a law firm and they asked me to name one of the amendments to the United States Constitution and I couldn’t even think of one, would you hire me? In your own job, there are things you need to know that I don’t know at all, which is why I would never be qualified to demand to be hired, much less to be hired as head of the entire business.

The President of the United States is, in many ways, the most powerful person on the planet. Shouldn’t there be some specific qualifications for the job?

Imagine you own a huge corporation that has a trillion dollar budget and millions of employees. You’re looking to hire a new CEO to run things. Who are you going to hire — the person who has spent their entire life working in exactly the field in which your corporation does business, who has numerous college degrees, who has definite plans on how to improve your business and who has proven she can work with others to accomplish your corporation’s goals — or the guy who has absolutely none of those qualifications but “tells it like it is”?

This is something I have never understood about politics — how some people are more interested in voting for the “guy they want to have a beer with” instead of the “guy most qualified for the job.”

Of course charisma is part of the job. Qualifications are more than just what is on your resume, and they include having the personality necessary to accomplish your goals. But even the dumbest most incompetent person can have a winning personality.

Last time we elected the “guy we want to have a beer with” we got the biggest terrorist attack on our soil ever, the complete crashing of the economy, and a costly, unnecessary deadly war.

Competence matters.

 

Trump a cocaine abuser?

People are saying that Trump abuses cocaine. That’s why he was sniffing so much during the debates. I’m not saying it, but some people are. Reliable people. Credible sources. People who would know. Believe me. Questions are being raised. Sad.14469546_10155410130908306_5529874775037840631_n

Trump should take a drug test. And we need to see the long forms of this drug test to be sure.  Why won’t he? Hiding.

An extremely credible source has told me Trump uses cocaine. Extremely. No more apologies.

Media silent. They know. Believe me.

People tell me, I know. They tell me they need to know. I’m just reporting, don’t blame me. This could be huge.  There are people out there who say this is all a lie and not true. So why won’t Trump submit to a drug test then? What is he hiding? I don’t know, I’m just asking. Sad.

(Thanks to Dan Kimmel for inspiration here)

 

There is a clear-cut choice

by Guest Blogger David Gerrold

So … I think I’ll blur the details here.

There was this person who was expounding on the upcoming election and why he wasn’t going to vote for Hillary Clinton. It was his first time voting, you see, and he wanted someone who understood and represented his generation.

He said to me, “You don’t understand — “donald-trump-h-1024

And that’s where I had to stop him. “Look, I do understand. Really.”

“How can you understand? You’re too old.”

“Do you think I was born old? Y’know, I have pictures. Here’s me at thirteen — ”

“But times were different then — ”

“Yes, they were. You could get polio and measles and smallpox. An appendectomy was a serious operation. People smoked everywhere, there was no getting away from the smoke. In school, they taught us to duck and cover in case of a nuclear attack. Whites and blacks still had separate restrooms and drinking fountains. Women couldn’t get a legal abortion. Gas had lead in it. Vegetables were sprayed with DDT. You could be arrested for being gay. Yes, times were different.”

“No, I meant that protesting was a fad, not serious like — ”

“Excuse me? Do you want to see the scar on my scalp where I was hit by a thrown bottle at the first gay rights march? We also had civil rights demonstrations, anti-war marches, and rallies for women’s rights as well. That was no fad. People were dying — ”

“No, look, man — it’s the establishment. That’s what’s wrong — ”

“And you want to replace the establishment with what? A different establishment? Listen — when I was your age, when my generation was your age, we were just as frustrated and just as impatient as you are now. Honest. Am I saying we were wrong? Hell, no. We were right. Better than that, we were so right, we were self-righteous. We went around saying, ‘Don’t trust anyone over 30,’ as if somehow when you turned 30, you became one of them. Y’know?

“You know what we missed? We missed the obvious — that there were a lot of good men and women over 30 who understood the issues, and the complexities of the situation better than we did — because they’d been fighting that fight for a lot longer. We had emotion, we had energy, we had spirit — but we didn’t have enough experience, enough history, enough of everything we needed to effect real change.

“So we didn’t turn out for Hubert Humphrey and we handed the country to Richard Nixon. And a generation later, other people didn’t turn out for Al Gore and handed the country to George W. Bush. And what was missed — both times — was the fact our impatience was the single biggest mistake we could make.

“Hubert Humphrey had experience, he had wisdom, and he shared our goals. Al Gore had experience, he had wisdom, and he shared our goals. But somewhere, enough of us decided that he was too old or too much of the establishment or didn’t really represent us enough, or would just give us more of the same when what we really wanted was more, better, and different, even if we couldn’t define it — enough of us felt that way to hand the presidency to a much worse administration.

“So, no — it isn’t that you’re wrong. It’s that there are people who’ve been down this path before. We know where it leads. And it’s not a good place. We know what this mistake looks like. Because we’ve made it ourselves — and we’re asking you not to make the same mistakes we did, because each time we make this mistake, everyone gets hurt.”

And he said, “So that’s a fancy way of saying ‘suck it up, buttercup, you can’t have what you want.”

And I said, “No, but if that’s the way you want to hear it, then that’s the way you’re going to hear it. The way government works, nobody gets everything they want. The way government is supposed to work, everybody negotiates — and eventually everybody gets a piece of what they need to keep going. Nobody likes that, but consider what the alternative is — if some people get everything they want, that means a lot of people are going to get nothing at all. We keep trying that, it doesn’t work. Let’s go back to the stuff that does work.”

“But I don’t like her — ”

“I’m not asking you to like her. I’m asking you to respect that she knows how to do the job. He doesn’t. You can have your protest vote, that’s your right, but that’s letting everybody else decide who gets the oval office. And you might want to think long and hard about which of the two will build on what President Obama has accomplished and which of the two will tear it all down with no idea of why it worked in the first place. Your choice.”

