If I hear one more person say about how the choice between the Donald and Hillary is “the lesser of two evils,” I’m going to platz.
This election is mostly about one evil. But even that is debatable. Initially, let’s step back and acknowledge that even the Donald is not actually evil. He may be an Übernarcissistic blow hard con-man, but I don’t think the Donald is actually evil. Which is not to say that he’s not actually dangerous. I think the #1 guy that the Donald has conned is himself. He seems to believe his own hype.
In the past I have argued, along with others, that the Donald is more like Silvio Berlusconi than Adolf Hitler. Berlusconi, the Italian media tycoon who has been Prime Minister of Italy on (count them!) four different occasions has not ruined the country of Italy. But he also has not helped. Berlusconi was more interested in partying and sexually harassing women while the Donald is more interested in limitless self-aggrandizement. Of course, Berlusconi has never had a nuclear arsenal at his command, which makes the Donald’s potential ascendancy all the more troubling.
If he were elected President, I’m guessing the Donald would be somewhere between completely ineffective and actively destructive to the United States of America. What there is virtually no chance of is that he would be an effective leader of any kind. But he could do an awful lot of damage.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is not evil at all. Not in any shape or form. She has a politician’s unfortunate tendency to prevaricate and to equivocate, and that’s part of the reason that I voted for Bernie Sanders. I’ve argued in the past that Hillary Clinton has lived too long in a bubble, and that she is the candidate of the liberal corporatocracy. I’ve also argued that Hillary is the female, democratic version of Mitt Romney: an ambitious policy wonk who has wanted to be President for too long to remember. Those, and her vote for the Iraq war, are some other reasons that I voted for Bernie Sanders in the Massachusetts primary. (That, and the fact that voting for a septuagenarian Socialist Jew as a serious candidate for President filled me with a kind of childish delight that’s hard to describe.)
But for all I know Bernie Sanders might be a dick. I know that another of my political heroes, former 4th District Congressman Barney Frank, is definitely a dick. I know that from personal experience, from the experience of others, and in particular from my friend who was the sign language interpreter for Barney Frank on at least one occasion.
Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has tended to win people over when they’ve had the chance to work with her. This was true in her work prior to becoming the First Lady of Arkansas, it was true at the Rose Law Firm, and it was especially in her eight years as the Senator from New York. Hillary won people over by being a work horse and not a show horse. She was cooperative, she was prepared, she was not a diva, and she did not grandstand. Even her Republican colleagues agree on this. Again, when called into the Obama administration as Secretary of State, she won over the President but, just as significantly, almost all of her colleagues in the administration.
Now, Bill Clinton, when he was President, made some mistakes during the course of his administration. These include, as people now acknowledge, his part in deregulating the financial industry, his support of the omnibus 1994 crime bill, and his pursuit of welfare reform. But with one exception, these mistakes need to be laid at his doorstep, and not hers. That one exception is, of course, the bungled attempt at enacting a universal health bill.
But lest we forget, Bill Clinton was the steward of a long stretch of economic prosperity in the United States, just as Barack Obama leaves this country in much better financial shape than how he found it at the beginning of his presidency.
Hillary Clinton has been the real deal for a long time. Many people forget that right out of law school she was invited to work on the staff of the Congressional Watergate investigation. She was a protégé of Marian Wright Edelman and has been fighting the good fight, especially for women and for children, for just about all of her political life.
As I’ve argued before, people who hate Hillary have been successfully propagandized by partisans on the right. Whether it’s Hillary’s email server or her non-role in the Benghazi incident, the Republicans have made something out of nothing over and over again. These conspiratorial attacks have exacerbated one of Hillary’s worst tendencies, which is to get all defensive the moment that someone criticizes her. At the same time, no one has been attacked more successfully about things that are essentially not her fault than Hillary Clinton.
She is not evil.
She is not a compulsive liar, like Donald Trump.
She is not a terrible candidate.
She is the real deal.
Get over it, America.
 Interestingly, although you would think that they should, given that they are both cranky septuagenarian unreconstructed Jewish leftists, Bernie and Barney don’t get along very well.
 Thomas Franks has argued quite forcefully that Bill Clinton essentially enacted much of the Republican agenda while in office.
 Whether welfare reform was a success or not depends on where you sit. It did succeed in reducing the welfare rolls, but also increased levels of poverty and homelessness, especially among minority communities.
Nice persuasive piece! I’m not thrilled by this election and leaned toward Bernie. You nailed a lot of my own observations of the two personalities. Hillary is the true deal and traveled a rough road.
Why not dispense with the Presidency altogether and let the State Governors do it on a rota basis? At least those people have to prove their governing competence …