2016 Election: Taking Stock of the Candidates

My thoughts on Trump vs. Clinton, maybe surprising to some of you:

Trust: To me, Hillary has a long record of being untrustworthy, including but by no means limited to H-1B issues. Her consistent tight coziness with the Indian outsourcing firms says it all. Presumably she was also well aware (how could she not be?) of the DNC’s disgraceful shenanigans to undermine Bernie Sanders. Trump, on the other hand, has so far shown himself to be exceedingly impetuous, also quite counter to the notion of trust. Sorry, both get an F grade at the moment.

Jobs: I really do believe that Trump would jawbone and threaten enough to force U.S. manufacturers to make reasonable attempts to increase their U.S. employment. I believe that Clinton would just give lip service. Regarding H-1B and related issues, I have already indicated that things would be disastrous under either candidate. Maybe a Pres. Trump would back off from Staple a Green Card if elected, but Hillary has already made it clear, I think, that the victims of H-1B are collateral damage in her mind. She has already flip-flopped on TPP, and has started to waffle; she will sign it if she is president, with a few largely cosmetic changes.

Wall Street: Absolutely unacceptable for HRC to take all that money and then try to claim it doesn’t affect her actions. As the DC cab driver, an African-immigrant Bernie supporter said, “Does Clinton take us for fools?” It remains to be seen whether Trump would truly follow up on his rhetoric, but at the very least the Republican Party platform does call for a restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act, on which the Democrats are wishy-washy, and whose 2000 repeal was signed by Bill Clinton, which by the way was only one item in a whole basket of actions he took at the behest of Wall Street.

Supreme Court:  Even though I side with the liberals currently on the Court, I consider both the liberals and conservatives far too ideologically driven. We need more moderates, and I believe that either candidate will be forced to appoint them. Slight edge to Hillary, but only slight.

Race:  Sorry, all of you who think Trump’s a racist. I see no evidence of that, and think he’s gotten a bad rap. Hillary’s fine here too, so it’s a wash.

War:  Trump apparently did not oppose the Iraq War right at the start, but did so early on. Hillary followed the party line, as she always does and always will.

Spouses: As I have written, I think the attention given to Melania on her visa status is unfair and inappropriate. However, it is true that Americans want a certain sense of elegance in a First Lady, or to account for a Hillary victory let’s call it a First Spouse. Well, then, what choice do we have for First Spouse? It’s a choice between a nude model and a serial philanderer. How in the world did it come to this? Mind you, this is nowhere near a deal breaker for me, but as I said, a lot of people do care. Yet given that Bill would be Hillary’s closest confidant, she has the edge here.

Women and minorities: The other day I had lunch with a friend for whom I have profound affection and respect. She made the case to me that on women’s issues alone I should vote for Hillary. I just can’t do that, given the enormous other problems. Her campaign staff seems mostly white to me, which is telling.

Alternatives: I consider the libertarians the uncaring-ans, so Gary Johnson is out for me. Some progressives say I should vote for Jill Stein, yet she wants to increase the H-1B cap. I am not a one-issue voter by any means, but this stance indicates she is either ignorant or more tied to the corporate world than she claims; either way, that’s a big problem.

The bottom line: I usually try not to publicly state my votes before an election, but it should be pretty clear by now that I’m voting for Bernie as a write-in.


38 thoughts on “2016 Election: Taking Stock of the Candidates

  1. “…at the very least the Republican Party platform does call for a restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act, on which the Democrats are wishy-washy, and whose 2000 repeal was signed by Bill Clinton, which by the way was only one item in a whole basket of actions he took at the behest of Wall Street.”

    Amen! I’ve always felt that Bill Clinton totally sold out the Democratic Party by signing on to NAFTA, aka Ross Perot’s “giant sucking sound” which sucked quite a lot of lower-paying jobs out of the U.S. economy. He screwed the average working man and woman in this country, and Hillary is going to do the same with the TPP the minute she’s elected. (Yes, she will flip yet again, back to a full throated endorsement of the TPP, and she will use minor “window dressing” changes to the TPP as her political excuse to do so.)

    And Norm, I have to agree with you also about Jill Stein. For awhile there I thought that maybe she was the only halfway-sane AND halfway-honest one in the race. But then I found out about her rather ambiguous take on the whole “vaxer” thing, and I can’t in good conscience vote for any candidate who is anti-science, let alone one who (as you’ve just informed me) has a position on H-1B which is totally the opposite of mine. So I guess I’ll be joining you and writing in Bernie. I can’t and won’t vote for a madman, and I won’t vote for a Wall Street lackey, so there seems to be nothing else to be done.

