A Slew of Indictments in Russiagate

On Friday, February 16, 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed an indictment formally accusing 13 Russian nationals and 3 companies of interfering in the 2016 Election. According to a 37-page document he released, Russian operatives working for the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency used several social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Some accounts included ones like “Woke Blacks” and “Blacktivists” to urge Americans to either vote for third party candidates or sit out of the election entirely. This indictment illustrates the lengths a Russian troll farm went to inflame racial tensions through operating several social accounts intended to discourage African Americans from voting in the election. In accounts targeting Trump supporters, operatives reputedly stoked voter fraud fears with already debunked claims in the lead-up to the presidential election. Such claims included an allegation that ineligible votes helped Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the Florida primary and that she stole the Iowa Caucus. As Vox’s Jennifer Williams explains, these indictments serves as the “federal government’s most detailed public description of just how far some Russians were willing to go to help Trump win the presidency — and of the kinds of tactics they could use to meddle in this fall’s midterm elections as well.”

The indictment also explicitly states that the Russians were posing as Americans while communicating with “unwitting” Trump campaign members. Thus, so far, we can’t determine that anyone in the Trump campaign knowingly colluded with the Russians indicted. Nor can we say that the Russian government or Vladimir Putin directed, funded, or carried out this operation. Nor does it say the interference had any effect on the 2016 Election. In a way, the of evidence pertaining to Russian collusion bolsters core arguments Donald Trump and his cronies have made for months denying any Russian collusion or meddling during 2016.

Nevertheless, the indictment doesn’t necessarily clear Donald Trump from any Russian shenanigans whatsoever. For it outlines a vast conspiracy by Russian operatives to help Trump win the election, involving thousands of fake social media accounts and numerous staged pro-Trump rallies in multiple states across the country. In fact, the document’s sheer magnitude and acute attention to detail of the 13 Russians and 3 companies indicted shows just how much investigative muscle the Mueller probe really has. So if there’s anything to find on Trump and his associates, Mueller can do it.

Unfortunately, none of the 13 Russians and 3 companies will probably never see an American courtroom. But the indictment will stand so far as the federal government’s most detailed public description of just how far some Russians were willing to go to help Donald Trump win the presidency. In addition, it shows the kinds of tactics they could use to meddle in this fall’s midterm elections as well. Robert Mueller’s 13 Russian indictments makes it difficult to deny Russian involvement in our election even if Donald Trump and his allies will still deny collusion. To be found guilty of collusion or conspiracy to interfere in our elections requires “knowledge” and “intent.” So the term “unwittingly” lets Trump and his cronies off the hook for now. However, the indictment makes it much more difficult for Trump to fire Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein without risking another nail in any “obstruction of justice” charge. Besides, the indictment pretty much shows that these Russians wanted to get Trump elected from the very start as well as worked hard to get him elected. And it indicates that people close to Trump might’ve assisted in the process. Given the polarized political environment, Mueller has good reasons to avoid contentious allegations now. Yet, that didn’t prevent him from unsealing a guilty plea by a “witting” American co-conspirator on the same day. So there’s more behind this Russian indictment than an innocent mistake.

To complicate matters further, on Monday, February 19, 2018, Robert Mueller released an indictment targeting Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch attorney based in London, for lying to the FBI. van der Zwaan’s connection to the Russian case runs through former deputy Trump campaign chair Rick Gates who Mueller indicted in October on charges of money laundering and illegal lobbying. Though you wouldn’t know much about that since his boss Paul Manafort was indicted on the same thing. Despite that the connection mainly deals with an internal Ukranian political dispute from more than a decade ago, it nonetheless state some interesting things about the Russian investigation.

In the early 2010s, van der Zwaan worked in the London office of the corporate law firm Skadden Arps, while his worked focused on the former Soviet Union. At the same time, Manafort and Gates were working for Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych, a Kremlin-backed leader with dubious democratic credentials. He was in a power struggle with another prominent Ukranian politician, which he decided to solve by jailing her in the fall of 2011. Manafort and Gates’s job was to run cover for this clearly undemocratic prosecution. So they retained a team from Skadden Arps which included van der Zwaan to create a “report” conveniently concluding that there was no political motive for locking her up (except there was). Unsurprisingly, this was a huge deal in Ukraine but obscure everywhere else. Manafort and Gates continued to work for Yanukovych until the spring of 2016. van der Zwaan moved on to other things like marrying Ukranian-Russian billionaire’s daughter last summer.

But the van der Zwaan honeymoon wouldn’t be a happy one thanks to Bob Mueller’s probe. While looking into Manafort and Gates’s Kremlin ties, Mueller’s team started investigating the Skadden Arps report. As the indictment recalls, FBI agents personally questioned the Dutch attorney in November 2017 about his communications with Gates and an unidentified Person A. van der Zwaan told them that he last interacted with Gates in August 2016 via an “innocuous text message” and that he hadn’t spoken to Person A since 2014. As the indictment indicates, this is a lie for van der Zwaan was secretly communicating with Gates and Person A on the Skadden report. Because, the indictment reveals that, “In or about September 2016, he spoke with both Gates and Person A regarding the Report, and surreptitiously recorded the call.” Also, it alleges that van der Zwaan deleted an e-mail between himself and Person A sent around the same time as those conversations. Though he told the FBI that he “did not know” where the email was.
So what does this have to do with the Trump campaign? Well, in August 2016, Paul Manafort resigned as Donald Trump’s campaign manager. Mostly because of his ties to Yanukovych, particularly on an alleged off-the-books payment. Yet, Gates hung on the Trump team. This was weeks before the conversation between Gates, Person A, and van der Zwaan. If Gates and the Dutch attorney were discussing the Skadden Arps report in September 2016, and van der Zwaan felt the need to lie to the FBI about it, it suggests that there may have been something criminal about the report’s production. Or at least something whose release would be politically damaging. At any rate, it helped Mueller build a case strong enough that Gates struck a plea deal with him and would testify against Manafort. As Manafort’s longtime assistant, Gates may well have damaging info on his former boss, who’s one of the most pivotal players in the whole Trump-Russia scandal. It’s likely that van der Zwaan might be the first domino in a chain of events that could lead to a major breakthrough like a Manafort conviction or plea deal. But for now we don’t know where the Manafort case will play out. But getting van der Zwaan to get Gates to get Manafort. From there, Mueller might get vital information on Trump’s real Russian ties.

Still, keep in mind that Paul Manafort left his cushy job as the Kremlin’s favorite expat political consultant in Ukraine to run Donald Trump’s campaign. Soon after, Moscow-backed hackers transmitted thousands of stolen Democratic Party emails to Wikileaks, whose release was artfully timed to make trouble for Trump’s Democratic opponents. These became the basis of Trump campaign rhetoric in the months before Election Day in 2016. Some emerging conventional wisdom in Washington remains that there’s little to believe Mueller’s ongoing probe will prove much of interest. But to brush off any notion of high-level cooperation between Trumpworld and the Russians needs a much greater suspension of disbelief than assuming Trump collusion with Russia. You have to dismiss that no one from Moscow thought to consult with Manafort about how to help a pro-Russia win an election in the United States. Despite that Manafort received millions of dollars for his expertise to help pro-Russia candidates win elections in Ukraine. You have to think Donald Trump Jr. didn’t discuss collaborating with Russians on obtaining and disseminating anti-Hillary Clinton dirt. Except that Trump Jr. was both in touch with Wikileaks and openly enthusiastic about the idea and met with Russians on this very topic. You’d have to think that Trump’s specific and public call for Putin to hack Clinton’s emails was completely random. Despite that Trump didn’t deliver it that way. Trump-Russia skeptics might assume a series of bizarre coincidences complete with a massive cover-up for no particular reason. Yet, let’s state the obvious. Donald Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths during his time in office trying to stymie or discredit rigorous investigation into the Russia matter. Why? The most likely explanation is that he’s guilty of serious Russian-related wrongdoing. Sure many might think he’s a moron or he’s guilty of some other serious shenanigans that he fears the investigation will uncover. But it’s most likely that things are exactly as they seem is that Trump’s acting guilty because he’s guilty.

The political media in the United States is far too willing to paint a picture of Donald Trump as an idiot since his knowledge of government is severely lacking to pass an 8th grade civics test, let alone lead the country. However, everything in Trump’s record suggests a cunning, ruthless, and, in many ways insightful man. The means he used to get himself out of bankruptcy and make his big Atlantic City comeback were downright dishonest and shady but also quite clever. How he reinvented himself as an asset-brand licensor was incredibly successful, as was his career as a reality TV host. For years, he’s used lawyer Michael Cohen and a relationship with a major tabloid conglomerate to keep his affairs hushed up and manipulate the public’s perception of him. Finally, he entered the 2016 GOP primary with little fundraising, no political experience, and minimal organization but wiped the floor with everyone. Though not an evil genius or criminal mastermind by any stretch, when Trump keeps doing something, it’s probably for a reason. Still, he has more in common with the likes of Count Olaf or Scar than Forrest Gump. Scar may know how to manipulate the hyenas into carrying out his plot to take over the pride lands. But once he’s king at Pride Rock, his mismanagement causes everything to go to hell. Count Olaf may never fool the Baudelaire children, but he can successfully deceive almost every adult in their lives and evade justice so he could torment the kids another day. Trump may not know how to govern, but he certainly knows how to dupe, I mean convince people into voting for him.

It is more likely than not that some Trump cronies coordinated with some elements of political strategy with the Russian pro-Trump information operation with Trump’s tacit or explicit approval. In exchange, they signaled openness to Russia-friendly policy changes with Russia. The reasons are the following:

  • Many of the Russian government’s political interventions are clumsy and inept. But the 2016 Wikileaks email drops were well-executed and well-timed to step on 2 major stories like the Democratic National Convention and the Access Hollywood tape. Maybe the Russians got lucky. Or that expert American operatives helped them, which is far more plausible.
  • Paul Manafort’s expertise is in American and foreign electioneering. He helped Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush win presidential elections. After that, he moved into lobbying and took his political skills abroad. He spent a decade giving political advice to a Russian proxy party in Ukraine. So it’s not like the Russians would have no idea who to ask, or that no one on the Trump team was comfortable with the idea of working with Russia.
  • Due to Donald Trump Jr.’s infamous, “if it’s what you say I love it” email, Trump’s own son and son-in-law were eager to collaborate with the Russian government in the 2016 election.
  • During the transition, Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was very eager to conduct talks with Moscow about warming relations. Jared Kushner also tried to create some kind of secure backchannel line of communication to Moscow that would be impenetrable to American intelligence.
  • Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey was exceptionally risky. After that backfired, he took repeated stabs leaning on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and/or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to resign, which would give him direct control over Mueller. For God’s sake, Trump appeared on NBC News explaining how he improperly used his powers to remove the FBI director in order to shield his cronies from criminal scrutiny.
  • Donald Trump’s allies on the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee have tried to help him with various attacks on the FBI, the Justice Department, and the whole idea of an inquiry rather than by constructing some plausible alternative narrative explaining all the weird shit referenced above. Remember Devin Nunes had to recuse himself for being too chummy with the Trump White House? Or how Dianne Feinstein released testimony despite Republican senators’ objections?
  • Donald Trump wanted to fire Robert Mueller as early as last summer.

Despite Trumpworld’s reputation for leaks that’s led to amazing pieces of journalism, Donald Trump is very good at keeping secrets. We’ve never found out what’s in the guy’s tax returns or how the decision was made that whatever is on them is more damning of Trump’s shady behavior. Actually despite calling himself a billionaire, we’re not even sure how much money Trump makes. We don’t know why he fired Flynn or whether he knew about staffer Rob Porter’s domestic abuse allegations. We don’t know why Trump handed some choice Israeli intelligence to the Russian foreign minister. Trump is the least transparent candidate of all time and is running one of the least transparent administrations on record. Hell, there’s plenty of dissembling and fabrication about whether Trump is golfing on any giving weekend. One result of unprecedented secrecy is an unprecedented volume of disclosures. But even that doesn’t mean we have an unprecedented level of insight into what’s going one with Trump or his operation. Especially since congressional Republicans’ totally abdicated Congress’s normal oversight functions, Mueller’s inquiry is essentially our only lens into some very murky terrain.

But perhaps this will prove wrong and the Mueller investigation will uncover nothing noteworthy save crimes committed by Flynn along with Manafort and Gates, and a handful of lesser players while exposing Donald Trump and his entire senior staff as habitual liars of criminal and national security importance. Oh wait, Mueller’s already accomplished that but he’s far from finished. Nonetheless, whether or not Trump explicitly or tacitly agreed, he entered office with a pro-Russia foreign policy agenda. If not, then he wouldn’t have made Flynn his National Security Adviser or Rex Tillerson his Secretary of State. Only the investigation appears to have thwarted this, pushing Trump to maintain broad continuity with prior American foreign policy. Still, the mere suspicion of illicit collaboration between the Trump campaign’s highest-ranking members and the Russian pro-Trump information operation is well-founded. The ongoing investigation has steadily revealed considerable evidence. There’s no reason for anyone to preemptively exonerate Trump, when suspicion’s been validated at every turn.

Have You No Sense of Decency?

On Thursday, November 9, 2017, the Washington Post revealed that Alabama Republican Senate frontrunner Roy Moore had allegedly made sexual advances on or engaged in sexual activity with a number of teen girls as young as 14 while in his 30s during the late 1970s. The next day, another woman came forward alleging that Moore sexually assaulted her at 16 and showed his signature on her high school yearbook as proof. For any politician, allegations of pedophilia would’ve resulted in nothing less than widespread condemnation and an end to their political careers. In an interview with Sean Hannity, Moore has called the Washington Post story, “completely false and misleading,” he said he “didn’t dispute” that he “dated a lot of young ladies.” He noted that he “recognized the names” of at least two of the women named in the Post investigation. On CNN, former prosecutor Tessa Jones stated, “it was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls,” and that “everyone we knew thought it was weird.” She then added, “We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall.” A dozen people in Gadsen, Alabama remarked on how Moore used to frequent the mall and was reportedly banned for trying to pick up teenage girls.

Not surprisingly, politicians from both parties are calling for Roy Moore to step down from the Senate race against Democrat Doug Jones. The Republican establishment has severed all ties to Moore. But Moore still has a chance to win while many of his supporters have remained noticeably silent. Those who did speak out dismissed the allegations as a Democratic plot or smear campaign and questioned the report’s timing weeks ahead of the December special election. His brother even compared the guy to Jesus. Others implied that Moore’s acts aren’t that bad because, according to Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler, “Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter.” He then added, “There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.” Really? A little unusual? When Brietbart Milo Yiannopoulos earlier was caught speaking light on pedophilia, nobody remarked how it wasn’t illegal or immoral. In fact, he lost his book deal with Simon and Schuster, lost his spot at CPAC, lost speaking gigs, and had to resign from Brietbart. In short his career was ruined. But here we have Moore who’s reputed to date teenage girls and people rise to his defense.

To invoke Mary and Joseph to excuse pedophilia is absolutely disgusting on so many levels. First of all, it implies that Roy Moore’s desire and behavior toward these teenage girls was normal (even if the Alabama age of consent is 16). Except that a 30-some-year-old man’s conduct toward teen girls is not. In fact, an adult dating teenage girls is immoral and in some states illegal, especially if the girl is 14. If a grown man pursues teenage girls, it’s about control. Second, using religion to excuse such egregious behavior is nothing short of abhorrent whether it involves Mary and Joseph or not. People have used religion to justify so many horrid things like terrorism, slavery, oppression, as well as all-out war and genocide. Third, to use Mary and Joseph to explain child molestation accusations is a textbook example of blasphemy, especially among Catholics. Regardless of what you believe about these two, most Christians believe they didn’t have premarital sex. Mary was a virgin when she became pregnant with Jesus. Even if she was a teenage girl and he was an adult man, Joseph’s willingness to stay with the pregnant Mary wasn’t an endorsement of underage sex. Furthermore, Ziegler’s defensive statement totally ignores the cultural context of Mary and Joseph’s relationship.

