A rational (fact-based) discussion on Trump v Clinton

So I’m already conceding that this will end up like all of the other threads but I wanted to give this a shot. I was listening to NPR and they were discussing if current journalistic biases against Trump were akin to Edward Murrow’s attack against Uncle Joe McCarthy. What struck me was that no one saw the key difference in Murrow attacking what McCarthy was doing vs. the current attacks against what Trump says what he will do. Saying you’ll build a fence at the border isn’t the same as actually doing it. With all of the accomplished facts like
Trump’s business deals
Email servers
Trump University

I wanted to start a thread that focused exclusively on what they did in the past and how that would influence your vote rather than talking about the current rhetoric.

I predict 2 replies before that rule is broken

You can have a discussion about two presidential candidates based exclusively on past behavior. However, that discussion will avoid the most essential component of the decision – how they will govern as president. The fact is that neither of these two candidates has ever been president before. In order to determine who would be the better president, you need to know what they plan to do, or say they will do as president.

If you want to concentrate exclusively on past experience:

Clinton - Has served as First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State
Trump - Has never held any position in government

Based on past experience, I see vast amounts on Clinton’s side, and nothing at all on Trump’s. So the influence of past experience on my vote would be 100% in Clinton’s favor.

Simple. There is very little that Trump has done in the past that makes me think he would be a worthy President. His businesses are shell games. His personal life is a wreck. He cons poor people with hopes and dreams. There is no real accomplishment there, except for taking his inheritance and turning it into a marketing company with one product: Trump.

There is nothing in Trump’s past that places him as a qualified candidate to lead the country.

Hillary will have your standard political good and bad points. As with Trump, her past 25+ years have been in the news, but unlike Trump her flaws have been exposed repeatedly during that time and wildly, wildly promoted by her opponents.

However, she understands the ins and outs of politics and government. Unlike Trump, Hillary actually understands the ramifications of trade deals, policy, and legislation. She is a far shrewder politician than people give her credit for - while she isn’t the Great (public) Communicator her husband or Reagan are/were, her handling of Bernie Sanders and ability to work with people who were once bitter opponents (Barack Obama, the Bush’s) shows a unique ability in the old fashioned political skill known as “horse trading”. Her organizational ability far out trumps Trump, and she is able to learn from her mistakes (except, like all of us, those that are burned into our very being - with her, it’s being secretive (secretivity?) I fear that’s going to continue to burn her as long as she’s in office, even if perfectly justified.).

That’s pretty much what I was going to say. Clinton has a long career of public service. Trump has a long career of self service. Only looking at the past makes this a no brainer decision for Clinton.

Does that include things they said in the past? Not promises of what they’d do if elected, but literally just the claims they’ve made about the world?

The mere fact that a major-party Presidential candidate says something can have the effect of giving those views an air of legitimacy (whether he actually believes them or not). And in Trump’s case, some of those views are so offensive to me that that’s reason enough for me to vote against him.

Some of the ones that stick out in my mind are:

[li]Trump promoted the conspiracy theory that President Obama wasn’t born in America[/li][li]Trump implied that a journalist who had questioned him strongly during a debate was on her period.[/li][li]Trump falsely [1] [2] stated that he saw “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating as the towers fell on 9/11.[/li][li]Trump claimed an American-born judge of Mexican descent was biased because “He’s Mexican”.[/li][li]Trump put the blame on the American Muslim community for the Orlando nightclub attack, saying “They know that he was bad. . . . They didn’t turn him in.” (Actually, an American Muslim did report the shooter to the FBI back in 2014.)[/li][li]Trump criticized the Muslim parents of a slain U.S. Army Captain, Bronze Star recipient Humayun Khan[/li][li] In particular, he said Captain Khan’s father, Khizr Khan, “has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution”. First of all, that’s inaccurate, Khan questioned whether Trump has read the Constitution. Of course he does have that right - see the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.[/li][li]Trump also suggested that the reason Captain Khan’s mother, Ghazala Khan, stood silently beside her husband was because she wasn’t allowed to speak. In fact she chose not to speak because she felt she would be too overwhelmed by emotion (which, I submit, is an explanation that would be obvious to anyone who saw her as a grieving Gold Star mother and not as some Muslim stereotype)[/li][li]Trump suggested without evidence that the election is going to be rigged.[/li][li]Trump implied that gun violence might be the only way to prevent Hilary Clinton from abolishing the Second Amendment.[/li][/ul]

Trump frequently employs the tactic of making outrageous claims in a way that leaves a tiny bit of room for him to deny it later. The word “cowardly” is overused in our national discourse, but frankly it’s a cowardly tactic. He tends to start his sentences with “Lots of people are telling me…” and end them with “… I don’t know, you tell me.” Of course, this does nothing to mute the damage done by such a high profile figure giving voice to these abhorrent sentiments.