    I will forever rail against The System that has failed for my entire long lifetime to ever give me the option of voting for “none of the above”. This year, in particular, America deserves a do-over.

    As some talking head on TV said recently “If there were to be a three way contest today which pitted Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump against Barak Obama, does anybody have any doubts about who would win that?”

    I have no idea what sort of Constitutional Crisis, if any, the country would be plunged into in the unlikely event that *both* major party candidates were to get themselves indicted on criminal charges sometime before election day, but this year, at least, it is a thing fervently to be wished for.


    • Ross Perot was wrong about NAFTA making a “Giant sucking sound”. History proves it. It was more of a giant flushing sound if anything.

      Speaking of sucking, this whole presidential election sucks. It boils down to the choice between turd#1 or turd #2. And regardless of who wins, the rest of the world is going to know we are full of turds. It makes those of us that support democracy look like fools.

      The bottom line is that we need an unhackable AI to run this country. Until then, one of the things that we can do is try to get standardized testing required for getting a voter card. We have people that don’t even know how to speak English voting. Many others don’t know where the money comes from when they pass a bond referendum. In the 30 years I have been voting, there hasn’t been a single bond referendum in Palm Beach County that has failed to the best of my recollection.

      There used to be NON-standardized testing for voters. White guy: “What is your name?” – OK, you pass. Black Guy: “What is the number of neutrons in U-238 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon during high tide in miles divided by the cubed root of the national debt? Fifteen Seconds.” – Oh, sorry, that isn’t the correct answer. And for THAT reason, testing was generally outlawed.

      In Florida, the way it is right now, if you have a pulse, you can vote. However, a standardized test, consisting of basic and unbiased questions about how the government and taxes work, would go a long way toward restoring this country’s credibility. Maybe then people will stop voting for the popular candidate and start voting for the best candidate.


        • At least they use reason of some kind. Of course the real standardized test would be about the government and not about neutrons.

          In my observations over the years, a LOT of people vote for the guy who has been on TV the most. Years ago, we had a candidate for some office, I forget which, that was arrested and was in jail on election day. He was disqualified and was not allowed to continue his campaign, but because of the timing, he was still on the ballot. Because of all the news coverage of him being arrested, sent to prison, and his outrageous behavior in court, he nearly won.

          Another example is Alcee Hastings who is a former judge who was caught by the FBI for taking bribes, arrested, disbarred and his patsy went to prison for decades. Hastings ran for congress and with all the publicity about a “Disbarred judge runs for congress”, he won and has held the same congressional seat for decades.

          Right now, there is a local candidate running for office here who’s opponent has been plastering the TV with negative ads about the other guy. In the ad, the other guy’s name is mentioned several times, but the guy who is running the ad is only mentioned once at the end. Guess who is going to win? When people get to the polls, they are going to pick the name they have heard the most.

          People who vote for someone because they have seen them on TV and heard their name a lot is not reasoning at all. Standardized testing is the only chance we have of changing that.


      • Turd#1 versus Turd#2…

        Just a couple of days ago, it finally dawned on me that if you look back on the entire past half-century you’ll see that we have always elected as President whichever one of the candidates from our legally-endorsed two-party duopoly was the most proficient liar of the two choices. This has been true from at least Kennedy on. (Anybody remember the “missle gap”?)

        When viewed in this light, the current polls which put Trump well down from Clinton are perfectly understandable. Trump is an atrocious liar, and by that I mean he’s just not very good at it. He’ll tell the most outrageous whoppers, and then when you ask him about it three minutes later he’ll deny he even said it.

        Hillary isn’t very good at it either, but she’s still at least two classes aboveTrump in this regard. She obviously picked up a lot from Bill, but she’s still not exactly world-class when it comes to lying proficiency, and that’s why her negatives are also so high. (Dammit! This country deserves to have a much better liar in the White House that the two choices we’re being given!)

        I just think that everybody needs to understand… When Trump declares that “Hillary is a terrific liar!” that *isn’t* intended as an expression of condemnation but rather as a an expression of personal envy.


  2. I think my heart (emotions) say write-in Bernie. But it is clearly a throw-away vote.

    There is no good choice. But my fears are having the GOP, after years of being the party of “no” just to make Obama look bad, now control the Senate and House, and the Presidency. They can and will pack the Supreme Court with more conservatives.

    I recall Al Gore, if Ralph Nader had not upset the apple cart, the Supreme Court would not have made their fateful decision for Bush. And it may be we’d not have had the Mideast wars, and what a different world we’d have today. It may be the Arab Spring would have happened eventually anyway, we’ll never know.