Even without the sexual assault allegations, Roy Moore is a terrible candidate who shouldn’t have won the Republican Alabama Senate nomination in the first place. A former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, he’s best known for his history of fringe views, religious extremism, and refusal to obey federal court orders. He gained national spotlight by installing a large monument of the Ten Commandments in the state’s Supreme Court building and refused to remove it despite federal court orders, which resulted in his removal from office in 2003. But he ran for his old job in 2012 and won it back. But then in 2015, he refused enforce the US Supreme Court’s decision legalizing gay marriage which resulted in his suspension from the bench again and later his resignation. And while he once called being gay as “detestable,” his extremist views don’t just denigrate the LGBT community, He’s also stated that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to serve in Congress and that some American communities in the Midwest lived under Sharia law. He’s even a birther while his foundation has held events for Neo-Confederates that “promoted a history of the Civil War sympathetic to the Confederate cause, in which the conflict is presented as one fought over the federal government violating the South’s sovereignty as opposed to one fought chiefly over the preservation of slavery.” In 2007, he proclaimed that state involvement in early childhood education was characteristic of totalitarianism. Then there’s a campaign speech over racial divisions in which he said, “Now we have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting. What’s going to unite us? What’s going to bring us back together? A president? A Congress? No. It’s going to be God.” Stuff like that alone should make any candidate unelectable. But since Alabama is a deeply conservative state, it’s entirely possible that conservative Alabama voters will back Roy Moore despite everything. In fact, a recent poll showed that 29% of the state’s voters say the allegations make them more likely to vote for Moore because of the sexual allegations. Whatever that means, it’s not an encouraging sign.

Still, the fact Republicans stand by Roy Moore despite the recent sexual misconduct allegations is extremely troubling. Of course, Alabama Republicans are defending him because they don’t want that Senate seat to go to a Democrat, let alone a former US Attorney who successfully prosecuted the 2 remaining KKK perpetrators of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing which killed 4 black girls. Because that would mean weaker control of the US Senate. Since Donald Trump ran for president, the Republican Party seems to think that the ends justify the means, especially among his white evangelical supporters. During the 2016 campaign, a Public Religion Institute poll found that the percentage of white evangelicals who thought immoral personal acts should disqualify a candidate from office fell from 64% in 2011 to 49% in 2016. By this time, the culture wars have become so toxic that many evangelicals saw getting “their guy” in power is more important than ensuring that “their guy” lives up to evangelical Christian standards of sexual morality. Now this isn’t just apparent among conservative evangelicals, but these facts indicate where the Republican Party is going. Sure they may call themselves good holy Christians and indeed they may be. But their support for Moore seems like they’ve sold their souls to the Devil. You have to wonder if they have any sense of decency to dump this guy. Or are they just too keen about holding power to care.

Whether their candidates fail to denounce white supremacists, sexually assault women, steal from employees, beat up reporters, have no qualifications, run fake charities, commit rampant fraud, enlist foreign power to meddle in election campaigns, or sexually prey on teenage girls, Republican voters tend to excuse, defend, and/or vote for them. No matter how reprehensible a candidate, they’ll support that person if they believe the right things, are in their party, and give these voters what they want. Even if their candidate wasn’t the person they wanted, they’ll support them anyway since anyone is better than a Democrat. However, voting for a thoroughly despicable candidate who shouldn’t be in office will only make you seem like you’re abandoning your principles for your own selfish interests and don’t care about the consequences. Supporting a candidate like Roy Moore or Donald Trump in any capacity will only make other people think less of you, especially if they win and turn out to be as bad as people said they are or worse (like in Trump’s case). In fact, I already think less of the people I know who voted for Trump which include friends, relatives, neighbors, and others in my community because supporting that unrespectable man in any capacity is completely indefensible. Personal morality might not be everything. But if a candidate’s personal behavior pertains to neglecting responsibility or inflicting terrible harm on others, then they shouldn’t be elected to public office. And from how I see it, it would be better for the Republican Party if conservative voters in Alabama dump Roy Moore and let the Democrat win. It might not be politically expedient to do so, but at least it shows they have a shred of character that many of his vocal supporters seem to lack.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Shit Has Hit the Fan

Recently, it has come to our attention that the New York Times has revealed that Donald Trump Jr. welcomed a meeting with a Russian government-connected lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya after learning she had information that “that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] … and would be very useful to your father” and that it was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. has confirmed the meeting took place in June 2016 at Trump Tower (despite initially denying it) which also had his dad’s then-campaign manager Paul Manafort and his brother-in-law Jared Kushner in attendance. But he has downplayed the meeting’s significance claiming it was over adoption laws and later that the woman wasn’t a government official who provided anything useful. On Tuesday July 11, 2017, he has disclosed a series of e-mails of him corresponding with a British music publicist named Rob Goldstone at behest of the Agalarov family in order to prevent another NYT scoop. Except he totally didn’t and now that e-mail chain has been retrieved and released for the public and prosecutors to see. Furthermore, the chain basically debunks every lie he’s made, erodes his credibility, and confirms he’s hiding something all along.

For months, Donald Trump and his team have denied and disparaged reports that the Moscow tried to help his candidacy and that there was any collusion between the two. In fact, Trump has publicly claimed he didn’t believe that the Russian government wasn’t behind the hackings and leaks of prominent Democrats’ e-mails, which US intelligence agencies have resoundingly confirmed. Since January of 2017, reports of suspicious behavior between Trump and his team around Russia emerged  though we still lacked outright proof whether there was any behind-the-scenes collaboration between them. Though it remained theoretically possible that there was a multifaceted Russian effort to help Trump win without anyone from the Trump team knowing about it.

However, that is no longer possible since the Trump Jr. e-mail chain provides indisputable proof that people close to Donald Trump such as his son, his son-in-law, and then-campaign chair not only knew about but also encouraged a Russian government effort to help him win the White House. Seriously, Goldstone sent Trump Jr. an e-mail saying his information would be “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump” as if Russia’s support for Lord Cheetohead was an unremarkable fact. Instead of being confused or asking what Goldstone means, Trump Jr. cheerfully answers, “If it’s what you say I love it,” tries to get the details, and forwards the whole thread to Kushner and Manafort. Any other American who knew what Goldstone was getting at would’ve turned him down and notify the candidate and the FBI. Because that is what campaign workers are supposed to do since getting help from a foreign government to win an election goes against federal law. Yet, there’s no way you can read these e-mails and not conclude that the Trump campaign’s top guys knew Russia supported their man but were willing to help. And I’m sure that President Pussygrabber knew about this going on all along.

Why? Well, how can he not? Sure the White House claims that Donald Trump knew about his son’s meeting recently. But he’s complained about the Russia investigation for months and fired his own FBI director in May, possibly to stop information that could expose him or his team to criminal charges from turning up. We should also note that Trump has often seen himself as above the law and has gone to great lengths to avoid responsibility for his actions his whole life. Not to mention, he and his team constantly lie in public about anything that makes him look bad.

What the Trump camp talked about with the Moscow-linked parties that June day at Trump Tower may never be known. But even if that meeting did lead nowhere, it still raises questions of what else Manafort and Kushner and ousted National Security adviser Michael Flynn may have said or done with the Russians. Yet, what’s clear is that we can no longer dispute the investigations into the Trump campaign and that Russian collusion is a serious mater. Robert Mueller must proceed unimpeded in his inquiry while congressional investigators need to work as well. Because the US needs to get to the bottom of this.

But why should we care about Trump’s ties to Russia? Because the Trump team’s habit of publicly lying about its contacts with Russia government emissaries is very problematic on its own terms. But it’s especially troubling since it raises a possibility that blackmail fears can influence American foreign policy. For instance, take the bombshell from US government surveillance that then Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak revealed he and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn discussed sanctions during the Obama-Trump transition period, which Flynn lied about. Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned White House Counsel Don McGahn that “the national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians.” Meaning, that if you lie about meeting a Russian official in public, then the Russian government will know and could threaten to release embarrassing and personally damaging information unless you take positions they like. When the press got a hold of this, Flynn was fired. Still, Russian intelligence knows exactly what went down between their government and the Trump campaign. Their knowledge of the facts along with the Trump team’s relentless dishonesty as well as the high consequences of getting caught, means a potentially large swath of Trump’s inner circle has been (or still may be) exposed to blackmail. This in turn makes it hard for the nation and our allies to trust that American foreign policy toward Russia serves American interests rather than in service of keeping Trump’s people out of legal and political trouble. This might be easy to ignore if Trump’s attitude and policies toward Russia was typical for an American politician. But his contempt for NATO and his unwillingness to punish Moscow for election meddling shows they’re not.

Thus, we should understand while the Donald Trump Jr. scandal is new to us, it’s not to the Russians. Keep in mind that before releasing the e-mail thread pertaining to his meeting with Veselnitskaya, Trump Jr. had publicly denied meeting Russian government representatives for months. And he called allegations that anyone on the Trump team might’ve worked with the Russians as “disgusting” and “phony.” Not to mention, his dad and many of his spokespeople have maintained what Trump Jr. said was true through the entire campaign. His e-mail messages to Goldstone show that it wasn’t. At minimum, Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort met with Veselnitskaya under the impression that she’d provide them incriminating information about Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” But while revelations and e-mails about the meeting caused a sensation in the States, Veselnitskaya knew it all along. And if she knew it, the Russian government probably did, too. And it’s something they could’ve used to increase the legal and political jeopardy facing both father and son at any moment. Still, information is power. Since Russia has the info about the Trump/Russia contacts and because the Trump team keeps lying about them, the Russia government have a lot of power. And Trump’s team knows that Russia has the goods.

So far in the Trump/Russia contact, we know that members of Trump’s campaign team met with the Russians. We know that then Alabama US Senator Jeff Sessions met Kislyak at least twice during the Trump campaign which he lied about under oath during his confirmation hearing for Attorney General. We know Jared Kushner met with Kislyak on multiple occasions. And that one of these meetings was an effort to set up a secure backchannel for Trump to communicate with the Kremlin using Russian equipment and facilities. Yet, Kushner didn’t list that foreign contact on his clearance form. Then there’s Blackwater founder and Trump backer Eric Prince who made an effort to set up back-channel communications to Russia via a meeting in Seychelles, it’s not clear what came of that. Or take Paul Manafort who was fired months before the election over receiving Russian front money in Ukraine. But he continued to advise the Trump campaign, including on the post-election Russia investigation. Or adviser Carter Page whose meeting with the Russians I know absolutely nothing about. Yet, the Russians have known all of this before the US did and then some.

Then there’s the matter with Donald Trump’s finances. We all know he still hasn’t released his tax returns and probably never will. But we all remember back in January when he erupted over the “Steele Dossier” with its wilder allegations that a secret Russian kompromat is blackmailing him over a tape depicting hookers peeing on him. However, it also contains much more boring allegation that Trump paid bribes in St. Petersburg “very discreetly and only through affiliated companies” while exploring some business deals there. Now paying bribes to Russian officials isn’t particularly shocking, especially for a real estate man like Trump. But paying bribes in pursuit of a business deal is technically illegal under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Trump has called the FCPA a “horrible law” that “this country is absolutely crazy” to have on the books because it puts American businesses at a “huge disadvantage.” His business philosophy has long been a willingness to plow ahead legal gray areas as he had once dispensed with normal FCPA compliance procedures and basically go away with it. He probably did the same thing in St. Petersburg. His new chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission is a longtime FCPA critic. So Trump pretty clearly believes that American businesses should be allowed to bribe foreign officials. Nevertheless, while American authorities have little incentive to heavily scrutinize Trump’s FCPA compliance in Russia, Moscow is well-positioned to know a great deal about this. They’re also in a good position to know if the surge in Trump condo property purchases through anonymous shell companies involves any Russian citizens.

Since his inauguration, Donald Trump’s actual policy toward Russia has remained extremely idiosyncratic and friendly toward Moscow. His former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied about meeting with Kislyak along Sessions and Kushner. His Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has an extremely unusual resume for a top American diplomat, which featured zero military or diplomatic experience. But he has spent some time lobbying against sanctions on Russia and received the Order of Friendship award from the Russian government. Trump also appears to have explored relaxing Russian sanctions and was strikingly reluctant to affirm America’s commitment to NATO. He’s repeatedly seemed to side with the Russian government over American intelligence agencies over Russian culpability on hacking. He briefly suggested a joint Russia-US cybersecurity initiative. Furthermore, he’s made clear that Russia won’t face any repercussions for its election meddling, something lawmakers of both parties see as a direct assault on American democracy. There are plenty of explanations for his behavior, but it’s reasonable to suspect that Trump wants to keep Vladimir Putin happy so the Russians won’t release embarrassing information.

Nevertheless, a responsible administration would’ve taken Sally Yates seriously in the first place. It would’ve fired Flynn right away or forced him to come clean and apologize at once. And it would’ve learned that despite the awkward political scrutiny on Russia-related matters, lying about it would’ve been even more troubling. But the Trump administration didn’t learn that lesson as Washington remains swamp with new stories and revelations time after time. Each time, their defense consists of “this new undisclosed e-mail or meeting hardly proves wrongdoing.” But Yates points out that under the circumstances, the very lack of disclosure itself was the problem. A reluctance to come clean can reflect blundering, stubbornness, or simply blindness to a problem’s extent. Yet, the Trump crew could be hiding the truth because the truth is very bad. Thus, lying to the public to avoid Russian exposure might be the Trump administration’s best strategy. However, by repeatedly and publicly committing itself to false narratives about Russian government interactions, the Trump administration has put themselves under Russia’s thumb. Under normal circumstances, letting a president have this kind of threat hanging over him would be seen as completely intolerable. But since congressional Republicans control the federal government and do what they want, they’ll probably rationalize the matter. Like they’ve done with tolerating an admitted sexual predator in the White House and accommodating his desire to run his businesses in a way that makes it easy to bribe him. After all, H. R. McMaster and Jim Mattis will be along to babysit him except when Trump leaves them out at key summit meetings, unexpectedly drops text from a major speech, or otherwise needs to respond in real time to a crisis. Nevertheless, this puts our allies in an uncomfortable situation and our foreign policy at a downright catastrophic one. Partly because nobody has any idea about the extent of exposure and what kind of pro-Putin policies Trump might pursue in the future. Even worse, congressional Republicans apparently decided they’d rather not know and treat the Trump-Russia story as an endless series of annoying White House mistakes instead of a potentially crippling national security risk it certainly is. And if you have a former Bush ethics chief say Trump Jr.’s e-mails contain what’s “borderline treason,” then Republicans really need to wake up.

The Matter of Gerrymandering

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Every ten years after the census, each state in the US is required to redraw its legislative districts in order to accommodate changes in population. Now redistricting is supposed to be fair and proportional. But since most states in the US have their legislatures control redistricting, this isn’t always the case. As result you have a practice known as gerrymandering. Named after an early 19th century governor of Massachusetts, to gerrymander is to manipulate an electoral district’s boundaries so as to establish a political advantage for a particular party or demographic. The primary goal for this is to maximize the effect of supporters’ votes while minimizing opponents.’ Recently, gerrymandering has become a major problem in the United States mostly due to a dominant political party wanting to retain power in the state. So much so that the US Supreme Court has recently agreed to hear arguments on a partisan gerrymandering case. Nevertheless, though the practice is mostly perceived as bad for democracy through court rulings and anti-discrimination laws, it doesn’t seem to go away any time soon.

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Gerrymandering Tactics:

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Here are common ways states gerrymander districts for representatives. Cracking and packing are the most common. But sweetheart gerrymandering exists, too so incumbents can stay in.

 

Cracking: consists of spreading voters of a particular type among districts in order to deny a sufficiently large voting bloc in any particular district. For example, a state might split urban area voters among several districts of mostly suburban voters. Such arrangement would be on the presumption that the two groups would vote differently and the suburban voters far more likely getting their way in elections. You can see this in action by looking at Austin, Texas in the state’s congressional map where parts of 5 districts are but not one of them contain a majority of its residents or voters. And it’s very clear the Texas Legislature drew these districts that way to curb Austin’s liberal political influence within the Republican dominated state.

Packing: To concentrate as many voters of one type into a single electoral district in order to reduce their influence in other areas. In some cases, legislatures may do this to obtain representation for a community of common interest (like a majority-minority district), rather than to dilute that interest over several districts to the point of ineffectiveness (and to avoid likely racial discrimination lawsuits if minority groups are involved). You can often see this in congressional districts pertaining to urban communities of color. When the party controlling the districting process has a statewide majority, packing is usually not necessary since the minority party can be “cracked” everywhere. Though it’s often employed by parties to pack voters together into a minimum number of districts and don’t have enough representation in others to win the majority of the House’s seats. Because by forfeiting a few districts packed with the opposition, cracking can be used in shaping the remaining districts.