And he said, “That’s not much of a choice.”

And I said, “The hell it isn’t. It’s a choice between experience and ignorance. That’s the clearest choice I’ve ever seen in an election.”

He didn’t have an answer for that.

And that’s the point —

I might be old, but I’m not stupid. And I suspect that a lot of other members of my generation feel the same way. We remember when we were impatient. And we remember the mistakes that our impatience created.

Old people don’t tell young people what to do and what not to do because we want to control your lives — we just want to warn you not to make the same mistakes we did.

But you will. Or you won’t. Because it’s your choice. Always.

Nebula and Hugo award winning author David Gerrold is the author of over 50 books, several hundred articles and columns, and over a dozen television episodes. TV credits include episodes of Star Trek, Babylon 5, Twilight Zone, Land Of The Lost, Logan’s Run, and many others. Novels include WHEN HARLIE WAS ONE, THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF, the “War Against the Chtorr” septology, The “Star Wolf” trilogy, The “Dingilliad” young adult trilogy, and more. The autobiographical tale of his son’s adoption, THE MARTIAN CHILD won the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novelette of the Year and was the basis for the 2007 movie starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, and Joan Cusack. He also has a story in the upcoming anthology BAKER STREET IRREGULAR, edited by me. His web page is here.

 

 

 

Selfish Stein Supporters

Look, I get it, you like her positions on the issues.

But that’s not the point.

We have the possibility of a terrible, selfish person becoming President who, by all standards, will ignore the Constitution, destroy the economy (like what happened to Britain with Brexit), and start wars with other countries while probably being under indictment for crimes he’s committed. He will fill his cabinet and the Supreme Court with unqualified people and support actions against minorities with the support of a bunch of know-nothing yahoos.

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“Trump is a millionaire who has never been elected to office and is therefore unqualified!  I, on the other hand, am a millionaire who was elected to a city council a while ago. It’s completely different!”

We have to stop him.

Unfortunately, the only possible way to do that is to vote for someone we didn’t want. (I was a Bernie supporter, you know.) But comparatively, there’s no question — Clinton is tremendously more qualified than Trump is, even though she has her own problems.

But I’m going to get one of these two candidates, and the choice between them is clear.

There is no way in this or any universe that Stein is winning. She barely meets 1% in many polls, less than the margin of error. You’re dreaming if you think voting for her will make any difference other than to help Trump win.

You want to help the Green Party? Get people elected at the local level and build your way up. (You know — “grassroots politics.”)  Even if she won the Presidency (in Bizarro America), you have to consider this: Obama couldn’t get hardly anything done with one of the parties actively working against him. Stein will have two parties working against her.

You have the power to stop Trump, but you’re refusing to do it.

It’s like stepping aside as the Nazis march by and then claiming that you had nothing to do with their actions because you didn’t help them — even though you had the opportunity to try to stop them.

You think you’re keeping yourself pure and noble by voting your conscience while ignoring the part of your conscience that should be telling you that you need to take whatever action is best to stop the Bad Guy. There is nothing noble about being neutral in the face of evil.

It’s selfish, really.

The Enthusiasm Gap

Although polls show the race tightening, as every political scientist worth his or her salt told you would happen months ago, Hillary is still predicted to be the winner by anyone who studies these things. Nate Silver has her chances at 70%.

The “worst case scenario” map

But there’s still one problem, and that’s the enthusiasm gap.

The Tea Party people are thrilled. For years, they’ve been portrayed as outsiders, crazy, on the fringe — racists, bigots, ignorant people that possibly could win a few House seats every now and then but clearly could never get into the big leagues. Trump has been their standard bearer, and this has emboldened them to be angrier, meaner, more public, and more violent.

These people will vote.

We were able to hold them back in the past partially because there are more of us than them and when we come out and vote in equal percentage, math works to benefit us.

And our enthusiasm was great, too, when we had Obama running. Young voters came out like never before, and minorities voted in almost equal percentages as whites for the first time ever.

But now?  Hillary’s enthusiastic supporters are primarily women my age and older who grew up with terrible sexism and discrimination and identify with the candidate and want the first female President. They’ll come out and vote, but will they be enough to counter the Trump fanatics?

This is why I still say that we would have been better off with Bernie. Sure, they’d be attacking him left and right for being a socialist, but I think he’d probably be doing better than Hillary because his support was enthusiastic (and even conservatives admired him for his honesty in the same way liberals used to admire McCain without agreeing with his politics). Young people especially would be out working for him and would be voting for him. Many of these people will instead be staying home in November like they usually do or else wasting their vote on Stein or Johnson.

So while I still predict a Hillary victory, I think it will be closer than expected given that our candidate may suffer in the “enthusiasm gap.”

Why Gary Johnson would help the debates

I am not a Gary Johnson fan by a long shot. And I don’t like setting a precedent of allowing candidates who are getting less than 10% be in the debates.

However, there would be two advantages to having Johnson participate in the debates.garyjohnson

First: It might make it more substantial. I can just imagine a debate moderator asking stupid questions about email servers and taco trucks and so on instead of real issues that Presidential candidates should be asked. With Johnson up there, perhaps the moderators will ignore some of the non-issues and ask real things just so he can be included.

Second: I am sure that the more that conservatives find out about Johnson, the more appealing he will be to them — and the more liberals find out about him, the less appealing he will be. Already, one major newspaper has endorsed him (The Richmond Times-Dispatch, my hometown paper, and one of the most conservative papers around). This can only help to split the Republican vote, and for a Democrat like me, that’s a very good thing.

So sure, I’ve changed my mind. Let Johnson debate. It will only help Hillary.