What are the worst character traits we can reasonably believe about the two POTUS candidates?

When I say “reasonably” I mean something that we have pretty good evidence for, not random charges. And I’m not saying that all the items listed are actually true, only that they are reasonably believable based on current evidence.

Donald Trump:
in business, he has played fast and loose with other people’s money, and thinks this is a legitimate way to do things;
in business, he has often not paid people to whom he owed money when he thought he could get away with it;
based on the above two items, he has no qualms about pushing other people around for his own advantage, usually financial advantage, or in other words, he’s a bully;
he has very few strongly held political beliefs and will say whatever he thinks his constituency wants to hear;
he is fairly ignorant of the way governments work, and of our constitution;
he does not understand how government is different from business, and that we as a country can’t afford to alienate everyone we don’t like or everyone who disagrees with us;
he persistently and consistently lies about many things, including things he said the previous day;

Hilary Clinton:
she is secretive and suspicious of those outside her inner circle;
she has traded influence in her office of Secretary of State in return for donations to her charity (not sure how this benefits her personally except for providing a cushy job for her daughter and reflected glory on her family);
she has taken a lot of money for making a lot of speeches to entities of which many of us might not approve (it is not clear to me whether she gave anything other than speeches in these cases, or got anything other than money);
she defended her husband by attacking those women who were making charges against him for inappropriate behavior;
she has told lies about certain events in her life - the importance of these lies depends on the circumstances;

Please feel free to add to either list. I’m sure I have just touched the surface. But please keep them reasonable, and if you are in doubt as to that status, feel free to provide cites (which I have not done).

My point in this thread is to consider, if we are more than ever before choosing the lesser of evils in this election, who that lesser really is. I think that lists like this can help with clarity.

Trump is fundamentally stupid and self-serving.

Hillary is driven by political ambition and perpetually tries to hide all her cards, in every game.

Donald Trump:
Agree with everything you said. Adding the following:
He is extremely narcissistic with poor impulse control, to the point where he can easily be baited into fights that actually hurt his interests.
He presents himself in the manner of a rich bully used to getting his way by threatening to sue/fire/not pay people and who doesn’t care about consequences because he has so much money.
Doesn’t understand macro economics, relying on “deals” and protectionism rather than market forces.
Hilary Clinton:
Often shows poor judgement with regards to the optics of her actions and decisions.
Often magnified by what sometimes appears to be a secretive nature.

FWIW, I absolutely consider Trump to be the worst candidate. If nothing else, his manner, lack of any government experience, and willful ignorance of issues and topics makes him completely unqualified for the position.

They are both dishonest, which can be said about virtually all politicians. The problem with both of them is that they’re not very good at it.

I pondered, in my OP, whether to stress the difference between a character flaw and a personality flaw, such as Trump’s narcissism. A personality flaw can be more dangerous and intractable to change than a character flaw, which a person can realize and attempt to change. But a personality flaw is usually harder to prove at a distance (Trump’s case seems to be an exception).

Clinton’s secretiveness and suspiciousness are actually more like personality flaws, and so we should include Trump’s narcissism, which seems actually really dangerous to the security of the country.

I don’t count as a character flaw Clinton’s poor judgment about the optics of her actions. Poor strategy is just that, not really a defect in character.

As for both being dishonest a la all politicians, I think Clinton is much more in this camp than Trump. Trump’s dishonesty seems to extend to very large areas of his business life as well as his political life. I can’t speak to his personal life, of course, but I wonder what Ivana and #2 (whatever her name was) would have to say.


Trump: appears to have little or no ability to empathize with anyone who isn’t a rich white guy, (outside of his immediate family).
Resorts to name-calling, ad hominem attacks as a first response to any public disagreement.

Clinton: I don’t really have anything that hasn’t been mentioned already. With that said, I find the ‘dishonest’ claim to be problematic. I’d be most concerned with this one if there was some sort of long history of Mrs. Clinton routinely claiming support for one political position while actually, consistently voting another; I suppose there’s at least some of that in her record, but I’m not really seeing it as a systematic thing.

Likewise, I have yet to see any actual evidence of influence peddling via the Clinton Foundation, just (so far) innuendo.

Not a hard cite, but the Clinton Foundation dealings are anything but transparent, and I don’t think it unreasonable to assume that some of the allegations of wrong-doing have some basis in reality. If foreign person A makes a donation and later gets a meeting with someone important in the US government to pursue his own (presumably financial) goals, it looks bad; if there was really nothing wrong, then the Clintons need to open their proceedings enough that we can be convinced. There is sometimes smoke without fire, but the odds are against it.

However, so far I suppose we can put an asterisk on this one, and mark it as only possibly reasonable.

No, we can’t.

There is absolutely nothing reasonable about the barrage of lies that have been told about the Clintons for decades now. DECADES.

People have been saying shit about the Clintons for decades without being able to back any of it up. So if you have actual evidence that Hillary Clinton committed influence peddling, then put up or shut up.

Otherwise, it goes right on the bullshit pile next to, “Hillary is having a lesbian affair with Muslim Brotherhood pal Huma Abedin”.

