I outsource to:
Hillary Clinton, for all her flaws, has demonstrated a basic level of competence. She understands how policy and government work. She's not openly racist; she hasn't encouraged street violence. There's no risk that she would disrupt the international order or cause an economic crisis out of pique.Conor Friedersdorf:
That's a really, really low bar. But it's the only bar she has to clear in this contest. Almost irrespective of what you think of Clinton's politics or her policies, she is manifestly more prepared to run the federal government than Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton also violates a bunch of norms, they’ll say. She used a private server to evade future Freedom of Information Act requests; violated various rules governing how classified information ought to be handled; accepted donations at the Clinton Foundation that created conflicts of interest while she was Secretary of State; and gave special access to rich folks in return for their backing.
. . . . . .
But it is absurd to compare her shortcomings to her opponent’s, because so many are in wholly different categories. I’ve been a professional journalist since 2002. Every government agency I have ever covered—local, state, and federal—has tried to evade public records laws at one time or another. Half of Washington doesn’t follow the rules governing how classified information is stored, in part because those rules are broken. Conflicts of interest and special access for donors are ubiquitous. . . .
Absurdly, many seem to have convinced themselves that Trump, who won’t release his tax returns, as every presidential candidate has for decades, will be better on transparency; that a man whose finances we don’t even know, who used his charitable foundation to illegally funnel money to an attorney general investigating him for fraud, will be better on conflicts of interest; that an erratic man who blurts all manner of things out on Twitter and has shady ties to Vladimir Putin will somehow be a more trustworthy guardian of classified information.
Trump is likely to be worse across all those metrics!
Trump as redeemer for this basket of civic ills is absurd. And even if he were better on them—he isn’t—that would hardly matter given his aforementioned shortcomings: 1) deliberately stoking ethnic tensions, and even inspiring hate crimes; 2) having zero experience, embarrassingly little knowledge, and no sign of the impulse or ability to learn; 3) epitomizing the sort of personality that can’t be trusted with nukes; 4) constantly insulting women, plus multiple allegations of sexually predatory behavior of a type corroborated by the candidate in his own words.And David Frum:
The Clintons sold access to a present secretary of state and a potential future president in pursuit of personal wealth. Hillary Clinton does indeed seem a suspicious and vindictive personality. For sure, a President Clinton will want to spend and regulate even more than the Obama administration has done.
Like Henny Youngman, however, the voter must always ask: compared to what?
One of only two people on earth will win the American presidency on November 8. Hillary Clinton is one of those two possibilities. Donald Trump is the only other.
Yes, I fear Clinton’s grudge-holding. Should I fear it so much that I rally to a candidate who has already explicitly promised to deploy antitrust and libel law against his critics and opponents? Who incited violence at his rallies? Who ejects reporters from his events if he objects to their coverage? Who told a huge audience in Australia that his top life advice was: "Get even with people. If they screw you, screw them back 10 times as hard. I really believe it”? Who idealizes Vladimir Putin, Saddam Hussein, and the butchers of Tiananmen as strong leaders to be admired and emulated?
Should I be so appalled by the Clinton family’s access-selling that I prefer instead a president who boasts of a lifetime of bribing politicians to further his business career? Who defaults on debts and contracts as an ordinary business method, and who avoids taxes by deducting the losses he inflicted on others as if he had suffered them himself? Who cheated the illegal laborers he employed at Trump Tower out of their humble hourly wage? Who owes hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bank of China? Who refuses to disclose his tax returns, perhaps to conceal his business dealings with Vladimir Putin’s inner circle?
To demonstrate my distaste for people whose bodies contain mean bones, it’s proposed that I give my franchise to a man who boasts of his delight in sexual assault? Who mocks the disabled, who denounces immigrant parents whose son laid down his life for this country, who endorses religious bigotry, and who denies the Americanism of everyone from the judge hearing the fraud case against Trump University to the 44th president of the United States?
I’m invited to recoil from supposedly fawning media (media, in fact, which have devoted more minutes of network television airtime to Clinton’s email misjudgment than to all policy topics combined) and instead empower a bizarre new online coalition of antisemites, misogyists, cranks, and conspiracists with allegedly ominous connections to Russian state spy agencies?
Is this real life?