My Endorsement for President, 2016: Hillary Clinton

Original photo by Neverbutterfly, used under Creative Commons license. Click on picture to be taken to the original.

Today is the beginning of early voting here in Ohio, which means that it is a good day for me to formally make the following announcement regarding my vote for President of the United States:

I am voting for Hillary Clinton for President of the United States, and I think you should too.

And now, let me explain why, in points that go (roughly) from external to internal, both in a political and personal sense. This entry is long, but this year, I think, longer is probably better.

1. Because she is not Donald Trump. I wrote yesterday on why I believe Donald Trump is an unmitigated and unprecedented disaster as a presidential candidate, so I don’t need to do it again. But I think it’s important to acknowledge that while I am affirmatively voting for Hillary Clinton as president — I want her in the White House — I am also actively and affirmatively voting against Donald Trump. Indeed, even if I wasn’t enthusiastically voting for Clinton, this year of all years I would pull the lever for her because as the candidate of one of the two major parties, she is the only realistic bulwark against Trump being in office. It’s that important that he be denied the presidency.

However, let me go into in detail here about one thing. I want to be clear that in voting against Trump, I’m not only voting against him as an individual, although given who he is as an individual — a racist, a misogynist, a liar and a cheat — that would be more than enough. I am also voting against the people who I see as the shock troops of the Trump campaign: the racists, the anti-semites, the religiously intolerant, the sexists and bullies, the toxic stew of hate, stupidity and sociopathy that has tried to pass into respectability with the jazzy new title of “alt-right,” but which is just the Klan and the neo-Nazis all over again.

In voting against Trump, I’m voting against the alt-right and larger pool of hate in which they fester, against the people who slur women, blacks, latinos, Jews, Muslims, LGBT folks and others on social media and elsewhere, against the ones who promise them a march to the ovens or a noose over a tree branch or a rape in an alley, against the ones who glory in the fact that Trump’s candidacy lends their bigotry mainstream cover, and the ones who, should Trump win, have plans for anyone and everyone who isn’t them. I’m voting against the people who believe, when Trump says “Make America great again,” it means “Make everyone else afraid again.”

To Hell with them, and to Hell with Trump for lifting them up and giving them cover and succor. I don’t believe and would not abide the idea that every person who might vote for Trump is the sort of person I describe above. But everyone who votes for Trump has to know that these are the people with whom they ride. I will not ride with them. I will vote against them and Trump, and gladly so. The best way to do that is to vote for Hillary Clinton.

2. Because she is not the GOP candidate. First, the practical: If Trump were to win the presidency, that would likely mean that the House and Senate would remain in GOP hands. Which means that I strongly suspect the first 100 days of a Trump presidency would be a fantastic orgy of the GOP rolling back every single Obama law and policy that it could. Not because doing so would make the lives of Americans better — it manifestly would not — but because they just fucking hate Barack Obama so much that giving him the middle finger for a hundred days would fill them with glee. I’m not down with that.

Likewise, not down with the GOP plan to pack the Supreme Court with Scalia clones; there are already two, in the form of Thomas and Alito. That’s more than enough for one court, I think.

Both the legislative and the judicial issues outlined above, I would note, would be a disincentive for me to vote for any presidential candidate the GOP might have picked in 2016, especially considering the generally atrocious primary field of candidates, of whom the only one I might have been willing to consider even briefly for my vote would have been John Kasich. But Kasich was too moderate and sensible for the GOP primary voters, which given how conservative Kasich is, is a vaguely terrifying thing.

Second, the philosophical: Look, I’m not a straight-ticket voter. In almost every election I vote for more than a single party, because — here’s a wacky idea — I consider each position up for election and who among the listed candidates will be the best for the role. I expect this year I will do the same.

But not on the national level. On the national level I don’t think the GOP has earned my vote, nor has it for years. Even before the moment where the GOP primary voters appallingly selected Donald Trump as their standard bearer, the national party’s philosophical and political tenets had been long abandoned for the simpler and uglier strategy of “deny Barack Obama everything.”

To what purpose? To what end? Well, not for the purpose of actually making the United States a better place for its citizens, or to practice active governance of the nation. From the outside at least — and I rather strongly suspect from the inside as well — it just looked like “sooner or later they have to let one of us be president, so let’s just throw a fit until then.” Fortunately, if you want to call it that, the GOP has spent decades training its electoral base to reward intransigence over actual action to make their lives better, and wasn’t above poking at the base’s latent (and not-so-latent) bigotry to delegitimize the president.

Trump has given the latter part of the game away — Trump doesn’t dog whistle his bigotry, he uses a megaphone — but the other part, the part about the intransigence, I don’t see the GOP, as it’s currently constituted on the national level, ever letting go of. Let’s not pretend that Hillary Clinton will have an easier time with the GOP than Obama did. The GOP already hates her just for being who she is, and it’ll be happy to slide the bigoted setting they use to on its base from “racism” to “sexism,” even if Trump’s blown its cover on that. So I expect that the new policy for the GOP will be the same as the old policy, with a new name slotted in: “Deny Hillary Clinton everything.”

And that’s just not acceptable. I’m not foolish enough to assume the GOP would give a President Hillary Clinton everything she wanted even in the best of times. But there’s a difference between an opposition party and an antagonistic party. The former is a participant and perhaps even a partner in governance. The latter, which is what we have, reduces politics down to a football game and in doing so makes life worse for every American. We can argue about how this has come about — training the base, gerrymandering safe districts which incline toward polarization, just plain rampant stupidity — but we can’t argue it’s not there.

This year of all years the national GOP needs to lose, and it needs to lose so comprehensively that the message is clear: Stop obstructing and start governing again. Now, as it happens, it might lose comprehensively because Trump and the GOP are fighting, and if Trump is going to go down, he might as well take the GOP down with him. Which would be a delightful irony! But just to be sure, and to use my vote to make a larger point, I won’t be voting for the GOP this year for president or US senator or US representative. I don’t imagine it will matter for US representative (my district hasn’t gone Democratic since the Great Depression) but for the senate and the presidency, it might help.

3. Because I largely agree with Hillary Clinton’s platform and positions. I’ve mentioned before that had I been born roughly 40 years earlier than I was, I probably would have become what’s known as a “Rockefeller Republican,” which is to say someone largely to the right on fiscal issues, and largely to the left on social issues. Rockefeller Republicans don’t exist anymore, or more accurately, they’re best known today as “mainstream Democrats.” And, hey, guess which of the two candidates for President of the United States could be described as a “mainstream Democrat”? Why, yes, that’s right, it’s Hillary Clinton.

So it’s not particularly surprising that I find many of her policy positions congenial, both in themselves and in contrast to Trump’s positions — that is, when Trump actually has a position that’s more than “trust me, it’ll be great.” As an example, let’s take, oh, say, Clinton’s tax policy, which essentially tweaks the existing code to make those of us on the top pay a slightly higher amount for our top marginal rate on income and investments, close some corporate loopholes, and essentially leave everyone else alone (or offer them slightly larger tax breaks). It’s not sexy, but it’s pretty sensible, particularly in contrast to Trump’s, which basically gives rich people really big tax cuts and as a result adds trillions to our debt (author John Green, who laudably does public service-related videos, has a ten minute video comparing and contrasting the plans, which I would recommend).

“Not sexy, but sensible” in fact describes most of her policies on everything from climate change to farm issues to voting rights to national security, and while I don’t necessarily agree with every single thing she proposes right down the line, when I don’t, what I still generally see is that the policy is based on a cogent reason or rationale in the real world, and not just some angry bellow from a fear-gravid id, which is how a large number of Trump policies come across.

And this is good, people. I want a policy nerd in the White House, and someone who has had real-world experience with how the political sausage gets made, and who both gets the value of having policies that have some relationship to the world outside their head and has the wherewithal, interest and capability to understand and express them. I’m not under the impression that Clinton will get everything she wants in terms of policy — despite the unbridled optimism on the left due to the events of recent days, I expect the House will stay in GOP hands (but, you know, prove me wrong!) — but I like most of what she has, and will likely be happy with whatever she manages to get through Congress.

4. Because I like what I know of Hillary Clinton. But! But! BenghaziWhitewaterEmailVincentFosterBillIsSkeevy

I’m going to skip over the vast majority of this right now by noting that there are very few people in the world whose personal and public conduct has been so aggressively and punitively investigated, and for so long, as Hillary Clinton, and yet she continues to walk among us, a free woman whose errors, when they have been made, are usually of the venial rather than the mortal sort. Which probably means one of two things: Either this decades-long persecution of Hillary Clinton on the part of her enemies is largely motivated for their own political and financial benefit, or that Hillary Clinton is a criminal mastermind so good at evading the forces of justice that holy shit we should be glad that she’s finally decided to use her evil-honed skills for the forces of good. Better give her eight years, just to make sure.

I believe that the vast majority of the bullshit said about Hillary Clinton is just that: bullshit. Hillary Clinton gets shit because apparently she’s always been an ambitious woman who is not here for your nonsense. And maybe, like any human who is not here for your nonsense, but especially a woman who is not here for your nonsense (and who has gotten more of it because she is a woman), she just gets tired of the unremitting flood of nonsense she has to deal with every single goddamn day of her life. Maybe she she gets tired of being told to smile and when she’s smiles being told she shouldn’t smile. Maybe she gets tired of being called a bitch and c*nt and a demon. Maybe she gets tired of having to be up on a stage with bullies who try to intimidate her with their physical presence in her physical space, and if you think that second presidential debate was the first time that happened, look up her senatorial debate just for fun. Maybe she gets tired of it but knows she has to take it and smile, because that’s the deal.

People, I flat out fucking admire Hillary Clinton for having dealt with all that bullshit for 30 years and yet not burning the whole world down.

So that’s the first thing, and it’s unfair that it’s the first thing, but since that’s what gets shoved on you the moment you open your mouth about Hillary Clinton, that’s what the first thing has to be.

But let me also tell you that I like her intelligence, her attention to detail, her ability to speak at length about the subjects that matter to her and that she thinks would matter to you, too. I like she doesn’t have a problem being the smartest person in the room, even if you do. I like the work that she did on her own, without reference to her husband and his own ambitions. I liked when she said that she wasn’t here to bake cookies, and I liked that you could see how much she hated having to bake the cookies when shit blew up around that statement (I like that I believe that in her personal life she probably likes baking cookies just fine, just on her terms, not yours). I like that she tried things and failed at them and picked herself up and kept going and got better at them because of it. I like that she cares about people who aren’t just like her. I like that she’s ambitious. I like that she’s fearless. I like that all the right people hate and loathe her. I like that she plows through them anyway.

There are things I don’t like about her too, but not nearly as many, and none of them enough, to reduce my admiration for her for these other things.

I don’t expect Hillary Clinton to be perfect, or not to fail, or to be a president whose actions I agree with straight down the line. I’ve never had that in any president and I think it would be foolish to expect it in her. What I do expect, based on what I’ve known of her since 1992, when she first entered my consciousness, is that she will never not try. Try to be a good president, and try to be a president whose administration does the most good for the largest number of Americans. Now, maybe she’ll succeed and maybe she won’t — it’s not all up to her and even if it was, you never know what happens to you in this life. But everything I know about her from the last quarter century convinces me that she has earned this opportunity, perhaps more than anyone else who has ever run for president.

5. Because I like what she represents for our country. I have written at length about the idea that being a straight white male is living life on the lowest difficulty setting, and if you should ever doubt that it’s the case, look at the 2016 election, in which a racist, sexist, ignorant boor of a straight white male, with no experience in public service and no policies he could personally articulate beyond “it’ll be great, believe me” went up against a woman who spent the better part of four decades in and around public service, including occupying some of the highest positions in government, and who had exhaustive, detailed policy positions on nearly every point of public interest — and was ahead of her in some polls on the day they had their first debate.

If that tape in which Trump bragged about sexual assault hadn’t hit the air, the polls might yet still be close. It literally took “grab ’em by the pussy” to get some air between arguably the most qualified candidate ever to run for president, who is a woman, and inarguably the worst major party presidential candidate in living memory, who is a straight, white man. I cannot know that fact and not be confronted by the immense and absolutely real privilege straight white men have — and just how much better a woman has to be to compete.

I am not voting for Hillary Clinton simply because she is a woman — but at the same time I cannot deny, and actively celebrate the fact, that much of what makes Hillary Clinton the person I want to vote for is because she is a woman. Everything that our culture has put on her, all the expectations it has had for her, all the expectations she’s had for herself, all the things that she’s taken on, or fought against, because she’s a woman, all of that has shaped the person she is and the character she has, and has become: A person who has talents and flaws, a person I admire, and a person who I want to see in the Oval Office.

When she becomes president, as I believe she will, it won’t only be because she is a woman. But her experience being a woman will have prepared her for the job and will be integral to how she will be president. Her simply being our first woman president will make her a symbol and an icon and almost certainly in time an inspiration (all of these more than she already is, to be clear), and I am glad for those. But it’s how her life and her experiences will bear on the day-to-day aspects of presidency that to me is key, and which I think in time should be what inspires people, as much as if not more than what she represents symbolically. It’s something we haven’t had yet. It matters to our country, and it matters to me.

And so: with a full heart and with no small amount of joy, I endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

215 replies on “My Endorsement for President, 2016: Hillary Clinton”


1. Political thread! Mallet is out! Please be nice to each other. As Hillary Clinton inspires foaminess, I will note that the Mallet will swing freely today. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.

2. I would be delighted if this thread does not attempt to litigate Bill Clinton’s sexual behavior over the years. Yes, he’s skeevy and yes, it’s an actual problem, but as I noted in yesterday’s thread, he’s not running for president. Let’s go ahead and leave it out for now.

3. Likewise, let’s not turn this into a thread for just pooping all over Trump, or his likely voters (outside the “alt-right”). As much fun as that would be, it’s not actually going to be productive.

4. Oh, and: I’m fine with Tim Kaine, too.

Re TPP. As the Secretary of State, she’s obligated to follow the decision on this of the President who was in favor of this; as a candiate for the Presidency, she can have a difference of opinion on this matter. So TPP as an example of her having changed her position is invalid as she had no opinion from her own as Secretary of State.

Thank you. I don’t have a vote, but much of what you say resonates with my deeply held principles, and it’s good when someone articulates them as well as you have done.

My biggest problem with Hillary is she’s a hawk. Now Obama didn’t appear to be one when he was running, so who knows what happens after she’s elected.

Second biggest problem is that she was just handed the NY Senate seat. I guess that’s not her fault exactly, but it still pisses me off.

Having said that, if there is any chance of Trump taking California, I’ll vote for her.

THIS. so much THIS. and OMG you sooo nailed it with this:
“Either this decades-long persecution of Hillary Clinton on the part of her enemies is largely motivated for their own political and financial benefit, or that Hillary Clinton is a criminal mastermind so good at evading the forces of justice that holy shit we should be glad that she’s finally decided to use her evil-honed skills for the forces of good. Better give her eight years, just to make sure.”