    I think Trump had a great chance once he cleared out the primary candidates. But he blew it, over and over and over. What he says and does may excite his limited group of people, he turned off the independents and others he needed to capture.


    • Yep, “a throw-away vote.” Bernie has endorsed Hillary.

      A “Professor of American History, specializing in political history” wrote,

      “So, at least in 42 states, if Bernie Sanders does not file the paperwork to qualify as a write-in candidate, you will not be able to write him in and have your ballot counted. Sanders has said he will support the Democratic nominee and has ruled out running as an independent or third-party candidate, so he probably will not go through the process of qualifying as a write-in in those states that require it.”


  3. Speaking for the Displaced American at Keep America At Work, you couldn’t have said it better.

    I too feel that Trump is getting a bad deal from the mainstream media which is fueling those railing against him, and as for her, being a navy vet and a radioman to boot, if I can’t trust her with the safety of our people in foreign lands or the use of our “official” communications systems, then I can’t trust her at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hillary says that she “will not sign the TPP if it is a job-killing trade deal”. JEEEEZUUUUS, people just listen to this lying POS and suck it up. All she has to do is say “It won’t kill jobs.” and then she will sign it. I have never in all my 64 years heard such transparent bullshit. The Clinton Foundation hired no Americans, only H-1Bs, so I won’t vote for her, period.


  5. Norm,

    I agree with everything you say here until near the end, when you say you plan to vote for Sanders. Evidently you haven’t paid attention to his position on immigration. In a speech in Tucson, Arizona, to an audience including many Hispanics, he said,

    “Today’s undocumented workers play an extraordinarily important role in our economy. Without these workers, it is likely that our agricultural system would collapse. Undocumented workers are doing the hardest work in this country. They’re harvesting our crops, building our homes, cooking our meals and caring for our kids. They are part of the fabric of this country.”

    Sanders explicitly endorsed drone use, and never clearly opposed Obama’s waging undeclared war against a half dozen countries.

    I regret Jill Stein’s position on immigration, but she appears to me to have good positions on virtually all other issues, and to be free of the kinds of entanglements that I feel (as I believe you do) disqualify Clinton and Trump. Contrary to the statement by Ron G (above), Stein, a physician, is not opposed to vaccination, tho she recognizes that it is sometimes misused. See

    Libertarian, Gary Johnson, is not opposed to immigration. (Apparently the only candidate speaking against immigration is Trump.)

    Steve Unger


    • I agree that Stein’s comments on vaccination seem only to express caution, rather than opposition.

      In the questionaire I linked to in my post, which both Sanders and Stein responded to, Stein chose the option that we eliminate all national borders. This makes her the most extreme of all the candidates on this issue, and seriously calls into question her ability even to reason.

      Trump is the only candidate who has raised the point that the biggest victims of overly high levels of immigration are minority communities. Granted, Trump presumably didn’t write that platform, but the fact that he has advisers who did is a big point in his favor.

      I’ve never understood statements made by politicians and advocates that “The economy depends on undocumented immigrants.” Isn’t that what they said in the U.S. South about slavery? And if the undocumented become documented, doesn’t that leave a hole in the economy? None of this makes any sense, but few if any people call them out on this.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. >“Does Clinton take us for fools?”

    Yes. And on the evidence, most are. Sad. But shouldn’t we prefer politicians who at least pretend otherwise?

    Face it, neither candidate personally has significant knowledge of what goes on in the STEM world, it is not their world. Neither even has much of an idea what goes on in the average middle-class family as we roll fully into the twenty-first century. It is not clear that either cares, though they might say a few words to pull in a few votes, but that won’t hold their attention past inauguration day.

    As to who you’re voting for nobody cares, this is California and the state is bent for the Democrats, if you vote for them you should be ashamed but will not be, and if you vote against them it doesn’t matter.


  7. > The bottom line: I usually try not to publicly state my votes before an election, but it should be pretty clear by now that I’m voting for Bernie as a write-in.

    Voting for Bernie, you might be interested in Instant Runoff Voting which I posted information about at http://instantrunoffvoting.blogspot.com/ . Under such a system, Bernie could have continued to run without worrying about throwing the election to Trump. Also, he would likely receive many more write-in votes for the same reason. In any event, individuals don’t really have an effective vote for President in California under our current system of winner-take-all electoral voting. Clinton will win in California and the election will be decided in the swing states.

    > We need more moderates, and I believe that either candidate will be forced to appoint them.

    Yes, it doesn’t make sense to have a system under which the ideology of the Supreme Court is determined by which party happens to hold the Presidency when one of the justices dies or retires. He would probably do better if justices were appointed to single 10-year terms.


  8. The president can NOT do much about the H-1B issue because any H-1B legislation can be packaged with other legislation.