Trump hasn’t always been the most impartial when dealing with minorities

Trump: He objectifies women and defines them by their appearance. Including his own daughter.
Seems to be willing to support foreign dictators, even those who aren’t friendly to America.
Is thin-skinned about insults or criticism. Easy to provoke.

Clinton: Uses her legal knowledge to skate up to the edge of the law.

The allegations made against Trump regarding “Trump University” are very severe — far far more severe than anything on OP’s list. IANAL and don’t know the difference between criminal fraud and civil fraud, but the methods of Trump University are extremely reprehensible.

Omission of just that item makes OP’s Trump list seem silly. Comments by the ghost-writer of Trumps’ famous book also deserve mention.

Trump’s bigoted and misogynistic comments and behavior are worse than anything on OP’s list.

Trump offers childcare for the guests in his expensive resorts, but lied (or “misremembered” :rolleyes: ) and pretended these childcare facilities were for his employees. Et cetera, et cetera.

TL;DR: OP’s idea of matching up the flaws of the two candidates may have merit. His effort, however, tells us only about OP’s incompetence to do so, nothing about the candidates.

Is Trump secretive? Are other pols secretive? Any cites that Clinton is especially secretive?

Would you be happier if the Clintons had retired completely instead of operating a major charity? Does Trump seek “glory”? Do other pols?

Does GWB give speeches for money? Palin? Et cetera? Do you have even an itsy-bitsy figment of a clue, OP?

So, believing in her husband is one of her major sins?

:smack: Just because the Hannity-Coulter Kool-Aid is being served 24/7 doesn’t mean you have to drink it.

In recent times high-integrity Presidents (Carter, Obama) have been the exception.

JFK was elected with the help of his fathe’rs Mafia connections; the Mafia would have had much influence in that Administration were it not for his father’s stroke. JFK indulged in nepotism, extreme womanizing, illegal assassination attempts, and political opportunism — multiple witnesses allege that JFK intended to withdraw from Vietnam, but only after the '64 election.

Nixon was also corrupt.

Corrupt connections between Saudi Arabia’s rulers and the Bush family predate both Bush Presidencies. Bush Junior engaged in corrupt practices before he was Governor. The 2003 War was run very deliberately to aid firms that were big GOP donors, as well as Halliburton and the Carlyle Group itself in which Cheney and the Bushes retained large financial interests.

Even if the worst charges against the Clintons are true — and that’s extremely doubtful given the bald-faced lying resorted to by Hannity, Limbaugh, et al — at least 3 of recent Presidents would still be more corrupt than Hillary.


We can acknowledge that Clinton has flaws while still saying she’s qualified to be President and a far far better candidate than Trump is.

Sure. I’m just asking for evidence to back up those flaws.

The topic is “what can we reasonably believe” not “what can we prove”.

We can’t prove that Trump “has played fast and loose with other people’s money” any more than we can prove Clinton “has traded influence”. But we can believe that these accusations are congruent with observed behavior.

For Trump:

• that he cannot control his temper and is prone to irrational tirades
• that he wants to bone his own daughter, but worse than that, that he thinks its acceptable to insinuate that publicly on television in front of millions of people. Which means that means to me he has no filter, he just says stuff that comes into his brain.

Put those two together and it’s apocalyptic for international diplomacy and foreign policy.

Which is worse? Money donated to a politician’s election campaign resulting in ‘access’ to the elected candidate? or, Money donated to a global charity resulting in access to the charity founder?’

We accept the former as being the way campaign financing works. There is no other way (forget Bernie for a moment) that pols get the big bucks needed for their runs. Why do we condemn the relatively innocuous second?

The fact is, HRC and Bill were, and continue to be, in a position to obtain big sums of money for their activities, books, speeches, etc. LIke anyone else, what they do with the money and what the quid pro quo is for the monies they obtain are the questions. I haven’t seen any significant cites that one government, person or company received treatment from their association with the Clinton foundation that they didn’t otherwise deserve. The Clinton Foundation does use the money for completely valid uses around the world. There is no comparable organization formed by any Republican (or other Democrat). HRC doesn’t get enough credit for this, not at all.

HRC is a hell of a lot more likeable than ANY Republican I can think of. ANY.

<offtopic> Well, no we don’t all accept that’s the way it has to work. If donations were strictly limited to capped amounts and there was no way around it with Super PAC’s or other legal tricks then everyone would have the same level playing field. Less money overall would get spent on the election cycle, but IMO that would be a good thing. </offtopic>

Carry on…

First off - An accusation of influence peddling is not a general opinion. It is a specific, concrete, act. She either did it or she didn’t. It is not a faith-based position.

It is not reasonable to believe she committed influence peddling in the absence of evidence.
Secondly - I have not, in this thread, claimed anything at all about Donald Trump. Therefore, the onus is not on me to establish what can be reasonably believed about his behavior. However, if I were making specific claims about Donald’s behavior, I assure you that I would have specific cites for it.
Thirdly - Even if we’re just discussing general opinions, believing things without evidence is never reasonable. Believing things without having any evidence is what we call on the playground, “making shit up”.