From An American Living In India: Dear USA, Don't F*ck This Up #Election2016

Mike Melli , 08 Nov 2016
Source: @HillaryClinton Twitter
Source: @HillaryClinton Twitter

After two years of the most mind-boggling, embarrassing, ugly political campaign in memory, Americans wake up this morning to vote for their next president. That next president will either be Democrat Hillary Clinton, or Republican Donald Trump. I know many people, both in America and abroad, who think Hillary is sure to win. They are wrong.

According to Nate Silver, one of the most respected and reliable pollsters in the country, Trump has between a 1 in 4, and a 1 in 3 chance of winning. Silver correctly predicted 99 out of 100 states between the 2008 and 2012 elections, and in this election he has consistently showed how Clinton’s chances of winning are much less certain than Obama’s were for relection four years earlier.

U.S election probability as of November 7th, 2016 from fivethirtyeight.com
U.S election probability as of November 7th, 2016 – Source: www.fivethirtyeight.com

Hillary Clinton is the clear favorite, but Trump can win by some combination of a) not enough Hillary supporters showing up to vote because they think the election is in the bag, b) not enough enthusiasm and turnout among the African American community like there was in 2008 and 2012 for Barack Obama, c) enough people pulling the lever for Trump despite telling pollsters that they were voting for Clinton or a third party, d) bad enough weather to discourage people from waiting in line to vote, and e) enough millennials choosing to vote for a third party candidate, or not at all. Young people were a key component of the coalition that elected, and reelected, Obama, but in this election 25% – 35% of millennials are considering voting for a third party. A vote for a third party, is a vote for Donald Trump, especially if you are registered to vote in Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, or Nevada.

There are multiple contributing factors to this election being as close as it is – a slow economic recovery, low labor force participation rates, lack of real wage growth, ongoing effects of globalization, ongoing culture wars over abortion and LGBTQ rights – but the one factor I would like to speak to is the notion that Hillary Clinton is “just as bad” as Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton is far from a perfect candidate, in fact, she’s an awful candidate. It’s hard, if not impossible, to spend 30 years in public service without accumulating some baggage, and Hillary is no exception. In her years as First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, New York Senator, and Secretary of State, she has done A LOT of good for women and for children, and for the middle class, and she’s also made plenty of mistakes. But running for president, and actually being president, are two very different things. I personally believe, if elected, that Hillary will be a fine president, and I’m proud to support her. She has the respect of world leaders, many of whom she has worked with directly, and she is known for having a steady hand in times of crisis. At least 40% of my countrymen disagree, and that’s fine, but let’s dispel this myth that these two people are ‘equally bad’, because that’s a downright insult to an amazing woman.

No matter what you can say about Hillary Clinton, she does not share these things with Donald Trump.

Misogyny

For decades Donald Trump has made clear his opinion of women. To Donald, women are objects, they are trophies, they are conquests to be judged and rated on their looks and on their breast size. This is not my opinion… this is what Donald Trump himself has said time and time again, for decades.

The infamous #Pussygate video released last month shows Trump talking about how he tries to sleep with married women and uses his power as a rich celebrity to force himself on women. Since this video came out and Trump non-apologized for his words by calling it harmless “locker room chat,” he has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by at least 11 women over a span of 30 years, including one woman who was 13 years old at the time of the accusation. Trump has called all of them liars and said that he would never do that sort of thing. He might be telling the truth, and all those women (and all the people they told at the time of the alleged assaults) might be making it up, except he kinda sorta brags about doing EXACTLY what all these women are accusing him of doing…

https://youtu.be/IY8FwWwIVyQ

He lashed out at journalist Megyn Kelly after the first Republican primary debate because she asked him about some of the rude things he has said to women over the years. The next day he called her overrated and insinuated that she was on her period – of course – and then skipped the next debate where she was scheduled to moderate.

He dismissed the chances of primary challenger, Carly Fiorina (the only Republican woman who ran for president), because of… her face.

And he went on a 3:00 a.m. Twitter rant against former Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado after Mrs. Clinton revealed at one of the debates that he called her ‘Miss Piggy’ because she gained some weight, and ‘Miss Housekeeping’ because she is Latina, and then went on to fat shame her on public television. Trump’s response to the controversy the next day on a morning talk show was, “she gained a massive amount of weight, it was a real problem”… even the republican hosts of the talk show were speechless.

These are just some examples from the last 18 months. For a nice trip down misogyny memory lane, check out Buzzfeed’s breakdown of all the degrading things Trump has said about women. You’ll see some classic hits like, “a woman can’t be a 10 if she’s flat-chested” and “it doesn’t matter what the media writes as long as you’ve got a young beautiful piece of ass” (those are actual Trump quotes).

Racism

Donald Trump does deserve credit for getting more Americans engaged in politics and actively participating in our democracy, but the problem lies in who some of these people are. The clips below help explain why white supremacists, neo-nazis, anti-semites, and other white nationalist groups are YUGE fans of the Donald and why many of these people support, and even volunteer for his campaign. The KKK is behind him too and Trump didn’t feel the need to denounce them (until he was severely pressured to do so by some fellow republicans).

This is Donald Trump’s announcement speech from June 2015 when he officially launched his bid to become president. Many political observers after hearing the content of his speech assumed that he had no chance of winning, due to the disgusting things he had to say about Mexican immigrants.