    “The ‘Consolidated Appropriations Act 2016’ signed into law by Obama, includes a USD 1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that funds the government until September 30, 2016.”

    This act (887 pages) includes stuff about H-1B, Pakistan, brown tree snake control, delayed menu labeling, military tanks, etc.

    The president does not have line-item veto power. The president has to sign the bill into law. The president is not going to refuse to fund the government over minor issues such as H-1B or the brown tree snake.


    • A proactive president is involved in legislation early on, and does have an effect on such things. Presidents also propose legislation, e.g. Obamacare. As Bush and Obama have shown, presidents also have broad executive power.


  9. No candidate in the entire original selection has made an immigration reform proposal to address the problem of illegal entry of poorly educated, low skilled workers. These are the very people who years ago worked the mills, mines, and fields and whose children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren fought in the World Wars,and continue to defend our country (in spite of the politicians and their poor decisions), provide our health care, have taken us to the moon and back, and now design and manufacture the technology that has given us far more material goods and creature comforts than our ancestors could have imagined – just to mention just a few of the accomplishments of the descendants of the earlier legal immigrants..

    The current legal immigration system is flawed in that it allows – even encourages – people who never have and never will contribute to the US economy the ability to immigrate through the family preferences and receive a taxpayer funded lifestyle that even hard working Americans cannot achieve. I am opposed to family preferences even though I have a family member by marriage whose family will benefit from these preferences.

    This is in addition to a student visa and guest worker system that is devastating to American young adults and experienced workers trying to maintain a moderate standard of living. It is unconscionable that the OPT worker costs an employer less than hiring a USC or LPR graduate; this does not even consider that an OPT worker will receive more employer support by law than the employer is required to provide the international student’s US legal resident classmate.

    I am also sick of hyphenated Americans, people who immigrate and become Americans but are unwilling to commit to protecting the country – especially when it comes to a conflict against the country they chose to leave – and show disdain and discriminate against our veterans. I am frustrated by a government that provides financial support to people who take the fruits of their research funding to provide jobs in new technologies in and seek to employ only those from their country of birth both there and in the US. Our universities are filled with people like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cathy,

      Again, I think you have a very simplistic and in part, distorted view of immigrants to the United States.

      I personally know many immigrants from all over the world who have been in the US Armed forces. The legal immigration system, in fact, favors people who serve in the military.

      Furthermore, many H-1Bs from Canada and Europe have family members who fought in WWI and WWII. A little known fact is that Canada, France, Poland and the UK were in WWII fully two years before the US. Many immigrants from the Poland, the UK, Australia and Canada (and even countries such as India and Pakistan) fought in these wars, longer, and with greater losses per capita, than Americans.

      So some of you comments about the loyalty and sacrifice of H-1B immigrants to the US sound very ignorant.

      I get it that you feel frustrated about immigration, but it isn’t a simply picture. For instance, the current military contains many immigrants from Mexico and Central America.


      • The loyalty of immigrants is a mixed picture. Some are more loyal than the U.S. natives, while others become U.S. citizens simply out of convenience. Most of the ones I’ve known are somewhere in between.


  10. Outstanding Norm. You nailed the key issues that big-shot columnists at e.g. Washington Post miss. Right – irrelevant whether Melania’s transition to citizenship was entirely kosher – she’s not running for President. And the country is full of people that got some sort of amnesty or fraudulent green card “no Americans available” sponsorship. And agree – Hillary is not going to remain opposed to TPP.


    • >> And the country is full of people that got some sort of amnesty or fraudulent green card “no Americans available” sponsorship

      kind of expected since we let immigration attorney-employer-chamber cartel write the “law” (Morrisson/Donelly/fragomen )and we continue to do so..recent example being that of a certain attorney from the chamber enter DHS using revolving door to frame a regulation that would benefit the employer/attorney cartel…


  11. Noam Chomsky has stated that there is nothing wrong voting for the lesser of two candidates. He has stated that Clinton is the lesser of two evils. While I understand the sentiment of holding your nose to vote, it is Clinton who is the worse of the two. I can’t vote for either of them. Not sure who I will vote for.

    A note on the spouses. With Bill Clinton back in the White House, we will see an unprecedented corrupt administration. As I read about how Hillary and Bill played the State Department and the Clinton Foundation for financial gain, it staggers me to think what will go on if Hillary is President. The White House will be up for sale to anybody with money regardless who they are–from vicious 3rd world dictators to rich high tech CEOs demanding unlimited H1B visas.

