In the summer of 2015, 42 of 46 Senate Democrats, many of whom were critical of the Iran deal until it became clear that the Obama-Kerry team was moving forward without compromise, voted with the president (i.e. they blocked the supermajority needed to override a presidential veto). These senators are not low information voters; they knew it was a horrible one sided deal (some of them made this clear, being fierce critics in the months leading up to the vote, until they morphed into cheerleaders as the vote approached). Many of them are strong supporters of Israel (et tu, Cory Booker?), yet they still supported their Democratic administration.
This incident reinforced in the mind of this avid, if not obsessive, follower of American politics, that in the battle between right/wrong (constitutionally and ethically) on one side, and party loyalty on the other, the Religion of the Democrat will always vote with their President. In the current political climate, the great design of checks and balances, as enshrined by the US Constitution, is therefore nearly useless if a Democratic president is in power and Republicans’ lack the combination of a majority House of Representatives (which they currently have) and a veto-proof Senate (which they currently do not have, and are not likely to get in the foreseeable future).
I can provide several examples reinforcing this thesis (Harry Reid, I’m looking at you), but the most glaringly obvious argument I can make consists of simply watching Representative Elijah Cummings, a leader among Democrat Congressmen. While, the Benghazi hearings (twice!) can prove my point- I’ll leave that aside, as it leaves open too many tangential, purely political arguments that will taint the debate. Let’s instead look at the IRS hearings, the most blatant (in my opinion) example of the administration overstepping its boundaries that I can remember. As a matter of fact, at the opening of the hearings, the accusations against the IRS were so egregious, that even the Democrats were critical of them. As the hearings progressed, and moved closer to implicating the administration, the House Democrats began to circle the wagon. Their “questioning” by committee Democrats in general, and by Elijah Cummings, in particular, turned into pontifications and spin in defense of the IRS and the administration. It was an embarrassment.
I’m not naïve. I’ve watched committee hearings before and I know that both parties instinctively protect their own, but I’ve never quite seen anything like this in the presence of clear-cut extra-constitutional misdeeds on the part of the IRS. This is only the worst example, there are many more; watch any hearing involving criticism of any part of this administration. I’ve seen hearings against Republican administration, and nothing even came close to this level of spin in the face of blatant misdeeds (-see Watergate hearings).
I have never, to my memory, missed voting in a presidential election. I am a staunch Reagan Republican, but in the past have voted for Bill Clinton (1992) on principle (the increasing influence of James Baker made voting for George H. W. Bush an impossibility), and cast a second vote for Clinton in 1996 while holding my nose despite the disaster at Oslo (even the presence on the ticket of the late, great Jack Kemp couldn’t convince me to trust Bob Dole on Israel –e.g. http://goo.gl/v51ycp). The second term of the Clinton administration, in my mind, was a disaster and an embarrassment on all fronts, so “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”. I have not voted Democrat since; the last 8 years having proven that decision, thus far, to be the correct one. That second term of the Clinton presidency taught me something else, which I’ve already stated in my opening hypothesis; 21st Century progressive Democratic politicians (except for the increasingly rare exception) defend their own above all else. The era of modern day, truth-telling-morality-and-constitution-before-politics Democratic politicians (“Scoop” Jackson, Pat Moynihan) is, sadly, long dead.
Which brings us back to the Presidential Election of 2016.
The evil, dangerous, racist Trump, in my mind, doesn’t truly exist except in the spin of the media and the progressive mind, but only because I don’t think he has the depth of intellect nor the historical background, to fulfill that description. This is not to say that he’s a good man. He’s a successful lightweight severely lacking in character. His religion is the Trump brand. His deity is Donald Trump. Is he a good person? Not that I’ve seen. In fact, I suspect that history will not be kind to him. He’s a pompous, loud-mouthed, thin-skinned, questionably-ethical bully. And those are his good traits.
If you think this essay paints me as a Trump supporter, please reread the above paragraph.
Not a fan.
As a matter of fact, as of this writing, my plan is to not vote for president in 2016.
Hillary Clinton, sadly, is the only other candidate with a chance to win. THe Libya-Syria-Beghazi-it-was-a-video-Suha-Arafat-kissing-flipflopping-untrustworthy-email-server-Clinton-Foundation-pay-for-play-wall-street-money-financed-Sanders-supporter-black-lives-matter-apologist-sycophant-Obama-legacy-heir-Iran-deal-supporting-Whitewater-Rose-Law-Firm-billing-records-blame everything-on-the-vast-right-wing-conspiracy-lying candidate.
Yes, that Hillary Clinton.
Both candidates are terrible.
To vote or not to vote, that is the question.
How about deciding on a straight, “who will be better for Israel” line?
