If we had a vote we would vote Clinton

It has become a truism of this campaign that Clinton and Trump are the two worst presidential candidates of all time. We don’t buy it.

Yes, Donald Trump is an ignorant narcissistic bully who would be an embarrassment to any self-respecting Parish Council; a serial groper, liar, and corrupt businessman whose response to these sound charges is generally to accuse his opponent of the same with no evidence. He is happy to fan the flames of racial tension for personal advantage, and as we saw with Brexit, if he wins (promising Brexit+++), supporters will feel justified by this majority in meting out hatred and violence to whoever around them doesn’t fit in.

But in contrast, in Hillary Clinton, we have an unusually well-qualified candidate. She was highly rated and respected as a senator and secretary of state. This is a reputation that has only declined as the republican hate and smear machine has done its job. Obama had the birthers, John Kerry the swift boaters. Recall that John Kerry was a decorated war veteran, standing against a draft dodger in George W Bush. How do you turn that strength into a weakness? Lie loudly and often enough that people think there must be something to it.

So Hillary is a bit dull. She has used the wrong email server. But her life and conduct has been subject to the minutest scrutiny and been cleared. The scrutiny is not there to find wrongdoing, it is there to create a narrative.

When it comes to policy, Donald Trump, the supposed voice of rust belt America would cut taxes for the richest. His hostility to trade would destroy jobs and raise prices in America and worldwide. He threatens to destabilise the international community: he might not defend our allies, but he might use force for the shallowest of reasons – on both counts he makes avoidable conflict and bloodshed more likely. Trump doesn’t fit anywhere on the dove-hawk spectrum, he is just an erratic.

Hillary Clinton offers something closer to continuity: the strong economic and employment recovery under Obama, a little more hawkish than Obama but no more than Bill or the Bushes – and with a deep understanding of foreign policy and the military that Trump cannot begin to compete with. She would expand early years education, imprison fewer non-violent offenders and introduce paid parental leave. Compassionate, thoughtful liberal policy for an America that works for everyone.

Trump has made a virtue of undermining the civilised norms of decency and respect for your fellow Americans. That this can be possible demands some sober reflection from us all. Has the demand for respect gone, not morally but strategically, so far ahead of what many of us feel we can keep up with, that rattling the cage has become more cathartic than shameful? If so liberals need to improve our strategy, starting tomorrow. Today we need to elect Hillary Clinton.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • If I was able to I would certainly vote Clinton rather than Trump. There’s no contest. However, I would have voted Saunders before Clinton. That’s not to say Clinton is a bad candidate, simply that Saunders was a better one.
    To be honest I don’t think this will be close at all. People try to link it to Brexit, but really the referendum was a single issue campaign in a country that has had strong Eurosceptic inclinations since about1979.

  • Tony Dawson 8th Nov '16 - 12:34pm

    Trump is absolutely terrible. But Clinton is a disgrace. I would vote ‘disgrace’ over ‘terrible’ any day.

  • You or I would vote Clinton of course. But if you were a skilled former car worker in Michigan now scraping by in a minimum wage unskilled job you might feel you have nothing to lose by voting for “something different”, which is Trump.

  • Eddie Sammon 8th Nov '16 - 12:50pm

    I don’t buy that they are both as bad as each other either. Trump lacks respect for others and I think that’s what annoys me the most about him – he often calls women he doesn’t agree with ugly. For me, it’s one of the worst things you can ever say to someone. Here’s a list:


    There are some things I don’t agree with about Hillary and the Democrats, and I think a better campaign could have defeated them, especially after eight years of a Democrat president, but at least they are respectful and overall I think Hillary would do a good job.

  • ethicsgradient 8th Nov '16 - 1:13pm

    I would vote for Clinton. But she has significant flaws and lack of judgement at times.

    I was chatting to a guy from Arizona 2 days ago about the election . I realised then that Clinton suffers from a trust issue very similar to that which Nick Clegg has suffered (and will always suffer) after the u-turn on tuition fee’s. People will accept bending of truth, pushing things but once trust is fully broken then nothing they say will ever be accepted to non-partisan voters.

    That trust issue is why Clinton is not about 15pts ahead. It’s a combination of dodgy property deals, judgement flaws of protecting scandal hit people around her and very fishy access for cash issues with the Clinton foundation.

    No sane person could vote for Trump.