    If Hillary is elected she will rule as an “austerity war president”. She will start or re-ignite various wars. And the wars will be serious. For the sake of the war effort, she will argue, we must go into austerity mode. This will be her cover to continue the anti-New Deal policies of the first Clinton administration. The media really jumped on Trump when he supposedly asked why nukes couldn’t be used. The thing is, the neocon foreign policy and war cabals which pretty much control much of our foreign policies, have been openly talking about how a quick first strike nuke attack against the Russians is a viable choice. And these are the people who Hillary will bring into the administration. It may sound crazy, but Trump is more the peace candidate than Clinton.


  12. You know, the candidates are interesting (or not), but the real question remains why the Ellisons and Zuckerbergs of the world even want the massive numbers of H-1Bs. What makes the issue significant to me is not even the apparent economics but my perception that most H-1Bs are not worth much of anything, that the entire project is counter-productive on a microeconomic basis. The stronger argument is that the project is horribly destructive on a macro-economic basis, but leave that for. now. The candidates will do what the big money tells them to do, they always have and they always will, and in a well-functioning system you might even argue they always *should*. My concern is that H-1B is a symptom of our system not being well-functioning, that it is a symbol of multiple failures. Now, apparently Ellison and Zuckerberg see it differently from me, but frankly I’m writing code and they’re not. I want to make them *more* money but they’re not listening. Sad, isn’t it.


  13. I do not believe the Euro style of democratic socialism advocated by Bernie Sanders will work in US. Look at the unemployment rate and economic growth in europe


    • Really? Ever heard of Germany? Their economic system is far to the left of ours, yet they have a very strong economy.

      I am still waiting for you to respond to my query. You had said I was quoted or referred to in the Chinese press, so I asked you to tell me where.


      • The US *IS* democratic socialist and we have been doing pretty fair so far. We’d do better without the H1b program of course, but I don’t think it would really be possible to have any form of productive government without socialism to some degree.

        Take a look at school property taxes. People who have no kids are forced to pay for other people’s kids to be educated. That’s socialism.

        Look at social security and medicare. Is that a socialist agenda or what? How many political candidates would get elected on a promise to end such socialist ideals?

        What about all those paved roads we drive on? You might think they’re for your benefit, but there are sure a lot of folks in the US automotive industry that are happy they really boost sales.

        AFAIK, Bernie never advocated that the government take over health care, but rather that the government step in to help pay for health care. Obamacare is a drunken step in the wrong direction. Medicare for all is the right way to go – Even if some people have higher deductibles because they haven’t paid in as much over the years.


        • “is democratic socialism” is different from “some degree”
          “How many political candidates would get elected on a promise to end such socialist ideals”
          Almost every Republican politician plus some democrats(they probably use innocent words like “reform”)


          • The reality is quite different from what you say. For instance, suppose the Republicans gain the White House and retain control of Congress. They will likely try to gut Obamacare — only to find that even conservative Americans LIKE at least some of the aspects of Obamacare. Same for Social Security and so on.


          • Firstly, regarding the example of Germany, I do not believe Germany is a good example because its system has turned to the right in the last decade.

            Instead, I think France with its messy economy is a much better example about the failure of democratic socialism.

            Secondly I feel when you talk about Bill Clinton’s infidelity(which I believe it is unfair) and Hillary Clinton’s past, I saw very strong similarities with the frequent talking points from right wing radio show hosts and right wing news outlets like Breitbart. I am surprised that you consider yourself as a democrat. As a very knowledgeable scholar, You should not follow those right wing radicals


          • Germany has had a strong economy for a long time, well before the current government. And even presently, they are well to the left of the U.S. France, as you know, has an immigration problem.It used to do well before the era of mass immigration.

            I stated that neither potential First Spouse has the uprightness that we expect of a First Spouse. I didn’t single out Bill. But as I said, it is far from a deal breaker for me.

            You (unwittingly) bring up a very good point about Breitbart. I generally don’t agree with them, but they are a legitimate news organization that is playing a vital role in covering certain topics, notably immigration. As I’ve stated, the New York Times is now overtly biased on this matter, just as badly as Breitbart is biased on the other side. Thank you for considering me a “very knowledgeable scholar,” but clearly I can’t be knowledgeable if I only read the NYT.


          • how about venezuela and greece? US has already got 19 + trillion debt. If Bernie sanders programs got implemented, do you want to face a debt crisis like greece?


          • You are missing the point, which is that there are both good and bad economies among the democratic socialist countries. You are wrongly attributing cause-and-effect to some hand-picked examples.

            By the way, Hillary’s recent TV commercials and speeches are very Bernie-ish.


  14. I wish every Republican would vote Libertarian and every Democrat would vote Green. That would shake up the political establishment and send a message that we are dissatisfied.


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