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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Election Bullies And Debate Audiences

In the last two weeks, I've encountered two different kinds of Clinton supporters. The first kind are voting for Clinton because she best represents them. And though I disagree with them on what should represent them, I respect their choice. The other kind of Clinton supporters are what I would call 'election bullies.' Why the moniker? It is because in trying to persuade those of us who are planning to vote for third party candidates, they try to manipulate us by shaming or insulting us to vote for Hillary. Such is an authoritarian move.

I found 2 examples of such bullies while on the internet. While one such bully derogatorily labels anyone who would dare criticize Clinton while heavily filtering the information they say supports their candidate, the other kind of bully wants third party voters to be blamed if Trump is elected. This is nothing more than a repeat of the way how some Democrats treated Nader supporters in 2000. But what if instead of blaming Nader for Bush's election, people were encouraged to continue to vote for Nader or other third party candidates in 2004? If that happened, we might not have to choose between Hillary and Trump today. For not only could we possibly have more than 2 viable candidates to vote for by now, both the Republican and/or Democratic Parties might have produced better candidates this year.


Currently, both of our major political parties take many of their voters for granted. The Democratic takes minorities and political liberals for granted much in the same way that the Republican Party takes religiously conservative Christians for granted. And just as the Democratic Party has more often than not failed to keep their promises to minorities and liberals, people from these groups often  feel compelled to vote for the Democrats simply because the Democratic candidates are not Republicans. And likewise, even though Republicans have failed to successfully advance the conservative agenda on some key social issues like abortion or reducing federal spending, many conservatives automatically vote Republican because Republican candidates are not Democrats. Here we should note that for as long as either major political party can take significant blocks of voters for granted, they don't have to prove themselves by performing well while they are in office.

Thus, I am voting for a third party candidate for president because neither of the candidates from the two major parties represent me. In addition, it seems that the Republican and Democratic candidates have also quit trying to represent the voters they say they represent. 

Currently I plan on voting for Jill Stein. I am doing so despite a few glaring flaws she has exhibited as a candidate. The reason why I am voting for her is because of the direction she wants to pursue if she is elected. Yes, Trump knows business to an extent and, like George W. H. Bush was, Hillary is the résumé candidate. But neither of them have earned my vote. Why? It is because, IMO, both, in their own individual ways, want to pursue neoconservative foreign policies and neoliberal economic policies. And just one set of these policies, let alone both, are very destructive and thus immoral. So neither Trump's "tell it like it is" behavior nor Hillary's experience represent me as a voter. And if the Democrats really wanted to get me to support their stop-Trump campaign, they would have nominated someone who really represents me. I refuse to vote for Hillary because she is not Trump.


The second part of this post deals with debate audiences. We should note that Trump really did not behave any differently in the Republican primary debates as he did in his debate against Clinton. And yet, he did not get the same results in his debate against Hillary as he got in the primary debates. Some have attributed the difference solely to Hillary's political savvy. But in all honesty, we should note that the first person to predict Trump's failure in his debate with Hillary was Jeb Bush. We should remember that Bush repeatedly told Trump that he could not insult his way into the Presidency.  The public perception of Bush after he gave those warnings was negative, but Bush's warnings came true. Why? The difference could at least partially be explained by noting that the audience for the first debate with Hillary was far more diverse than the audiences were for the primary debates. What a difference an audience makes!

For Trump to compete with Hillary for the Presidency, he will have to be able to broaden his appeal to more than just disgruntled, anti-establishment conservatives. And such appears to be another episode of Mission Impossible given Trump's record. It was those conservatives who could either laugh with Trump when he spoke inappropriately or, because they were angry at the Republican establishment, they could ignore him. Trump's problem now is that with the general election comes a more diverse audience. And with a more diverse audience comes an intolerance for what got him through the primaries.


However, Trump's past and present record of actions and statements provides another problem for the nation during both the remaining debates and the rest of the campaign. That problem is that the bar that Trump sets for Hillary to succeed is rather low. And thus the more Trump messes up, the better Hillary looks because she is not Trump. And such shows how she can take our votes for granted.


 

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