  • So true Nick Baird!
    Totally agree to that, we see this election with the eyes of an european not with the eyes of an “real” american, not this guys in New York or the big cities in the US, this people in the middle of nowhere with only one big company in town which was closed years and years ago and they haven´t see a new job in this areas yet.
    I wouldn´t say that Trump is a good candidate and i don´t think that he will change the country but with his resources (i don´t mean the money) he done very well.
    I don´t trust the surveys if i want to know how will win a election i trust the bookmakers because they loose money if they are wrong and they never seen Trump in front, he never had a Change. The latest odds still see Hillary in the best Position (source: http://www.online-betting.me.uk/news/17669.html )
    Hillary Clinton 4/11, Donald Trump 3/1;
    Don´t think that anything will change after this election no matter who wins.

  • clive english 8th Nov '16 - 1:36pm

    and yet i cant help feeling that very few of the negative comments made about Hilary would have been made if she had not suffered from the political disability of not possessing male organs.
    Why is it in this day and age it is still an insult to call a woman ambitious, but something considered good in men?

  • I think we, in the UK, should keep a sense of perspective regarding Trump/Clinton….The majority of uk voters supported a policy led by men one of whom has taken over £2million in EU expenses alone for doing nothing but obstruct business and another whose morals make Trump look like a trappist monk….

  • ethicsgradient 8th Nov '16 - 1:52pm

    @Joe Otten

    I agree with you whole heartedly. I perceive Trump to be far worse than Clinton on all issues and points. THe man is liar, possibly corrupt and certainly thin-skinned and reactionary. I’d also agree that Clinton is suffering form double standards.

    I am glad that I am not a voter in this election. I think I would abstain. I was just trying to address why it is not already a shoe-in for Clinton when from a British perspective it would be a no-brainer.

    When I consider it from an American perspective though, it is the trust issue that stands out. Prior to the dirty tricks and lies Trump has reeled off, the american public felt that the Clintons were using prestige and the office to be on the make. She has been caught lying over the email servers. large parts of America have a massive trust issue with Clinton.

    She is still a much better choice than Trump though… Thankfully if somehow trump were elected I have faith in the division of powers the American system has and congress and the supreme court would hold him to account.

  • Let us put this in perspective. My natural inclinations have always been Democrat. However this should be the Republicans year, there have been two terms of Democrats and usually, not aleays, the change process then occurs. Really they have blown it themselves instead of struggling to win they should comfortably ahead. all due to the candidate they picked.
    Me, it seems a contest between a nutter and a rogue. I could not vote for either and would probably have abstained or protested via a Johnson vote.

  • I’m afraid, Joe, you have (deliberately ?) misinterpreted what was a very perceptive and fair post by Geoffrey Payne. As for Clive English, I’m afraid your post is reverse sexism and rather more than complete rollocks.

    The main reason Clinton will win (I would hold my nose and vote for her) is that she’s not Donald Trump. I don’t doubt her intellectual ability, but there is a definite issue of mistrust about her… there has been more than one “mis-speak” episode – look that up for starters, Joe. As for Whitewater and the Foundation……………….. ?

    That said, I confess to having lived long enough to remember 17 previous US presidential elections….. and this has been the most dire and dis-spiriting of them all.

  • Being fed questions in advance in the debates with Bernie Sanders showed Hilary and her team in a very bad light. Like Trump said if that had been him he would have been crucified on the White House gates for it. I think the result may depend on whether the Sanders supporters have forgiven her and can bring themselves to vote for her.

  • Adrian Sanders 8th Nov '16 - 2:38pm

    I always encourage folk to vote Sanders.

  • paul barker 8th Nov '16 - 2:48pm

    Hillary has made 3 huge mistakes :
    1. Wrong gender.
    2. Too old for her gender, fine as a granny in the kitchen but giving Men orders ?
    3. She knows way too much stuff, nobody likes a smart-ass.

  • Matt (Bristol) 8th Nov '16 - 3:23pm

    Clinton is a ‘bad’ candidate if:
    a) you accept that out there somewhere there is a ‘better’ candidate who could sway a larger part of the US to vote for them than she can. (It is arguable than in primary campaigns leading up to other election years there might have been such a candidate, but you cannot, to my mind argue that Sanders could win more of the country that Hillary)
    b) you accept that either her email scandal (which is a clear breach of any sensible data retention procedure, in my view, by the way) or the moderate unease at the complex finances of the Clinton Foundation damage her enough to make her either unelectable or fatally damaged after entering office — this is not, to my mind, proven.

