It is difficult to find the words that would build my argument for voting against Donald Trump for President of the United States. It is much easier, however, to use Mr. Trump's own words instead, for they provide a framework and pattern that I find disturbing and counter to those things for which I believe my country stands. I proceed in no particular order of importance:
Mr. Trump's style: Arrogance, braggadocio, self-aggrandizement, insulting - does not lend itself to the ability to govern, to accept compromise, or to understanding the viewpoints and objectives of others. As a representative of the US, he engenders more an image of distrust, win at any cost, and selfishness.
Mr. Trump's substance is also questionable: His vacillation on issues, disregard for basic Constitution-given rights and consideration of unintended consequences, and his motto-driven pandering demonstrate a simplistic understanding of the culture of this country.
Mr. Trump's personal criticism of one American-born citizen and its extension to an entire population is the epitome of class racism. Furthermore, it reveals a basic flaw in Mr. Trump's childish bullying practices and paranoia: the rulings that are deemed as "unfair" because he didn't get what he wanted.
The proposal to build a wall separating Mexico "and have Mexico pay for it" promotes a first step toward isolationism, a tactic that will cause harm to the US economy, citizenry and image throughout the world.
Mr. Trump's continuous criticism of Muslims and his suggested ban on immigration are counter to long-established values and practices that are inherent in the Constitution and in the American experience. His blanket statements reveal the wrong things about American character.
His suggestions regarding arming of Japan and South Korea with atomic weaponry are in direct opposition to the stance that the US has taken for decades, viz., the prevention of proliferation.
No doubt - maybe - that he is a shrewd businessman, but it is self-serving for personal profit. A much different situation arises when it comes to the unintended consequences that involve complex relationships between and among different people with different value systems.
It is almost amusing to see Mr. Trump's position on global warming. He has spoken of this as a hoax, but seeks permits to build a(nother) wall to protect his golf course in Scotland (citing coastal erosion and a rising sea level). Is hypocrisy an essential tool in "making the country great again"?
Mr. Trump has wrongly criticized Common Core as a Washington-driven initiative imposed on the states. By inferring executive action to stop Common Core, he endorses the concept that children in one state should not be prepared to compete with students in others.
Trump changed his position on gun control, especially as regards assault-type weapons. While once supporting an assault weapons ban and longer waiting periods, his recent switch is an effort to gain NRA support and paint Mrs. Clinton as one who would "abolish the Second Amendment".
Mr. Trump's unpredictability - the "how" and "what" of his proposals - is self-promoted as being an asset: Don't let adversaries know what you are thinking. However, it is anathema in the business world and a killer to the stock market and overall economy.
Mr. Trump has a history of manufacturing stories which might have an element of truth but which are embellished with misstatements. His claims regarding the US position and spending on education are shown to be exaggerations at best, and wrong at worst.
Mr. Trump's preliminary discussion on foreign policy is filled with accusations and criticism, with a vague reference to how things will be better under his guidance. However, he gives no indication of what actions and approaches he would pursue: only accusations of the present Administration.
For a good summary of Mr. Trump's grasp of foreign policy, read this recent piece in the L.A. Times.
It is for these reasons and the future of this Country that none of us can support Mr. Trump's candidacy for the Office of President of the United States.
Michael Duga has served in numerous political and strategic roles beginning in the Clinton Administration. This includes serving as Chief of Staff to Former Senator Max Cleland and as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Department of Defense. Mr. Duga is currently the Chairman of the Say No To Trump political action committee.