Hijacking: Redraws 2 districts in such a way as to force 2 incumbents of the same political party to run against each other in one district, ensuring that one of them will be eliminated. Meanwhile, this would leave the other district to be won by someone from a different political party. A good example of this happened in my own congressional district during the early 2000s, when Congressmen John Murtha and Frank Mascara had to compete against each other. And my district ended up with a representative from Johnstown.

Kidnapping: Aims to move areas where a certain elected official has significant support to another district, making it more difficult to win future elections with a new electorate. This is often employed against politicians representing multiple urban areas, removing larger cities in order to make the district more rural.

These tactics are typically combined in some form, creating new “forfeit” seats for packed voters of one type in order to secure more seats and greater voter representation of another type. This results in candidates of one party (usually the one responsible for the gerrymandering) winning by small majorities in most of the districts and another winning by a large majority in only a few.

Gerrymandering Types:

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Prison-based gerrymandering is when they count urban prisoners in their rural corrections facilities as residents despite that they can’t vote or they don’t live there. Here is a map of what states and localities have done to handle the problem. As for those who don’t, well, it’s very clear they benefit from it.

Partisan Gerrymandering– When districts are redrawn in order to increase a political party’s power in legislatures. This is the most general form of gerrymandering that it’s just referred to as “gerrymandering.”

Incumbent or Bipartisan Gerrymandering– When the districts are redrawn in order to protect incumbents in both parties in order to keep the status quo, regardless of what voters want.

Prison-Based Gerrymandering– Counting incarcerated people who aren’t allowed to vote in the district where the prison is located instead of their home district.

Negative Racial Gerrymandering– Drawing districts to prevent racial and ethnic minorities from electing their candidates. White Southern Democrats used this from Reconstruction to the mid-20th century to reduce black people’s voting impact if efforts to effectively disenfranchise them had failed. Prohibited thanks to the 1965 Voting Rights Act and subsequent amendments.

Affirmative Racial Gerrymandering– Drawing district lines in order to favor ethnic and racial groups. Though whether it benefits minorities is very hard to say since the practice is controversial that there are several Supreme Court rulings on this. Because this type has been known to both increase and decrease minority representation in federal and state governments. Since the Civil Rights Era, it’s been difficult to determine since most minorities vote Democrat while white conservatives have shifted Republican during the last 4 decades. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has ruled in the North Carolina case that partisan gerrymandering along racial lines is unconstitutional.

Signs of Gerrymandering in Your State:

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One key sign of gerrymandering is that the election outcomes don’t reflect the votes cast. Now while the South is mostly Republican now, there should be more Democratic representatives as you can see. But gerrymandering skews the results so Republicans can send more representatives.

  1. The shapes of the congressional districts makes no logical sense. – This is an easy one to spot but it’s not always a guarantee. Sometimes districts can be drawn in ridiculous ways for a very important reason like adhering to the Voting Rights Act. The VRA ensures that minority voters can’t be unfairly packed or cracked in ways that reduce their chances of electing representatives representing their communities. But the vast majority of the time a contorted looking district is a warning sign of gerrymandering.
  2. Your community has virtually little in common with most of your fellow constituents in the district.– You might feel good about living in a district where your congressman shares your views. But you might think it odd that your fellow supporters don’t even live in the same city or school district. You and your Republican friends have been “packed” together into a conservative echo-chamber. Everyone shares the same ideas and generally agrees with each other. And you start feeling like you don’t need to be involved. Or the communities in the district just don’t simply belong together. For instance, in Pennsylvania, my district, the 18th, is lumped together with most of Washington and Greene Counties along with a good chunks of Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties. But the 9th District includes Fayette and Indiana Counties which don’t have much to do with each other at all. Whereas, residents in Westmoreland and Fayette County have known each other for years, especially where I live. Their high school sports teams play against each other. The state government and other organizations usually has them in the same jurisdiction. People even have friends and family living in both counties. And don’t get me started on the 12th District which is just a sliver stretching from Lawrence County through Beaver, Allegheny, Westmoreland, Somerset, and Cambria, which seems to defy all explanation. Meanwhile, the 14th District is basically crammed into a Democratic pocket in Allegheny County.
  3. Election outcomes don’t match votes.- This is the surest sign of gerrymandering. One way to measure this through the efficiency gap, computing the difference in wasted votes from the 2 political parties summed all over the districts in the state divided by the number of votes. When parties win elections in rough proportion to their electoral popularity, the efficiency gap is near zero with both parties having an equal wasted vote distribution. But if the gap exceeded a certain threshold, then you can surmise the party with fewer wasted votes could control the state as long as the district map was valid. They used this measure to determined gerrymandering in Wisconsin. In the 2012 Election, Republicans in that state had 48.6% of the 2 party votes, 61% of its 99 districts in the state legislature. Thus, its efficiency gap was 11.69% to 13%. The Supreme Court is expected to hear a case on Wisconsin’s gerrymandering in the fall of this year. Yet, in 2012, Republicans in state legislators also received a minority of the statewide vote in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and my home state of Pennsylvania, but still ended up controlling the state legislatures. And scholars estimate that gerrymandering has helped congressional Republicans control 10-15 more seats in the House even though Democratic congressional candidates received more votes in 2012.
  4. Your district has been changed and you feel like you can no longer make your voice heard.– Now this has happened to me a couple times in my life since mine was switched from Murtha’s to Murphy’s while I was in college. So let’s say you’re a Democrat who’s voted for Democratic candidates during the last few elections. Then you and other Democrats get “cracked” away from your neighbors and put you into a Republican majority district. That Republican representative in your district doesn’t need to listen to your voice on your concerns because they know all their Republican supporters will re-elect them year after year. Your Democratic voice gets lost in your district’s Republican majority. This might leave you feel hopeless and disenfranchised. Or like you shouldn’t even bother voting because Tim Murphy will always win unopposed.
  5. Your representative skipped a town hall to go golfing with a lobbyist.– As taxpayers and voters, our politicians are supposed to work for us. Having politicians manipulate voting maps to keep themselves in office turns democracy on its head. When your district’s drawn to avoid outside competition and to ensure only one party’s candidate wins, chances are your representative doesn’t need worry about what their constituents think of them. Thus, they could spend more time hanging out with lobbyist friends and cater to their wealthy donors’ needs. Even if you might belong to the advantaged party, you’re still not going to get good representation because our elected official knows that reelection is in the bag, whether they listen to you or not. You see this a lot with Republican representatives voting for the American Healthcare Act which most of their constituents don’t want at all. It’s very clear, the House couldn’t have passed that bill if gerrymandering wasn’t involved.
  6. You feel like you don’t need to vote because the candidate who won the primary will win the election anyway.- When one party has manipulated the system to ensure they hold the majority in specific districts, the election itself becomes a mere formality.
  7. The dominant party’s candidates are more worried about a primary challenger than the opposition candidate.- When elected party officials pay more attention to the primary than the general election, they become more extreme since their focus is scoring points against the other party than solve problems most important to Americans. We should also understand that primaries are held on many different dates, generate less attention, and attract disproportionate shares of hardcore, ideological party activists to the polls. In 2014, only 14.6% of eligible voters participated in congressional primaries which was a record low. This means a tiny fraction of voters who are the most hardened partisans are essentially electing 90% of Congressional members.
  8. Your representatives support policies most constituents in your district oppose.- Despite that political polarization is strong in America, there are still plenty of issues most voters can agree upon. One recent example of this is Republican healthcare plan to replace Obamacare which faces strong opposition from the American public across the political spectrum and in all 50 states. However, that didn’t stop congressional Republicans from passing the American Healthcare Act in May. They were able to pass such egregious legislation because they either didn’t feel they needed to listen to their constituents’ viewpoints and/or knew that voting the way their constituents wanted them to would result in their party or donors throwing their support to a more extreme primary challenger. The fact so many congressional Republicans avoided holding townhalls when the AHCA was up for debate strongly suggest the latter.

Why Gerrymandering Is Bad:

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In recent years, Republicans have greatly benefited from gerrymandering as seen in this graph. And because of this, many cities aren’t well represented at all.

  1. Undermines the democratic process by putting the majority party at an unfair advantage.– With gerrymandering, your representatives pick the voters most likely to reelect them again and again. That’s not how democracy is supposed to work. We the voters should choose our politicians, not the other way around. We deserve fair elections and a transparent process for determining our districts. If not, then elections just become mere formalities.
  2. Takes power away from voters to hold their representatives accountable.-When districts have been drawn to avoid competition and to ensure one party’s candidate wins, our representatives don’t really need to worry about listening to constituents with differing political viewpoints Because they’re virtually guaranteed reelection simply because of their party affiliation and ideology. This can be very frustrating if your representative isn’t in your party and doesn’t support the same views as you do.
  3. Significant vote wastage from the other side which leads to partisan distortion.– The advantaged party will have voters in packed districts whose votes go for naught. And they will have more than 50%+1 in cracked districts to be reasonably sure of winning. 55-45% or a 10 point partisan advantage is often the target but it can be more. And sometimes it may turn out to be less. Wasted votes are almost always expected in elections. But significant vote wastage in several district may result in representatives that may reflect the interests of slightly more than 50% of their district’s voters. This might not seem much, but when you take the votes altogether, it can really add up. But a high amount of wasted votes means that vast swaths of the American electorate aren’t being represented in Congress or state legislatures at all.
  4. Reinforces and increases hyper-partisanship and polarization in government.– Forming districts to ensure high levels of partisanship often result in higher levels of partisanship in legislative bodies. Manipulating and stretching congressional districts also pushes incumbents to extremes of the political spectrum. Mostly because fear of a primary challenger drives incumbents focus on maintaining ideological purity than legislative pragmatism. If a substantial number of districts are designed to be polarized, then their representatives will act in a heavily partisan manner, creating and perpetuating partisan gridlock. Nevertheless, redistricting has become a major front in the permanent campaign between parties. Party members, Congress members, and state legislators find their own interests in reelection and majority status importantly connected to these redistricting efforts. This makes them even more inclined to cooperate with partisan team play that it drains the policy-making process of its capacity to negotiate and compromise. Thus, even well-meaning politicians can’t do their jobs representing spread-out communities with different needs and priorities, effectively maintaining offices across wide geographic areas, or solve problems that affect us all.
  5. Fewer competitive districts and more safe incumbents.– Incumbents are far more likely to be reelected under gerrymandering and are more likely to be of the majority party orchestrating the gerrymander. Thus, incumbents are usually easily renominated in subsequent elections, even if they are in the minority party. California’s 2000 redistricting effort redrew congressional district lines in ways that all but guaranteed incumbent victories. As a result California only saw congressional seat change hands between 2000 and 2010. Not to mention, if districts become increasingly stretched out, candidates must pay increased costs for transportation and campaign advertising. The incumbent’s advantage of securing funds will certainly give them a significant advantage. In many districts, some representatives could run unopposed.
  6. Reduces political power in minority groups.- Gerrymandering may be advocated to improve representation within legislatures among otherwise underrepresented minority groups by packing them into a single district. But the practices is controversial for good reason. First, being confined to a single district may lead minority groups to remain marginalized because candidates outside their district no longer need to represent them to win elections.
  7. Emboldens politicians to enact unpopular policies.– Whenever gerrymandering ensures guaranteed victories to your representative, they will have less incentive to represent their constituents’ interests, even when those interests have majority support across the electorate. And they’re much more beholden to their party establishment and wealthy donors. After all, why go to a town hall while reelection’s already in the bag? As a result, your representative more likely to support bills you won’t like whether they belong in your party or not. The passage of the AHCA by congressional Republicans is a perfect example of this since most of the American public strongly opposed it. And even now, it’s very likely many of Republicans who voted for this morally indefensible bill will be reelected anyway.
  8. Encourages redistricting practices that create inaccurate pictures of community populations.– One practice that exists today is prison-based gerrymandering. Now the Census Bureau counts incarcerated people as residents of towns where they’re confined which is used to draw legislative districts. This interferes with equal representation in virtually every state and skews demographics. This phenomenon violates the idea of one person, one vote for 3 reasons. First, these prisoners are disenfranchised in 48 states and can’t vote in local elections anyway. Second, prisons are disproportionately built in rural areas while most incarcerated people call urban areas home. Counting urban prisoners as “residents” of rural districts artificially inflates political representation in rural districts containing large prisons at expense of voters in all other places without them, especially communities bearing the most direct costs of crime. Third, counting large populations of prisoners as local residents leads to misleading conclusions about community size and growth.
  9. Drives down voter turnout.– Since gerrymandering often results in incumbents able to win elections either lopsided or unopposed, many people get disenchanted with the electoral process and not vote. After all, your vote from the opposition will probably be wasted anyway.
  10. Allows outside money and influence control parties’ agendas.– This makes representatives more beholden to party ideology and wealthy donors as well as makes it easier for extremists to gain control of the party. What happened to the GOP during the 2016 Election is a perfect example of this.

How to Detect, Handle, and Prevent Gerrymandering:

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Here’s a rough map on what the United States would look like if the districts were redrawn for compactness. By the way, this is done by a computer.

  1. Calculating the Efficiency Gap to determine whether either party enjoyed a systematic advantage in turning votes into seats.– This is the difference of the wasted votes between political parties summed all over the districts divided by the number of votes expressed by this equation:
  • Efficiency Gap = (Total Democratic Wasted Votes – Total Republican Wasted Votes) ÷ Total Votes

When each party wins a district election in rough proportion to its popularity, the efficiency gap is near zero. But if a district plan is above a certain threshold a gap of 2 or more seats in congressional elections or a gap of 8% or greater for state legislature races, then there’s a constitutional problem.

  1. Ensure that each plan must meet neutral redistricting criteria.- The US Supreme Court has held that if a jurisdiction’s redistricting plan violates the Equal Protection Clause or the Voting Rights Act of 1965, then a federal court must order the jurisdiction to propose a new redistricting plan that remedies the gerrymandering. If that jurisdiction fails to do so, then the court itself must draw a redistricting plan that cures the violation and use its equitable powers to impose the plan on the jurisdiction. At the state level, courts may impose redistricting plans on jurisdictions where legislatures have to follow standards such as partisan fairness.
  2. Establish non-partisan redistricting commissions instead of politicians.– After all, if elected legislators want to increase their own political influence, then state legislatures shouldn’t control redistricting. After all, you wouldn’t let athletes serve as referees during their own games. So far, states like California, Hawaii, Washington, New Jersey, and Arizona have resorted to creating standing committees for redistricting since the 2010 census. These commissions’ new maps don’t have to be approved by state legislatures. Yet, they’re not necessarily non-partisan per se since they all have seats for Democratic and Republican appointees. Yet, some have additional seats reserved for independent and non-partisan figures. Letting computers to redraw districts more fairly based on the recent Census.
  3. Stop counting prisoners as residents like the Census Bureau does for redistricting state and local legislatures.– Counting prisoners as residents leads to prison-based gerrymandering which gives certain communities disproportionate representation. States can correct this by creating a special state-level census collecting home addresses of people in prison and then adjusts the US Census counts prior to redistricting. Legislation in part modeled after how Kansas changes where the US counts students and the military has also been passed in California, Delaware, Maryland, and New York. Another thing states can do is standardize collecting home address information when people are shipped off to the state pen. Over time, this will generate a complete home address information dataset for use in future redistricting or the Census Bureau to use directly. States can also prohibit state, county, and municipal legislative districts from using prison populations as padding. Those at correctional facilities should be declared as living as “addresses unknown” and not included in the redistricting data, except where the home address data exists and a state agency can adjust the Census Bureau’s redistricting data to reflect those counted at home. Such solutions can eliminate electoral harm caused by prison-based gerrymandering and provide a complete solution counting everyone in the correct location by next Census.
  4. Increase transparency regulations in the redistricting process.– When a single political party controls both the legislative houses in a state during redistricting, both Democrats and Republicans have displayed a marked propensity for conducting the process in secrecy with no oversight or standards of fairness. A 2012 investigation by the Center for Public Integrity reviewed every state’s redistricting processes for both transparency and potential for public input, assigning 24 states grades of either D or F. So the need for transparency in redistricting is clear. In response, redistricting legislation has been introduced to Congress a number of times in recent years, including Redistricting Transparency Acts of 2010, 2011, and 2013. The merit on increasing transparency in redistricting is based largely on the idea that lawmakers would be less inclined to draw gerrymandered districts if they had to defend such districts in public.
  5. Outlaw voter profiling.– In recent years, advancements in technology have led to elaborate voter datasets and special districting software has made gerrymandering a more precise science. Using such databases, gerrymandering politicians can predict voting behavior of each potential district with an astonishing degree of precision, leaving little chance for accidentally creating a competitive district. If we want redistricting based on neutral criteria, then this practice should be done away with since it’s basically the representatives choosing the voters.
  6. Experiment with alternative voting systems.– The predominant voting system in the US is a first-past-the-post system requiring single member districts to exist. Various alternative district-based voting systems that minimally rely on redistricting or not at all. These typically involve at-large elections or multimember districts. Examples include the single-transferable vote, cumulative voting, and limited voting. There are also proportional voting systems used in most European countries no districts are present, and the party that gets, for example, 30% of the votes gets roughly 30% of the seats in the legislature. Since the US has a 2 party system, that threshold could be about 45-50%. However, proportional voting systems might break the strong constituency link that’s an American election cornerstone.
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And so I end this post with a rough guide to gerrymandering in Pennsylvania. Still, this is a major problem in American democracy that affect us all. We need to do something about it.