Speaking from the other side of the Atlantic it’s both highly amusing and at the same time frightening as hell seeing these elections play out. I am only hoping people will actually use their right to vote (which I still am amazed you actually have to register for in your country) and won’t fall into the trap of “it’s certain my candidate will win, so my vote won’t matter”. We saw two examples of stupidity on that scale here in Europe, one here in the Netherlands with people failing to vote on a referendum on Ukraine (hoping the referendum would be void due to too little people voting) and the UK on Brexit (where apparently people were so convinced that the country would vote remain like they wanted, they just voted against to express their general dislike of their government). I especially the latter will inspire people over in the US to go out and actually let themselves be heard.

I’m voting for her. But above you total ignore her pretty incompetent term as SoS – supporting regime change in Libya and Syria, with military intervention in Libya, shows a terrible lack of judgement and any sort of ability to learn from recent history. She’ll be OK on a domestic level but terrible on the world stage.

Though, once again, she’s unlikely to declare war on Iran in the first 100 days of her administration, so that’s one thing that’s better than the Republicans.

Trump and Clinton are both bad. Her “walking free” is hardly a great endorsement of someone the FBI themselves say they would probably have fired for her actions if she had worked for them, and whose IT guy has been caught destroying evidence after a document preservation order came down, and he realized he hasn’t burned the emails he was supposed to have burned.

The defense of “well, it wasn’t Hillary, it was someone working for her that destroyed evidence in a federal investigation” doesn’t hold any water for me.

Trump should have taken a page from her an ensured all records of him were burned. Not that it would make him less bad, but that’s how Hillary has avoided prosecution for so long.

I’m voting my conscience and voting for Gary Johnson.

I’m with her as well. She was not my first choice (I wanted Biden to run, and voted for Bernie in the Primary). But whatever her flaws, she is FAR less likely to endanger our national security or cause a Constitutional crisis than The Donald. She is also far more knowledgeable about how government works, and how to actually get stuff done, and knows that policy cannot be adequately summarized in a 140 character tweet.

Me, ten years younger than Hillary, also female, and so appreciative of her strength. Thank you for your words here. Am I going to have to check out your “real” writing?? Where should I start, at my age? Really, what would you suggest as a first read?

As I’ve said before, I don’t think Hillary has changed. Contrary to popular wisdom, I, a straight white man, have moved or returned left as I aged. The Clinton/Blair experiment felt good. After all that time in the wilderness, we beat the Republicans/Conservatives and took their stuff, but in the long run, it cost too much. By getting the center to ourselves, we participated in the Overton shift to the Right.

Whatever I liked about Clinton in 1992 or 1998 or 2008, is still true today. I don’t feel bad about voting for her. It just doesn’t fill me with the joy it would have in 2008 or earlier.

I won’t feel that much schadenfreude in burying Trump either. His candidacy revealed a depth of political depravity in the electorate whose scope and intensity was beyond even my pessimistic estimate. This was particularly painful after all the optimistic signs of the Obama 2008 victory. The renewal promised then seems as thin as gossamer now.

Hopefully, we will get the opposite: a grudging victory for Hillary and then an unexpected rise in sanity and fruitful cooperation during her administration.

Very well put. Thank you for writing this. I’ll be sharing it around later.

When Trump first started running, I laughed, and figured it was a joke.
When people started backing him, I frowned, but shrugged it off.
When his ‘fan base’ started to get huge, and then I started to realize that there’s a chance this liger nut had an actual chance of being elected, I got terrified.
Then I spent a good amount of time (and still aim) making it clear to people that now is not the time for a protest vote.

But when the tape came out, and lots of women STILL supported Trump… Well, I think I’d like to turn in my ‘member of the human race’ card, please.

There were two reasons that made me comfortable voting for Clinton in my first election as a US citizen.

1. I met her when she was doing a fund raiser for her Senate campaign back in 2000 in the building I lived in. She was first lady, I was taking the trash out wearing jeans and a t-shirt and she still took the time to shake my hand as she went into our party room. She didn’t have to do that, so I thought it was a nice gesture.

2. Richard Holbrooke. I have always been a tad worried about Clinton’s foreign policy stance but in the documentary ‘The Diplomat’ (well worth watching ) which is about the life of Richard Holbrooke, there’s an interview with then Secretary of State Clinton in it in which she talks about how she made sure he always had the best chair in the room, and how she forced him to see a doctor, and got her staff to call an ambulance when she thought he was sick. It showed empathy, humanity, and kindness. All qualities I hope a president would have.

What I think is amazing this cycle is how disconnected the republican Trump voting base is from the general public. For example look at media endorsements.

To my knowledge not a single respected national or regional newspaper has endorsed Trump. Ones that have for decades (or their entire run) never endorsed a Democrat now have. Even my regional paper, which has consistently endorsed a republican for president, is going for Clinton.

But none of the people I know who are voting for Trump are willing to listen to the well reasoned arguments the editorial boards of those papers are saying. For Trump voters it has moved beyond party affiliation and into stubbornness territory. They refuse to admit they are wrong and are making a mistake. so they are running their pride into the ground.

My normal presidential vote is usually neither for a Republican nor a Democrat because both parties tick me off. This year, I decided early on to vote for whomever wasn’t Trump. The fact that I can respect Hillary as a candidate is actually a bonus for me. It makes my “Oh, hell no,” vote much easier.

Once again you hit it out of the park, Scalzi.

Hillary has grit, she has smarts, she has experience, she has one hell of a work ethic and she’s the one I want for President of the United States.

Some college boy catcalled me on the street two days ago for the sin of being female in a public place. I am fifty-two fucking years old and I’m still getting this shit. When I pull the lever for HRC I will be thinking of that.

@shakauvm I don’t want to incite bile, but I do want to remind you that neither Gary Johnson nor his runningmate could name a single foreign leader they admired. EVEN IF Hillary Clinton deliberately destroyed evidence against herself, I contend that, given the current global situation, it would be better to have a mildly-corrupt president than one who is so incompetent on foreign policy. Feel free to disagree, but I’m just throwing it out there.

Now, I don’t actually believe Clinton is corrupt, but that’s a whole other story that I desperately don’t want to get into right now.

Excellent read, as usual. :) Two things:
1. I may blatantly steal the phrase “a woman who is not here for your nonsense” for personal use.
2. I wanted to agree with you on twitter, but thought better of it. Online harassment is no joke, and I confess that I am even nervous agreeing with you here. All this to say – I appreciate the mallet warning above.

Occasionally, I read Whatever, and don’t agree entirely with you. This is the way the world works. Usually, it has been a minor disagreement, one that is so unimportant that I mentally file it away as “well, Scalzi and I don’t know each-other, so there is no point in hashing this out” and do not comment. This time is different. This time I totally agree with everything you have written in this essay. EVERY SINGLE THING. It’s like you, like, read my mind, dude. As an educated man, a writer, someone with a large platform and a large audience, it is important that you have written this. Clinton, for all her imperfections, is exactly what most of America needs right now: competent, educated, compassionate, dedicated, hard-working, female, statesmanlike. Yes, I included female in that list, because she is a woman, and her gender is going to be directly responsible for promoting further discussions of the perils of toxic masculinity. So, although you are occasionally (subjectively) wrong about some minor things that I will not get into, this time you are gloriously, re-shareably, right. Thanks for writing this.

Once again, strong agreement with what you’ve written. Yes, I’ve been dealing with a number of people who are just CONVINCED that there’s something in the emails, that she committed treason, that BenghaziBenghaziBenghazi! I tend to first point out that, for someone with no experience in criminology, law, or politics, nor having read the literal truckloads of information about each of these, they sure do seem to have a solid opinion. (This rarely shuts them up, but it does tend to change the course of the conversation away from facts. It’s here, in fact, that we find out how much misogyny is at the root of their complaints.)

But I am also fond of saying that let us assume that Clinton is, arguendo, guilty of everything you’re saying. This means that she’s been able to avoid indictment and faced down an unlimited number of GOP operatives with unlimited time and budget pretty much singlehandedly. This is the kind of person I’d want as President dealing with Russia and China and Iran and everyone else! But also they’re clearly not thinking this through, I will add: if she’s truly that powerful, then she’s not going to be stopped by some miscellaneous band of googling conspiracy theorists. Instead of “I’m with her!” as a slogan, her power would be so great that she might have instead chosen “Cower, puny humans!” as her motto.

No, I’m quite comfortable with the idea that her past has been picked over by a zillion people and she’s probably cleaner and more ethical than most of us. There is definitely a lot of plain old misogyny running around this election, but, eh, screw ’em. She’s going to be a great President and I’m very happy to vote for her.


At this point most of the people who don’t like following the comment thread rules have been weeded out and/or keep themselves to slagging me elsewhere, so it’s not as much a problem as it used to be (also, I turn off threads when I go to sleep, which also helps as many trolls like to post in the dead of night).

That said, Whatever was light on political posts for the last couple of months in particular because I had a book to finish and couldn’t expend the time/psychic energy on monitoring comment threads. But now the book is done! Just in time! BWA HA HA HA HA HAH HA HAH!

I will be voting for Clinton. In many ways it is a vote against Trump, a disaster waiting to happen should he be elected president of the United States. His manipulative campaign, fear mongering, demagoguery has brought out the very worst in our society. Yesterday one of his followers at a rally in Florida ranted to the press that if Trump is not elected she wants a revolution, war in the streets, citizen against citizen, sinking to the lowest common denominator. Some of my acquaintances are rabid for Trump, I personally know them to be bigots, misogynists, locked into their own agenda ( an avid hunter concerned with the 2nd amendment) with no regard for the consequences of a man like Trump holding the most powerful position in the world. We are angry that Obama has not accomplished more, been stronger, but let’s keep in mind he has also been severely blocked by congress from the start and in many cases out of pure and simple prejudice. Regarding Hillary and Bill; Bill is not running for president. I feel that during the Clinton sex scandal Hillary Clinton served us well by maintaining her dignity, remaining in the white house, maintaining her composure (who knows what went on behind closed doors) and she deserves credit for not creating her own drama to disrupt this country further. Don’t place President Clinton’s actions on her, he created a scandal not her, still President Clinton is considered one of our best presidents based on policy, foreign and domestic. Mistakes have been made by Presidents Clinton, Obama, by Bush (were it not for him, we would not have taken our war to Iraq based on lies) but Trump is unfit for the office of Presidency and there is but one other choice.

I agree with everything here, to which I would add two short things:

1) The places where I disagree with Clinton are places where she’s still in the mainstream of Democratic thought, and better than any Republican. Do I wish she were even more liberal and less hawkish than she is? Sure. Do I believe we’re going to see a president better than she is on the issues I disagree with her in the next decade? Nope, there’s zero chance of it.

2) Most of the people attacking her from the left and the right are jerks, and I don’t mind jamming a metaphorical thumb in their eyes by voting for Clinton. Right wing goons and 3rd party narcissists equally deserve to “suffer” 8 years of Hillary Clinton working for America while they obstruct and whine and on both sides fail to do anything to help the majority of Americans.

Oh, and a third thing: I already own a Clinton inaction figure, so I’m really invested in her winning. :)

Great post. Thank you for sharing. Your thinking is much like mine. I’m not in Ohio but in another important swing state that will help elect the most qualified candidate in my now rather long lifetime.

I’m for Hillary Clinton as well, but I’m just one vote of course. So it really, really matters that she wins by as big a margin as possible to better counter the inevitable backlash from the Tea Party/alt-Right types who have been egged on by Trump’s terrible behavior. So no, even if you live in a safe Blue state, don’t vote third-party, vote for Clinton. It really matters that much for the whole country at this point that she wins big. Please, it’s that important.

Kudos, John!

Although, this is all just John’s ploy to get appointed to a special cabinet position created to deal with the puppies….

On a side note, hopefully, Joe Arpaio will also be going down with Trump.

It’s a remarkable feat of mental gymnastics to conclude that the amazing number and persistence of Hillary’s scandals somehow proves they’re all bullshit. I’m not sure how you pull it off.

Surely there are other democrats that are just as hated by the right as the Clintons. Obama. Elizabeth Warren. But the closest thing we have to a scandal with them is crackpot birth certificate theories.

You’ve also presented a false dichotomy between “all bullshit” and “criminal mastermind”. The truth is she sometimes crosses the line of criminal conduct, always stands near it, and is always defended and excused by the media and democrats.

That being said, she’s got my vote on account of not being Trump.

Hillary is a grinder. (My usage is closest to the hockey or poker sense: someone who puts in the tough, unspectacular work to get things done, especially when circumstances, luck, or fate are not in their favor.)

Mario Cuomo said, “We campaign in poetry, but we govern in prose.” Hillary’s biggest weakness is that she campaigns in prose. But she’ll govern in freakin’ encyclopedias.

I’m enthusiasticly voting for Clinton, though I have to wait until election day. She’s not perfect, but she comes across as extremely competent and I think she’ll do a good job. I doubt I’d be this thrilled to vote for Sanders. (He had ideas I liked, but didn’t seem quite prepared for the job and his attacks towards Clinton near the end of the primaries bothered me.)

I even considered getting a yard sign, not something I’ve wanted to do before, but 1)I live on pretty quiet street and 2)there’s been a number of news stories about unpleasantness and yard signs in the local news. (Both parties)

Lawrence D’Anna:

“It’s a remarkable feat of mental gymnastics to conclude that the amazing number and persistence of Hillary’s scandals somehow proves they’re all bullshit.”

It would be, if that’s what I’d said. However, the number and persistence of the “scandals” is due to the committed group trying to make them so for their own purposes; independently, these “scandals” largely turn out to be bullshit. There’s a distinct pattern to the “scandals” actually being bullshit, but that’s correlative.

It’s a remarkable feat of mental gymnastics to conclude that the amazing number and persistence of Hillary’s scandals somehow proves they’re all bullshit.

Actually, no. Difficulty is rather low, 2.2 to be precise.

And I think you underestimate a) the 25 years of bullshit she’s had to endure from the Republicans, and b) the 25 years of bullshit she’s had to endure from the press (the press, particularly the DC-based folks and the punditry, do not like the Clintons at all).

Some of them are bullshit. Benghazi is bullshit.

Some of them are 100% proven. Email is proven.

Some of them we’ll probably never know, but look pretty likely not to be bullshit to me: her amazing 1000% profit on cattle futures in 1978 was probably insider trading that she got away with.

Sorry…this came up after I posted..

I’m enthusiasticly voting for Clinton, though I have to wait until election day. She’s not perfect, but she comes across as extremely competent and I think she’ll do a good job. I doubt I’d be this thrilled to vote for Sanders. (He had ideas I liked, but didn’t seem quite prepared for the job and his attacks towards Clinton near the end of the primaries bothered me.)