Yes, that’s Donald Trump saying that most Mexican immigrants are rapists and murders… but at least he thinks some of them might be good people.

Several months later Donald Trump shocked the world by suggesting that Muslims (read ALL Muslims) should be banned from entering the United States.

Several months after that he went on to attack a Mexican-American judge who allowed a lawsuit against his Trump University scam to move forward (more on that later). Donald cried foul and said the judge could not do his sworn job of applying the law without bias because he was Mexican. This judge, by the way, is a 1st generation American born in Indiana, so Donald Trump thought he was disqualified from doing his job just because his parents were born in Mexico. This comment was so insulting that even Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the highest elected Republican official in the country and former Vice Presidential candidate, called Trump’s comment the ‘text book definition of racism’.

This July during the Democratic National Convention, Trump attacked a Muslim-American family whose son died fighting for America in Iraq. Trump said that the fallen solider’s mother was suspiciously silent during her husband’s speech at the convention and implied that she was not allowed to speak because she was Muslim. The actual reason the grieving mother stayed silent is because she knew she would break down in tears in front of millions of people if she even glanced at the over-sized picture of her dead son displayed behind them.

If you’ve been following Donald Trump’s rise in politics dating back to 2011, none of this overt racism should surprise you. It’s how he started his political career. Trump’s claim to political fame before running for president, is his attempt to delegitimize the first African American president, Barack Obama. For years Donald Trump has been the face of ‘birtherism’ – the notion that Obama was not born in the United States, and thus unable to serve as president. Barack Obama was of course born in Hawaii, and even after Trump pressured the president to release his long form birth certificate, proving once and for all that he was born in America, Donald said it was a fake and continued to spread misinformation. His actions caused palpable harm to the entire Obama family and indeed to millions of African Americans who were so proud of Obama’s success.

https://youtu.be/kxyNOVbWcdA

Bullying

If you’re not a woman or a minority, don’t feel left out just yet–Donald is an equal opportunity bully.

People with physical disabilities, like a reporter he knows with a congenital disease:

War heroes like Senator John McCain who was captured and tortured for 5 years in Vietnam:

Even Alec Baldwin by saying that his portrayal of Trump on SNL stinks… which is so, so false.

https://youtu.be/hVBoVUtb84s

And don’t think I forgot about you, all my Indian hombres. Although Trump was actually trying to court Indian-Americans with the below campaign ad, something tells me it might have had the opposite effect.

Failed Business Record

One of the reasons that Donald Trump has a decent chance of winning the election today is because he has convinced millions of Americans that his brilliant business mind can also bring fortune to the country. It’s an argument that has been made by several previous presidential candidates, most recently by Mitt Romney who ran against President Obama in 2012. But there’s a tiny problem with Trump making this argument – he sucks at business.

The primary reason Trump is worth several billion dollars (30-40% of what he claims to be worth), is the vast wealth of his father who loaned him millions to start his business and left him a fortune. Independent analysis has shown that if Trump had simply invested all his father’s money in stock index funds, he would be worth much more than he is now. If Trump had done no business deals, no real estate, no casinos – he would be several times wealthier than he is today.

We don’t know much about his actual finances because Donald Trump is the first presidential candidate in half a century to not release his tax returns to the public. It could be he’s trying to hide the exaggeration of his net worth, or his lack of charitable giving, or his suspicious dealings with Russian oligarchs, or that he’s never paid taxes – we’ll never know.

Hillary Clinton has released 15 years of her family’s tax returns and has paid a combined average effective tax rate of 40%.

Donald Trump has:

  • Refused to release any tax returns.
  • Likely paid 0% tax rate for at least 18 years due to a $1 billion loss on a failed casino.
  • Has declared bankruptcy at least 4 times, at significant financial loss to his other partners and stakeholders.
  • Has screwed over thousands of working class contractors and suppliers by not paying them for services rendered.

He’s been involved in over 3,500 lawsuits in his professional career (a record for a presidential candidate), most notably the lawsuit he is scheduled to face trial for later this month in New York for his fraudulent Trump University.

As former New York City mayor (and actual self-made billionaire), Michael Bloomberg said, “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s running his business? God help us.”

If you haven’t followed this election closely, some of this information might seem crazy. It might seem crazy that Donald Trump can actually win the election. Well… it is. But crazier things have happened. Trump has been written off at every stage of his campaign. When he first announced his candidacy, people thought he was a joke. When he first gained in the polls, people said it was a fluke. When he won his first primary contest, people said there was no way he would win the nomination. When he won a majority of the primary delegates, people said that the republicans would find a way to nominate someone else at the convention. When he was formally nominated at the convention, people said he had no chance of actually winning the presidency, and here we are.

In the year of Brexit, and so may other shocking political events around the world, I for one am taking no chances. I’m contacting every person I know who lives in a swing state and asking them to vote for Hillary, and I hope you will do the same. And even if you live in a non-swing state, you should still vote, because the senators, governors, congressmen, and local officials on the ballot are just as important to your everyday life.

Don’t take this for granted. As long as everyone gets off their ass and makes the easiest decision we’ve ever had to make on election day, we’ll be just fine.

We got this.

The opinions expressed in this article are of those of the author.

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