Don’t Ask Me to Give a Chance on an Unrespectable Man

To the Trump supporters and voters out there, I know the election’s over and that your guy has been elected president fair and square through the Electoral College process thanks to your votes. It may not seem fair to me since my candidate Hillary Clinton won the popular vote (even by a narrow margin), but that’s how the system works. Yes, I am heartbroken that my candidate didn’t win through this bitter election and I didn’t get much sleep that night. But now that Donald Trump is president-elect, you tell me it’s time to come together, have an open mind, and to give him a chance to lead that he deserves. After all, you tell me that this is a time of civility, unity, and reconciliation. Besides, you insist that he may not be as bad as I think and my refusal to do so just makes me a whiny sore loser. You want me to treat this moment as a normal election which I should get over with and move on with my life as if everything in this country within the next 4 years will be fine.

However, asking me to accept a Trump presidency is something I cannot do. Not now, not ever. You may call me a whiny liberal with a sense of entitlement who can’t get over her candidate losing. You may call me a spoiled crybaby who can’t accept not getting what she wanted. You may call me unpatriotic for refusing to get behind the future president you voted for. You call me out of touch and immature for saying that Trump is not my president. You may say by not accepting Trump I have no respect for the presidency, the will of my fellow Americans, or democracy.

But in truth, my rejection of Trump has nothing to do with my politics or being unable to accept reality. I accept that Trump won the presidency and will be come January. I know there’s nothing I can do about it. Besides, I’ve experienced political setbacks before which I can deal with. Had the Republicans won this election with a viable presidential candidate, I would more likely put aside political differences and accept that person as my president with little complaint. Sure I’d be sad that my candidate lost, but I’d get over it. But this is not one of those times. Because with your votes, you elected an unrespectable man as president of the United States. No unrespectable man deserves a chance to lead even if he did win the White House.

When you’re asking to give Donald Trump a chance to lead, you’re asking me to accept what I already deem as fundamentally unacceptable in everything that a US president should be as well as represents America at its worst. President or not, Trump is a man I have absolutely no respect for in any capacity and that will never change. Now that he’s set to become the next president, I have never felt so ashamed of my country in my life. I am deeply horrified that so many of you could vote for such a thoroughly despicable human being with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I am appalled that so many of you were willing to excuse this man’s gross violations of basic human decency that you wouldn’t tolerate in anyone else. I am absolutely disgusted that so many of you can be fine with electing a con artist who’s cheated his customers, investors, contractors, bankers, and employees. And I can guarantee that he will cheat you. I am upset that you could choose a man to lead our nation whose campaign was built on unfiltered disdain toward racial and religious minorities as well as endorsed by white supremacist terrorists. I am outraged that so many of you could be okay with a president who’s a sexual predator with a long history of objectifying and denigrating women. I am deeply distressed that you would vote for a man who is an entitled elitist who is corrupt to the core and doesn’t think the laws apply to him, an unrepentant and vindictive bully who uses litigation as an MO to anyone who’s challenged and criticized him, a pathological liar who’s constantly made promises he never intends to fulfill, and a irrepressibly greedy sociopath who’s tried to enrich himself by abusing trust others have placed in him whenever he’s in a position of authority. I am greatly troubled that you could ever support a man who has little respect for norms of ethical and acceptable behavior. I am angered that you voted for a man who never takes responsibility for his action, never says he’s sorry, and never admits he’s wrong. I am deeply incensed that you’re willing to choose a man to lead our country who’s had a history of unethical business practices that’s hurt thousands, who’s unwilling to release his tax returns and medical records, who’s surrounded himself with sycophants and outright criminals, who’s praised and done business with notorious dictators, whose flag waving patriotism is a sham, and who’s willing to use people as pawns in order to get what he wants and doesn’t care who gets hurt. Finally, I am extremely distraught that you elected a man who clearly has no respect for American values, American institutions, the rule of law, or constitutional rights that have made this nation great. And the fact I know very well that most of you aren’t bigoted monsters only makes it worse.

I know you will tell me that you voted for Trump because you hated or distrusted Hillary Clinton, your stance on the issues, his campaign promises, or what not. But whatever it is, I absolutely don’t give a damn. If you don’t like Trump for any reason, you should’ve tried to stop him regardless of what you believed even if it meant supporting a party that doesn’t share your beliefs and electing a candidate you despise. Hell, you shouldn’t have voted for him during the primaries in the first place and not let him take over the GOP. You could’ve easily stopped him then but you didn’t. But plenty tried, even within the Republican Party. And to be honest, I actually agreed more with Bernie Sanders than Hillary. But I voted for Hillary in the primary anyway because I knew people outside the Democratic Party wouldn’t get behind a candidate like Bernie Sanders even if they were white working class. And as much as I wanted change and see Bernie’s policy ideas a reality, I really didn’t want Trump in the White House and he was already the presumptive GOP nominee by then. I knew he was an unrespectable man even then, just not to the degree I know now. Yet, I also knew that unrespectable men must be stopped. Hillary Clinton seemed to be the only reasonable choice available to me. But unlike you, at least I made the right one I would never regret. I can’t say the same for you even if you don’t now.

Whatever your reasons may be for supporting him, they don’t excuse the fact you have given validation that racist, xenophobic, and misogynist and sexual predatory behavior as well as legitimized greed and authoritarianism as acceptable. It also doesn’t excuse the fact your vote for Trump sends a message that it’s okay to bully, intimidate, incite violence, and lie to people in order to get what you want and not take responsibility for all the hurt you’ve caused as well as being fine with a leader who’s eagerly willing to violate your constitutional rights. I know you don’t intend to say these things when you voted for him. But that doesn’t matter since your vote shows you’ve decided to live in Trump’s world of vanity, hate, recklessness, untruth, vindictiveness, and his disdain for democratic norms that will lead to national decline and suffering. Yet, what’s worse is that you didn’t care. You may not really like him. You may not really believe what he stands for. But casting your vote for him doesn’t make you any less guilty of giving legitimacy to this revulsive message of this unrespectable man.

I thought you were better than to vote for a candidate like Donald Trump who goes against everything this nation stands for. I thought regardless you perceived about Hillary Clinton, you’d do the right thing by electing a leader who’d make people feel proud to live in this great country. Even if you think Hillary is a criminal who belongs in jail. But you voted your self-interests to “take my country back” and elect that despicable demagogue who promised to “make America great again.” Sorry, but voting a man like Trump for president doesn’t make America great again and never will. Nor does it take your country back either but allowing it squandered by a sociopathic demagogue who’s only playing you for a pawn as well as put the dignity of the presidential office in jeopardy. It’s not a matter whether he’ll betray your interests but when. And when that time comes, you will come to despise him as much as those who’ve opposed him. In fact, your election of Trump makes the rest of us lose our faith in the America we’ve known and grown up with and the promise that it brought us that all are created equal and endowed with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It especially shatters my faith in the American people beyond recognition as well as in the people I know and love. And for millions of my fellow citizens, the inevitability of a Trump presidency makes them live in fear, many for their lives and families being torn apart. Their fears are entirely rational since Trump fueled his campaign on bigotry as well as promised to do terrible things to them. But what message Trump’s election sends to the American people bears no resemblance to the values I was taught to exercise, admire, respect, or value in anybody, let alone in a president-elect. And I’ve learned many of these values from you, which makes me see your vote for Trump as a betrayal of those American ideals you taught me. Now I’m not sure if I know who you are anymore. To accept Trump as my president would be to normalize him as just a regular politician he’s not, which I won’t do. To accept Trump as my president is to give my stamp of approval of his character and behavior which I will not tolerate. Winning the electoral college doesn’t absolve Trump from fueling his campaign with bigotry and hate or the grave sins he’s committed against millions of Americans. And it’s because of that I’ll never stand united behind a president who’s an unrespectable man.

Don’t tell me that it was economic anxiety that led you to vote for Trump. Because most voters earning less than $50,000 a year voted for Hillary even among whites with the most economic grievances. Besides, while many white working class voters may be struggling but they make more money than their poor neighbors and are very much the middle class of their rural communities. Not to mention, white people across the board voted heavily for Trump. Sure non-college educated whites came out by force but nearly half of white college graduates voted for him, too. I’m sure everyone in the Rust Belt states know those good factory jobs left due to policies that were at least 30 years old and knows they’re never coming back ever. You know that any promise to bring back those jobs is just a mere pipe dream that will never materialize. Also, if Trump’s election was really about economic anguish then I’m not sure why you’d go for a so-called multi-billionaire from Manhattan. Don’t tell me you voted for Trump because he’s an “anti-establishment outsider” because I know though Trump may not have any political or military experience, he’s very much part of the establishment. For God’s sake, he’s been a member of the 1% his entire life and he’s more likely to support his rich buddies than your concerns if you’re white working class. Not only that, but I’ve grown up around people like you and I know very well how you complain about your taxes going to social programs like Obamacare or welfare as a thinly veiled way to poor shame as well as denigrate minorities and immigrants. I’m also aware of how you put rich people on a pedestal as if they’re successful entrepreneurs to be revered regardless of how they earned their money or how much their greed destroys. Now I’m sure that some of you may have legitimate economic concerns, but it’s very clear to me that you couldn’t care less about economic woes unless they pertain to your struggles or your tax dollars going to programs you don’t like or to beneficiaries feel are beneath you. Sure some of you may not like the elites but many of you make wealthy corporations and businessmen sacred cows who can do no wrong. But most of you like to scapegoat minorities and poor people for taking white people’s jobs, mooching from your hard earned tax dollars, and are protected, coddled, or exploited by the white affluent liberals you revile. But those liberals at least care much more about you than the big piggy billionaires, corporations, big banks and Wall Street people you constantly excuse. Besides, out of all the candidates in the 2016 Election, the one really cared the most about you white working class folks was Bernie Sanders. But I know you wouldn’t vote for him because of how much you don’t want to unite with your brown and black brothers and sisters in solidarity since they have more in common with you anyway and how America would be much better off if you did. You shirk at the notion of him calling himself a Democratic Socialist, which you view with suspicion. And I know you don’t like paying taxes either which I know you already view as big government even if it’s for your own benefit.

The exit poll data makes it perfectly clear that most of you who voted for Trump are way more white than working class. But that doesn’t stop the mainstream media from blaming the white working class for resentment of people of color and immigrants. But I know full well that white people at all income levels deride immigrants and minorities as well but they try to conceal it through their fiscal conservative rhetoric thinking liberals like me won’t even notice. If not, then you talk about it through the lens of securing our borders or fighting terrorism. Though the latter is quite ironic to me since you don’t seem to mind voting for a candidate who was endorsed by white supremacists. Or how you talk about how deindustrialization left the poor white working class without good jobs while Democratic party abandoned them for minorities, immigrants, LGBT people, women, and the environment. Sure I may empathize with the white working class on some level and why they’d be discontent with the establishment as well feel that they’re disrespected or left behind. But I find it very hard to believe that the Democrats really don’t care about the struggles in their communities. After all, weren’t the Democrats the ones to talk about paid family and sick leave, improving Obamacare and making healthcare more accessible, environmental protection, network neutrality, making college more affordable, and a higher minimum wage? Meanwhile, Republicans want to curb collective bargaining and union power through right to work laws. To say that the Democrats left behind or disrespected the white working class makes absolutely no sense to me. Or how you talk about it through rampant voter fraud that doesn’t exist. But you don’t fool me. It’s now perfectly clear to me that you still benefit from institutional racism and want it to stay that way whether you admit it or not. I mean the fact that many of you believed Barack Obama wasn’t born in the US or was a secret Muslim illustrates my point. Besides, many of you said that Barack Obama was “not your president” when he was elected in 2008. And I know it wasn’t because Obama wasn’t an unrespectable man since he was a man of great dignity who earned that chance to lead. Trump isn’t. You voted for Trump to preserve your white privilege which you thought was under threat by the nation’s increasing diversifying cultural landscape. Even if it means voting for a man who’ll only drag you through the mud along with your fellow citizens you deem as undeserving. There is no way around it. But while I don’t write off every one of you racist, sexist, or xenophobic maniac, I have to acknowledge that each of you decided that maniacal racism, sexism, and xenophobia wasn’t disqualifying for the President of the United States. Or that your selfish reasons for voting Trump matter more to you than protecting the rights of your fellow countrymen. I’m sorry, but I’m not letting you direct blame to the white working class who you scapegoat in order to avoid responsibility for the man you voted for. It’s another way of saying, “Don’t blame us, it’s the ignorant rednecks’ fault since they’re racists facing economic peril.” You knew liberals would blame them if Trump won as well as feel guilty that they’ve been out of touch with these people. For a while, I almost believed you. Yet, later it became apparent that these white working class voters only consisted of a part of Trump’s support. And those whites who were working class weren’t living on the edges of the economy either. But even if you fancy yourselves as non-racist or non-sexist virtuous people, you deserve all the shame you can get, possibly more than the proclaimed racists. Because you knew by voting for him you willingly handed the reins to a selfish, racist snake (sorry snakes). This makes you complicit in stating that millions of your fellow Americans don’t matter no matter how much you try to rationalize it. And I will not stand for it because it’s not okay.

Look, I know I probably have racist views that I may not be conscious of. Yet, as someone who’s studied history and researched political issues, I’m much more aware than most of my fellow whites. Though that hasn’t always been the case. I know I benefit from inequality and often fail to call it where I see it. But this election wasn’t one of those times since you failed to stop someone whose explicit aim was to scapegoat and pursue discrimination into law as well as in new and dangerous ways. You can’t be blameless for this no matter how strong your love for this nation’s ideals are which I now currently question. And in many ways, I feel like I didn’t do enough to call you out on your bigotry earlier when I should’ve since I knew it was always there. Even then, I underestimated how deep your disdain for the Other until today. And now I’m absolutely disgusted with you like I don’t know who you are anymore. What I find hard to accept is that many of ordinary Americans like you would vote for such an unrespectable man to lead your country. Look, I understand if you’re frustrated by the government dysfunction in Washington and that you may want change. But that doesn’t mean you should latch yourselves onto a wolf in sheep’s clothing who goes against your national ideals. And I know full well this wolf is the man you voted for. So if you berate me for rejecting Trump, don’t call me unpatriotic or a sore loser who won’t accept the election results. Because I do accept the results. But I also accept what Trump’s election means for this country and what it says about the American people. And to call him “not my president” means that I oppose his version of America and everything he stands for. Trump doesn’t represent me or the majority of Americans who voted against him no matter how small the difference. And I will fight him and his government tooth and nail to protect the American values I hold dear which I didn’t abandon on Election Day. I can’t say the same about you. So don’t tell me to embrace or support Trump because we’re one country united. Don’t lecture me about patriotism or values. And don’t ask me to give a chance on an unrespectable man.