The thing is that this can be said about ANY candidate. This “she is an imperfect candidate” sticks to her precisely because she is a Clinton (and some of it because she is a woman.). And she gets attacked for being hawkish because she is a Clinton (folks do not note that her opponents in the primary were actually nearly as aggressive in their Senate voting and supported many of the same policies such as the drone program that she gets dinged for). She may be more hawkish than some would prefer, but she was certainly among the least aggressive in the primaries and is most certainly NOT the hawk in this general.

I consider her to be somewhat more progressive than many of her critics on the left would give her credit for, and exactly as intelligent as her critics on the right fear her to be. Given the Democratic candidates that ran for president over the last few decades, I find that far more satisfying than dismaying.

The places where I disagree with Clinton are places where she’s still in the mainstream of Democratic thought, and better than any Republican. Do I wish she were even more liberal and less hawkish than she is? Sure. Do I believe we’re going to see a president better than she is on the issues I disagree with her in the next decade? Nope, there’s zero chance of it.

What you said. If I made a bumper sticker made for this election, it’d say, “I’m not crazy about Hillary — but I’m not crazy.”

As long as you’re examining your privilege, consider that you, as an American, do not need to worry that the next war Hillary Clinton endorses is going to have you picking *your* family’s limbs out of a pile of rubble.

Could not have said it any better myself. I’ll send this link to my friends and repost it elsewhere. It deserved to be read far and wide.

This really, truly is the most important election of our lifetimes. The weight of history has settled upon our shoulders, the eyes of those Americans not yet born are upon us. It is up to us to shoulder this burden and carry it through November 8th and beyond. Donald Trump needs to lose by such a huge, unmistakable margin that there can be no question he really did lose.

He and everything he represents needs a smack-down of epic proportions on November 8th. And if he can take the GOP with him, all the better. Right now they are the single biggest existential threat to this country and our collective future because they are nothing but obstructionists.

Let’s do this, for our children, for their children, and for everyone else who does not have a voice in this election. Dump Donald and the GOP this election cycle.

Thank you, John, for writing this.


Since whoever gets elected will leave a trail of bodies in the world behind, that is not the disqualification for Clinton you think it is.

Yes, as another non-American, it is disturbing how easily US politicians overlook the victims of their foreign policy, but life is what it is. A complete repudiation of 60 years of US foreign policy?That’s a choice Scalzi is not given.

And all this is presuming of course that an uninhibited egotist like Trump could (and probably would) be worse. Under Trump you might find your family under radioactive rubble. Not much of a difference for you maybe, the rest of the world who is living under the same threat might think differently.

Just to say: Well said.

Oh, and second Lee Whiteside’s hope Arpaio will finally be de-elected this year. I haven’t been able to make as many campaign donations this year — had to replace the A/C system, ouch — as last election, but gave Arpaio’s opponent Paul Penzone twice as much as anyone else.

It has been an odd year for me considering politics. For quite a while I felt like I was just picking her as the lesser of two evils. Now I feel she might be the best person for this job at this particular time.

Many say they have too many questions about her honesty. I agree that she has been so looked at that she has to be squeaky clean even if there is smoke that follows her around. Looking at I begin to think that she just plain scares the insurance industry and they asked the GOP to get rid of her. They couldn’t.

The email thing doesn’t faze me in the least. I have said bad things in email before because I, at that time. thought they were private. I have also worked with some bureaucracies and can see why she used a private server. I also have questions of if it was an illegal server. I didn’t know that there was such a thing at that time.

Now I am not only going to vote for her I am going to go down the list of voting Democratic even if there are GOP members I think were better. I want some things to happen in politics this term. I want the Affordable Care Act fixed. I want cleaner energy but mainly I am tired of gridlock. The first thing needed to fix this economy is a working government and faith that a steady budget may be forthcoming.

Lawrence D’Anna:

Some of them we’ll probably never know, but look pretty likely not to be bullshit to me: her amazing 1000% profit on cattle futures in 1978 was probably insider trading that she got away with.

That sort of luck happens more than you’d think in futures markets. I think what served HRC especially well in that instance was likely being smart enough to quit the commodities markets while she was ahead.

With regards to the fifth point – though I recognize that you may be being somewhat facetious (or maybe not, I don’t know) – I can’t help but recall that Trump actually did beat a field of 17 candidates in the primaries, most of whom were basically qualified and which also included more than a dozen fellow “straight white men.” Trump has charisma, and talent, and a wide appeal that extends beyond being a “straight white man,” even if you personally find him crude and charmless. I think you overlook that, or pretend to overlook that, at your peril.

There are vast numbers of transactions in the markets which can be influenced by privileged information, but, out of that very long list, cattle futures comes more or less at the very end, if it gets there at all. Admittedly I’m much more of a financial instruments specialist, but the whole point of futures trading is that they present the possibility of very large profits or very large losses, and it’s difficult to envisage the nature of information which could give someone the edge when it comes to cattle.

Or, to put it another way, if you want to engage in insider trading there are much, much better ways of doing so than cattle futures, and I would expect Hillary Clinton to know that since she is highly intelligent. Donald Trump, on the other hand…

It’s not really about the endorsement, but can I say that over the years I’ve never really understood what John Scalzi means when he describes himself as a fiscal conservative/right-winger. That’s partly because a lot of people who describe themselves as that would like to be regarded as moderates, and are genuinely not bigots when it comes to social issues, but also would like to get rid of all regulations, lower taxes for the wealthiest and cut government spending on all the things that they don’t like that won’t lost them votes (welfare, environment, cockroach farmers) and somehow end up embiggening deficits and hurting the least well off anyway – which I don’t see Scalzi as endorsing – and partly because a lot of people who are bigots also describe themselves as fiscally conservative as protective camouflage. Sam Brownback probably thinks of himself as fiscally conservative and we all know how that’s worked out.

It might just be trying to translate American-to-UK politics of course, but what does it mean to be fiscally conservative but not in a lunatic way in US politics? Is it opposing $15 minimum wage and free college tutition, for example?

@pablo360: “I don’t want to incite bile, but I do want to remind you that neither Gary Johnson nor his runningmate could name a single foreign leader they admired.”

I would struggle to name any *American* politician that I admire. I could toss out a couple maybes, but all of them have done things I don’t like. And this is why Gary Johnson said what he said – it’s not that he doesn’t know any of them, it’s just hard to say you admire one.

And I feel confident in my vote in Johnson, because even if you don’t like that response, that is not in the same solar system as the things Clinton and Trump have said and done, let alone the same ballpark. It is impossible for me to vote for either in good conscience.

John, I had a realization the other day that fits with some of your comments about HRC. Yes, it’s inevitable that the president will encounter failures during their time in office, whether from partisan opposition, other countries or organizations, or just plain bad choices. In this regard, Clinton is by far the better choice. She has experienced failure, learned her lessons from it, and carried on. Trump is not cognitively or emotionally equipped to deal with failure. He refuses to recognize it even when he’s stewing in it. How would he respond the first time congress didn’t give him exactly what he wanted the moment he asked for it?

CS Clark:

It’s a fair question and one I have to really examine again for my own self, and it’s possible that what I mean as “fiscally conservative” wouldn’t strike others as so. But in a very general sense, as an example, I’m for balanced budgeting in government except in cases of war or financial emergency, and believe you either need to raise taxes to achieve that, or lower spending, rather than pile on additional debt for future generations to service (although honestly, at this point, with treasury rates being as low as they are, this is less of a problem than it was before, but still).

The fact that GOP administrations inevitably tack on trillions to the national debt because they cut taxes but not spending appalls me — I don’t know how they can claim to be “fiscally conservative” when they do that.

Very well said.

I’m still reviewing some of the local candidates, I moved two months ago and don’t know this batch of politicians. But I was always going to vote against Trump in the presidential race, whether the Democrats went with Hillary or Bernie, and I’m content with the one they picked.

Oh, and @Hick Crone — I started with “Old Man’s War”, but “Lock In” would also be a good starting point. Or if you have a Kindle check out our host’s short fiction.

Thank you! I am going to share this around.
What worries me now is the Russian interference in the election. Putin obviously sees Trump, if elected, as someone he can manipulate.
So much irrational thought around Hillary. Some rabid right-wing media chap is convinced she is a demon and that she and Obama smell of sulfur. Ergo, at the third debate, my hope is that the demon finally has enough and rips Trump’s head off.

Well said, John. One candidate has had trouble with the truth on some issues, and one candidate is a walking offense to the gods of information literacy. The difference is orders of magnitude. If we let the Big Lie become the operative principle of American politics, we are in trouble.

Not among my top five choices a year ago, but may she govern and govern well.

Every country looks inwards in elections, absolutely fair enough. But here, at the edge of the world, I cant recall a US election (memories since 1964) which has jangled so many nerves and caused so much public discussion out here. At least Hilary knows where the rest of the world is, as distinct it seems from having generals feed her selected “facts” and potentially letting ego take it from there. We are certainly interested, in all senses, in the result this time. Interesting times indeed.

An acquaintance said she is voting for Trump, because “Hilary will end homeschooling”. I don’t believe it any more than ,”Hilary / Obama will take our guns”, but has anyone seen anything rebutting this? (I am voting Hillary too!)

Preach it, John.
To my shame, I realized a while ago that I had been influenced by the decades long campaign to malign Hillary Clinton. I was always going to vote for her, but it took some research on her policies and the Democratic convention to convert me to joyful support.
I haven’t voted for a Republican since the party went anti-women in 1979, but I think my 2016 vote will leave me as proud as those I cast in 2008 and 2012.
Also, people it’s not enough to vote every four years. Always vote, in every election!

John who is not Mccain says: ‘Strange that I have a memory of voting for her. Guess it must have been a dream.’

She won by only ten points, fifty five to forty five which was only possible because her Republican opponent ran a weak contest and she got strong support from upstate voters, an area, a strong Republican region. So no, your memory was right.

A couple of people have mentioned that she’s more hawkish than they would like. I agree with them, and then I stop and think…

Is that it? Yes, that appears to be it. Oh, she moves to the progressive position a lot more slowly than I would like, but my actual, serious, policy objections to her are a (pretty vague, even by my standards) “she’s too hawkish”. I have a laundry list of things I dislike about Trump. I had plenty of objections to Mitt Romney, and I thought he was a competent candidate. My objections to Hillary seem to begin and end with hawkishness and it’s not like the Obama approach of diplomacy has worked everywhere, so perhaps she has a point.

She’s smart, disciplined, quit giving a fuck about a decade ago, is not going to believe for a single second that a GOP controlled House/Senate is going to “work with her”, agrees with me on most of the issues… and is a little too hawkish for my taste.

I should be over the moon about her and, after thinking about it, have decided that I am over the moon about her.

I am crying with joy at your endorsement of Hillary Clinton. I especially appreciate that you noticed and pointed out how much more difficult it is for a woman to compete. I just felt relief when you wrote that because this means that someone who is not a woman actually gets what the pressure is like and doesn’t resent her outstanding abilities.

@Sharon: the website has a section on Clinton’s education policies, since she’s been involved with education reform since the ’80’s and has gone on the record many many times about her opinions. Frankly, I (am a pretty big fan of Clinton and) don’t think she thinks about homeschooling all that much and is a lot more concerned with improving the public school system, ending the school-to-prison pipeline, and increasing access to early childhood education.

If you want a single “so there” rebuttal, her remark in the 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum is probably your best bet:

I want a partnership among families and students, schools and teachers and our government. Our families have to be their child’s first school & every parent has to understand they are their child’s first teacher. And we need to help parents do that job. That’s why I started Early Head Start. That’s why I expanded Head Start when I was first lady. That’s why I want to have universal free kindergarten for every single four-year-old, because if we give that opportunity, they will stay in school longer & they will do better.We have to work more closely with our schools to make them reflect more the way people live today. Working families cannot get there between nine and three. They have to be given a chance to participate with their children in their education.And we have to respect and honor our teachers and that does require paying them what they deserve. And we have to make college affordable again so that every single middle class and working family can send their children.

[Deleted because, Greg, no. You can question someone’s choice to vote third party without making it a personal, ad hominem attack, and if you can’t, then perhaps it’s best that you sit out the thread — JS]

Cheers John – although I was a bit confused at first (who says to hell with the deficit? who doesn’t say their plans for extra spending will reduce the deficit in the long run?) it totally makes sense in the context of old-fashioned conservatism meaning ‘move slowly, don’t break things’ when it comes to grand plans – not even that they might not work, but in the sense of not throwing caution to the wind and running up a huge bill over a short period of time on a theory. And certainly it works on more local levels where national madness has no sway and it’s often as likely to be an individual Republican as not who’s asking if it really makes economic sense to build that new off-ramp right beside Big Bean.

I’m voting for Hillary, and while she isn’t my favorite person, the decision wasn’t even close. I’m not surprised when people’s political positions differ from mine–happens all the time–but I’m astonished when folks can’t tell the difference between a bright, competent, but unexciting person who’s been smeared daily for almost 25 years and still manages to get up in the morning and make herself useful, and a whiny, two-bit, race-baiting grifter with delusions of sapience.

As for voting for a third-party candidate, I know a little about that. In 1980, unsatisfied with the Republican and Democratic candidates, I decided to send a message to Washington by voting for John Anderson, a perfectly decent man with some good ideas who had absolutely no chance in hell of winning. Unfortunately, the only message I sent to Washington was, “I have no idea how US presidential elections work.”

First: I like Hillary and will be happy to vote for her. Your endorsement expresses my feelings quite well.

Second: People who think Trump and Clinton are in any way comparable evils/dangers to the country are using metrics that I can’t really comprehend, and certainly don’t agree with. On the other hand, today Trump said that if Clinton wins, ISIS will take over the country. I suppose if there were any reason to believe that, you could justify voting for Trump, although it is hard to see any reason he would be more effective in preventing it.

Third: The cattle futures thing is really complicated, and definitely wasn’t insider trading. On the other hand, at a minimum she got unusually favorable treatment from her broker. Here is a fairly detailed version of the story for anyone who actually cares:

Cal Eldredge, it was 55 to 43, but who’s counting?

It always amazes me when Bernie die-hards, who claim to care so much about climate change/global warming, now are supporting a man (Gary Johnson) who is in favor of getting rid of ALL environmental regulations. You see, if something goes wrong with, say, Exxon, you are always free to sue them… .

Thanks for another great piece, John. We New Yorkers have known for years exactly what Trump is, and would not have voted for him for dog catcher (had such a position been up for a vote), let alone you-know-what.