In particular, after the fact he tried to claim “Blood coming out of [Megyn Kelly’s] wherever” meant her nose. Or that he’d merely been suggesting that “Second Amendment People” should vote against Hillary (despite the fact that he preceded it with “If she gets to pick her judges” – implying a scenario in which she’d won the election – and followed it by saying “That will be a horrible day.”) I find it hard to imagine that any unbiased person would find these denials credible.

Maybe my reply runs counter to your request that we not “talk about the current rhetoric”, but I don’t intend it to be a hijack. My point is “making an offensive statement” is an action in its own right, not just an indication of what you might do in the future. It may be true that “saying you’ll build a fence at the border isn’t the same as actually doing it”, but the horrible things Donald Trump has said are reason enough for me to vote against him, regardless of whether I think he means what he says or whether I think this is any indication of what he’d do as President. At worst, he’s a despicable person and the antithesis of what I believe America stands for. At best, he’s someone who’s willing to pretend to be such a person if he thinks it will get him elected. That’s a distinction without a difference.

What he’ll do when elected is a matter of speculation, but that he’s made these statements is a fact, and I would contend that’s a “fact-based” reason for opposing him. (Then again, I also don’t think it’s irrational to oppose someone based on the belief that if elected he’ll at least attempt to do some of the things he most frequently says he’s going to do. Or, for that matter, based on the belief that someone who frequently makes offensive statements as a Presidential candidate is likely to make equally offensive statements as President. So maybe we have a different idea of what’s rational.)

I don’t see a bias at all. Trump’s pattern of foolishness, astonishing ignorance, passive aggressive denials, and flagrant lies ARE what we need to be concerned with. As far as I’m concerned, these ARE “things he did in the past.” Whether any of his specific policies will materialize in the future is somewhat irrelevant to me, as he has already demonstrated that he is a misogynistic, xenophobic, narcisstic bigot, a pathological liar, and a fascist bully.

So you would vote for Rod Blagojevich over Trump since he had a long career in public service?

Nope, otherwise this will be just like all the other threads. Actions they have committed, not rhetoric. So no anti-Muslim rants but if you find out one of them fired a Muslim woman because of her headdress then that would be permitted.
Your post is an example of why I want to discuss actions not words. You are pulling up examples of election rhetoric. Now maybe if you want to use things he said before his election run that might have some bearing but I really want to keep “say what it takes to get elected” out of this thread.

Well, there’s always this little gem from 1973.


It might be the first time Trump appeared in print and the DOJ was already accusing him of being racist.

Well, I certainly find it impossible to support Secretary Clinton, because of how all those impartial investigators found her so totally guilty of doing all that Benghazi, Email servers, and Whitewater!

So I guess it’s Trump for me. “Business Deals” is a good thing, right?

I’m still not understanding what is supposed to be discussed in this thread, and what is not supposed to be discussed in this thread.

For example, the OP mentioned Joe McCarthy - a guy who claimed he had lists of Communists working in th US Government, but the media eventually criticized him for fabricating the whole story. But somehow I think the OP does not want to hear about any candidate’s claims that are simply false… Or does he? I’m confused.

Whatever Clinton’s ‘sins’ are, they fall within what even most conventional republicans would consider to be the hazards of the job and political wheeling and dealing. Clinton sports a dirty jersey, but that’s because she’s taken a lot of snaps behind center.

Donald Trump is both an unknown and a known commodity. We don’t know how he’d even think of attempting to manage the federal government because he has absolutely zero experience in government – not even as a soldier in the military or civil service employee. But we do know that his businesses go bankrupt. He stiffs business partners. He stiffs contractors. He stiffs and lays off employees. And he’s a pathological liar.

Does Hillary lie? Yeah, I guess she does. And I don’t like being an apologist for political dissembling. But there’s a difference between saying “I saw hundreds of Muslims celebrating on 9/11” and “Smart people tell me that there’s proof Obama was born in Kenya”…and someone who lies about something they did or didn’t do. Hell most people have bullshitted their employer about the real reason they were late, or the real reason they didn’t complete a project on time, or took the day off. Is it right? No, but there’s a difference between lying about mistakes after the fact and just making up lies out of thin air that spawn hatred and breaks confidence in our institutions without any basis at all.

Look, all you really need to do is to see the defections of tens if not hundreds of people – highly accomplished and respected people – in the national security and business community who would ordinarily be inclined to vote republican to know that Trump is just not the right guy.

Do people at home seriously think that Donald Trump and his band of bozos is more qualified than Mike Hayden? Any more qualified that the other national security officials who have denounced him? Get real. They gain nothing from their endorsements and if past behavior is any indication they risk being harassed by anonymous kooks on social media anyway, so why would they do this unless they believed that they have absolutely no choice but to stop this schmuck?

Dude, I would probably vote for Silvio Berlusconi over Trump. Blago is a terrible piece of work, but he’s nothing compared to Trump.