An Electoral Catastrophe

I cannot express the fear, anger, and disdain I feel when I heard that our next President of the United States will be a man whom I can never respect in any capacity. Our country doesn’t deserve a man like Donald Trump as its leader. I find it especially shameful that many of my friends, neighbors, relatives, and even my home state went to this most wretched man. I know this man won’t keep his promises because he makes them with no intention to fulfill them. This man doesn’t give a damn about anything or anyone but himself and his own gain. This man has never made sacrifices, never accepts responsibility, never did any good for goodness sake, and never felt any remorse. He’s a man with no interest in anything but his own money, power, and fame. He doesn’t seem to value education, possess any intellectual curiosity, appreciate culture, or hold the truth in high regard. He’s a man of no ideas, political experience, and no understanding of the world he wants to lead. I know this man cares nothing about our country, our history, our values, our institutions, our rule of law, our democracy, or our people. This man won the presidency by stoking many of the worst sentiments of human nature as well as saying that our country is a wretched human wasteland.  His victory is a disaster for democracy at its worst and sets a horrific example for the world as well as our children. His campaign represents a rejection of our democratic norms and put fascism on the ballot while white, working class rural voters responded to his vile, bigotry, and false promises in droves to vote “Yes.” I absolutely loathe Trump so much I’m not sure if I can respect the presidential office during his term because he absolutely doesn’t have the character of someone whom I could be truly proud to say he’s the leader of my country. And at no time in my life have I felt such shame for my country, my extended family, many of my friends from both high school and college, my community, my state, and even my neighborhood who elected this black hole of humanity on anti-minority statements or outright hate that even white supremacist terrorists happily joined in. Except me and my parents who only had the only Hillary Clinton sign in the whole neighborhood and were possibly the only people who voted for her. For that I feel such a sense of shame for the hatred so many people in my life believe about people who are different than themselves. So for anyone who voted for the repulsive unapologetic racist, then may I be the first to say shame on you because it’s your racism that’s wrong with this nation.

Electing Trump as president doesn’t “make America great again” and never will. It does just the opposite by giving acceptable license to such a despicable man’s behavior and rhetoric that can harm millions of Americans. And it doesn’t help that most of Trump’s supporters voted for him because of his racist comments that they were willing to overlook his other unsavory qualities. Perhaps I could be among the few white women in America who’ve not only supported and voted for Hillary Clinton, but also actively wrote about racism throughout my blogging career. Despite overcoming my own prejudices with a great degree of success while writing these and reading a few books by minority authors, I am not proud of it. In fact, I’m absolutely horrified that so many white people in this country don’t actively share my disdain for racism that they’d at least not let the racist candidate win. This especially goes for my fellow white college graduates. It’s no wonder that minorities are scared to death since Trump’s election sends a resounding message that an overwhelming number of white people doesn’t want minorities here which I feel is utterly unconscionable. I’m even more upset that these racists who don’t want minorities here are people I know and people I grew up with. I am deeply disgusted by that fact because I’m well aware that it does not make things okay for many of my fellow Americans who’ll be subject to the Trump administration’s worst abuses. Trump’s presence will embolden white supremacists who supported him to be more audacious as well as push further and more extreme actions. Mosques will be vandalized and perhaps temples, synagogues, along with black and Hispanic churches. Mexican and Latino Americans could be targeted to a degree not seen in decades while Trump’s plan to deport undocumented immigrants will divide thousands of families which to me is beyond the pale. Police departments could be filled with black suspects that are stopped and frisked with no good attorney general willing to stop them. You can also take into account that lax gun laws will allow white supremacists and other right-wing terrorists access to firearms as well as more mass shootings and law enforcement deaths. So I’m not too off about how electing Trump lets the terrorists win. I can’t accept a man as my president whose message that racial discrimination is good and prudent to the entire citizenry because I know such attitudes don’t keep Americans safe from the threat of right-wing domestic terrorism which will undoubtedly rise but will probably be unsurprisingly ignored.

Trump’s presidency will solve none of our problems in this country that desperately needed fixed. As president, Trump intends to repeal Obamacare and has the majority to make it happen, which will result in at least 22 million Americans losing their health insurance, which I won’t stand for because I don’t want our healthcare system go back to the Bush years. Denying healthcare to anyone in need is unconscionably cruel to me because I believe medical care is a basic human right. Besides, despite Obamacare’s faults, the law is a huge success that has lowered the uninsured rate by half and if we didn’t have it, things would be worse. I know that Republicans have pledged to do this since its passage for 6 years saying it’s made things worse. But in reality, they were opposed to it from the very beginning due their party’s free market ideology and contributions from health insurance companies. As for the environment, Trump is sure to reverse Obama’s efforts to curb climate change like the Clean Power Plan, emissions standards, signed on to the Paris Climate Deal, and renewable energy funding. Trump not only wants to reverse all this, he also wants to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency altogether (which was established in the 1970s). The effect on emissions could be enormous which can reverberate for thousands of years and affect hundreds of millions of people. Without drastic emission reductions, global temperatures will continue to rise. Meanwhile the ice caps keep melting, the seas will rise, Florida will go underwater, and mega droughts could affect the Southwest for generations and generations. Not to mention, Trump’s presidency will give a free ride to Paul Ryan’s fiscal plans with 60% benefitting the richest Americans, make devastating cuts in social programs, and tax cuts for the rich with Food Stamps and Medicaid ending as we know it. Not to mention Medicare could be voucherized while Social Security could be privatized. Such a plan will not only keep the rich from paying their fair share, raise taxes on poorer and middle-class Americans, but also tear into the social safety net on the nation’s poorest Americans as well as put millions of children in extreme poverty. In short it will be a disaster because government should play a key role in reducing inequality like granting paid leave, equal pay for women, affordable childcare, and tax increases for the rich. But that’s not going to happen. And I know far too well that the next 4 years will have a presidency that believes in a self-serving capitalism with no conscience that Donald Trump personifies to a tee. Rejecting such legitimized greed in my country is critical part of my progressive Catholic identity. I cannot accept this from a government to undo so much progress this country has made under Obama and I will not bow down to Trump for it.

Trump’s presidency will also tarnish America’s reputation as a respected world power and beacon of the free world. It’s bad enough that Vladmir Putin and WikiLeaks were able to help Trump with the election by hacking into Hillary’s e-mails. But Trump is sure to be Putin’s puppet since his commitment to the Trans-Atlantic Treaty is shaky, doesn’t believe in NATO, and is extremely sympathetic in Russia’s dominance of neighboring countries. He also thinks Putin and Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad are bombing ISIS when in reality, they’re focusing their assaults on non-Syrian rebels. Yet, Trump’s win should also encourage Assad and don’t expect him to lift a finger on behalf of his victims. It doesn’t help that Putin is greatly feared in Russia who’s left a trail of dead journalists. There are also possibilities of a trade war with China that could cost millions of American jobs, dismantling the Iran deal, the possibility of Trump turning Eastern Europe over to Putin, and his stupid wall he thinks Mexico should pay for. Then there’s the fact Trump supports torture which is a human rights violation in my book along threatening to alter American foreign policy in dangerous ways. I have no confidence that Trump could ever honor diplomatic ties or treaties and thus, I could never call him my president.

Though I might’ve known there may have been a chance that Trump would win the presidency, I always had faith that the American people will wise up and vote for Hillary Clinton despite all her baggage and beliefs. I thought despite whatever issues she represented or personal feelings toward her, Americans would choose a candidate who’d make people feel proud to live in such a great country like the United States. I thought my fellow Americans would put their country over their self-interests when they came to the voting booth this Election Day. And no matter how bad the race got, I somehow had faith that this day would pass and our national nightmare would be over. I thought Americans were better than to elect a sociopath for president like Donald Trump, a man who’d nobody would want to associate with in their every day life nor would want as a role model for their children. I was wrong for Trump’s victory and upcoming presidency thus marks the winter of our discontent. Today my faith in the American people is now shattered beyond recognition.

I know Trump supporters aren’t bad people. I know they work hard and take pride in supporting themselves.  I know that many are angry. But what they did to “make America great again” was selfish, shameful, and disgraceful. And I will make sure they regret it for the rest of their lives. I know such a phrase will evoke nostalgia but it’s of an earlier time that only exists in a dream. I don’t want to go back to a time when they thought things were better when they were actually worse. I know these people want respect. I know these people want change. Hell, I even want change and so does everyone. But they should understand that they don’t get that by entrusting their vote to a wolf in sheep’s clothing who’ll fleece them and turn this great country into his little fiefdom. They say he’s an outsider and doesn’t represent the elite. In reality, he’s an elitist to the core whose interests always go against the common working man he sees an unsuspecting pawn and nothing more. They should also know that blaming vulnerable minorities for their troubles and lack of control doesn’t give them what they want either. What they got was an outright fraud who’s never had any respect for them, their values, their institutions, their freedoms, their country, or their rule of law. In effect, what they thought was a protest against one set of elites was really submitting to another elite as a license to screw them. They didn’t take their country back. They had their country squandered by voting a sociopathic demagogue who appealed to their baser natures. Because I’ve seen people take these deals before and I know the little guy gets swindled every time. Trump won’t fix it and he won’t make their lives better. He has already lied to them like he does all the time. He’s already given them false hopes and promises he never intends to follow through. He will rob them. He will cheat them. He will hurt them. He will let them down. But many seem taken with conservative media like Fox News or so set in their pessimistic reactionary worldview that they may not even realize this. But what’s more disturbing about them is how much they’re willing to overlook Trump’s inexcusable sins like they just don’t care that he was unqualified, temperamentally unfit, dangerous, and represents a major threat to American democracy. It’s as if they have no moral standards of behavior in a presidential candidate whatsoever. Or how their political choices may inspire their children to bully minority kids in their neighborhood or school. In the end, all I know is their support for Trump will give them nothing they want and may be even worse off than they were. And they’re doing with their votes is just bringing the rest of us down with them and dragging us through the mud. I guarantee he will wreck this nation and make the rest of us live with the consequences for the rest of our lives as well as those for generations to come. If they’re wise, these Trump supporters will regret voting for him. Maybe not today or tomorrow. But someday and for the rest of their lives. How do I know this? Because he’s screwed people who’ve trusted him left and right. And Trump supporters will be no exception.

Yet, though these Trump supporters try make themselves seem like they’re rugged individualists, the reality is that many of them aren’t. They’re actually kind of pathetic like many of the rest of us. Sure they may be religious, but they lack real Christian courage and they tend to choose their Un-Christian politics over Christian virtues. They think they’re tough with guns which they think will protect them. Yet, in reality, cling to their guns because they believe the world is a dangerous place and that the police can’t be trusted. Some may believe that government spending is out of control despite that they’re on welfare and food stamps because their job pays a shitty wage and doesn’t offer benefits. And they’re so afraid of being fired they’re so unwilling to stick up for themselves to their employer who’s exploiting or possibly robbing them. Many of them feel their lives seem hopeless no matter how hard they work they tend to scapegoat minorities and others poorer than themselves for being lazy or getting special treatment. Many also believe that if their candidate doesn’t win, then the election must be rigged by rampant minority voter fraud. They also have a tendency to fall prey to people who’d promise them a better life but actually using them for their own ends. But they always seem to cling onto a right-wing ideology that’s failing them and makes them think the world is a far worse place than it actually is. I have very little confidence these people could ever support a man like Bernie Sanders because these people are so adverse to liberal ideas that may sound even a teensy bit Socialist to them even if he best represents their interests, let alone a politician who calls himself a Socialist. I know all too well that these Trump supporters would’ve never accepted him. Many may be distrustful of government feel that it doesn’t support their interests even when their assistance helps them or is necessary that they feel they’re disregarded, disrespected or left behind. And they live in the same old patterns because they’ve been told not to stand up for themselves, revere the rich as successful people who they say earn their money, are so stuck in their ways, or accept everything as God’s plan. I’ve grown up around these people all my life and while I don’t dislike them, I tend to see many as misinformed, ignorant, self-serving, cowardly, hypocritical, and pathetic. Not to mention, I’ve heard their subtle racist comments all the time which are nevertheless damaging. But now I’m absolutely sick of their latent bigotry and won’t tolerate it any longer. Not even on special occasions when I’m supposed to be polite and keep my mouth shut on political matters. Even worse, many of them don’t seem to consider how this election will have on their children. I mean Trump allegedly sexually assaulted several women and teenage girls he called liars and threatened to sue as a form of intimidation. While he owned the Miss Universe pageant, he used to go into the dressing rooms when the contestants were partially clothed or naked, even during the teen competitions. It doesn’t help that his 3rd and current wife is a college dropout who modeled in porn and he objectifies women on a regular basis. He even suggested that he’d date his daughter Ivanka if he could. It doesn’t help these girls’ mothers sold out their political views to this orange piece of human garbage. The fact that Trump’s election may normalize, excuse, or even encourage everything he’s said is particularly troubling. I don’t know if I can call a man like Trump, “Mr. President,” because I don’t want to normalize sexism. Or how Hillary’s defeat could prevent women from entering politics for fear of such a vicious backlash that won’t guarantee them victory (though Hillary did win the popular vote and thank God). Yet, the fact so many parents are willing to overlook Trump’s sexual predatory behavior and misogyny in this election somehow implicitly validates that these actions are acceptable. I am ashamed that American parents everywhere would even do such a thing since it sets an exceptionally horrible example to kids. And I refuse to tolerate it.

However, most importantly, I can’t accept Donald Trump as my president and because I don’t believe he respects the US Constitution as well as Americans made in order to form a more perfect union where all are created equal. He is more of a figure from authoritarian politics, not the American tradition and a democratic constitution that empowers such a leader has misfired badly. It’s very clear the Supreme Court gutting the Voting Rights Act as well as legalized voter suppression and intimidation played a huge role in his victory. In this election, Trump ran on a platform rejecting the Constitution as well as its underlying principles of democratic self-government and individual rights. Other than the 3rd Amendment, there’s hardly a provision in the Bill of Rights or later amendments he didn’t explicitly promise to override. For instance, declaring open season on journalists is a huge violation of freedom of the press as would banning Muslims and shutting down mosques be with freedom of religion. Others include freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures like stop and frisk, the right to counsel along with the Fourteenth Amendment right to birthright citizenship and equal protection to Fifteenth Amendment voting rights. It’s like he offered Americans a bag of magic beans in an exchange for their rights and their form of government with nearly 60 million complying (which didn’t include me since I voted for Hillary who won the popular vote). I deny their right to give Trump my rights or those of others who can’t defend themselves. No result is legitimate threatening the constitutional promise “secure the blessings of liberty.” No amount of angry and frightened voters has a right to strip minorities of equal status and protections or throw away a democratic future of posterity. American national leaders gain their legitimacy by competing in compliance with not just outward forms but the clear values of our Constitution such as equal dignity, religious freedom and tolerance, open deliberation, and rule of law. These sacred constitutional principles don’t bind Donald Trump. In fact, norms of decency don’t apply to him as he shrugs off the very burden of the fact itself. Like Old World dictators, he uses the mass media to lie, insult, to strip individuals of their dignity, to commit the grossest falsehoods against religious and national groups, as well as encourage persecution, torture, and violence. He actively campaigns against any notion of sexual, religious, or racial equality. He threatens those opposing him with the unchecked power of the state. Sure there was a decay in American democratic norms before Trump who took advantage of a political system hardened in hatred that it’s caused constant gridlock as well as the growth of mass surveillance and toxic government secrecy. Though Trump was elected president on November 8, he’s not my president nor ever will be.