I hope this is not too off topic, but I truly think some Republicans cut taxes and don’t reduce spending because they expect that the deficit will rise to a point where all of the discretionary spending, which is mostly for departments they would like to see eliminated anyway, will have to get cut just to keep the federal government afloat without them getting personal blame for cutting them (e.g., EPA, OSHA, Education). I’m hoping that even though Paul Ryan is an anti-tax Republican, Clinton and Ryan can come to an agreement where there’s a compromise on spending and taxation so that we can eliminate the deficit again.

This time I totally agree with everything you have written in this essay. EVERY SINGLE THING.

Except for the line about Scalia clones. A science fiction writer should know that clones have minds of their own, and there’s no particular reason to expect a Scalia clone to share his progenitor’s political opinions (other than being male), particularly if he wasn’t raised by Scalia’s family. If John really doesn’t get that he should read _Cyteen_ and/or _Brothers in Arms_ & _Mirror Dance_.

I agree with all the political stuff, though. :D

Jeff M, Gary Johnson is NOT in favor of repealing all enviromental regulations.
Honestly, I wonder if some on the left are more worried about what Libertarians might do over the next 10 years than what Trump might do over the next 30 days. Are we already thinking about the next election? I have been voting for Libertarian presidential candidates here in Indiana since 2000, and I have never had to regret my vote. Nobody I voted for ever went on to start an idiotic war. Nobody I voted for supported bank bailouts. Nobody I voted for ever had people arrested for what he himself smoked in college.

I have meant for some time to write and say that I think you are one of the best people writing about American society and politics today. Not a complete compensation for their being in a parlous state, but some comfort. As for these essays about Trump and Clinton, all I can say is, from your lips to God’s ear.

@Robert Enders

If you’ve been voting Libertarian since 2000, then no presidential or congressional candidate you’ve ever voted for has ever accomplished anything. Last I checked, none of them won. So yeah, they haven’t done anything terrible, but they also haven’t done anything good. It’s a red herring to compare 3rd party and (most) independent candidates to mainstream politicians because they’re literally playing in different games for different stakes. There’s a good chance most would make the exact same terrible decisions if they’d been elected. And if not those same ones, then different bad ones.

Very good endorsement. If anything, I’d be even stronger in saying that I think the general atmosphere of distrust surrounding her is the result of relentless poisoning of the well by the Republicans–they’ve literally been gearing up to beat her since 1991, and they have salted the fucking earth when it comes to public perception. But that’s just nuance, and I agree with this post wholeheartedly.

Excellent pieces — both this one on your HRC endorsement and the previous one on The Donald. You capture my own sentiments on both of them.

The vote in the House to impeach Bill Clinton taught me that you can’t vote for the better candidate of the other party. Even though I’m a Democrat, I voted for Republican Tom Campbell for Congress, thinking he was the better candidate. But when he voted for Bill Clinton’s impeachment, he showed me my error. That was a party-first vote, not based on what was best for the country. If politicians are going to vote party-first rather than as individuals, how can you vote for them as individuals?

So in a national contest, I have to vote for the Democrat even if I prefer an individual Republican. Fortunately, it doesn’t come up much — when Campbell ran for the Senate in 2010, he had lost my vote. The other national Republicans — Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore — weren’t very tempting. John McCain or Mitt Romney over Obama? Not close.

If politicians are going to vote party-first rather than as individuals, how can you vote for them as individuals?

Hm. Good point. And wasn’t there some study that showed this applied to one party more than the other?

Check the NY Times and the Palm Beach Post websites. Three women have come forward (so far) to attest that Donald Trump did indeed – despite the statement he made twice at the debate denying it – grope them without warning or permission.

I’m guessing this is the thin end of the wedge, as the British say.

I’m planning on voting for Clinton. I’d be voting for her even if I wasn’t a prime candidate for the Republicans to be locking up or otherwise harrassing into suicide (transgender, bisexual, married to someone of mixed race). She’s a career politician. Trump isn’t even a mediocre businessman who’s also a serious “rich old white men on top all time” neanderthal under the fake hair.

To those who say Hilllary is a hawk and Trump will keep out of things, I wonder if they’ve seen the way the man talks and acts, and honestly think he wouldn’t get us into some accidental war with his behavior, or a deliberate war to spite someone who said something he didn’t like. If we end up in a conflict on Hillary’s watch, at least it’ll be based on forethought and consideration. It’s very easy to second guess whether to intervene in situations after the fact, but they are never an easy call as they’re occurring and I’ve seen no evidence that she’s a shoot first ask questions later type, even if she does sometimes tend towards the intervention is better than inaction approach.

I tend to prefer lack of war, but I also realize that sometimes not standing up to the bullies is the worse choice, and that part of the cost of being the most powerful country in the world is that our choices have major ripple effects.

In terms of how critical this election is- although the supreme court leans heavily in my mind, I think the most pressing issue that we can’t really wait on is climate change. The longer we delay dealing with it, the worse it’s going to be, and the GOP has put way too many eggs in the denial and stalling basket. This makes it all the more critical to change the situation not just at the presidency but in congress where a lot of the changes would need to happen. I’d like to think we as a country can live through 25 more years of worrisome supreme court decisions, but I think the world as a whole needs us to do our part on climate change if we want it to be functional 25 years from now, not just because of our personal effects on the climate, but because others follow our lead.

I had a realization the other day that Trump could agree with me 100% politically and I still wouldn’t consider voting for him. It shocks me a bit that more people aren’t in this category, but I suppose for those who believe in all the smoke surrounding Hillary they are probably shocked that people don’t feel the same way about her.

That being said, Hillary does overlap with me on quite a lot of my policy preferences, especially my highest priority ones and she seems like she’d make a reasonably good president. She’s not perfect by any stretch (some of that smoke is not disqualifying but is worrisome) and I would have liked to be more enthusiastic about it, but I’m quite happy to vote for her. I came to the understanding many years ago that anyone from a party that can actually win who I would actually be 100% happy to vote for in a presidential election (or even senate) would never run in the first place, because they would have had to compromise too much to get to that point. Politics is a dirty business and the higher you go, the messier it gets. So the goal is not purity but sanity, competence and a reflection of my priorities. Hillary passes all the bars and Trump fails them all.

I am an Evangelical Christian. I will vote for Hillary. I have a hard time understanding how my fellow EC’s can swallow Trump while formerly gagging on Bill Clinton and others. There is something in the Bible about “straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel,” an accusation leveled by Jesus at the Pharisees.

Sorry to bring “religion” in to this, but I’ve been wanting to say this for some time, and this seems an appropriate forum. If I’m wrong, I suppose this will never see the light of day.

I found myself nodding along as I read this. Even if she wasn’t up against Trump, I’d choose her over any of the Republicans who ran in the Primary. Is she perfect? No. But even if I weren’t a lifelong liberal-leaning Democrat, I’d be horrified at what the GOP has become over he past three decades or so. Most of the Republicans among my friends and family agree with me on this and are voting for Clinton this time around.

[Context: Australian. Technically, I don’t have a dog in this fight. Practically, I’d prefer people voted for Mrs Clinton – or at least against Mr Trump – because I feel she’s the candidate with the best chance of not leaving the planet a glow-in-the-dark radioactive wasteland].

I think you make a good point about the difference between an opposition party (who are at least willing to work together in pursuit of a common goal for the good of the country) and an antagonistic party (where their primary goal is to gain power and/or keep power, and the rest of us can collectively go take a long walk off a short jetty).

I also agree with your point about the constant “scandals” which accompany her. The GOP have been chasing the Clintons (both Hillary and her husband) for over thirty years now. They tried to get Bill impeached – it didn’t work. They’ve tried to get Hillary on a variety of different subjects. None of those worked. Now, either a) there’s something there, but it’s incredibly well-hidden, to the point where all the money and power and incentives the GOP (both while they were in power and while they were out of power) could come up with have been unable to find it (which argues either incredible criminal resources on the part of the Clintons, or a very real ability to inspire loyalty in even the least of their minions – both of which are qualities which, as our host points out, are probably going to be beneficial for the USA when applied to its service); or b) there’s nothing there to find. Ockham’s razor does point toward b) being the more likely option.

Trump brilliantly exposed the phony facade of American politics and brought long-simmering resentments to a boiling point. What he showed everyone is that the political stage is little more than a reality TV show, something that seems earnest and spontaneous but is craftily formed into a compelling story in the editing rooms. Trump rose above his competitors because his show was more engaging, more watchable — more appealing to our primitive instincts — than their dishcloth productions, even that of Chris Christie with his eye-popping Bridgegate scandal.

Some have opined that the GOP unwittingly arranged their own demise. Rather, I think what happened is that Trump smelled a golden opportunity and brashly seized it — win or lose, he was certain to increase the value of his brand, which is everything in Business. Politicos let him enter the race underestimating his keen edge, his emotional intelligence, and his fearlessness in the casino we call life.

Trump was supposed to have been a sideshow, a clown act, but instead he seized the Ringmaster’s top hat in the greatest show on Earth. Give the man credit for that, at least.

Thank you for this! As a Canadian who is avidly following this election — as is everyone else I know — I wish more Americans understood how very, very important this is for the rest of the world. Your vote is not just on behalf of your country, it’s actually on behalf of the rest of the world.

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, dad to the current one, said of the United States: “Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.”

There have been a lot of twitches and grunts from Mr. Trump. And bigoted bellows. And we’re all hearing it, and fearing it.

I admire Hillary Clinton tremendously and have for years, and consider you (and us) lucky that she’s running for president. My admiration soared to its highest point so far when I witnessed her dignity in the second debate. Does anyone believe Trump has any concern in the slightest for the women accusing her husband? He was using them. The only reason he paraded them out was to discomfit her. And then his viciousness during the debate was unspeakable. I consider myself a reasonably calm and even-tempered person but I could never have dealt with this. And yet she did, and she rose above it, and she spoke of her plans, her policies, and how much she cared. She was amazing.

I don’t think there would ever be a Democratic candidate left-wing enough to suit me if I were American, but I’d happily vote for Clinton if I could. I wish those of us living elsewhere who are going to be deeply affected by the outcome of this election (i.e. the rest of the world) could have a say in it. Maybe one vote for every 10 of us?

I hope every American eligible to vote understands that there are millions of us wishing we could do so in your election, and that you show up to the polling station and do the right thing.

They tried to get Bill impeached – it didn’t work.

A nit: It did work. Bill Clinton was impeached. He was not convicted, but he was impeached — exactly the same as Andrew Johnson in 1868. Impeachment is done by the House, and brings charges for the Senate to try. If they convict, then the person is removed from office, but if they don’t, the impeachment still happened. The last person impeached was Thomas Porteous in 2010, a district judge in the Eastern district of Louisiana. He was convicted and removed from office.*

Your larger point — that if there was any there there, it would have surely been found by now — stands.

Personally, I’m fascinated by the way this election has put the two iron laws of campaigning into conflict. “Never interrupt your opponent when they’re destroying themselves” vs. “When your opponent is drowning, throw them an anchor.” Das Trumpenfurher has basically oscillated between these two places. He’s either screwing up and losing more, or he’s not doing anything and losing more. I keep thinking “Okay, throw the anchor…NO WAIT HE’S BACK ON TWITTER LET IT RIDE!”

For me? This ones simple. Let’s go back to the guy who really got this mess rolling, Ronald Reagan. If my choice were Reagan or Trump, who would I vote for. Reagan, of course. If my choice was Reagan or Hilary Clinton? Clinton, of course.

I’m in no way a fan of Clinton. Neoliberals bother me badly, and she’s very much a Strong Neoliberal. But I’ll take a neoliberal over the hyper-conservative any day, just as I’d take the hyper-conservative over the actual fascist (No, Autocarrot, correcting that to “racist” is…well, it’s not wrong, but it’s not the word I typed.)

So, the neoliberal vs. the actual honest to OMG look a fascist? Yeah, that’s easy. Clinton.

* To give you an idea of how slam dunk his impeachment was? The votes on the four charges were 412-0, 410-0, 416-0 and 423-0.

The definition of conscience is getting abused this election.

“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”

–Gaylord Nelson

There is moral decision making and economic decision making. Moral decision making decides whats best for everyone. Economic decision making decides whats best for you. If “conscience” ignores whats best for everyone, then its not a moral decision.

I’m not sure it’s clear that Clinton is more hawkish than Trump. Trump has talked about going after ISIS multiple times (including ways that would violate the Geneva convention), but Clinton would defend NATO or EU countries if Russia invaded them. I’m still not sure whether Clinton will put US boots on the ground in Syria or Iraq, especially now that ISIS seems to be on the run.

I’m going to be pedantic here and note that Bill Clinton was impeached. He was not convicted, though, which is why he completed his term.

Rarely has a couple had an industry generated around their destruction. This is something that I can not get past. Destruction of the Clintons is an actual industrial activity, as part of the over-all industry of degrading and grinding down the actually quite right wing US Democratic Party.

I have seen no other country -but could easily be wrong about this- in which partisan politics is a commercial industry with primary sectors of Obama (the Black Alien), Fox News and the Radio acolytes, and Hill Bill parts 1 &2.

Politically, Hillary Clinton is not quite my taste, but there is no denying her core competency in most aspects of governance, just like there was no denying the core competency of Mitt Romney. But (rude words) is she denied, denigrated and dismissed at every turn by INDUSTRIAL LEVEL attacks.

Anyone who rejects the concept that there is a complete industrial sector focussed of rejection of the woman is hyperpartisan and unthinking. The ability to simply withstand that level of antagonism and abuse, far greater than any woman I have ever heard of outide of the Roman Empire is a major testament to the grit in that woman. She astonishes me.

But I refuse to vote for her. Reasons.

This is very poorly written.

That’s really all there is to say. None of this is based in fact, and it’s just very poorly done.

I hope very much none of this was for any type of collegiate essay or work.

I saw this go a couple times on facebook but didn’t click through thinking, “Yeah, I read that a while back.” Of course, I hadn’t read it. I had just synthesized a version of it from other things you’ve posted. It turns out that real Scalzi writes about the same points as my invisible friend Scalzi but has better words. The best words even.

@Dave re: this being “poorly written”

That’s some weak trolling there, Dave. As for John’s excellent essay, I’m a college professor who is using this TODAY in class to demonstrate to my students an example of persuasive writing that builds from a clear thesis, uses strong evidence, acknowledges (and trumps) counterarguments, and concludes solidly. If I were grading it, I’d give it an A- just to encourage John to tighten up a few slightly overlong paragraphs (and because perfect scores make lazy writers).

But your trolling comment? F– (20%). You didn’t even put in enough effort to warrant being graded, but I’ll give you 20/100, since you at least spelled and punctuated your sentences correctly.


I’m for balanced budgeting in government except in cases of war or financial emergency, and believe you either need to raise taxes to achieve that, or lower spending, rather than pile on additional debt for future generations to service

Balanced budgets aren’t really necessary, because unlike a person the US government is immortal and never has to pay off its debts in full. Even in periods of great prosperity, Uncle Sam has usually had a debt of 30 or 40% of GDP. Investment in infrastructure and research (highways, telecoms, public universities) has the potential to pay for itself, by increasing GDP in the long term.

