Life has been a bit crazy for me, and, obviously, for the election as a whole. I had much more time during the summer, when I didn’t have quite so many school-related activities on my plate.
When I originally signed up for this campaign, my concern was that Chuck Fleischmann’s support for Trump would come back to haunt him. Despite the avalanche of negatives against Trump, this still doesn’t seem to have swayed 3rd District voters a huge amount: Trump is still leading in Tennessee by double-digits–although we will see what happens with the latest sexual assault claims. (So, Chuck, still supporting Trump?) Fleischmann’s only tweet today was to wish the Navy a happy birthday, so no change in position so far.
This week is my daughter’s fall break, and as is our tradition, we took a road trip to various National Park Service sites. On this trip we visited Fort Donelson near Nashville (site of Grant’s first major victory and a win that opened the South to Union troops), the Lewis and Clark Trail Center in Omaha, Herbert Hoover’s birthplace in West Branch, Iowa, Pullman National Monument in Chicago, Lincoln’s Home in Springfield, Illinois, and Cahokia Mounds World Heritage Site near St. Louis. I like taking trips like this with Zari, as we both learn much about the history of the U.S., and, more importantly, we learn that almost no one is all good or all evil. Herbert Hoover was unquestionably a great humanitarian, but some of his policies helped lead to the Great Depression. George Pullman was an innovative businessman–whose practices toward his workers were often abusive. (As we were leaving Pullman, Zari told me that she couldn’t decide if George Pullman was a good man or a bad man. I said, “Good. That shows you’re thinking.”)
I was supposed to attend a League of Women Voters event in Oak Ridge next Tuesday, but since Melody Shekari and I were the only ones to RSVP, they cancelled the event. I understand, but I would have liked the opportunity to interact with Oak Ridge voters. (I’m looking for another opportunity: Stay tuned.)
Last Monday, I was interviewed by the editorial board of the Chattanooga Times Free Press so they could make an informed decision about who to endorse in the election. I don’t expect their endorsement, but I think I, at least, made a good impression. I enjoyed our discussion and hope that they saw that I wasn’t a normal candidate.
As a general practice, I don’t watch debates, preferring, instead, to read transcripts, because I don’t like being swayed by the performances. I broke my rule for the second Presidential debate, because, frankly, that election is over. As of this writing, FiveThirtyEight gives Hillary Clinton an 86.9% chance to win the election, and the trend is going the wrong way for Trump. I’m not a fan of either Clinton or Trump, but I liked Clinton’s answers better than Trump’s. I was watching with a few Twitter fact-checkers going on my phone, and, according to them Trump lied or twisted things much more often than Clinton did. I was left with my impression that, while I don’t like Clinton–an opinion she could change quickly by admitting that she has changed her positions on some issues–I think Trump is reckless and dangerous. His answers on Russia and Syria showed a naivete (sorry for the lack of accents–I’m on an unfamiliar tablet) of Carterian proportions. (Jimmy Carter may be the best human being we’ve ever had as President, and has done great things as an ex-President, but his foreign policy while in office was incredibly naive.) I thought the only good answer Trump gave all night was his last answer, where he talked about Hillary’s tenacity. On the other hand, I wasn’t thrilled with Clinton’s performance. Her continual smiles of disbelief at Trump’s statements were understandable, but seemed to diminish the gravity of what he was saying.
I am still undecided. There are seven candidates on the ballot, and I’m not enamored of any of them. The candidates are:
- Hillary Clinton – Democrat
- Donald Trump – Republican
- Gary Johnson – Libertarian
- Jill Stein – Green
- Alyson Kennedy – Socialist
- Rocky de la Fuente – Reform/American Delta Party
- Mike Smith – Independent (Conservative)
I won’t vote for Trump (dangerous), Johnson (Libertarian isolationism is also dangerous), Stein (her anti-nuclear, anti-GMO, and pandering to anti-vaxxers–note that I didn’t say that she was an anti-vaxxer, seem to indicate that she’s too anti-science for me), Kennedy (I’m pretty free-market), or Smith (too far right for me). This leaves me with Clinton and de la Fuente. Rocky’s position pages seem to be an endless series of “What if?” questions without any actual answers–but in this case, not knowing may actually be helping him. I agree with Clinton on more than I disagree, but I have a laundry list of problems with her–the aforementioned reluctance to admit a change in a position, her extreme pro-choice stance on abortion (completely legal until birth), and I wasn’t terribly impressed with her term as Secretary of State.
I don’t see myself voting early, if for no other reason than I need to know if my vote matters. Right now, it doesn’t. If Trump is still polling with a double-digit lead here, then I may vote for Rocky as an anti-two-party system vote. If the race somehow becomes close here but looks like a landslide nationwide, I may still vote third-party. But if the race nationwide is close, I may hold my nose and vote for Clinton. I only see about a two percent chance of that happening, but I believe that Donald Trump really is that dangerous.
As usual, I welcome your comments and questions. Have a great day!