I apologize if I am straying from the territory of this blog, but this election is a historical one. Election Day is tomorrow. It’s been a long and astonishingly ugly campaign season that many are ready to see end, to say the least.
This year, Americans are showing unprecedentedly little faith in American institutions. Donald Trump blusters that the election is “rigged,” and an October poll conducted by Politico revealed that as many as 41% of voters think the election could be “stolen” from him due to widespread voter fraud.
However, the Washington Post reports that there have only been 31 credible cases of fraud out of the last billion ballots cast; in other words, as an adult citizen, you would be more likely to be injured by a toilet than to commit voter fraud this year (a 1 in 10,000 chance, compared to a 1 in 32,000 chance). Besides, the decentralization of the United States election system would make it impractical for any party to use dishonest means to determine the outcome of an election. Yet somehow, as always, the facts seem to have no relevance. As Obama would say, the “truth” needs more “eyeballs.”
But the system is rigged. When it’s not uncommon for voting districts to be drawn to diminish the impact of minority voters, when voter ID laws (struck down by the Supreme Court this year as unconstitutional) were designed to prevent African Americans from voting, when Trump has received an estimated $2 billion in free media, much of which entailed insufficient fact checking, when–while the KKK endorses Donald Trump and while Russia is putting forth efforts to get him elected and while more women come out with allegations of sexual assault against him and while he undermines the foundations of democracy–we continue to talk about Hillary’s latest email scandal (when it’s unclear if she’s even involved), the election is most certainly rigged.
To put Donald’s whining about the biased liberal media into context, the media have served as one of the Trump campaign’s best assets, almost certainly playing a major role in his rise. Only recently seeing their mistake, the media has scrambled to repent, doing everything they can to stop him (all it takes is the truth and coverage of his own eruptions); for example, many prominent conservative news outlets have broken a pattern of decades by refusing to endorse him. It’s pretty simple: if this man–who as president would define a party he is at odds with, much like a dictator–is elected, no one wants to say they could have done more to prevent it.
But Trump still has a viable path to the presidency: false equivalency, the idea that “both candidates are bad,” so Donald isn’t worth stopping. There is this pervasive idea that Clinton is some lying, evil conspirator with no sense of ethics, whose election would bring about an American apocalypse. Sure, she used a private email server in office–as did Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio, among others–but after what conservative online magazine American Thinker estimated to be $20 million of investigations, the FBI concluded that she did nothing illegal or dangerous to the American public–and she has more than paid for her mistake. (And, interestingly, her use of a private email server might have actually protected classified information, because the Russians managed to hack the official government server.) As for the idea that Hillary is a serial liar, that is based on an incomplete thought: the nonaffiliated organization Politifact has rated 27% of Hillary’s statements during this campaign as “mostly false” or worse, compared to Trump’s 70% (Bernie Sanders was at 28%). And, of course, though the Clinton Foundation has created conflicts of interests, according to Fortune Magazine, it has also provided treatment for over 36 million cases of tropical disease and provided maternal and child survival care for 110 million people, alongside other humanitarian work. Yet, many Americans see Hillary as a criminal, and passionate chants at Trump’s rallies have escalated from “lock her up” to calls to have her executed.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has retweeted white supremacists, has said he would be open to using nuclear weapons on Europe, has attacked the family of a deceased veteran, has said he would instruct the military to commit war crimes (by torturing the families of terrorists), has stiffed small businesses and is notorious for fraudulent business ventures, owns an organization that is guilty of illegal practices and has donated nothing to charity, has been used by ISIS as propaganda to gain recruits, has inspired the so-named “Trump effect” in which teachers are reporting more bullying in school, has encouraged his supporters into violence against those who disagree with him–and has gone so far as to kick a baby out of his rally. If Hillary did any single one of these, would we consider her eligible to be president?
Overall, the idea of false equivalency fails from the start; Trump entered the national stage being sued for housing discrimination, while Hillary first attracted attention giving a progressive valedictorian speech she wasn’t supposed to give. She literally started her political career as anti-establishment, while Donald Trump is of a class of billionaires entrenched in their wealth, having no stakes in the working class. There is simply no comparison between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. And if you do choose to support Donald Trump, that choice will be an expensive and dangerous one: even Fox News reported that Trump’s policies would add $11.5 trillion to the U.S. national debt (compared to Hillary’s $200 billion, according to an independent analysis), and research by the Economist Intelligence Unit rates a Trump presidency as the sixth greatest risk to the world, the same level as the effects of jihadi terrorism on the world economy and 50% more risky than an armed conflict in the South China Sea.
Donald Trump has no experience, not a single Republican economist, not a single military general, and, to be frank, hardly a single fact on his side. In contrast, Hillary–a woman who has fought her entire career for the silenced, a woman with more qualifications than almost any incoming president in history, a woman with cowardly men assailing her from all sides, who has never flagged as the “establishment” has striven for decades to end her career–deserves your fair consideration as a woman to vote into the office of the most powerful person in the world. But keep in mind that even if she wins–the most likely scenario–the fact that Donald Trump will have won probably at least twenty states is an indisputable indicator that the system is, in fact, rigged.