Why You Should Never Ever Vote for Donald Trump

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With the election a few days away, most Americans have already decided to vote either for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as their new president. Of course, while I think every American has a right to vote their own conscience if they want to, I think the choice for the highest elected office in the land is obvious. And yes, I strongly urge my readers, my friends, and my family to vote to exercise their civic responsibility and for the love of God, cast a vote for Hillary Clinton. Sure she may be a liberal who goes against everything you stand for. Sure she may have a ton of baggage like her e-mails, her marriage to Bill, and what not. Sure she may be pro-choice and think what a woman does with her body is her business. But for God’s sake, she’s running against a fucking sociopath with no political experience who undermines our American ideals, people! Seriously, I don’t care where you stand on the issues or what your beliefs are. I don’t care what you think about Hillary either or whether you can trust her. This election isn’t about the issues but whether we’ll elect the first woman president or a fucking embarrassment who may put this country on the road to ruin as we know it. Say what you want about her, but at least Hillary is a normal politician who will lead this nation within the framework of the constitutional laws. At least Hillary is qualified for president as well as shown herself to be a serious candidate for the job. At least Hillary is an acceptable role model for your children to aspire to. And if Hillary is elected president, at least I’ll be assured the American experiment set by our Founding Fathers will still exist within the next four to eight years. The same can’t be said about her opponent. Trump, on the other hand, should’ve been shut down in the Republican primaries months ago. If you think Trump is more trustworthy than Hillary, then you must be an idiot. If you think Trump can change, you must be a fool. If you think Trump could “make America great again,” like you hope he would, you must be insane. Trump is a volatile con artist who’s abused his power whenever he’s been in a position of leadership. Look, I may be a practicing social justice Catholic who believes in advancing the common good in all else which is why I’m a strong progressive Democrat. But in this election, I’m not saying that Donald Trump shouldn’t be president not because I disagree with my politics which is true. I’m saying that Trump shouldn’t be president because he’s a man not to be trusted with power or leadership of any kind. Because all he cares about is himself. Seriously, there’s never been a candidate so evil in this country as Donald Trump. And here I list 50 reasons why you shouldn’t vote for him.

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Even Trump supporters don’t think Donald Trump is qualified. That should send a red flag. Seriously, why wasn’t he defeated in the primaries already? Why the hell did he have to be the Republican nominee?

  1. He’s Not Qualified or Fit for the Presidency– While Hillary Clinton was a lawyer and advocate by trade as well as First Lady of both US and Arkansas, US Senator from New York, and Secretary of State, Trump has held no political office or has held any government job whatsoever. Yes, we’ve had presidents who never held elected office. Yet, many have had some public service for the US Government. For instance, Ulysses S. Grant, Zachary Taylor, and Dwight D. Eisenhower were generals. Herbert Hoover was a Secretary of Commerce as well as head of the FDA during WWI and organizer for humanitarian relief efforts in Belgium and the Soviet Union. William Howard Taft served as a governor of the Philippines at one point in his life and in Theodore Roosevelt’s cabinet. He doesn’t even have that kind of political experience either. Besides, running a business is very different than running a country as Hoover learned the hard way. There’s also no evidence suggesting that he knows anything about foreign policy, balancing government budgets, education, diplomacy, or the Supreme Court. But more importantly, Trump has the temperament mentality of a spoiled, impulsive, and ill-behaved brat who’d probably not make it out alive in Willy Wonka’s candy factory of horrors. He’s made a lot of terrible decisions over his life that make me seriously question his judgement as well as said things that might not indicate he’s all there or even has interest in what the presidency entails. He also has serious moral character flaws that just can’t be ignored.
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As they often say, the trouble with jokes is that so many get elected. Well, at least nominated as in Donald Trump’s case. However, once he started winning GOP primaries he stopped being funny. Now he’s downright scary.

2. He’s Not a Serious Political Figure Who Commands Respect– When Donald Trump first ran for president in 2015, I wasn’t nearly as upset as I should’ve been since for a long time Trump was basically seen as a joke. And a bad one at that. You know an extremely egocentric rich guy with a hideous haircut who hosted a reality show, built crappy hotels and ugly golf courses, as well as did very ridiculous things for the sake of publicity. Before his run for president, Trump’s been an international punchline as well as the honorary punching bag at a celebrity roast. To be honest, I thought Trump wouldn’t last long in the primaries since I didn’t think people would take him seriously enough to vote for him. Yet, the joke quickly stopped being funny for me when people started attending his rallies in droves and Republicans eventually voted him as their nominee. Now less than a week before the election and what I once perceived as a joke is now downright scary that I was extremely tempted to vandalize Trump signs from my neighbors’ properties. Electing Trump as president makes America look like a joke to the world, which should scare the living shit out of you.

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Donald Trump is a perfect definition of a sociopath as you see in this picture. Trump only does what he can to get what he wants and doesn’t care who gets hurt. He uses people to his own ends and screws them over with no second thought. He never takes responsibility and never feels truly sorry for his actions. And he has very thin skin.

3. He Has No Conscience or Moral Values– Now when it comes to politician’s moral character, I mostly don’t care about what they do in their private lives since I know people are flawed creatures. However, we all know that Trump was never a nice guy to begin with and was never ashamed about being a shameless absolute jerk. But the more you know about Trump as a human being, the more you realize that he’s way more despicable than you could ever imagine. After considerable research into his scandals, even I can’t think of a single instance Trump has ever done anything unconditionally nice, shown any compassion or concern for other people, tried to hold himself accountable. And there are thousands of times from the last several decades when he has done the exact opposite. Trump is willing risk ruining people’s lives to get what he wants with no second thought. He just doesn’t seem to care about anything but himself. His sins aren’t just shocking but also appalling. He’s a narcissist at best and a sociopath at worst. Hell, even his The Art of the Deal co-author Tony Schwartz said if he was writing the book today, he would’ve made it a very different book with a very different title: The Sociopath. He’d later write, “I put lipstick on a pig. I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is. I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.” Schwartz found Trump to be such a horrible person that he continues to feel a sense of shame for his time as The Art of the Deal ghostwriter. Glenn Beck has also called him a sociopath asking Charlie Rose, “Have you seen him during the last year and a half truly feel for someone that couldn’t help him? Truly connect on a human level?” He went on saying how alarming and frightening how little empathy Trump shows adding, “A sociopath is somebody who doesn’t really see the human experience in somebody else, and I haven’t seen that in him. I haven’t seen him deeply affected by the human condition in an individual.” Let’s just say while Glenn Beck may have outlandish theories, his idea of Trump being a sociopath is very believable and can be thoroughly supported by biographers, people who knew him, and reporters.

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Those who think Hillary Clinton isn’t trustworthy may have a probable cause. However, those who think Donald Trump is more trustworthy than Hillary are nothing but morons. Seriously, Trump has made a career of swindling people of their money that Wall Street no longer wants to do business with him. Also, his Trump University was a major scam and he’s due to go on trial for fraud later this month.

4. He’s Not Trustworthy– Say what you want on Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and her other activities, but if you’re voting for Trump because you can’t trust her, I strongly think you should reconsider. Yes, I know that so many people are willing to trust him over Hillary with running the country, but that rationale is absolutely insane. Trump’s long record of corruption since the 1970s is well documented as well as been recorded in legal proceedings and court cases. His flamboyant corruption runs to the very core of his identity. Trump has been a defendant in literally thousands of lawsuits brought by service providers and vendors whom he failed/refused to pay for services rendered to him and his business organizations. It’s abundantly clear that wage theft is part of Trump’s business model. Even Trump’s lawyers allege he didn’t pay their legal fees. What kind of businessman would do this? He’s also failed to pay his debts on his failing casinos that he later had less control of them with each bankruptcy. Not to mention, several major financial institutions like JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs have flatly refused to do business with him for these and other reasons. In fact, Trump’s reputation in business is as a scam artist or as Mitt Romney put it a “con man” and “snake oil salesman.” You can also look into the allegations involved in the Trump University scandals to support Romney’s conclusions and why he won’t support him. Sure Wall Street may not be the most trustworthy when it comes with handling other people’s money. And yes, I know these banksters have campaigned against political candidates like Elizabeth Warren because of policy disagreements. But what Wall Street bankers and Warren can agree on is Trump. What Wall Street has against Trump is that they know he’s a swindler and a cheat who will take their hard earned money they’ll never see again. In fact, many there probably have done business with Trump themselves or know someone who has. So much so that they now deem Trump a high financial risk potential investors should avoid at all times. If Wall Street bankers can’t trust a Republican presidential candidate, especially one who claims to be a successful businessman, you can’t trust him with running the country.

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Hillary Clinton may lie. But whenever Trump opens his mouth, it’s easier to know whether he’s lying than whether he’s telling the truth. That’s why Politifact named him 2015 Liar of the Year. The competition wasn’t even close.

5. He’s a Pathological Liar– Trump’s dishonesty is so well known that Politifact named him the winner of its annual “Lie of the Year” Award in 2015, a competition which the fact-checker said “was not even close” unquestionably in reference to the fact that it rated 72% of Trump’s public remarks on factual circumstances as false. Politico states he lies every 5 minutes. There’s even a website called Trumplies which is a vast compendium of misstatements, inaccuracies and outright falsehoods. Greatest hits include his RNC acceptance speech, defamation of Ted Cruz’s father in his first post-convention news conference, and his recent statement to the New York Times about NATO which was reported the next day and which he categorically denied. Seriously, the guy blatantly lies in public like there’s no tomorrow. As a businessman, he’s constantly lied to people in order to give him what he wants then making excuses why he didn’t fulfill his promises. Now cheating rich investors may be understandable to some extent since many forgave him for not paying him back. Yet, the fact he promised to pay his workers before refusing to pay them later is just beyond the pale. He’s also constantly lied to cover his own ass. You can re-watch any of the debates to prove my point. Seriously, whenever I see him on TV, I usually assume he’s lying because he’s lied so much. He even doubles down on his lies. Sorry, but Trump never tells it like it is. In fact, he tells what his supporters want to hear which isn’t.

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Donald Trump has a habit of not paying his bills on time, in full, or ever. He says he pays his workers based on whether they do a good job or not. Though it’s abundantly clear that he’s been subject to hundreds of wage theft allegations by people who worked for him he stiffed. Yeah, you’re better off not working for his projects.

6. He’s a Boss from Hell and No Friend to Working People– Trump may boast that he creates thousands of jobs over his business career. However, he has proven to be a man you don’t want to work for at all. For one, Trump has long been subject to hundreds of wage theft allegations over the past few decades from workers ranging from contractors, casino employees, and even his lawyers. Small businesses worked for him have either failed or struggled to continue because Trump didn’t pay their bills. One Republican consultant even tweeted how Trump stiffed his own dad in the 1980s. Trump has used various excuses like shoddy workmanship. Secondly, Trump also has a history of hiring undocumented workers many of whom worked under terrible conditions. During the demolition of the Bonwit Teller Building in order to make room for Trump Tower, Trump’s companies hired over 200 undocumented Polish workers who did backbreaking work for $5 an hour without hard hats and often slept on site. Also, workers complaining about back pay were threatened with deportation. He’s also been subject to allegations from former models at Trump Model Management who lived in squalid conditions while earning almost nothing and not having proper work permits. Not to mention, he’s hired foreign guest workers at his resorts even when Americans applied for the same positions. Third, he’s been sued by unions as well as tried to prevent workers from unionizing at his Las Vegas hotels. Fourth, he forced production employees from The Apprentice to work for him after Hurricane Sandy despite New York City being in a state of emergency and effectively shut down. Many of these employees endured dangerous conditions during commutes to Trump Tower. Fifth, his companies have been subject to complaints for disrespecting women and discriminating against minorities. Sixth, former employees have testified that Trump was prone to micromanagement as well as takes little interest in the diversity of his executives or the welfare of lower-level staff. Many said that Trump lacks the temperament deal with setbacks and becomes instantly impatient with those who don’t support or agree with him while remaining resolutely loyal to those who do. Others said he was a workaholic with very few true friends who felt sometimes awkward with company outside the workplace. Some said he doesn’t get the best people around and hates when someone else gets credit. Not to mention, he’s made many of his employees sign non-disclosure agreements. All these incidents and more should tell you that Trump is a horrible boss and is no friend to working Americans.

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Sure Trump may be subject to a Celebrity Roast on Comedy Central, host SNL, and appear on late night TV from time to time. But a lot of comedians don’t like working with him because he’s very particular on how they make fun of him. This is a huge problem because a president is joked about 24/7 and doesn’t have control which jokes get aired. This is why Trump bombed on SNL. If Trump can’t take a joke, he can’t be president.

7. He’s Dangerously Petty and Vindictive– There’s overwhelming evidence that Trump can’t take any form of criticism no matter how slight and that he’s vindictive to the extreme. Dare to challenge, mock, criticize him, or stand in his way, and he’ll either take to Twitter or threaten to file a lawsuit against you (which might be substantiated). You might remember his confrontations with reporters and news organizations during the primaries, his weeks long attack on Megyn Kelly, as well as his shameful and despicable attacks on Khizr Khan and his wife. Yet, you can even look at his record before that. Trump sued a New York Times reporter for libel over saying he was worth less than a $1 billion as well as threatened to sue a MSNBC newscaster for saying the same thing. He’s sued Bill Maher for making fun of his involvement in the Birther movement. He lashed out at Jon Stewart on Twitter for calling him “Fuckface von Clownstick.” He’s threatened to sue a rapper for writing a song about him. He’s threatened to sue an activist who campaigned to get Macy’s to dump him as the store’s spokesman and remove his branded products from their stores. He’s sued a New York attorney general for bringing suit against Trump University and the Trump Institute or as I call it, “doing his job.” He’s smeared Alicia Muchado whenever Hillary Clinton talked about him fat shaming her. He’s even bashed SNL for Alec Baldwin’s impression of him. We should all know that Trump turns to Twitter and lawsuits to intimidate and suppress. Yet, there are time in which led to victims suffering real life consequences. In 1990, he threatened to sue Janney Montgomery Scott unless they fired gaming securities analyst Mark Roffman who correctly issued a negative forecast for Trump Taj Mahal. The firm caved and Roffman lost his job as well as spent the next few years in a living hell. The next year, Trump would successfully suppress an 80 minute documentary called Trump: What’s the Deal? by threatening litigation to broadcasters and distributors. Why? Because the documentary powerfully and disturbingly portrayed Trump as fraud which is very well supported. There’s even a persistent rumor that Trump is running for president just to get revenge for his treatment at the White House Correspondents Dinner, which has substantial merit. Say what you want about Hillary Clinton, but this woman has endured vicious and false attacks by her enemies for decades, some in powerful positions. But has Hillary ever resorted to Twitter wars and threatening litigation against people who’ve criticized her, challenged her, mocked her, or stand in her way? No. Because whenever someone goes after Hillary, she does what she has to do and moves on. Sure she might get occasionally angry, but she gets over it. She doesn’t take political attacks and jokes personally because that’s what she has to deal with as a politician running for president. She can take even the most damaging accusations that’s thrown at her. Whereas Trump retaliates viciously over mere jokes about him which makes him very dangerous if he’s ever elected president. This is especially when you consider that the offices would allow him to have access to the nuclear codes. Doesn’t help that he’s threatened to drop nukes. If Trump can’t take Alec Baldwin impersonating him on SNL, then he poses a serious national security risk in the White House.

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Out of all the things he’s said, the one thing I can count on Donald Trump being honest about is his greed. Sure he’s been greedy and grabbed all the money he could however way he can. But it came at a very terrible cost to people who’ve invested their dough and never got it back as well as people who worked for him and never received the money. And he’s not a good businessman either.

8. His Candidacy Normalizes Greed and Exploitation– We all know that Trump is greedy and that he’s not at all ashamed of it. Since he began his presidential campaign, he’s encouraged voters in his Nevada primary victory speech, “to get greedy for the United States … to grab and grab and grab … to bring in so much money and so much everything.” Sure people might take it as: I’m rich and successful. Vote for me and you’ll be rich and successful, too. Come with me and grab as much as you can to make America great again. While Trump may not be wholly responsible for normalized greed in this country since it’s been prevalent for the last several decades as part of the conservative and libertarian gospel. Yet, normalized greed often leads to so many social and economic problems in our nation throughout its history like labor exploitation, income inequality, for-profit health insurance, environmental devastation, subprime loans, lack of Wall Street accountability, cuts to social programs, climate change denial, privatization, large-scale wage theft, union busting, poor shaming, Citizens United, policing for profit, and more. Not to mention, normalized greed has proven very destructive Americans’ souls so much that social justice issues are now seen as liberal talking points. I staunchly want to put an end to this normalized greed not only as a liberal Democrat but also as a practicing Catholic who deeply believes in fulfilling the common good. Donald Trump not only is a staunch adherent to normalized greed, but he even resorts to measures that will even make Wall Street bankers blush such as refusing to pay his workers, not making good on his investors, using his foundation as an all-purpose slush fund, running his Trump University scam, using intimidation tactics to shoo out tenants, and more. But no matter how you look at it, Trump has lived his whole life enriching himself at the expense of others and unashamedly so, which we should never accept in a presidential candidate.

