I have a good friend who I just love, who just cancelled her plans to attend the traditional family Thanksgiving dinner….. Because it turned out that her brother was a pilgrim and she was a Native American. But not in the good way where you show respect for each other at a nice dinner with some turkey and yams. But more in the way of getting small pox-infected emails from him because she voted for her Native American sister, Hillary. Her Puritan brother thought the only thing that could explain her choice was that she was a “low information voter”. And honestly, nothing could be further from the truth.
But she was flustered in trying to make her case – because – Christ on a cracker – where do you begin in comparing the most extravagantly prepared individual to ever run for the office of President to a man who denies he has said something you can watch him saying on your phone even while he is denying he ever said it?
So I asked my wonky husband - who likes to talk about “deep in the weeds” econ stuff like “derivatives” till my hair hurts – to help me put together some facts to help my friend. What follows is our group project.
I call it:
“A Compendium of Useful Facts to Help You Talk to Trumpsters”
First, begin by saying, “Hillary won the popular vote. That is a fact.” We will get those final numbers soon but it was over a million. And along with that – throw in the fact that on November 6th, 2016 @realDonaldTrump Tweeted the following: The Electoral College is a disaster for a democracy.
See, we do agree on at least one thing.
Then use this primer below.
There were only two names on the ballot that had any chance of actually becoming president. If you voted for someone else, you were just pretending to do your job as a citizen by avoiding what was admittedly a tough choice for many.
One of the real choices was a woman who was extravagantly well-prepared to hold an office that is bewildering in its complexity and constantly challenging in its competing demands. Hillary Clinton is someone who began her adult life working for the Children’s Defense Fund and then spent a lifetime advocating for the rights of women and children and those without a lobbyist in the halls of Congress.
She was a driving force behind the passage of the SCHIPS program that provides 8 million children living in poverty with access to health care. She tried but failed to achieve what presidents of both parties have been calling for – but failing to achieve for over 100 years - universal health care.
The facts in the real world show that the much talked about Clinton Foundation gets the highest possible rating from two different non-partisan charity watch dog groups - Charity Watch gives the Foundation an “A”. GuideStar gives them a “Platinum” rating.
The New York Times has chronicled some of the work they do:w
The Clinton Foundation sponsors programs in public health, economic development, women’s rights and climate change. Much of its work has been praised, including efforts to lower the price of AIDS medication and distribute it to children.
The Washington Post has revealed some of the self-serving and dissembling of the Trump Foundation -
Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents.
Numerous fact checking organizations, like the Pulitzer Prize winning site Politifact - have made it clear that the Clintons do not receive a salary - or any money from the Foundation that bears their name.
Hillary has acknowledged that using the wrong email account was a mistake. But that was all it was. They used it to move information around quickly that helped them do their job. Just as Colin Powell had done before her. Information that just sits inert in a safe is not much use in the work of the State Department.
She was also entitled, just as you are, to have her own private correspondence - with friends, co-workers and anyone else she wanted to communicate with - private conversations that are just as entitled to privacy as your own. It caused no harm - and was never intended to cause harm. It wasn’t leaked to the press or to the Russians. Was it self-injurious? Yes. Did it cause anyone else any harm? No.
All the hoo-ha over the confidential material contained in the emails – was just that. Hoo-ha. For instance – one of the much-ballyhooed emails in which her critics said, “she talked about one of our most secret programs – the drone program!” – was actually a discussion about an article in the New York Times. That’s how secret it was. It was in the paper of record. This episode of the This American Life podcast has one of the most informative and detailed explanations of the whole email thing you will find. And you will find that in reality – it was just no big deal.
When it comes to the economy, she proposed a fairly typical Democratic approach to taxes and spending that would increase the top marginal rates for the highest income earners - from the currently historically low rates - spend money on infrastructure and lower the cost for the middle class of higher education. These are all things the economy needs to succeed.
