I wrote this piece prior to the release of Donald Trump’s coarse remarks, made while he thought his mic was off, revealing his base attitudes towards women. I’m not a bit shocked by his remarks, because I knew that this was exactly the kind of person he was. But I understand that, for a lot of people, these remarks were the last straw. They serve as a wake-up call, making people realize that this guy just should not even be allowed to run for the office of President. I’ve re-read and tweaked my piece. I still believe in what I said, because, again, I always saw Trump as a misogynist asshole. The stakes are higher now, though, because the revelation of Trump’s “sins” was timed in just such a way as to discredit his candidacy after it was too late for the GOP to recover.
You cannot condemn Donald Trump’s selection as the GOP Nominee and embrace the two-party system as it exists in the US.
That is, you can’t if you want to be honest and consistent in your political philosophy.
I bring this up because I was recently told that my candidate, Gary Johnson, is not a legitimate candidate for the Presidency. This, it was explained to me by a die-hard Hillary supporter, is because he has not gathered enough support, according to polls, to participate in the first or second Presidential Debate. If he were legitimate, he would have measurably surpassed 15% voter support and would have been invited to debate. Since he wasn’t, this person argued, he doesn’t count.
“So,” I naturally asked, “does that mean that you accept Donald Trump as a legitimate candidate, since he has enough voter support?”
The answer was yes.
Why then, by this logic, does any Hillary supporter feel justified in condemning Trump and saying that this election is different, that Trump should be defeated in any way he can, that Trump is not a fit candidate? If he was chosen by the two-party system and vetted by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which apparently is now, like the political parties themselves, an arm of government with more power than the voters, how can anyone say he shouldn’t be President?
Do I think he should be President? Hell to the no! But then I don’t accept the corrupt, cronyistic structure that made him a Presidential candidate. A lot of Hillary’s supporters apparently do.
First, I want to review that cronyistic structure.
The Commission on Presidential Debates was organized in 1987 by the Democratic and Republican parties themselves. It claims to be a non-partisan, non-profit organization. With no Constitutional power, it nevertheless has the exclusive power to decide which candidates the American people will hear in a debate. It was formed because the former sponsors, the League of Women Voters, objected to a conspiracy between the Democrat and Republican front-runners to control participation in debates. The LWV withdrew their sponsorship. Control of the debates was promptly handed to the two corrupt organizations that had caused the LWV to withdraw, allowing them to do exactly what they set out to do–control the debates.
In 2000, this Commission unilaterally decided that a candidate must have 15% of the vote, as determined by five distinct voter polls, to rank participation. Could this have been a reaction to the 1992 campaign, when Ross Perot’s participation in the Presidential Debate cause his support to increase dramatically? It certainly sounds like it to me. Effectively, this move limited exposure of the candidates to nominees of the two major parties, giving two private organizations, not empowered by our Constitution, a stranglehold on the Presidential election.
Donald Trump’s place in this year’s election is very much a by-product of the monopoly the Democratic and Republican parties hold on selecting candidates for political office, especially the Presidency. For over a century, these two parties have battled each other for control of the nation, putting party welfare ahead of national welfare. It’s not a new phenomenon that one side demonizes the other, but it’s been especially bad for the past few decades. The parties have grown increasingly polarized on the issues, and have carefully focused public debate, not on those issues, but upon the characters of the candidates. These people are put through a meat grinder. In order to survive the process of becoming the nominee for either party, an individual must face defamation and public ridicule the likes of which would have reduced Hester Prynne to a little cup of currant jam.
Is it any wonder most people drop out? Who can survive this kind of attack? Very strong people, and people who don’t much give a damn what others think about them. There are some good, heroic people who can face public scorn. (I’m thinking of Barrack Obama and Jimmy Carter here.) But it’s also a characteristic of sociopaths and people with extreme personality disorders that they don’t give a damn what others think or feel.
So when we build a nasty, corrupt, adversarial system for picking candidates, we have no right to be surprised if our candidates turn out to be the nastiest, most corrupt, most adversarial people on the planet. When we select via a Darwinistic process for personality disorder, well, that’s exactly what we should expect to get.
You don’t want another Trump, or even this one? Fix the Two-Party system. You okay with the system we got? Well suck it up, cupcake, ’cause this is what you paid to see.
And what we’re seeing is beyond ugly. In the most epic political fail in this nation’s history, the GOP has nominated a monster. His candidacy may not even survive until Election Day. Whether it does or doesn’t, unless the wind changes, Hillary Clinton will be elected President–in what amounts to a single-candidate election. Whatever you think of Senator Clinton, that is not an America you should want to be a part of. Americans should demand choice.
There is an alternative to this hellish scenario. Right here, right now, everyone who was considering voting for Trump, despite his glaring flaws, because they don’t believe in the Democratic Party platform, acknowledge the strong, credible third party candidate we have in Gary Johnson. Recognize the erudite genius we have in his running mate, Bill Weld. Vote for them. Campaign for them. Endorse them. And Democrats? Clinton supporters? Stop trying to tear down the only credible opposition your candidate has. Acknowledge that America is not about you getting your way, about one side winning. It’s about all of us having credible choices. Let’s put two credible names at the top of the ballot on Election Day, and let’s make one of them Gary Johnson.
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