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Here are some things that Donald Trump says about women. Of course, these poster came out before the “grab ’em by the pussy” audio bit came out. And these quotes are rather tame compared to his other sexist comments.

9. His Candidacy Normalizes Sexism and Sexual Abuse– It’s well known that Trump is notoriously sexist and has objectified women all his life. And yes, he’s a walking and talking example of toxic masculinity in our culture as well as a great contributor to misogyny and rape culture. He’s also rated women by their looks from a scale of 1 to 10 as well as criticized them for being fat and ugly. His sexist comments on women are utterly repulsive and his history of sexually humiliating beauty queens who won’t tow the line is well known. He’s even used Bill Clinton’s infidelity to attack Hilary on the campaign trail. Oh, and he’s even talked about banging his own daughter. So it should surprise no one that women have come out alleging Trump of sexual assault once his “grab ‘em by the pussy” rhetoric leaked. Not to mention, the former beauty pageant contestants who stated that Trump went into their dressing rooms while they were changing. Yet, even before that, he’s been accused of sexual misconduct by his ex-wife for rape, makeup artist Jill Harth for sexual assault, and an anonymous woman for child rape in the 1990s. Trump has denied many of these allegations and has threatened to sue them as always. Yet, the fact people still support Trump despite these allegations against him is very disturbing. Meanwhile, so many women have gotten sexually assaulted and raped that many don’t report their abusers out fear they won’t be believed for what happened to them. Some don’t even receive the support they need. And some victims have seen their rapists receive an all too generous sentence. Now none of us is perfect when it comes to addressing sexual assault. But when you support a candidate like Trump whose sexism is unparalleled in our times, you’re basically making a statement by saying that this sort of behavior is okay which shouldn’t be acceptable.

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During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump has shown a shocking ignorance of how the federal government works. Just look at Stephen Colbert’s face in this bit.

10. He’s Ignorant About Government– Now I have to admit, Trump isn’t too ignorant about how government works. Or at least when it comes to political contributions to candidates. Or hiring the most savvy lawyers and accountants. But as far as I know, that’s just as far as it goes. Trump has been constantly criticized for his lack of knowledge about the US political system. Of course, you can’t expect him to know more about government than his more politically experienced opponents. We do however, expect a presidential candidate to know at least about as much about government as anyone who’s taken a high school or college civics course. Surely that’s not too much to ask a presidential candidate to know about American federalism, the basic function of federal courts, as well as the grants of and limits of federal power. We’re not sure if Trump even knows even that much. During the primaries, Trump said he’d pick Supreme Court Justices who’d “look very seriously” at Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. It’s like he doesn’t know what the Supreme Court does even in the most elementary sense. No, SCOTUS doesn’t initiate criminal prosecutions, doesn’t investigate crimes, doesn’t try criminal cases, and doesn’t serve as a fact-finder in criminal prosecutions. The Supreme Court only reviews cases on appeal whether they’re criminal or not. And they’re usually concerned whether laws pertaining to the case were constitutional. Yet, from what Trump says, he seems as if he’s suggesting that Supreme Court Justices could prevent Hillary from “getting away with it,” such as investigating her or demanding that she be tried and convicted of a crime. In a primary debate in Houston, Trump referred to federal judges as “signing bills.” Even an eighth grade civics course can tell you that federal judges don’t sign bills. That’s what the president does in the federal system. Sure many Americans don’t understand how the Supreme Court and federal judiciary system works. But if you’re a major party nominee for president and there’s an open seat on the Supreme Court, you absolutely must have some basic understanding that Trump clearly doesn’t. Yet, the fact his supporters don’t seem to mind really sends a red flag. Having a major party presidential candidate with such astounding ignorance about how the political system work may seem like he doesn’t care about the government its supporters want him to lead.

11. He’s Extremely Inconsistent– Now I know that many political candidates are guilty of flip-flopping to some extent in order to pander to their base and make themselves look electable. But it’s well-known that Donald Trump has changed his positions on issues as often as he changed his socks even during this campaign season. Trump changes his mind so frequently and so dramatically that a compilation of his current policies wouldn’t tell the whole story nor would be up to date for very long. I mean this is a guy who once offered up 3 different views on abortion within an 8 hour timespan. So if you’re only voting for Trump for his pro-life position, you might want to seriously reconsider as well as rethink what actually constitutes a “pro-life” candidacy in this election. He also tends to mix facts with exaggerations and outright falsehoods while simultaneously refusing to offer any specifics. He even insists that unpredictability is an advantage he’ll use to cut better deals. Now Trump and the Republican Party are now putting forward the most elusive platform in modern history. So much so that NBC News has compiled a list featuring no less than 138 distinct shifts on 23 major issues. And that’s just his stated views since he announced his candidacy in June of 2015. But if Trump becomes president, his views are going to matter. And the fact he lacks core ideological convictions on many of these issues is huge a problem as well as posts another reason why people shouldn’t trust him. I mean if you don’t stand for nothing, what do you fall for?

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This quote sums up on how much of an egomaniac is Donald Trump. Sure he thinks he’s a smart guy who went to one of the best schools in the country. Mostly because his daddy could send him there as a legacy.

12. He’s a Dangerous Self-Delusional Egomaniac Who Doesn’t Listen to Anyone Else– We all know that Trump is a raging narcissist with a very high sense of self that he can’t tolerate any ill word against him. We know this from his own interviews, interviews with people who’ve known him, employees, and you name it. Yet, he has such an inflated sense of self that he’s very hostile to people who call him out on his mistakes, disagree with him, make him look bad, challenge him, or what have you. Because according to him, Donald Trump’s the most wonderful, terrific, and brilliant person on the planet who’s a rich and successful businessman able to solve any problem as well as can do no wrong. And if anything bad happens to him isn’t his fault. A guy with an “I alone can fix it” mentality is a man not to be trusted because he’s not going to listen to anyone else. Trump’s career as a businessman shows this repeatedly over the years with his gigantic ego leading to many of his business failures. For instance, Trump would’ve had more success with Trump Airlines if he just merely kept it the no frills Eastern Air Shuttle he bought exactly how it was and focused on the customers’ real needs. But no, he wanted to revamp it into Trump Airlines to suit his own image of gaudy luxury that the company ended up accumulating a lot of debt it couldn’t pay. Another instance pertained to Rank Group offering to invest in Trump’s Castle with a deal that would’ve helped reversed declining fortunes for Trump Hotels and Casinos. All Trump had to do was let Rank rebrand Trump’s Castle as Hard Rock. But Trump backed out at the last minute because he wanted his name to stay on the property. A savvier person in his place would’ve taken the deal because rebranding is a small price to pay. Then there’s the time when he threatened to sue a brokerage firm unless they fired a guy for accurately predicting that Trump Taj Mahal was going to fail. And the time when he tried to evict tenants from a building he owned in order to build a luxury condo complex, which would’ve failed if the residents didn’t successfully sue to keep their homes. Now what makes one a good businessperson may not make one a good president. However, if someone is lousy in business due to their humongous ego, then they’ll certainly be a terrible president, if not then dangerous. This is certainly the case with Trump.

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Here’s a stock slip from Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts Inc. from the 1990s. Of course, this company would end up bankrupt in 2004 and 2009. Sure Trump may say he’s a good businessman, but his record of failures that include 4 bankruptcies related to his casinos shows that he’s not. Besides, Wall Street bankers no longer want to lend him money anymore.

13. He’s a Horrible Businessman– Trump likes to sell himself on the idea that he’s a rich and successful businessman whose wealth and business acumen as evidence he’ll make a great president. The reality has shown that he’s nothing of the sort. For one, he was born to wealth and privilege thanks to his dad’s success as a real estate developer during the Great Depression. If it weren’t for his daddy’s wealth or close ties to politicians, then Trump would’ve most likely became nothing more than a sleazy used car salesman at best. I apologize to the sleazy used car salesmen. Has he had success? Of course, he has such as the renovating the Commodore into the Grand Hyatt Hotel and his dad chipped in on that one. But most of his ventures have been disasters. Some have been outright scams that defrauded hundreds of people like Trump University. In fact, it’s been said that if Trump didn’t have his dad to repeatedly bail him out, he would’ve declared personal bankruptcy before he was 35. Because his tax returns during the late 1970s and early 1980s shows that his personal finances were a disaster. By the time Trump came up with his Atlantic City casino scheme, his finances were falling apart. A lot of times, it’s been his own fault like using junk bonds to finance Trump Taj Mahal that it was already losing in its first year and would eventually go bankrupt. His inability to manage his debts at his Atlantic City casinos would later lead to 3 more bankruptcies as well as reduced control each time. According to Kurt Eichenwald of Newsweek, “Lost contracts, bankruptcies, defaults, deceptions and indifference to investors—Trump’s business career is a long, long list of such troubles, according to regulatory, corporate and court records, as well as sworn testimony and government investigative reports. Call it the art of the bad deal, one created by the arrogance and recklessness of a businessman whose main talent is self-promotion.” Trump’s net worth is almost unknowable given the loose standards and numerous outright misrepresentations he’s made over the years that many don’t even think he’s a billionaire. He also tends to claim success even when it’s not there which in the business world is called lying. Not only that, but he’s gained a reputation as a scam artist on Wall Street that major banks now refuse to do business with him. Let’s just say, you don’t want to do business with this guy, let alone allow him to run the country.

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While Donald Trump may call Hillary crooked, he’s way more corrupt than her. The amount of corruption cases is mindboggling. This chart shows what he did with some of his campaign cash for personal use.

14. He’s Corrupt as Hell– As I said before, Trump has a long and documented history of corruption since the 1970s which run to the very core of his identity. Many of his scandals have been recorded in court cases and legal proceedings. He’s so corrupt that I’ve had to continuously update my list of his corruption scandals on a regular basis and the sheer amount is mind-boggling, thanks to reporters unearthing many of these alarming stories. These range from unfair business practices, connections with mafia figures and known criminals, his ties to dictators, scams that defrauded hundreds of people of their hard-earned money, bankruptcies that left investors holding the bag while he made off with their cash, refusing to pay workers, history of being charged with housing discrimination, funneling money through a charity for his personal use, his history of exploiting undocumented immigrants, anti-trust violations, campaign financial abuse, and so much more. Whenever Trump has been in positions of power and authority, he’s demonstrated a pattern of trying to enrich himself while abusing the trust they placed in him whether it’s creditors, contractors, charitable givers, Trump University students, regulators, or campaign donors. Sometimes his abuses of trust are within legal bounds or entail breaking the law. Yet, the common thread shows that Trump screws people over to benefit himself. And despite the plethora of excellent reporting, too many voters either are unware of his troubling history and may view him as a successful businessman who says offensive things or don’t care. The fact so many voters think Trump is more honest and straightforward than Hillary is very troubling. Trump’s record makes it crystal clear that he’s more interested in rapaciously extracting what money he can and doing what he wants with little regard to laws, rules, or other people. Not to mention, he’s repeatedly proven willing to violate norms about what sort of behavior is acceptable and ethical. If you look what he’s done with power in the past, his corruption becomes the most troubling of his many unsavory qualities. There are many, many reasons to be concerned about a Trump administration’s ethics and potential to abuse power.

15. He’s a Perpetual Backstabber with No Respect for Loyalty– When it comes to relationships, Trump is as likely to build them, exploit them, and toss them for his own ends. Never mind if they were long time business partners who stuck by him through failure and success. Never mind if it’s the wives #1 or #2 who get tossed aside by a hotter and younger successor. Never mind if it’s the investors who gave money to him whose debts went repaid. Never mind if it’s the workers who poured their heart into his buildings for a set pay that they’d never receive. Whenever he’s in power he’s abused people’s trust. If he is ever elected president, he will certainly abuse the trust of the American people, honor no loyalties and commitments, and betray the office and government he’s sworn to uphold. Put your trust in Donald Trump and you’ll live to regret it. Because he will let you down and let you down hard.

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Here’s Donald Trump tweeting about a woman being murdered in Chicago. First one just has condolences. The second one has him trying to make it all about him. Yes, it’s insensitive.

16. He’s Exploited Tragedies and Disasters– Whenever something bad happens in this country, Trump gleefully steps into the national spotlight and tries to benefit from it whether it pertains to money or stumping some speech. He has done this on several occasions throughout his life and in the worst way possible. In 1989, he faked a near death experience to get front page headlines when 3 of his company executives were killed in a helicopter crash, claiming he was supposed to be there but changed his mind at the last minute. In the 2000s, he took $150,000 from the Empire State Development Corporation which was designed to help small businesses after 9/11 when many of them were destroyed or went under that led furious local politicians issuing an open letter that Trump return the money. In 2005, he received $17 million in insurance for hurricane damage at his Mar-a-Lago club while repairs were only totaled at $3,000. During his campaign, Trump has claimed that the mass shootings at the Orlando night club and San Bernardino as well as terrorist attacks in France vindicated his claims on Islamic terrorism in America. Now that has to be very insensitive. When it comes to national tragedy and there have been many, a president must be able to give a condolence speech in remembrance to the victims. Not try to capitalize on it as Trump does, which is just so insensitive and so unbecoming.

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Donald Trump racism isn’t just limited to his presidential campaign since he’s been sued for discrimination before. Yet, his ad calling for the deaths of the Central Park Five is perhaps one of his worst moments. I mean these were teenage boys for God sake! Never mind that they were railroaded by the system until the authorities caught the real rapist with DNA evidence. Yet, Trump still thinks these guys are guilty to this day.

17. His Candidacy Normalizes Racism, Discrimination, and Xenophobia– Contrary to what some experts might say, what made him so popular that people voted for him was his offensive remarks that reeks cultural hatred, which is scary enough. Yet, Trump has a long and documented history of racism. Back in the 1970s the Department of Justice sued him and his father for violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent to black tenants and lying about whether apartments were available. Trump claimed that the federal government was trying to get him to rent to welfare recipients. The case dragged for two years where he signed an agreement in 1975 agreeing not to discriminate to renters of color without admitting to discriminating before. He’d later break that promise by the way. There have been reports of black employees being discriminated against at his casinos over the decades. In 2000, Trump secretly ran a series of ads in opposition to a casino proposed by the St. Regis Mohawk, which he saw as a financial threat to his casinos. In them, he suggested the tribe had, “record of criminal activity [that] is well documented.” In 2010, he opposed the construction of a proposed Muslim community center in lower Manhattan two miles from Ground Zero which he called “insensitive” and offered to buy out one of the investors in the project. On Letterman, Trump argued referring Muslims, “Well, somebody’s blowing us up. Somebody’s blowing up buildings, and somebody’s doing lots of bad stuff.” The next year, he played a big role in pushing rumors that Obama wasn’t born in the US and urged the president to release his birth certificate which he did. But Trump still didn’t believe him. He also argued that Obama wasn’t a good enough student to get into Columbia and Harvard Law and demanded he release his University transcripts. However, one of his most infamous racist tirades was when he ran an ad in the local papers in the wake of the Central Park Five where 5 black and Latino teenagers were accused of attacking and raping a jogger near Central Park. In these ads Trump demanded, “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!” Below that, he wrote: “I want to hate these muggers and murderers. They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes. They must serve as examples so that others will think long and hard before committing a crime or an act of violence.” The teens’ convictions were later vacated after spending 13 years in prison in a great miscarriage of justice and the city paid a $41 million settlement. Trump still believes they’re guilty to this day despite that the real culprit turned himself in and DNA evidence to the contrary. During his campaign, Trump called Mexicans rapists who were bringing crime and drugs, called for a ban on Muslims, argued that a judge should recuse himself from the Trump University case over his Mexican heritage, tweeted an image of Hillary in front of a pile of money and a Star of David, attacked a Muslim Gold Star family, and made a pitch to black voters saying, “You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?” Furthermore, he’s been endorsed by white supremacist groups like the KKK and the American Nazi Party whom he has yet to denounce. Trump’s blatant racism on the campaign trail is a serious problem since it gives even the most ardent white supremacists some level of legitimacy as well as put racial minorities in danger. And like I said, supporting a racist like Trump for president basically gives license that whatever he say is acceptable no matter how much it has threatened people’s lives.