Very few countries operate without a national debt — the main exceptions being oil-rich nations such as Norway and various Persian Gulf sheikhdoms. Those cases aside, a realistic policy debate not about whether to have public debt, but rather how much is affordable and what the money should be spent on.

I think we agree that piling up debt to finance tax cuts for the rich is not a terribly good strategy.

I agree with almost everything you said about Hillary Clinton. I’ll be glad to see her as the president over Trump. But unless NJ inexplicably becomes a battleground state, I’m not voting for her.

The primary reason is money. I believe the influence of money on government is the biggest threat to our democracy right now. Hillary won’t do anything to combat that. For her, money from donors and lobbyists and corporate interests is integral to politics. I’m convinced that it will only get worse under her presidency. I guess I just don’t see things changing with her. I’m aware that’s not entirely bad. Unemployment is low, stock prices are up, the economy is recovering (slowest recovery in history, I believe), and I think Clinton will continue those trends. She will also continue trends that are dangerous: wealth gap, wage stagnation, deregulation, etc.

I don’t think she’ll be a bad president, just not good enough.

I don’t know that if a farther left party like the Greens starts getting higher numbers it will push the Democrats to be more progressive and responsive to what the voters want, but I hope it will. And if it doesn’t, maybe we can move away from a two party system.

So what I tell people is this: we vote in statewide elections, not general elections. If your state is safely red or blue, vote third party. If there’s any risk your state might be up for grabs, vote for Hillary.


Is she perfect? No.

Of course she isn’t — and I don’t expect any political candidate to be, because our governments have this tiresome habit of being stuffed with human beings and required to exist in an often bewilderingly complex and fluid world. I’ve never completely agreed on policy with anyone I’ve ever voted for, and that’s OK because “rigid ideological purity” is one of my benchmarks either.

But I do expect competent, temperamentally stable and with a basic grasp of their own policies (and the ability to pay serious attention to people who know more than you do). It’s not a level playing field here. Vote for the candidate who doesn’t act like they’ve just stumbled out of a Game of Thrones porn parody and would rather like to play President of the United States for a while..

@Timothy Clark, re: money in politics. You do realize that while a U.S. Senator, Hillary Clinton voted for the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law, which was the very law overturned by Citizens United, right? Meaning that she actually has an actual track record on reducing the impact of money in politics.

Further, the only way we are likely to limit money in politics is with a Supreme Court opinion that cabins Citizens United; it is hard to imagine any of the judges on a Clinton shortlist would not be in favor of such as result.

Finally, regarding the other items you mention, it is incumbent on us to hold Clinton to account for those things, as they are in her platform.

Thank you so much for this! After a full day of being inundated with the uneducated and foul-mouthed bile Trump supporters keep trying to drown everyone with, I was ready to climb into bed, pull the covers over my head, and not come out until Election Day. Your endorsement of Hillary Clinton, and the civil discussion that followed it, helped restore my equilibrium. Thanks, Mr.Scalzi. I needed that.

The primary reason is money. I believe the influence of money on government is the biggest threat to our democracy right now. Hillary won’t do anything to combat that.

The two Citizens United are pretty much anti-Clinton; one of them was aimed squarely at Hillary.

I really wish there was an opening in this campaign to meaningfully dig into Clinton’s tenure as SoS. Partly because her hawkishness in that post is not very encouraging, but there’s no meaningful choice on that side – even Bernie was pro-drone-assassinations. The big unanswered question for me is whether there was anything the U.S. could have done differently with Russia, to avoid our current situation where Putin is scrapping nuclear nonproliferaton treaties and doesn’t mind overtly taking sides in our election.

Is that the result of Obama/Clinton/Kerry failures, or was it inevitable given the ex-KGB strongman running Russia? I don’t know and with Trump on the GOP ticket (a) there’s no way it would influence my vote because if Clinton screwed up that would just mean she’s a hundred thousand times better than Trump instead of a million; and (b) there’s no way anybody’s actually going to bring up an issue that wonky.

Personally I don’t like either Hillary or Donald, I’d rather see Gary Johnson. Just too bad that Sanders didn’t make it since he did seem to be honest – for a politician.

Right now it feels like reality is worse than the fiction in House of Cards.

As for politicians that deserves respect – Jimmy Carter got a lot more beating than he really deserved, mostly because he couldn’t reveal the reasons behind some of his decisions like cutting the funding for the B1B because at the time the development of stealth aircraft that was funded by that cut was so secret that only a select few knew about it. But hindsight has always a clearer vision than predictions of the future.

The job of President of the United States pretty much sucks. When you look at before and after pictures of former Presidents, and see what the job did to them, it’s hard to understand why anyone would want it.

My biggest problem with Clinton is that she saw the job from the inside for eight years, and she still wants that for herself.

However, since she has worked harder to get that job than anyone ever has, and is better prepared for it than anyone has ever been, I’m okay with giving it to her.

Love this essay. Two observations related to some of the comments here: first, the phrase “lesser of two evils” is a somewhat dishonest way to say “the better of two possible outcomes.” There are only two possible outcomes of this election, and three positions one can express about them: “I prefer a Clinton presidency,” “I prefer a Trump presidency,” and “I have no preference between Clinton and Trump,” which is the only message the political system actually receives from you when you vote for a minor party candidate or don’t vote at all.

Second, I strongly suspect that Hillary Clinton’s hawkish tendencies — that is, her preference for intervention over non-intervention in foreign crises that either impinge on U.S. interests or simply look likely to turn into humanitarian nightmares — is influenced by enduring memories of the outcomes during her husband’s administration of our prudent, dovish non-intervention in Rwanda and late intervention intervention in Bosnia. I’m old enough to remember mounds of human skulls and muddy mass graves on the evening news, and I can’t fault Hillary for keeping those images in mind.

I hear a lot of people arguing that in the counterfactual world where we didn’t intervene at all in Libya or Syria, the civil wars in those countries, which had already started before we intervened as a result of their leaders’ crackdown on the Arab Spring protests, would somehow have turned out better than they have in the world we live in. What I’ve never seen is any actual evidence that it would have been so.

I disagree with the thought process that goes, “Well, I’m not in a swing state, so I can put in a protest vote.” Because it’s not enough that Trump lose the election; he needs to lose as massively as possible to try to demonstrate to whatever remains of the GOP that Trumpism is not the path they should be taking in the future.

There are times, in politics like in college football, when you just gotta run up the score to prove your point.

Is Hillary perfect? Nah. She’s got dirt on her, you can’t be a politician for multiple decades without getting some dirt. Is she dirtier than Obama? Eh, maybe. I think she’s a bit dirtier than Obama, but that’s still pretty clean.

Is she better than the septic mountain of human waste that is Donald Trump? YES. In every possible way. By multiple orders of magnitude. Hillary Clinton is comprehensively superior to Donald Trump in every way, and is an objectively good leader on top of that. She’s incredibly out of touch with my generation, but she’s intelligent and competent and reasonably non-evil and seems pretty level-headed and honestly at this point that’s more than enough for me. Hell, I’d take an incompetent idiot who was non-evil, or an intelligent but incompetent criminal, because they’d both be better than the walking trash fire that is Donald Trump.

In short, well said, Mr. Scalzi. Hillary Clinton is objectively a good candidate, and objectively better than the sexist Goering clone that is Donald Trump in every way.

@ David Your question about why Russia is doing what it is is interesting. In another twist in the “it is all the fault of the West” approach, an article in today’s Times by Michael Burleigh blames us. Some extracts “Loss of empire, which for Britain and France was a messy but protracted process lasting half a century, happened to Russia almost overnight with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. [….] The existential shock to the Soviet system’s true believers was enormous. […] The economic chaos that followed saw Russia transformed into a casino culture, with local gangsters and foreign vultures despoiling its assets. It was the West’s great opportunity to sell the benefits of the rule of law and free trade to a struggling nation but it blew it in the hubristic belief that Russians would naturally come around to its way of thinking.” Link to the article here but behind paywall
I admit that I struggle to see what could have been done to “sell” those benefits other than model them and provide advice which I believe was done by eg the IMF and the World Bank

I agree with pretty much everything John says, here. As for breaking out her SoS time, wikipedia has a pretty decent summary on a year-to-year basis. If anything, it only underlines her experience. The only person who is really critical of her time there is (shock!) Dick Cheney. Most label her anything from Solid to Spectacular. Just looking at her travel information, she has visited dozens of countries and spoken with their leaders. She did a lot on her watch and did so admirably. When the worst thing I see about her time as SoS was the email issue and that she didn’t solve the mid-east peace crisis…I’m not feeling bad on that merit.

In the early days of the first Clinton presidency when Hillary Clinton was taking point on health care, there was a “Nobody Voted For Hillary” meme making the rounds. My knuckle-dragging cousin predictably trotted this out during a conversation.

I replied, “that’s not true.”


“I voted for Bill Clinton in full awareness that she was part of the deal. So I voted for her. Therefore that statement is incorrect.”

IIRC he changed tactics to criticize me for voting for her, which in a roundabout way means that he conceded my point. This didn’t happen often in the game of Calvinball which was our political discussions.

“for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
–Steven Weinberg

Religion, or any other bit of mental gymnastics that allows them to judge the right and wrong of action with disregard to the harm those actions causes other people. Like a perverted notion of “conscience”.

over the last couple months, I’ve had probably a dozen people tell me they have to “follow their conscience” and vote third party. Its not conscience if it destroys other people’s lives.

You either hold your nose and vote whats best for everyone.
Or you vote what profits you in some way, indifferent to the expense of everyone else. You either make a moral (best for everyone) or economic (best for you) decision.

I am sick of the religion that is the US presidential third party voter.

Naderites self righteously gave the reins of this country to Bush, and most to this day refuse to acknowledge the damage they inflicted on the rest of the country. Its unlikely those voters fought in Iraq, but other people did because they couldnt sully their fingers and pull a lever for Gore.

And now we have to suffer the religious zealotry that are the “bernie write in” monks and the Jill Stein nuns and the Gary Johnson apostles preaching their flat earth, intelligent design, nonsense, about “sending a message” or “fighting the two party monopoly” or more vaguely “voting their conscience”.

Flat earthers like this knucklehead still trying to defend a vote for Nader then in an effort to build cover to vote for some third party now.

Its little different than some religious leader using bad logic, dogma, and indifference to hide the evils of slavery behind religious excuses. It uses magical thinking to downplay the real world costs so they can buy and sell human beings like cattle. All the while, they’re being fucking righteous about it.

For good people to do bad things, that takes religion or a perverted definition of conscience. If it doesnt tie back to real world damage and real world costs and real world people, its no better than any other religion.

Excellently argued piece, John. I especially like it when you write seriously without your usual infusions of jocularity. (Though I like that, too.) I’d endorse everything you say, in particular the nature and level of strength of your caveats about Clinton.

On that subject, about the numerous scandals. What’s actually going on here is that the Republicans have acquired a smoke machine and are generating so much smoke as to gaslight the people who believe “There’s no smoke without fire.” In this case, there is. So many of the most vehement accusations – Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster, Benghazi – huge investigations proved that there was absolutely nothing there.

In other cases, as you mentioned, there were some venial sins. Lawrence D’Anna writes that the e-mail case is “proven,” but what’s proven is that she hosted e-mails on a private server, and that this posed some degree of security risk. That’s it. That the e-mails were classified: false (with one apparently accidental exception). (Classification was applied retroactively not by State, but by intelligence agencies with a history of classifying everything that falls under their vision, including press releases and copies of newspaper articles.) That any of the information was actually critically sensitive: false. (State officials didn’t discuss such matters on e-mails.) That any of the deleted e-mails were sensitive: unproven and probably false. That anybody actually broke into Clinton’s server: probably false. That Clinton Foundation donors got significant perks from State: false. (What’s remarkable is how little they got. Clinton had an aide one of whose jobs was to brush these people off. Some of them got meetings, if they were people a SecState might reasonably meet with anyway. Some of them got better seats at banquets or such. That was about it.)

So: e-mail? One small truth. The rest is BS.

Alex: *ding ding ding winner winner chicken dinner*

I appreciate that we are a country increasingly weary of of armed intervention, but the “Hillary Clinton is a bloodthirsty warmonger” theme* is just… well, like you say, counterfactual to the totality of the situation.

To quote some little known Twitter personality, I’ll be voting for Hillary Clinton with joy in my heart.

* No, folks, you’re not fooling anyone by toning it down to “hawkish”, no matter what side you’re coming from.

@HickCrone, in response to your book questions; here are my thoughts, FWIW:

LOCK IN is my current Scalzi favorite. It is a police procedural mystery and a thoughtful exploration of how advanced technology affects society, both on the individual, personal level and in the aggregate. And like everything of Scalzi’s it has plenty of humor.

OLD MAN’S WAR is an excellent space opera.

REDSHIRTS is laugh out loud funny.

“So it’s not particularly surprising that I find many of her policy positions congenial,”

Of course not! You are a WHAM – White, Heterosexual, Affluent Male. You don’t need to worry about your marriage, reproductive rights, whether your job gets shipped to China leaving you to scrounge from the nearest dumpster for your next meal or whether you’ll get sent to jail for three years for jaywalking. She’s got your back and when she sells everyone else down the river for a %2 bump in approval ratings, well, you’ll just make the usual excuses and say “Gosh, how awful for those other people!”

After the way republicans have behaved for the last eight years, there wasn’t a chance in hell I’d vote for one for federal office. But at this point, I wouldn’t even vote for Trump for dogcatcher.

Susan Montgomery:

She’s got your back and when she sells everyone else down the river for a %2 bump in approval ratings, well, you’ll just make the usual excuses and say “Gosh, how awful for those other people!”

You must be new here if you think Scalzi doesn’t consider those who aren’t like him when it came to this endorsement.

As for the rest of the comment: even assuming that Clinton would “sell everyone else down the river for a 2% approval rating” (an entirely unsupported assessment, in my opinion), how exactly would she improve her approval rating by opposing marriage equality or reproductive rights? The backlash from the left would be orders of magnitude greater than any gain she could possibly make on the right (not that the right would care: like Obama, they’ll oppose her because of who she is, not what she does). So even if Clinton is really willing to turn on a dime for the sake of approval ratings (again, unsupported), she’s unlikely to do so on issues that her base cares about.

Furthermore, a Trump presidency with the GOP in control of the Senate and the House will almost certainly attack marriage equality, overturn Roe, roll back what little labor protections remain, and push for greater punitiveness in the criminal justice system.