    Turmp is a ‘bad’ candidate in the sense that he represents
    a) an all-out assault on the heritage and unity of his own party making politics for years after his election likely to be inherently unstable and unpredictable
    b) his personal behaviour is far beyond that that would be expected of any candidate in any other year (and that’s putting it mildly).
    c) his policy platform is rooted in fantasism and is either high-risk to an unprecedented extent (his proposal to give South Korea nukes) or probably unachievable (particularly the ‘wall’)
    d) the Trump Organisation finances make him vulnerable to exactly the same accusations as Hillary with regard the Clinton Foundation, thus making his own claim that she is uniquely ‘crooked’, tosh.

    The claim that they’re as bad as each other is nonsense, to me.

    But if Americans genuinely think that both these candidates – and therefore their parties – are so flawed that the system is fundamentally broken, where is the cross-party campaign to change their own system in a constructive, coherent way?

  • Tony Dawson 8th Nov '16 - 3:46pm

    @Joe Otten:

    “Your position is part of the problem in this election. Your support for Hillary is about as good as Corbyn’s support for Remain. You have chosen to spend a whole comment attacking Hillary and given Trump a free pass. If Trump wins narrowly, it will be people like you that swung it for him.”


    It is people who turn a blind eye to the gross corruption of the Clintons and the fact that the US economy is crippling the skilled working class in particular trying to tread water at the moment who have allowed Trump to (nearly, I hope) triumph. Your own position, Joe, in criticising Geoffrey, reminds me of Cameron’s support for Remain, which Jeremy Paxman sums up well here (at about 3 mins) and the forces which sleep walked us into the Lib Dem crash of 2009-2015.


    Paxman’s views on Clinton and Trump (at about 12 minutes) are also pretty spot on.

  • Paul Murray 8th Nov '16 - 4:25pm

    @Paul Walter – in Flint, MI (which I choose simply because it’s the home town of well-known documentary-maker Michael Moore) inflation-adjusted median household income in 2005 was $51,548. In 2015 it was $44,025. A decline in real terms of 14.6%. For the US overall the decline in the same period was less than 1%.

    At the same time jobs have been exported to low-wage economies and Clinton has been (until she “saw the light” under sustained pressure from Bernie Sanders) a powerful advocate for TPP.

    Clinton has been a leading political figure for 25 years during which time the income of many working Americans has stagnated and good jobs have been replaced by minimum-wage gigs.

    Is it surprising if many people see her as emblematic of the distressed circumstances in which they live? As she has prospered they have sunk. Is it surprising if in a recent yougov poll 47% of voters said they would “never” vote for her?

    I am tired of specious claims that she cannot establish a lead against Donald Trump because of sexism. It seems much more likely that familarity has bred contempt, as happened to Thatcher and Blair in this country.

    I want Clinton to win but only because Trump is even worse. But this has been an awful experience for American democracy. The US has never looked more polarised than it does today.

  • The latest IBD/TIPP Presidential Election Tracking Poll:

    With candidates like Clinton and Trump I would expect a gender divide, but it is not as big as I would have expected. However, the way the poll shows the difference in racial voting intentions is a worry.

    Clinton Trump

    Male 38% 46%
    Female 44% 40%

    White 34% 51%
    Black/Hispanic 64% 13%

  • Lorenzo Cherin 8th Nov '16 - 5:28pm

    The American people are our friends and family . The American election is our concern . The American President is the leader of the free world. The American Democratic party is , nationally ,in that great country , what the Liberal party of New York is , locally ,in that great city , a party of democrats and liberals . We are the Liberal Democrat Party of this country . The candidate of liberals and democrats in this election is Hillary Clinton or it is nobody. She stands better qualified to be President than many before her . She is tainted too, but taunted too much . She has been dissected under a now ongoing media microscope , and she is intact. She is far from dull . She is interesting . Even her flaws , personal and political are . She is impressive under fire . And those who hate her fire on all sides. She is no underdog . But she is the only dog in this race who must win or goodness knows who , but many , are going to the dogs ! Please , America , a country I know I love, at all times, even when I don’t feel I like it , sometimes , like when seeing the prospect of President Trump ! Please vote for the best candidate and the first woman President . Vote for Hillary Clinton !

  • Joe Otten

    I’m very serious. Hilary cheated Bernie Sanders – there’s no other word for it – and a lot of his supporters will rightly be outraged. The media would have made far more of it had Trump done this.

  • “and as we saw with Brexit, if he wins (promising Brexit+++), supporters will feel justified by this majority in meting out hatred and violence to whoever around them doesn’t fit in.”
    A statement about 99.9% of Brexit voters without foundation.

  • The closer we get to the result the more it seems that the only bad things her supporters have to say about Hilary is that she’s a woman (used as evidence of misogyny) or that she used the wrong email (compared to all Trump’s awful statements). If that is all that is needed to be president of the US then my mum could also be President.