The Clinton campaign assured that a pro-Israel plank stay in the party platform, but knowing the anti-Israel tilt of her party, refused to bring it to a floor vote at the convention. (See the embarrassment at the 2012 convention https://goo.gl/d4gWnL). Yes, the Israeli flag burning at the convention was condemned, but the condemnation was assigned to Sarah Bard, the director of Jewish outreach, clearly indicative of its (the flag burning) being a problem only as far as it concerns the Jews. (Do a google news search, https://goo.gl/9wvRCJ,the story was only cited by Ha’aretz, Jerusalem Post, Canadian Jewish News, the Tower, Christian Today –the outlier, but still religious, etc. Get my point?). Once the campaign is over, a pro-Iran-deal, former Obama administration Secretary of State will follow her party’s present day tilt, i.e. “even-handedness” which leads to the inability to distinguish between good and evil, which leads to the administration putting its thumb on the Palestinian side of the scale in any negotiations to “even the playing field”. Sadly, handicapping a match between good and evil cannot change the moral nature of either. The progressives in the Democratic Party are either ignorant, naïve or willfully blind when it comes to Islamic and Palestinian extremism. This is Hillary Clinton’s constituency circa 2016. It’s a sad fact, but a fact nonetheless. Detractors ask yourself one question- what percentage of J-Street supporters will vote Republican?
The Republican Party’s platform is proudly pro-Israel. Any detractors within the party are a small irrelevant minority. The problem is, as stated earlier, that the Republican Candidate, who, by definition, has the support of the majority of THOSE WHO VOTED in the primaries, is a Republican only insofar as it serves his own political purposes (see Michael Bloomberg). He does not, in essence, represent the Republican Party, except on paper and, sadly, at the ballot box. (I’m talking philosophically, not legally). His stance on the Middle East is vocally pro-Israel, but his words and beliefs, historically are subject to change, and I would venture to guess that even he doesn’t know what his true policies will be. He has no core beliefs other than belief in the Trump brand and name.
What to do?
Most of my friends are conservative Republicans. Some will refuse to vote for a narcissist bully with no manners whom they would never hire for a job, nor invite for dinner. Rather, they will sit out this election, as far as the presidency is concerned, or vote for a third party candidate as a protest vote. Some have not decided yet, though they may end up holding their nose and voting for Trump. All of those who do so will be casting an anti-Hillary vote rather than a pro-Trump one. Most of those will do so because they truly believe that a vote for Hillary is a vote to continue the Obama/Democrat/Progressive tilt away from Israel. They belong to the #neverHillary camp. None are pro-Trumpers. (To paraphrase Pauline Kael, “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who is voting for Trump rather than anti-Hillary. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a Shul I can feel them.”).
Personally, I’m lucky. I live in New York State, a state that Clinton, barring disaster (or divine a miracle, depending on your point of view) is assured to win. My Republican vote, therefore, will not matter. (http://goo.gl/dRp8). I, therefore, have a “get out of jail free” card. (Somewhat ironic, considering both Monopoly’s and Trump’s relationship with Atlantic City). So the following advice (after the above long-winded discussion) is made purely out of magnanimity rather than personal involvement.
You’re welcome in advance.
Given all the information presented above, I truly believe as a long-time observer of the American political landscape that a President Hillary Clinton will never be removed from office “on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”(-ARTICLE II, SECTION 4). I believe that Hillary Clinton, given how much the Obama administration has gotten away with (IRS, executive orders overreach, IRS, EPA, Iran Deal, Obamacare etc. etc.) will push the envelope (extra-constitutionally) even further to pursue her constituency’s, as well as her personal (see Clinton Foundation scandals) agenda without fear of retribution. If an abuse so vile comes down to that, and Republicans still hold the majority in Congress, and if they somehow locate a spine, they may get a simple majority for an impeachment. However, a conviction, in the Senate requires a two-thirds supermajority. The Democrats, given their history of defending their leader, come hell or high water, or high crimes and misdemeanors (see Clinton email questioning in the Benghazi hearings), will never vote to convict. Short of murder. And even then, only if the victim is a Progressive.
Contrarily, if a President Trump commits any of the same crimes, the Republicans, I predict, will not hesitate to impeach and convict. He is not and will never be the “leader” of the Republican’s, they have no loyalty to him. If anything, they are already, admittedly or not, embarrassed by him. Even more so, if he is removed from office, Mike Pence, his Vice President, will become president, a man far more acceptable to the Republican Congress, and mainstream Republicans and Conservatives, than Donald Trump. (Historically, see Watergate- how relieved were the Republican’s to see a tainted Nixon leave and the popular Gerald Ford assume office? Note: Nixon was not technically impeached, he resigned after articles of impeachment were drawn up, but before they were voted on because he knew he would be impeached and removed from office, so he avoided the additional embarrassment).
To summarize, the necessary checks and balances built into the American Constitution will work as designed for Trump, but not for Clinton. This year, the preferable candidate is the one who can be removed from office, and will be aware of that. Being cognizant of the fact that you are invulnerable to punishment (see Obama 2008-2016) makes for a potentially very dangerous president.
My advice is:
In the battle between two unacceptable, possibly evil and likely ruinous candidates – if you plan on voting, check the ballot for the one who can be contained by the constitution.
Vote for Trump, the Impeachable Candidate.
Put that on a billboard.
Not quite a ringing endorsement, but it’s all I got.
May G-d have mercy on our souls.