@Greg: I see your point, but bad logic or magical thinking aside, I don’t like the idea that someone should feel compelled to vote for a certain candidate. I do think that if you’re voting 3rd party, you have to accept the political cost of that vote and own up to whatever happens next. But I think it’s undemocratic to say you must ‘vote for what’s best for everyone.’ I’m voting for Hillary because I’ve decided it’s the best way to stop Trump. But I still believe in everyone’s freedom to vote their ‘conscience’…or whatever they want to call it.


I was wondering what evidence you have for the claim that Hillary Clinton is prepared to ‘sell everyone else down the river for a %2 bump in approval ratings’, bearing in mind the fact that no President can be elected solely on the votes of the ‘White, Heterosexual, Affluent Male’?

After all, the demographics make that it impossible, and even if Hillary Clinton was prepared to ‘sell everyone else down the river’ she isn’t stupid enough to believe that it would get her elected.

For that matter, do you believe President Obama would campaign on her behalf if he believed she was prepared to behave in that way? Would Michelle Obama campaign for her if she believed that Hillary Clinton would behave in that way? It does seem to me that you are implying that your President and his wife are dumb enough to be deceived by someone they know very well. What evidence do you have for that?

Doc: “No, folks, you’re not fooling anyone by toning it down to “hawkish”, no matter what side you’re coming from.”

Well, she sure as shit aint a dove on international relations.

The NYT has an article about Hillary being much more hawkish than Obama.

Foreign says she is a hawk here

And they endorsed her.

I’m voting for Hillary because Trump is an underground coal fire that will destroy the nation. But lets not kid ourselves who Hillary is.

We are men of action. Lies do not become us.

thomas: ” I don’t like the idea that someone should feel compelled to vote for a certain candidate. … I think it’s undemocratic to say you must ‘vote for what’s best for everyone.’ ”

I said “You either make a moral (best for everyone) or economic (best for you) decision.” I am not compelling anyone to vote for Hillary.

But if you are not making a decision based on whats best for everyone, you are making an economic decision. And if you are making an economic decision of whats best for you, dont hide behind the magical thinking that is “conscience” to justify it and hide the cost.

“I do think that if you’re voting 3rd party, you have to accept the political cost of that vote and own up to whatever happens next.”

Thats my point. Voting third party while claiming your “conscience” told you to do it while ignoring the human cost to everyone else? Either your conscience is shit, or you’re lying.

Someone wants to vote third party? Fine by me. Just dont peddle it with some flat earth, religious, self justifying bullshit that dodges your responsibility. It is not your “conscience”, because it is not a moral decision, because it ignores the cost everyone else will bear.

Anyone who says “I am voting third party” should say why and then append “And I dont care about the damage that Trump will do to other people because I’m not one of the people he will be rounding me up”.

Anything less is a dodge.

It’s a fair question and one I have to really examine again for my own self, and it’s possible that what I mean as “fiscally conservative” wouldn’t strike others as so. But in a very general sense, as an example, I’m for balanced budgeting in government except in cases of war or financial emergency, and believe you either need to raise taxes to achieve that, or lower spending, rather than pile on additional debt for future generations to service (although honestly, at this point, with treasury rates being as low as they are, this is less of a problem than it was before, but still).

I’ve taken to calling this “fiscally responsible” instead of fiscally conservative, since the second term has been sullied beyond all repair. FC just means “wants to cut rich people’s taxes and stick it to the poor” at this point.

I would quibble with your position at little bit, as to me the key is debt as a % of GDP and debt service payments as % of the budget. We want to see those numbers steady or falling, unless we’re in a crisis of some kind (recession;, necessary war; killer asteroid inbound, etc.). A balanced budget might be needed for that, or might not, depending on circumstances. Given that we have persistently run a trade deficit of ~3% of GDP for about 20 years now, if we balance the budget for more than a moment we’ll likely trigger a recession (the federal deficit plugs the hole created by the trade deficit). That’s a problem we need to address, and while I wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts on HRC, I don’t think that’s something she actually has much of a plan for. I’ll probably drop a most-likely-futile note to her and hope that Madam President Policy Wonk decides to work on it. She’s been known to do things like that…

That Hillary is a “warmonger” (bloodthirsty or not) or “willing to sell anyone down the river for a 2% bump in approval” or her “corporate contributions are a priori evidence of corruption” are fantasies/fever dreams/conspiracy theories without basis in observable fact on the left fully equal unto the “Benghazi!!!111!!!eleventy-one!!”, or “she’s coming for your guns (or homeschooling, or tendency to eat candy after 8PM)”, or “she killed Vince Foster and covered it up” fabulations on the right.

The folks who consider her not only hawkish but “unacceptably hawkish” have in my experience dealing with Berners/Greens/Progressives been folks who are unwilling to cop to actual, definitional “pacifism”. Nothing wrong with pacifism, but palming your pacifist card by pretending that you might support some hypothetical military action, just not any that SHE might engage in, in order to call her a “hawk” is a trifle disingenuous.

I happen to be of the opinion that some people in the world need blowing up, and I am in fact comfortable with the results thereof. There. Truly, I am histories greatest monster, the likes of which we have not seen since 1945, or at least since 1998 (Pol Pot’s death). Having said that, am I comfortable that she’ll refrain from action if the benefit to the US actual strategic interest was outweighed by the risks, OR vice versa? Yes I am, and that’s all I really want from a president…not to do something stupid, as you are able to see what is stupid, at that point in time.

@Greg: ‘”Anyone who says “I am voting third party” should say why and then append “And I dont care about the damage that Trump will do to other people because I’m not one of the people he will be rounding me up”.’

Yes, I re-read your post and realized we’re not actually disagreeing because you weren’t saying ‘no one gets to vote 3rd party.’ Mea culpa.

I’m hearing an increasingly binary discussion of voting lately and I want it to be more nuanced and honest. Vote 3rd party AND accept the consequences. Just don’t lie to yourself or the rest of us.

I think if Johnson’s or Stein’s presence in this election results in a Trump presidency, 3rd party voters will need to own that. But I also think that will mean Hillary will have run a terrible campaign because she couldn’t even beat Trump.

Although, a Trump presidency will also mean we’re all screwed so we’ll be having this academic discussion on the run and under fire…

I just happened to notice whilst I was strolling through the comments that people keep referring to Clinton as “hawkish,” which made me think of “Ladyhawke.” So I’d just like to thank those commenters for the fanfic I’m about to write in which Donald Trump’s campaign wizards turn Hillary Clinton into a hawk to keep her from winning the election, only to be foiled by Hillary and her sidekick, Matthew Broderick. I’m eternally grateful.

I’m 28, white, male, and a veteran. I come from a fairly conservative family with a history of voting republican. I voted for McCain in 08 and Romney in 12, mostly because they were the safe republican choices my upbringing led me to believe were the right choices. I grew up drinking the All Democrats are Evil koolaid.

Over the last several years I’ve been slowly reevaluating what I believe to be best for our country, and how my own personal politics fit in. I’ve either changed my stances or shifted left on most issues. I don’t know when or even if I became a liberal, but I believe that Clinton is the best choice in this election, especially given that Trump is a maniacal sexist egomaniac asshole.

I think this post sums up a lot of my current thoughts on this election as a whole, and articulates them better than I am sometimes capable.

@ wizardru “She did a lot on her watch and did so admirably.”

Bizarrely my confused first thought when reading this was “she didn’t have a watch, she had a blackberry…oh wait”

As a another rockefeller republican and now I suppose RINO I am mildly amused to remember that the EPA was put in place by Nixon…it is also amusing that Christie is listed in the “moderate republican” block on wikipedia.

When Trump loses some of his supporters have promised the expulsion of the establishment republicans that ditched him because obviously that’s why he lost.

It should be interesting, in a Chinese proverb sort of way, what happens if they succeed. We may yet see the replay of the Whigs, Know Nothings, et al.

itinerant : “folks who consider her not only hawkish … are unwilling to cop to actual, definitional “pacifism”. ”

Way to bifurcate the spectrum.

Thomas: “I’m hearing an increasingly binary discussion of voting lately and I want it to be more nuanced and honest.”

Its binary because the rules make it binary. Voting third party doesnt change those rules. Voting third party helps the main candidate you hate the most. Third party candidates can only act as spoiler. If folks want a nonbinary system, they have to ammend the constitution, to change the rules so it isnt a binary system.

I dont like talking about magical thinking nonsense like how voting third party “sends a message”. It doesnt. Its like a belief in the afterlife being used to lessen the pain of the real world. I want a more nuanced, wider spectrum, of political parties and candidates. And the only way that will become reality is if people get serious about fixing the constitution.

I’m hearing an increasingly binary discussion of voting lately and I want it to be more nuanced and honest. Vote 3rd party AND accept the consequences. Just don’t lie to yourself or the rest of us.

Yeah, that’s along my lines. As Bujold says, you choose your choice AND the consequences of that choice.

I’d just like to thank those commenters for the fanfic I’m about to write in which Donald Trump’s campaign wizards turn Hillary Clinton into a hawk to keep her from winning the election, only to be foiled by Hillary and her sidekick, Matthew Broderick. I’m eternally grateful.

Now THIS makes me smile….

Very well written. 100% agree.
I hope her foreign policy is closer to Bill Clinton than Margaret Thatcher which is my chief concern.
I am hopeful she keeps her campaign position on TPP which is terrible in the amount of power it gives corporations, regular trade deals are a small part of that monstrosity,
The alternative to Hillary is unAmerican and she is a sensible choice regardless of the alternatives.

From all the press and social media coverage, I feel like I am the only one actually excited to vote for Hillary. The “they are equally bad” argument is infuriating because one has spent her life in service to others and one does not appear to think that anyone who isn’t Donald Trump deserves protection and respect. My only sadness was that she didn’t pick Warren as her running mate. I’d be excited no matter who she was running against since for the first time ever I get a chance to vote for a presidential candidate who actually looks like me. Lots of people remember Margret Thatcher with hate (and I understand why since some of her policies were horrible), but I remember her as my first living example that a woman could run a country.
I am terrified of what a Trump presidency would entail. How much of the progress of the last 40 years would get rolled back. This election just makes me more and more depressed by the day because it is becoming clear that a large swath of the country does not appear to value equality or reality.
Side note: am I the only who loves these posts of John’s just because of the opportunity to look at the mallet in action?

So I’d just like to thank those commenters for the fanfic I’m about to write in which Donald Trump’s campaign wizards turn Hillary Clinton into a hawk to keep her from winning the election, only to be foiled by Hillary and her sidekick, Matthew Broderick. I’m eternally grateful.

This is a good thing and you should feel good.

So I just listened to an audio clip of Trump lusting after a ten-year-old girl. I really don’t think that the obvious difference between the candidates can be any more…well, obvious. Clinton has had one minor scandal and about 37 manufactured piles of bullshit leveled at her after decades in various levels of public office. Trump has never held a public office and he’s already been proven to be a disgusting sexist racist creep.

Why is he even getting 40% of the vote? That says a lot about our country, none of it good.

@amandakespohl: Do you need a beta reader? Because I would read that in a hot minute.

Re: Hilary’s positives and negatives: I absolutely want a policy wonk who listens to people and does her research. I have faith that she will listen to people who don’t want further conflict as well as those who do. What I am most worried about is another four years of gridlock, so I am looking carefully at all downticket races.

Re: Tim Kaine – he’s getting a lot of – not exactly flack, but teasing for being a Dad-type. GOOD. GOOD. I like him too. And maybe that’s what we need: Someone in the VP office to humanize the office. It certainly worked for me with Biden, and Kaine is less likely to gaffe than Unca Joe.

Eric Bagai:

So, thank you DNC for screwing my country and leaving me with no viable choice.

“DNC” is an odd way to spell “Democrat primary voters.” Because like it or not, Sanders lost the primary to Clinton because more Democrat primary voters voted for her than for Sanders. You might dislike the result, but the Dolchstosslegende pushed by hardcore Bernie-or-Bust types is bullshit. And I say this as someone who has been a fan of Senator Sanders back when the only people who knew him were Vermonters and politics geeks.

Also, link to Clinton’s statements? Because a cursory search on my end showed nothing about Clinton speaking of foreign policy, regarding Syria or anything else. It’s not like “removing Bashar al-Assad” is a bad goal. The issue is how to go about doing it.

Good endorsement, well written (no surprise from you).

I supported Obama over Clinton in 2008, mostly because he was the more exciting candidate, and partly because I had internalized some of the Clinton hate from her time as First Lady. And partly because the Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton succession was scary to me. It could have easily been followed by a Jeb Bush presidency without the birtherism and Trump’s humiliation at the hands of Obama and Seth Myers at the White House Correspondents Dinner, which I think is largely behind Trump’s desire to run for the Presidency. Succeeding Obama is the revenge he wants.

Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State did a lot to temper my opinion of her. I’m happy to support her run for President in 2016. She is the professional in this race and the grown-up on the debate stage.

zemadmax: “showed nothing about Clinton speaking of foreign policy regarding Syria or anything else. ”

Its an article from december 2015, a bit out of date goven how much syria has changed. At the time, Hillary was for getting Assad out. She was also a supporter of intervention in libya that toppled gaddafi’s government and killed gaddafi himself. NATO bombed locations where he might be hiding, and bombed a convoy he was in, gaddaffi took to ground and was killed by rebel ground forces.

Hillary has no issue with regime change.

And to be clear, regime change is easy. Its the utter clusterfuck afterwards that you have to deal with for decades. The CIA overthrow of Iran in 1953? Directly responsible for US-Iran relations being in the toilet right now. The death of Gaddafi has led to a civil war and power vaccuum filled in part by isis, al queda, and other shitty organizations. After supporting the mujaheedan in the 8o’s in afghanistan, after the soviets bomb the country into the third poorest nation on the planet, the US bailed, and in that power vacuum al Queda arose. It seems to be the standard US playbook.

Syria? With Russian warplanes and warships directly supporting assad? You want to take him out? And then what the fuck do you do? go to war with russia?

At the most ruthless, if America could use Syria as a repeat of Afghanistan in the 80’s, maybe Russian occupation of Syria would be a huge drain on the Russians and have putin leave office, and leave Russia weaker and more controllable.

But to do that, we’d have to be willing to use Syrians as pawns for possibly a decade while we arm rebels with stinger missiles and other weapons to fight russian heavy weapons. And after Russia fails to quell the rebellion, fails to defeat isis, they withdraw weaker as a nation. And then, we step in with a massive rebuilding program to make sure it doesnt turn into yet another power vacuum.

But thats a ten year plan, and the US cant seem to think more than 6 months into the future. Its also brutal to the syrians.

@gwangung Well, yes, nobody’s perfect, but I meant it more in the sense of “I don’t agree with her on everything.” I doubt I’ll ever agree with everything for any candidate, but ya never know.

As for the media view of her not being perfect, I honestly think it’s more because she’s a woman, than she’s a Clinton. I don’t think they’d be treating her any better if she was anyone else, they’d just be focusing on different nonsense.