    SNL ended their coverage of the final debate by saying American had the choice between a Republican and Donald Trump and there are sites like Democrats Against Clinton. This is a far more complex than “Hilary has experience” as an open or shut case of why we should vote for this Clinton: depending on where you stand you will either say “some of” or “a lot of” Hilary’s experience is bad experience. She has consistently failed to stand up for what now would be seen as common decency and while she deserves some credit for following and eventually lending support it should also be noted that she is part of the establishment and that means her progressive nature reveals its self slowly. She is also far more likely than Donald to expand the use of drones and in turn expand the negatives which come with that. At each stage of the race Hilary has struggled to engage young voters and BAME (that could be the wrong acronym but hopefully you can understand) voters too – while Hispanics are getting out to use their voices this could be said to be mainly due to Trump’s awful statements.

    However, you have to recognise that it is a democratic party she leads and a democratic plan negotiated on the back of Clinton meets Sanders. You also have to recognise the importance of electing Supreme Court judges which could otherwise be left to Trump to nominate. You also have to consider that the alternative is Donald Trump and suddenly the complex question becomes so, so simple.

  • I would like to correct a few things that Joe Otten said about me as I think he is totally unfair.
    I do not see how my reference to Hillary Clinton’s failure to advocate the reintroduction of Glass Steagall after her husband scrapped it amounts to sexism. I am referring to policy not to gender. I could say the same thing about Barack Obama, would that also be sexist? This is simply a pointless deflection from the substance of what I was saying, which happens to be true.
    As for the “smear”, well perhaps it was wrong of me to assume what I thought was common knowledge, so I will just put in this reference here, unless you think the New York Times is also smearing? http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/25/us/politics/bill-hillary-clinton-goldman-sachs.html?_r=0
    I never said anything at all about Jeremy Corbyn, what on earth are you talking about? What is true is that the Republicans have a candidate who should be overwhelmingly defeated, but in fact has come remarkably close. At the time of writing the results are not in, but the opinion polls at least show that Trump did come close until recently. The success that Trump has had is he has taken votes from blue collar workers that until recently voted Democrat. If I was in the the US Democrat party I would be alarmed at to see Ohio trending to the Democrats.
    I think also from the safety of my bedroom thousands of miles away from the USA where I do not have a vote and no influence that I am allowed not to be totally enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton. If I lived in the US I would campaign as hard as I could for Hillary because virtually any Republican – and Trump in particular – scares the living daylights out of me. But that would not make me a cheerleader for her or for anyone. What would you rather, that everyone suspends independent thought and simply agree with everything they say?

  • Stevan Rose 8th Nov '16 - 10:42pm

    Clinton is an establishment status quo candidate and this is the root of Trump’s charges of rigging and corruption. Trump the outsider. Whatever the results tonight 60 million and more Americans will have voted for Trump’s message and many more would have voted for that message had someone else been delivering it. There is something deeply wrong, cancerous, about American politics. If Clinton wins she has to deal with that. She can’t be a placeholder President for somebody better.

  • Paul Murray 9th Nov '16 - 5:16am

    @Paul Walter – I only wish you had been right.

  • I had a long telephone conversation yesterday with a friend who lives in Michigan. He is intelligent, educated, well travelled and owns a small business near Detroit. He told me he was voting Trump and had been to 2 Trump rallies recently that were overflowing. That’s when I knew…….

    His perception is that the “system” is loaded against people like him, and that more of the same wasn’t an option. He knows Trump talks bollocks but he wanted something different. There was no point in me telling him otherwise – his views are based on the reality of the life he is living right now.

  • Geoffrey Payne 9th Nov '16 - 10:28am

    In my last comment I meant to say Ohio trending to the Republicans.
    Now the results are in it is clear the high price the Democrats are paying for their record in government and taking their previous supporters for granted.

  • Jayne Mansfield 9th Nov '16 - 11:31am

    @ Geoffrey Payne,
    Hilary Clinton lost states that President Obama won twice. My American relatives would have had no misgivings about giving him a third term if that had been possible.

    I really don’t think that describing half of Trump supporters as a ‘basket of Deplorables’ would have helped persuade people to Hilary Clinton’s side. Denigrating the electorate didn’t work here during the EU referendum and it hasn’t worked there. Even those who choose to vote in a particular way and are not deplorable, just fearful for their economic security, feel that the slur is directed at them.

    I’m still trying to process Trump’s victory though.

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