Yes, Hillary is too friendly with Wall Street in my eyes. But Trump has called for the dismantling of Dodd-Frank reforms, the elimination of the CFPB, was heavily funded by extremist billionaires like Sheldon Adelson. Oh, and did you know that Trump is considering Jamie Dimon as Treasury Secretary? These are all huge giveaways to Wall Street. Period.
It is also worth noting here that rigorous, peer reviewed studies have shown that - going all the way back to the Truman administration - the economy has grown more and added more jobs under Democratic administrations than under Republican administrations. And a study by the highly regarded economist Alan Blinder found that this had nothing to do with which party held the House and Senate or with inherited economic conditions.
Trump, on the other hand, brags about committing sexual assaults, brags about walking in on naked teenagers backstage at his pageants - because he could. He agreed -when asked - that Howard Stern could call his own daughter a “piece of ass.” You can hear him do all that on YouTube for yourself. He brags in his books about committing adultery and his affairs with married women, you can read that for yourself in Trumps books. He also re-tweeted false racist memes - and white nationalist posts. He insulted POW’s, and Gold Star families. You can easily Google endless stories about that. Really, it’s easy.
He has suggested that women should be punished for having an abortion. He has made it clear he intends to appoint federal judges with an eye towards overturning Roe v. Wade. He has called for the US to ban Muslims and turn away refugees fleeing genocide. He plans to embrace torture as official US policy and has called for the commission of war crimes.
Trump has proposed a “tax reform” plan” that would:
· Add more than $20 trillion to the national debt in two decades.
· Would increase taxes on somewhere between 26 million to 35 million lower income Americans because it leans heavily on repealing personal exemptions and raising standard deductions.
· The net effect of his plan would be a tax increase for most single parents with dependent children and most married households with at least three dependent - and a huge tax decrease for millionaires and billionaires.
· The nation’s highest-income taxpayers (0.1 percent of the population making more than $3.7 million annually) would see an average tax cut of $1.1 million.
If he launches a tariff war, as he has threatened to do, it would kill millions of jobs and likely lead to a worldwide recession - not the return of US jobs for workers who were mostly displaced by increased automation.
If he deports 11 million people - as he has threatened - the removal from our economy of the value created by 6.8 million workers - and the demands for services of 11 million people would lead to severe economic contraction and the loss of jobs.
If he bans Muslims - as he has threatened - national security experts have pointed out that it would be used as a powerful recruiting tool for the likes of ISIS.
He has called our military woefully underfunded. Our military budget exceeds the combined military budgets of the next 8-9 largest, most powerful nations in the world, including China, Russia, and Germany. Does any rational person think that we would somehow be better off, or safer, or that it would somehow make a significant difference if our military budget exceeded the combined budgets of the next 10-11 instead? It is merely pandering to the military industrial complex insiders.
He has claimed he knows more about ISIS than our generals, made it clear he did not understand what the Nuclear Triad is, has called for the US to withdraw from NATO, and has casually suggested it would be fine with him for other countries such as Saudi Arabia, Japan and South Korea to develop their own nuclear weapons.
He clearly suffers from a malignant narcissistic personality disorder - and appears to be a pathological liar - denying that he has said things that you can watch him say on videotape. Of the more than 300 statements by Trump that Politifact has fact checked - just 4% of them. (Four - like one, two, three, four percent) have been shown to be totally true.
He now faces a civil trial on charges of fraud.
There is more - but this is already pretty long. Overall - it so abundantly clear that the evidence that Trump is totally unfit for the office of President. Making an excuse for him is an act of willful moral blindness that is very difficult to overlook or forgive. So print this out and carry it with all those stray pieces of gum and old combs that have settled in the bottom of your purse. And pull it out when you need it.
I have fought with one of my own brothers about this. I really understand how painful it can all be. But it’s worth remembering that in two of the most deadly and destructive wars this country has ever fought – the Revolutionary War and the Civil War – there were family members who fought on different sides – with real guns. Where people died – forever.
So remember when your mom said, “Use your words,” when you wanted something. Something like for your brother to finally admit – you have been right. Since birth. Do use those words. Good luck. (You reading this, bro?)