I’d link this on Facebook, but I’m not up for the uproar it would cause. Some days I think the rage virus from “28 Days Later” has jumped into the real world.

I don’t think Clinton is a perfect person by any means, but aside from agreeing with most of her platform, I admire her tenacity. She’s been in the public eye and getting dumped on right and left for pretty much my entire adult life, and somehow she’s come out of it stronger and tougher. I had to chuckle when people praised her composure on Sunday night as Trump shot his mouth off. What, another Republican blowhard spewing vitriol at her? That’s known as “a day ending in a ‘Y’” in Hillary Clinton’s world, and has been for a long time.

Dan seems to b e surprised that no one seems to be taking notice of the endorsements that Clinton is getting from major Republican-backing newspapers. What he forgets is that no one really bothers to read newspapers any more preferring encapsulated news filtered into their personal bubbles from either Facebook or Fox News.

I’m always surprised when people play the anti-semitism card on Trump. I think the biggest shame of Bengazi was both Obama and Clinton immediately blaming the violence on a Jewish film. They had no facts. They simply saw Muslims rising up, and it was far easier for them to blame Jews that Muslims. People on the Left like to remember every bad thing anyone on the Right ever says. But it’s interesting the memory gap. Personally, I don’t like Trump. I don’t think he represents a philosophy either of the left or the right. But for sure, Obama has been the most Israel-hostile president of the last century. Clinton hasn’t made any speeches repudiating him. But it’s Trump who is anti-Semitic. ok.


My request for a link were in reference to Eric Bagai’s claim that Clinton claimed today that removing Assad would be her first goal of office. Specifically because, as I noted, the devil is in the details.

I’m well aware of Clinton’s generally pro-intervention policy, and America’s heavy use of regime change. No need to lecture me about it. If Syria can be returned to stability without removing al-Assad (which is not the same as removing a pro-Russian government, mind you), then sure, let’s go with that. But that’s a big if, isn’t it?


You’re really going to say that Obama is anti-Semitic? For being friendly (and not even super friendly, just friendlier than most previous US presidents) with Muslims and not loving the current right-wingers in control of Israel? Disagreeing with the Israeli government doesn’t make someone anti-Semitic. And refusing to repudiate someone who sometimes disagrees with the Israeli government doesn’t make someone anti-Semitic.

You know what makes someone anti-Semitic? Accepting the endorsements and refusing to repudiate the KKK and neo-Nazi groups. And who’s done that this cycle? Donald Trump.

First of all, folks, the Republicans have hated and worked against Clinton for more than 40 years. I’m guessing most of you don’t know that she was on the staff of the Congressional committee that investigated Watergate. There are people from the Nixon Administration who are still in positions of power and influence today.

The emails — ONE — All the emails WERE recovered, either from Clinton’s server or the computers of her assistants; TWO — out of 30,000 emails only three had markings IN THE BODY of the emails, and were INCORRECTLY marked, so Clinton NEVER had classified materials on her server; and THREE — the State Department issued a statement after Comey’s press session saying no classified materials were found and recovery of the emails satisfied Federal recordkeeping regulations. (Nota bene: Comey was on Kenneth Starr’s staff in the 1990s.)

Now, as a retired Federal employee who worked during the time computers began being used in the Federal government I can tell you that it was pretty much un-regulated for many years. Early adopters used their own private email addresses as well as those provided by their department. Most of the systems couldn’t shake hands with other agencies systems.* It was only when higher ups realized there HAD to be security, was access restricted, and employees limited to the agency email system. Under Obama, Internet access was restricted as well.

So Hillary Clinton had fallen in love with her BlackBerry and wanted to use it when she became SecState. She asked NSA for a secure one like the Presiden’ts. They said, “No.” That’s when she got the private server. Because the unrelenting attacks from the Right taught Clinton to value and protect her privacy, she wanted the ability to control access to her personal email. Sorry, but I don’t think that’s a crime.

Oh, and that business about destroying the old BlackBerries with a hammer? Any Federal computer or cellphone that is decommissioned has its memory wiped, then the hard drives or SIM cards removed from the machine and destroyed, you guessed it, by a tech wielding a hammer..

*Note: Most Departments IT software and technology is five to ten years BEHIND that used in private industry.

We have our own problems on this side of the pond with people equating ‘does not support the Israeli Government unconditionally in every respect, irrespective of their actions’ , with anti-semitism. Unfortunately we also have hardcore antisemitism choc a bloc with the usual conspiracy theories. Neither is helping.

What a lot of comments. I tried reading them all, but I’d have missed the posting deadline. Well said and reasoned, although my viewpoint is more progressive. I will vote Hillary and do admire her in many ways. I’d rather be voting Bernie, and doubt too many ex-Sanders supporters are supporting the Libertarian candidate with a good understanding of the issues. I’m saddened that a vote for the status quo is my choice rather than progress. I look at the world outside my head as well, but also remember a middle class who could hope to work, then retire, on one income. But more important is the Climate Change issue, and I have small confidence in Mrs. Clinton on that one given her corporate allegiances. Trump shouldn’t even be a choice.

Really great post, thank you!
I agree with just about everything, but point number 4 pretty much nails it for me. I can’t imagine how I would have done in her situation, but I know it wouldn’t have been as good. Yup, I don’t agree with everything she’s said or done either but, well, everyone makes mistakes or slips up – you can acknowledge that and try to do better, or just deny it all and claim infallibility. But one of those options suggests you would make a good president and the other a terrible dictator…
I shared your post on Facebook, but if I understand what it was telling me, it seems like more than 5000 people have already done the same! (I could be wrong, as I don’t use it all that much.)

Bravo! I’m retweeting this article daily until the election. She may not be perfect but she is a far better choice than Trump for all the reasons listed. I’m with her.

What’s actually going on here is that the Republicans have acquired a smoke machine and are generating so much smoke as to gaslight the people who believe “There’s no smoke without fire.”

Once upon a time, that proverb was true.

Then the smokescreen was invented.

Thanks as usual for a most coherent abstract; to which I pretty much agree.

My politics are simplistic but I own them. As to voting – I know my vision isn’t totally right on here – but to me votes are like putting pennies on scales where the heaviest wins. If I put my penny on anything but that best possibility, then I’m diminishing that one real possibility by my vote. And then, votes that might be very possibly evil would then have more say. I guess this could go for political parties, too.

Long ago I desired to make a write-in vote for Bill the Cat (if that doesn’t date me I don’t know what will). But in the end I voted for someone of reasonableness who had a chance of winning. Well, my desire to vote for Bill the Cat – even now to me, thinking back – that now makes me feel bad about myself and selfish: I’d almost wasted my penny.

Please vote for your one best honest choice.

Thanks, John for coherently making a good pitch for what is, IMO, a best current choice.


But for sure, Obama has been the most Israel-hostile president of the last century. Clinton hasn’t made any speeches repudiating him. But it’s Trump who is anti-Semitic. ok.

I don’t have mallet-privileges around here, but you know hating Jews and “disagreeing with the incumbent government of the state of Israel on various matters” (which an awful lot of Jews, not least the Jewish citizens of a nation that isn’t a one-party state) aren’t the same thing, right?

But to be fair, I may have missed the many many occasions on which President Obama and Secretary Clinton have approving re-Tweeted people who most explicitly and unapologetically hate Jews, or accepted the endorsement of the former freaking Grand Wizard of the KKK and have repeatedly weaseled out of disavowing it. And today which candidate was ranting to a screaming crowd about sinister foreign elements who secretly control the media and are rigging the election for their annointed stooge who will destroy America and everyone in it? (A stump speech that should sound disturbingly familiar to Jews everywhere.) Spoiler: NOT HILLARY CLINTON.

If anyone is “dealing the anti-semitism card against Trump” it’s because he brought the deck and insisted on shuffling it.

About that whole benghazi thing — I vividly remember the rioting going on in various places (Egypt comes to mind) that was inflamed in part by a film mocking Muslims and Mohamed. I remember the actors in the film telling newpapers that they were misled by the producer of the film as to the subject of the film, and that he dubbed in dialog tht was anti-Islam AFTER the filming was complete. And that the stuff in Benghazi started that way, and that a local group decided to take advantage and attack the safe house, which was a CIA base, oh by the way. Chris Stevens thought he was okay because he was with his CIA buddies working on something. They got caught by surprise.

So there was fog of war and confusion. Duh.

I also vividly remember Mitt Romney weighing in before the damn bodies were cold about what a shame that the Obama administration was too cowardly and ‘politically correct’ to call out the rioters and doing … something.

I’ve been researching and reading about the election for months. I’ve read everything I can get my hands on about both candidates, and I’m raising my children to also do their own research and form their own opinions, even if it means some rather interesting dinner conversations with my 13 year old son.

This was the most articulate, well thought out statement of endorsement for either candidate that I’ve read during this entire election cycle. I’m sure it helps that I happen to agree with everything you said, but you said it far better than I ever could. So thank you for putting it out there for those of us who haven’t been able to say it so intelligently.

Mr Scalzi, looking at this from Down Under, with a deep admiration for America, its sad to have been watching this election campaign. How can a significant percentage of Americans determine that this guy is the guy they want as president? Further, how can those elected republicans say that “although I disagree with what he says, yep, that’s the guy for me!!” Will you be able to post an analysis on the prospects of the GOP after a Clinton victory? Is this the end of the GOP as we know it or will they re-adjust and consign the last year to a bad dream? Trump voters and Tea Party supporters are not going anyway.

Thank you

A beautiful endorsement, thank you. It has been anguishing following this campaign from Europe, but I would say that, while it exposed some of the worst in America, it also exposed a lot of its best. This is part of it. I am not a US citizen so I won’t vote, but I will be with you on November 8.

Though I agree with most of what you said, I have to disagree about only voting Democratic for just national offices. Given the travesty they call the Republican party and how they’ve stymied any reasonable legislation for almost two decades, I’d say don’t vote for a single solitary Republican, local or national, so as to shock the party to such an extent that maybe, just maybe, they’ll want to be reasonable legislative partners again.
We need a sane conservative party, not this festering pile of irrational, theocratic, patriarchal, bullshit spewing mass of intolerance that exists today.
Love your books.

On Thursday, October 13, 2016, Hillary Clinton said in a speech that she is among the people who sometimes want to just turn off the news and watch funny cat videos for a short while.

I’m with her on that.

zemadmax: “My request for a link were in reference to Eric Bagai’s claim that Clinton claimed today”

Oh for fucks sake. What are you doing? It isn’t enough that I’m voting for Hillary? I have to say she’s perfect? Any criticism whatsoever, no matter the size, must be crushed? It’s really channelling the “all shall love me and despair” attitude. Jesus.

Hillary is hawkish. I posted a link by the washington post, which aint no Faux News. I also found links from NPR and MotherJones and several other reliable sources that aren’t Faux News. She’s Hawkish. She’s more Hawkish than Obama, and probably more hawkish than her husband. And WAY more hawkish than Carter. She might land soemwhere along the lines of Reagan or Bush Sr. What do you think you’re going to accomplish by (1) pretending that isn’t true and (2) going after people who speak that truth? It doesn’t help your cause, that’s for sure.

You wanna help HIllary? When a Bernie-or-bust guy comes in and says Hillary is hawkish, dont deny the truth. But maybe poitn out that Trump is a fascist who is going to go to war with all of Islam which makes him WAY more hawkish than HIllary.

Do you think you’ll accomplish anything by proving that Hillary didn’t say something hawkish “TODAY”? Do you think that’s the meat of his point? That if she didn’t say it TODAY, then you can dismiss the whole point? Really? What are you doing? Because what you’re doing lands like people can’t just vote for HIllary because she’s better than Trump, its landing like you’re going after anyone who dare criticize her.

I’m with her too and voted yesterday. I am really enthusiastic about Secretary Clinton being President and hope that she will continue President Obama’s legacy and push us forward in a progressive way.

Very proud to be a member of a Party which elected the first African American President and is set to elect the first woman President.

This country has a far way to go to meet its creed of justice and liberty for all but we are getting their incrementally.

Greg, it’s not clear to me, from your comments, whether you actually do recognize that there is, in fact, such a thing as illegitimate criticism of Clinton. Are you aware that Clinton has been the target of an unremitting G.O.P. smear campaign for the past couple decades? With that fact for larger context, I think it’s very apposite indeed, when someone like Eric Bagai makes an unflattering claim about Clinton, to ask them to actually, you know, substantiate that claim. Pony up the details. Cite sources. Because that’s the difference between someone who has a legitimate criticism of Clinton, and someone who, whether a knowing participant or a mere ‘useful idiot’, is serving as part of the GOP’s unremitting, decades-long smear campaign against the woman.

I’m with Greg here. I consider Hillary Clinton uncomfortably hawkish. It’s not going to keep me from voting for her but it means I’m more nervous about her as president than I would like to be. I’ve had a lot of respect for her since the early days of her husband’s presidency but this really bothers me.

Cubist, the notion that I should refrain from criticism of Clinton because of the right-wing smear machine doesn’t fly. In conversation I typically say something like “…and my issues with Hillary Clinton are with the real Hillary Clinton, and not with the ridiculous Wicked Witch of the West caricature pushed by Fox.” Labelling people who criticize her as useful idiots is personality cult territory. Leave that to the Trump supporters.

So why do I think Clinton is too hawkish? Let’s go back to the Iraq War vote. itinerantpedant said

…that’s all I really want from a president…not to do something stupid, as you are able to see what is stupid, at that point in time.

Hillary Clinton failed this test big time in her vote for the Iraq war. There was ample reason at that point in time to call bullshit. I was deeply, deeply disappointed in her. This was an opportunity to display intelligent judgment and/or backbone and she showed neither. Yes, I am judging her by a high standard, but it’s the standard she herself set with her performance as First Lady. I expected more.

Every dog gets one bite, so this isn’t a fatal mistake. The problem is that it fits into a pattern. During her tenure as Secretary of State I thought her threshold for favoring military intervention was too low and without sufficient consideration of blowback. itinerantedant again:

Having said that, am I comfortable that she’ll refrain from action if the benefit to the US actual strategic interest was outweighed by the risks, OR vice versa? Yes I am.

And this is where we part company. I do not share this comfort. I fear that the versa is going to be overly viced.

Again, this doesn’t mean I won’t vote for her. It means that I’m less enthusiastic than I’d like to be, because this is a pretty big deal. And I’m sad about that because I’d like to be more enthusiastic.

Greg said: “Oh for fucks sake. What are you doing? It isn’t enough that I’m voting for Hillary? I have to say she’s perfect? Any criticism whatsoever, no matter the size, must be crushed? It’s really channelling the “all shall love me and despair” attitude. Jesus.