It’s totally fine, of course, to have a discussion limited to candidates’ record of achievement. But characterizing that as a rational discussion, with the implication that it’s irrational to discuss what a candidate says about how she’ll govern, is absurd. It’s simply a discussion of a subset of the issues on the table.

As for what in Trump’s record influences me, most of it influences me negatively. He’s run businesses in a racist way when he thinks it’ll profit him. He’s cheated and bullied people he’s working with when he thinks he can get away with it. He’s lost a lot of money. He’s relied on bluster to a ridiculous degree.

And, very importantly, he refuses to let us know how successful he was. The best evidence of his business savvy would be in his tax returns, but we can’t see those.

Clinton’s record doesn’t entirely impress me, either. But it’s far less terrible than Trump’s.

Trump’s birther efforts were an attempt to pander to the base of the GOP who wanted to delegitimize the first black president. Trump claiming that he wanted to see Obama’s college transcripts was also offensive, as he was implying that Obama wasn’t smart enough to get good grades solely on merit. Those things are offensive. Also Trump’s multiple accusations of rape.

Actually Blagojevich also had a long career of self-service. Does that make him more acceptable to you, Saint Cad?

A person’s words can actually affect the real world, especially if that person is a major party nominee for the office of President of the United States.

For example, suggesting that the United States might not actually come to the defense of a member of our most important alliance–hey, maybe we would, maybe we wouldn’t, have they paid up their protection money?–or suggesting that, hey, maybe lots of other countries should get nukes, sure, why not?

If those things are said by some guy sitting in a bar, just opining about shit, they will have no measurable effect on international affairs. For a major party nominee for the office of President of the United States to say those things may already have made the world a little bit more volatile place. If we actually elect that person as President, then other national leaders will have a massive spike in uncertainty about the security of their countries (or in some cases about possible “opportunities” for their countries to seize perceived advantages) as soon as the vote counts are announced in November. Right away, countries will start rethinking their foreign policies, their defense policies, their policies on the acquisition and use of nuclear fucking weapons–months before Inauguration Day. Just from words.

Similar points apply about a person “just saying things”, when that person is a major party nominee for the office of President of the United States, and the immediate effects on our relations with Mexico, our relations with Muslim-majority countries, our relations with our allies around the world, and the relations right here at home between Americans of one ethnic heritage or religious belief and another.

I’m afraid Trump has already damaged our international credibility, he’s already damaged our international reputation, and he’s already damaged the fabric of social peace and civil harmony in this country, all just by running his god-damned mouth as a major party nominee for the office of President of the United States. If we actually elect him to the Presidency, all of that will be a thousand times worse; and those effects will be hugely magnified months before the man is even sworn in.

Ha. One of the things donald is “actually doing” is not being forthright about what he has done in the past. So how can you have any intelligent comparison with a woman who has been “vetted” for 30 years.

The OP is normalizing donald.

In many situations, words are acts. If someone delivers a speech and inspires people to commit violence, that is not just speech; that is a speech that inspires action. Having a democratically elected finalist for the presidency, with millions of followers, suggest that if he isn’t elected, that there’s a good chance that the election is ‘rigged’ isn’t just speech; it’s an intentional and deliberate attempt to inspire outrage. You want to know what a contested election looks like – a real one? Google some pictures of places like, say, places in third world countries like Africa. Buses and buildings get burned to the ground. There is violence. There is death. This is deadly serious stuff that Trump is inspiring with his words. You cannot just separate the rhetoric from the election and the candidate.

Besides an argument on qualifications, there is also a policy argument here. If I support center-left policy positions, Clinton is the only candidate I can really vote for. There is no one else supporting the same policies.

What does Trump support? He has no consistent ideology. What would I be voting for?

If you ignore Trump’s lack of ideology, then you would have to make the argument that he will come up with the best solutions to problems once he starts dealing with them. Unfortunately, I can’t see anything to support this argument. Trump is good at marketing, but there is no evidence he is good at anything else. All the businesses that Trump started himself have went bankrupt (correct me if I’m wrong here). The only thing he has going is the business that he inherited from his father.

And every time Hillary speaks you can tell she has a deep understanding of the issues she’s talking about, while you get the exact opposite impression with Trump.

When I look at Hillary’s past I see a history of public service and a history of support for center-left policy solutions. Trump has a history of media appearances and failed business ventures. His policy positions are all over the map. He used to be a liberal that supported the Clintons and now he is whatever he feels like saying at any given moment.

Hillary’s history with lies and scandals bothers me, but is no where near troubling enough to make me vote for Trump or worry about our country’s future. Let’s not forget that FDR and LBJ actually committed voter fraud during their elections. Compared to past Presidents Hillary looks like a saint.

She also looks like a saint compared to Trump. Would you send your kids to Trump University?