Greg, are you just looking for a reason to be angry? Zemadmax asked Eric to back up a specific claim. You decided to answer a different question and now you appear to be yelling at Z for explaining to you that wasn’t what he asked? Eric specifically said that yesterday, Hillary specifically said that her VERY FIRST action in office would be to remove Assad from power…that’s a pretty specific statement that didn’t carry the ring of truth. It still doesn’t. A Clinton adviser, Jeremy Bash, DID say that as president a ‘first key task’ she would order a REVIEW of our policy towards Syria…but that was back in July at the convention and she didn’t say it. And she didn’t say it yesterday.

Calling out a game of telephone being used to incorrectly represent something is what I suspect zemadmax was commenting on. HRC’s stance on Syria is well known…but opposing Assad and implying that on day one, she’s going to take action against him sounds like hyperbole to misrepresent her. I don’t see anyone demanding you worship at the altar, anywhere.

Cubist, I owe you an apology. I didn’t go back far enough in the thread. Asking Eric Bagai for substantiation is completely appropriate. Clinton has been much more nuanced in every comment on Syria that I have read.

But this is exactly the situation where her demonstrated hawkishness is problematic. Syria may well be a case where intervention is appropriate, esp a no-fly zone. Russia’s involvement adds wheels within wheels and it may be necessary to say “whoa there, bare-chested cowboy!” But as to paraphrase Greg’s earlier comment, “regime change is easy. It’s the mess afterwards you have to deal with.” I just want to feel comfortable that this has been thought through.

Yeah, I’m going to vote for her too because I’m a grown up who lives in the real world. Yes on everything you said about voting against the Alt Right and against the (national level) GOP. Also Hilary has been pretty solid on civil liberties issues, though she’s certainly been cautious. Her opinions move with the times which is something she’s been criticized for. I don’t think that’s fair- it’s important to be flexible and willing to change with society. Also, yes about her tenacity against both the GOP conspiracy theorists and the misogyny. Finally, I don’t care about any of her scandals.

But that’s the end of the good. I don’t see how anyone can dismiss her hawkishness. I’m not at all excited for a Clinton presidency. Putin has been warning the world for months now that current Obama-Kerry-Clinton policies (NATO escalation in Eastern Europe and beating drums for regime change in Syria) are risking an all-out confrontation between nuclear powers. It’s frightening. I don’t think it’s her fault, nor Obama’s, nor Kerry’s. But certainly she has a track-record of making these situations worse (re Libya, Syria, Central America) and the NATO escalation DOES seem aggressive. At the very least, you’d think she’d stop gloating about how tough she’s going to be on Russia or how much Putin doesn’t like her. I don’t think it’s a good strategy for the rest of the world to have two hawks play nuclear chicken. Clinton frightens me. People keep talking about how qualified she is because she’s obviously very knowledgeable. But she’s been terrible at managing everything- she’s done a horrible job on every foreign issue she’s touched from the time she voted for the Iraq war / Patriot Act right on up through the interventions in Central America, the regime change in Libya, the escalation of support for ‘rebels’ in Syria, the support for Saudi Arabia’s wars in the other Gulf States, the drone attacks in sovereign nations with whom we aren’t at war, etc. Her foreign policy (and Obama’s too! It’s not her fault alone, she is not POTUS) has been devastating. Yes, it’s been better than what we had under the GOP neocons that preceded them, and yes it will be better than under Trump. But that’s not much of an endorsement.

What bothers me most about Clinton (on the global stage) is that I think she’s an ideologue. Consider Cheney or Rumsfeld- they had a vision for what they wanted American hegemony to look like, and they refused to listen to anyone outside of their inner circle to carry it out. Clinton’s vision is going to be slightly different, but she’s the same sort of ideologue. It’s really scary. When I wake up on Nov 9, I’m not going to feel any relief that Clinton is president though I am going to feel a great satisfaction that the Alt Right was kicked to the curb.

I don’t like Clinton’s hawkishness either, and I totally agree that intervention in Syria and/or Libya were and remain terrible ideas.

All that said, I have a wife who’s a breast cancer survivor and who has an artificial hip. Without Obamacare, she would most likely be uninsurable at any price. There are also people very close to me who are LGBT, and they would suffer terribly under a Trump regime. So this election is, yes, very personal to me. I started out as a Bernie Sanders supporter (and took massive amounts of shit for it from Clinton supporters), but now I’m With Her (for which I’ve taken massive amounts of shit from Sanders supporters). Nothing is perfect.

Scalzi – I realized that I hadn’t responded directly to your post. Thank you for an eloquent statement.

I am jealous of the cleanliness of your prose, your excellent grammar, the clarity and structure of your arguments. But what I really hate is that you can produce work of this quality quickly. I occasionally see signs that something was written in a hurry: the odd typo or a word that doesn’t belong which would have been caught by a proofreading pass. But even the quick writing is solid.

Long ago you posted a demotivational poster lamenting that nothing you ever did would bring you more fame than taping bacon to your cat. You have a good shot at proving yourself wrong.

But I don’t know that it’s any relief to the people around the world whose governments have been destroyed under Obama/Clinton that the GOP would have been much worse. People who care about civil rights at home and humanitarian issues abroad absolutely MUST stop blinding supporting the liberal American POTUS just because he/she is mostly championing civil liberties at home. We can be opposed to Trump and the GOP and acknowledge that they are worse in every way while STILL fighting the machine of death and terror that Obama/Clinton have spread around the world. They aren’t much better in that regard (though less evil actually makes a difference)!

We decry Trump’s racism towards immigrants and his stupid idea to build a wall, but where is all the outrage over the coups in Central America? The drug war? The Central American refugee crisis? Obama’s deportations and detentions? He’s probably been the worst president for Central America since the 80s.

Likewise, we say we are horrified by Trump’s treatment of Syrian refugees, but now we are electing one of the people responsible for the escalation of that war and the insistence upon regime change as a prerequisite of diplomatic talks (something that not even all the rebels in Syria were demanding). Putin and Assad, bloody dictators that they are, did manage to prevent Obama from having that war the first time he wanted it. Likewise, in Libya- Clinton herself escalated her goals immediately beyond what NATO authorized initially- it’s what she wanted all along. ETC. Plus the drones, the support of the wars in the Gulf States, the repeated (decades now) practice of funding/aiding the allies of global radical Sunni terrorism while also attacking their enemies which means we are supposedly fighting a war against people who we arm/fund in a round about way which causes on-going perpetual war and instability.

Clinton MUST win because Trump is terrible- aside from all the domestic issues and bigotry and international ignorance, there is also climate change to consider and the SCOTUS appointments, so yes, the GOP has to get out. Plus the Alt Right is terrifying- they are fascists and I’m going to be so satisfied to see them destroyed. But let’s stop pretending that Clinton is great because she’s been tenacious against the GOP assault. She’s got a lot of blood on her hands. We need to wake up and actively organize against the Democrat’s foreign policy. You can praise them for their good track record on domestic issues (civil liberties, health care) without turning a blind eye to the fact that Clinton is a bloody hawk- she’s every bit as bad as Bush Jr in this way, just with less bravado. She’s quieter about it. Also there is no possible way that she is naive and simply taking the advice of ideologues as you could say Bush Jr was doing with Cheney/Rumsfeld and those PNAC neocons. Possibly even Obama was naive and just taking advice from hardline supporters of American hegemony like Clinton. Clinton herself is a bloody hawk.

I’m voting for Clinton because I want the Dems in power. I hope all moderate and progressive Dems organize against her wing of the Dem party the way the moderate and evangelical Reps should have been organizing against the Tea Party / alt right wing of their party.

Jeff M, Gary Johnson is NOT in favor of repealing all enviromental regulations.
Honestly, I wonder if some on the left are more worried about what Libertarians might do over the next 10 years than what Trump might do over the next 30 days. Are we already thinking about the next election? I have been voting for Libertarian presidential candidates here in Indiana since 2000, and I have never had to regret my vote. Nobody I voted for ever went on to start an idiotic war. Nobody I voted for supported bank bailouts. Nobody I voted for ever had people arrested for what he himself smoked in college.

When I read libertarians I always smile because of the quote from Kung Fu Monkey on the libertarian hero Ayn Rand……..

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged . One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”


Cubist: “whether you actually do recognize that there is, in fact, such a thing as illegitimate criticism of Clinton.”

When people say Hillary belongs in jail because of Benghazi, I point out that 7 congressional invesstigations by republicans and democrats disagree. I have had that particular conversation probably a dozen times in the last week or so. So, yeah, I recognize it.

I think the difference is I’m not fighting for Hillary. I dont particularly fight for a candidate or against a candidate. I fight for the truth and against lies. “Hillary is a hawk” is truth, or at least its reasonable enough to not be a lie. One could argue that Reagan and WBush were more hawkish than her, and we could debate whether Obama is more or less hawkish than her, but she’s on the hawk side of the hawk/dove spectrum. Playing “gotcha” about whether she said something hawkish TODAY so as to ignore her 30 years in public service? Thats not about pointing out a lie that she didnt say it TODAY, that was to distract from the truth that she has a career as a hawk.

I say the same thing to people who want to vote third party. You can vote third party, but dont fucking lie to me about the effects of thst vote. Be adult. Be responsible for the effects of your actions, your statements, your vote.

You wanna vote Stein? Great. Just dont tell me it will somehow “send a message” or do anything to break the rules that create the two party system. And dont tell me it doesnt help trump. You wanna vote trump? Great. Just admit that he’s a fascist who embraces the KKK, a xenophobe, gropes women, is a serial adulterer, and a terrible businessman. You wanna vote for hillary? Great. Just dont bullshit me that she’ s a dove.

Someone announces they are voting trump and is straight about the consequences of a Trump presidency, I will likely not say much to them. Someone says they are voting Trump because Benghazi, or some nonsense about emails, or whatever, I’ll likely give them both barrels.

Hillary is a hawk. Trump is a fucking fascist. I’m voting for Hillary fully acknowledging that she’s a hawk, because the only other option is a fascist. I am not candy coating it. To do so is irresponsible. And the only way to be responsible for this mess is to be honest about each candidate. I *hate* the cult of personality that has evolved into american politics. My guy is perfect, your guy is the devil incarnate. I hate that. I want voters to be responsible, and that means they have to be honest. And that means attacking and correcting illegitimate criticism. But it also means accepting and allowing legitimate criticism.


Oh for fucks sake. What are you doing?

I’m asking Eric Bagai to provide evidence for a specific claim.

It isn’t enough that I’m voting for Hillary?

Who you are voting for is irrelevant to my question. I would’ve asked Eric for a source to his comment even if you were voting for Harambe.

I have to say she’s perfect? Any criticism whatsoever, no matter the size, must be crushed? It’s really channelling the “all shall love me and despair” attitude. Jesus.

Dunno where you’re getting that from. I acknowledge that she’s pro-intervention. I’m happy to discuss problematic Clinton policies (such as her hawkishness). But y’know… I wasn’t trying to do that. I was asking Eric Bagai to provide evidence for a very specific claim which seemed oddly out of place to me. Because regardless of how hawkish a candidate is, most of the time they tend to place greater focus on domestic issues (because that’s what voters are mostly concerned about).

Hillary is hawkish.

I’m not disagreeing with that.

She’s Hawkish. She’s more Hawkish than Obama, and probably more hawkish than her husband. And WAY more hawkish than Carter.

I don’t think I agree she’s more hawkish than Obama. Obama, after all, is the one who continued and expanded GW’s drone program. Hillary might be more supportive of putting boots on the ground, but I don’t know if that makes a difference to the people being bombed/shot. I’d be happy to revise my assessment, however.

As for being more hawkish than Bill Clinton or Carter, I agree. That being said (and as Alex noted above), the Rwandan genocide and the Srebrenica massacre both occurred during BC’s presidency, which might have influenced HRC’s views on interventionism.

Or not. Maybe she’s always been pro-intervention.

She might land soemwhere along the lines of Reagan or Bush Sr. What do you think you’re going to accomplish by (1) pretending that isn’t true and (2) going after people who speak that truth? It doesn’t help your cause, that’s for sure.

Sure, if I was pretending that she’s not hawkish, and going after people who disagree with me, that would be a very stupid thing to do. Good thing I wasn’t doing it.

You wanna help HIllary? When a Bernie-or-bust guy comes in and says Hillary is hawkish, dont deny the truth. But maybe poitn out that Trump is a fascist who is going to go to war with all of Islam which makes him WAY more hawkish than HIllary.

You assume the Bernie-or-bust crowd would listen to said argument. I’ve tried that (and I’m saying that as a Sanders fan). Doesn’t work. Any nominally liberals or progressives who still think Trump and Clinton are “equally bad” are as far away from reality as Young Earth creationists. And just as likely to listen to arguments that challenge their worldview.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting you are one of those people.

Do you think you’ll accomplish anything by proving that Hillary didn’t say something hawkish “TODAY”?

I’ll satisfy my own curiosity on the subject.

Do you think that’s the meat of his point?

No, the meat of his point was that he didn’t like Clinton.

That if she didn’t say it TODAY, then you can dismiss the whole point? Really?What are you doing?

Honestly? I was challenging Eric Bagai’s claim that the DNC was responsible for Clinton being nominated. THAT is what I took objection to, because it is both patently false and incredibly condescending to the people who actually chose Clinton.* The part of my comment you focused on was an honest request for a source for a claim that seemed a bit fishy to me.

Because what you’re doing lands like people can’t just vote for HIllary because she’s better than Trump, its landing like you’re going after anyone who dare criticize her.

Alternatively, it lands like I’m “going after anyone who dare criticize her” if the reader assumes that’s what I’m likely to do. Other people got what I meant to say from my comment.

Could I have worded it better? Sure. You could also have read it more charitably.

So which non-democrats are you voting for this year? I am voting for Gary Johnson. Weed is legal in DC. Hoping he can give the stuck liberals some happy brownies so we can get the budget deficit down.

One concern I have regarding the people in non-swing states feeling as if they can vote for a third-party candidate with no impact on the outcome of the presidential race: it would not surprise me to hear Mitch McConnell say, after the election, “Well, Clinton got enough votes to win, but not a mandate, so we feel justified in putting off consideration of any Supreme Court nominees until the people get a chance to make their feelings known in 2020.”

@ Emma

Putin has been warning the world for months now that current Obama-Kerry-Clinton policies (NATO escalation in Eastern Europe and beating drums for regime change in Syria) are risking an all-out confrontation between nuclear powers. It’s frightening.

I know it’s tangential to the larger point, but this is the same kind of false equivalence as equating Clinton and Trump. Putin isn’t warning on the basis of some disinterested geopolitical analysis, he is trying to shift an Overton window. There isn’t any NATO escalation in Eastern Europe, but there is some very clear Russian escalation. Standing up to his view that it would be better if the countries of the region reverted to being Russian client states is not escalation, it is a response to escalation.

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