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Donald Trump often talks about how he’ll fight the terrorists. Yet, he’s never denounced the terrorists who endorsed him like the Klu Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups. Let’s just say if Hillary loses these terrorists win.

18. He’s Endorsed by Extremists and Terrorists– And if his candidacy legitimizing racism isn’t the worst thing about Trump’s campaign, well, it gets worse. Trump’s virulently racist rhetoric has attracted a lot of enthusiastic endorsements by white supremacists and anti-government extremists who think he’s the candidate they’ve been looking for. These people are domestic terrorists and who’ve posed a growing threat to our nation’s security in recent years. While lack of media attention on radical right wing terrorist attacks emboldens these people to attack minorities and other potential victims in their neighborhood, Trump’s failure to denounce their ringing endorsements of him encourage them even more. This further compromises public safety for vulnerable populations such as minorities particularly blacks, Latinos, and Muslims. There have been reports of these Trump supporters resorted to acts of violence and not just at rallies. These include a Moroccan taxi driver shot in Pennsylvania, a black church vandalized and burned in Mississippi, a black family being assaulted by a hospital volunteer in North Carolina, a Muslim woman being thrown an “unknown liquid” in her face in Virginia, a Hispanic couple’s truck being vandalized in California, and the list goes on. Trump’s campaign also has connections to the Alt-Right which is a set of far-right ideologies, groups, or individuals whose core belief is that “white identity” is under attack by multicultural forces using “political correctness” and “social justice” to undermine white people and their civilization. They’re usually characterized by their heavy use of social media and online memes, eschewing “establishment” conservatism, skew young, and embrace white-ethno nationalism as a fundamental value. Trump is a hero to these people while one of his campaign managers works for Breitbart magazine, an alt-right publication. These are the real deplorables among Trump supporters and if Trump can’t denounce these dangerous people, then he doesn’t deserve your vote.

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Donald Trump hasn’t just praised dictators on the campaign trail, he’s done business with some of them. While on a visit to the UN in 2009, Trump rented Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi his house in Winchester, New York. Qaddafi would set up his tent on Trump’s estate but he never slept there. Mainly because the locals voted to kick him out their town. Of course, who could blame them because Qaddafi sponsored terrorism that killed many Americans. At least Hillary and Obama got rid of the bastard.

19. He’s Linked to US Enemies and Dictators- It’s well known that Trump has openly praised Russia’s dictator Vladimir Putin, calling him, “a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.” In reality, Putin is far from respected. In fact, he’s highly feared having left a trail of dead journalists and invaded countries like Ukraine. Trump has numerous ties to Russia since he’s financed projects from its banks and it’s well known that the Russian government is behind hacks at Wikileaks and the DNC. His campaign manager Paul Manafort has offered his services to pro-Russian Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych that paid him $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments. Manafort has also worked for Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, the Saudi royal family, a Bahamian president accused of drug trafficking, and a former Angolan leader accused of torture. Before his campaign, Trump went into business with an Azerbaijani billionaire playboy with familial connections to its kleptocratic and dictatorial government, did business with the Cuban government during the Embargo in the 1990s, rented New York office space to a state-owned Iranian bank that’s been linked to the country’s nuclear program and terror groups, and tried to rent his opulent Winchester estate to none other than Moammar el-Qaddafi. Yes, that Qaddafi who’s notorious sponsorship of terror that’s killed scores of Americans. During his campaign, Trump has praised Kim Jong Un saying, “How many young guys — he was, like, 26 or 25 when his father died — take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden … he goes in, he takes over, and he’s the boss. It’s incredible. He wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one. I mean, this guy doesn’t play games. And we can’t play games with him.” No, it’s not. That’s scary since North Korea is an autocratic dictatorship that’s a US enemy and tests nuclear weapons. He’s lauded Syria’s Bashir al-Assad and told ABC that the US shouldn’t trust some of the groups rebelling against the repressive regime. “Assad’s a bad guy, but they’re all bad guys. We’re supporting rebels. You know they talk about the Syria Free Rebels. We’re supporting rebels. We don’t even know who they are,” he said. And during a North Carolina rally, he said, “We shouldn’t have been there. We shouldn’t have destabilized Saddam Hussein, right. He was a bad guy, really bad guy. But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. Over. Today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism. You want to be a terrorist, you go to Iraq. It’s like Harvard, OK? So sad, so sad.” Saddam Hussein’s best known for committing genocide against the Iraqi Kurds with chemical weapons. Trump’s history and praise for dictators from US enemy nations should really scare the shit out of you. This is not what I’d want in a president.

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Here’s Donald Trump tweeting on how Scotland took its country back by voting for Brexit. However, Scotland voted IN. Yeah, not very informed in international affairs.

20. He Alienates Our International Allies– As I said before, Trump doesn’t value loyalty and commitments to his business allies, employees, investors, and even wives, Trump is likely not to value the support of our allies either. He’s also has had precarious relationships with world leaders, many of whom express fear in a Trump presidency. Some US allies have used words like “stupid” to describe his ideas. And the fact Trump has business dealings with reviled tyrants known to commit human rights abuses as well as praised known US enemies only makes it worse. Please, for the sake of our world, don’t vote for Donald Trump.

21. He Has No Broader Interest in the World– It’s well known that Trump has some interest in the world, when it pertains to his business interests. But when it comes to making the world a better place, then he just doesn’t give a damn. Even in America, his whole life revolves around making the world his personal playground he could build stuff on and profit from. He has no interest in making the world a better place or sacrificing for the greater good. He never has. He doesn’t care who gets hurt or screwed. He doesn’t care if his business deals put entire countries and people in danger. Nor does he take any interest in other cultures or honoring national commitments to other nations which should be essential for a president. For instance, Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, her Clinton Foundation, and time as First Lady show that she really has an interest in global affairs, which will help our image abroad. During his presidency Barack Obama often played tourist while in a foreign country which improves our diplomatic relationships. Foreign countries like it when our leaders show an interest in them. I don’t see Trump doing this. A world of ruthless competitors guided by nothing but blind ambition and profit is hardly a pleasant place, especially with someone like Trump in political office.

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Even Trump supporters know that Trump sets a a very bad example for children. Yet, Trump supporting parents are really not helping their case when they endorse a candidate they don’t want their kids to emulate. Hillary has taken advantage of this.

22. He Sets a Terrible Example for Children– What sickens me more about Trump’s supporters the most is that many of them have children who attend school or younger. When a parent supports a political candidate, they’re implicitly telling their children that whatever this candidate does is acceptable behavior. If not, then it’s giving one’s children license to look upon that candidate as a respectable role model to emulate and admire. It doesn’t take much to see that Trump is a terrible role model for children and even parents who support him don’t want their kids to act like him. After all, he spews profanity, insults women, mocked a disabled reporter, demeaned a prisoner of war, made racist comments, incited violence at his rallies, is on his third wife, threatens to sue people on a regular basis, and calls anyone disagreeing with him a “loser.” I mean the guy is a total bully with no consideration for other people. You may say he’s a role model for children of what not to be when they grow up. Sure Trump’s own grown children may have turned out all right. But we have to concede that he was barely involved in their childhoods unlike their mothers, nannies, and even their grandparents. So they’re not really a reflection on him per se. Still, teachers have become increasingly worried about Trump’s candidacy leading to a rise in school bullying. This is especially the case when it’s white children harassing minority students. And it doesn’t help that some minority kids might be among the few nonwhite children in their schools. Now there are kids who fully understand that Trump is a bully and a terrible role model. But there are kids who may not see Trump that way and take his offensive words to heart and think that being a bully is a winning strategy. How parents feel about politics is one thing but what we teach our children is another. I know that all parents want to teach their children the right things. But for parents who support Trump need to understand that they may unintentionally be teaching their children the wrong lessons. I know most wouldn’t actually teach that Trump’s behavior is okay. But that may not be what their kids would take from it. At least I can respect Glenn Beck opposing Trump on this since he said, “I don’t want my children to look at that man and say, ‘Yeah, he’s my President.’ I won’t have that. I will not endorse it, I will not tolerate it.”

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Donald Trump has often claimed that not being sorry for anything is a sign of strength. However, he’s too dumb to realize that not taking responsibility for his actions and never apologizing for anything just makes one an asshole.

23. He Never Takes Responsibility and Never Apologizes– While we all make mistakes once in a while, we’re taught to take responsibility for our actions as well as apologize. Holding oneself accountable for one’s sins isn’t easy but it’s an act of true moral courage and strength. This is especially true when it pertains to a public figure running for the highest elected office in the land. It’s well known that Trump has refused to take ownership for the outrageous things he’s said and done not just during his campaign but also over the course of his life. He never apologizes for any missteps or intemperate attacks. He’s demonstrated a remarkable lack of empathy for people whom he’s attacked, injured, or harmed. When Trump is caught he usually does one or more of the following: deny involvement, deny it ever happened, blame someone else for it, say they deserved it, spin it into something positive or trivial, threaten litigation, or resort to legal action. But he will never see it his fault and never see himself wrong. He will avoid apologizing as well as taking responsibility unless he’s pressured to do so. DOJ suing him and his dad housing discrimination in the 1970s? Say the federal government was forcing him to rent to welfare recipients. Refusing to pay hundreds of contractors? Tie them up in court and other negotiations to financially overpower and outlast them in order to drain their resources. Also, claim that their work was shoddy. Caught cheating on Ivana with Marla? Blame Ivana for losing her attractiveness after having kids and wanting to do more with the business. Gaming securities analyst forecasts trouble at Trump Taj Mahal? Threaten to sue his employer to get him fired. Call for the deaths 5 minority teenagers who were later found innocent? Assert they’re guilty as sin to this day. Caught taking advantage of a federal loophole to avoid taxes? Say that makes him smart. Caught declaring bankruptcy to avoid taxes? Claim he takes advantage of the laws when running a company. Humiliate a beauty queen for her weight gain? Say she wasn’t honoring her contract and that she starred in a porn. Cheer for the housing crisis? Say it’s called business. Trump University consumers suing for fraud? Blame them for being suckers. Call the state attorney general investigating a liberal stooge for Obama or Hillary. Use family charity as personal piggy bank? Call the state attorney general investigating a liberal stooge for Obama or Hillary. Publicly advocate birtherism even after Obama shows his Hawaiian birth certificate? Claim Hillary started the controversy in 2008. Claim opponent’s dad conspired to kill Kennedy? Deny it. Claim global warming is a hoax by the Chinese? Deny it.  Caught saying, “grab the pussy” on tape? Say it’s locker room talk. Multiple women come forward with sexual assault allegations? Deny it, claim some of them ugly, and threaten to sue. No matter how you look at it, Trump always tries to cover his own ass and take considerable action not to be held accountable. And whenever he does say he’s sorry, the apologies are nothing but hollow. This is not what you want in a leader or anybody.

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This is Donald Trump’s tweet after the Pulse Nightclub shooting where he just had to pat himself on the back for being right on Islamic terrorism. For God’s sake, nobody should be tweeting this shit.

24. He’s a Selfish, Shameless, and Sleazy Opportunist– Whenever Trump is in a position of power, he uses it to empower and enrich himself by abusing those who placed their trust in him. If he wins, expect the presidency to be no different. Many Trump supporters would claim that they like him because he’s not afraid to “tell it like it is”, “be politically incorrect,” and intends to “make America great again.” Some say he’s an “outsider” who “can’t be bought.” But even before he ran for president, I knew Trump was a sleazy opportunist and self-promoting con man willing to do anything to get what he wants and doesn’t care who gets hurt. I saw him do it before whenever he promoted his projects and latched on to political causes for the sake of wealth, power, and fame. While many supporters swear he, “tells it like it is,” he’s actually lying on multiple levels. He’s conning people into voting for him by telling them what they want to hear and what would entertain them. He’s playing for an audience by appealing to voters’ frustrations, insensitivities, and unsavory emotions. His candidacy is nothing but a reality show satiating a bloodlust and structured insanity. And while supporters may swear that Trump will make America great again by moving our system through sheer force of un-bought will, it’s really just part of his Big Lie. He’s telling folks never mind the policy details, never mind the separation of powers, and never mind profound partisan disagreement. Everything will be easy and terrific. But in the end, we should all understand that all who Donald Trump cares about is Donald Trump. Win or lose, he will let his supporters down and they will regret it. Like he has let down so many other people throughout the years. He’s let down Wall Street investors by breaking his promises to pay them back as well as making off with their money when things go south. He’s let down his employees by refusing to pay for their work despite promising otherwise. He’s let down his customers with his scams. He’s let down veterans after promising to donate millions to a charity for them when he didn’t. And what’s worse is that Trump doesn’t care who suffers.

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Donald Trump’s campaign is one of the biggest train wrecks we’ve seen since June if 2015. Here we have Trump with a notorious anti-Hillary ad with a Star of David. It was changed into a circle to tone down the anti-Semitic imagery.

25. He Can’t Run a Decent Presidential Campaign– Since he announced his candidacy in June 2015, Trump’s presidential campaign is just a horrific train wreck that really should’ve gone away during the Republican primary season. The only reason why Trump managed to outlast his primary opponents was the fact his celebrity and penchant for controversy gave him free campaign publicity. But even then, you could sense critical flaws. For one, Trump’s candidacy was all spectacle but no substance as well as relied on his offensive statements and antics in order to hog the camera. There were no detailed policies but campaign promises consisting of simplistic bullishit by a guy who seems completely unconcerned about the implications in order to accomplish them. I mean Trump promised to build a wall between the US and Mexican border as well as promised that Mexico will pay for it. How do you expect to accomplish that? Second, Republicans working to elect Trump described his campaign debilitated by infighting, a lack of staff to carry out basic functions, minimal coordination with allies, and a message that’s prisoner to their guy’s momentary wins. According to NBC News, veteran operatives were shocked by the Trump campaign’s failure to fill key roles. In June, there was no communication team to deal with hundreds of media outlets covering the race, no response director to quickly rebut attacks and launch new ones, and a limited cast of surrogates lacking a cohesive message. It’s also said that staff appeared unprepared to address scandals and controversies like Trump University or whatever comes out of Trump’s mouth. Third, the Trump campaign was far from clean and has been prone to scandals ranging from shady campaign managers, allegations of malpractice, and the list goes on. Fourth, Trump has repeatedly violated political norms of acceptable behavior in this election. Let’s just say if one can’t run a decent campaign, they can’t run the country.

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Melania Trump has promised to fight cyberbullying as First Lady if her husband is elected president (and God, please don’t let this happen). However, it’s ironic that she’s married to one and could do her part by taking away his phone.

26. He’s an Unrepentant Bully– It’s not hard to see that Trump is a bully whenever you turn on the news as he always has been all his life. But I’m not saying this because he insults whole demographics and people he doesn’t like or thinks treated him unfairly. Yet, while Trump may seem to have all the characteristics you might associate with a narcissistic school yard bully, he’s much worse. Sure he may attack immediately when someone criticizes them even for the slightest insults. You may notice that Trump frequently talks about “winners” and “losers.” Of course, “losers” to him include opponents or anyone who disagrees with him. To him, “losers” are people who “deserve to lose” which clearly reveals his indifference to, and rationalization for, injuring or humiliating others. Yet, he also does far more damaging things than that like flaunting a rival’s dirty laundry, spreading unsubstantiated claims to the masses, throwing temper tantrums, and taking an active efforts at character assassination. And if things go wrong for him, then he’ll say that the whole system is rigged against him. It’s very clear that Trump uses intimidation tactics not only to defeat, but also to demean and destroy his rivals. And that’s just on the campaign trail. Trump has also threatened and filed lawsuits against those who merely said negative things about him or joked about him. He’s threatened and took litigation against anyone daring to hold him accountable for his actions or challenging his perceived image as a skilled businessman. He’s humiliated people for not wanting to do things his way and even afterwards like with Chris Christie and Ted Cruz. Let’s just say that Trump intimidates not just to win and get his way, but also to escape the consequences of his actions. And he does it in an attempt to destroy people with no second thought. Nobody should find this acceptable behavior in a president.

27. He Associates with Horrible People– While Trump always claims that he associates and hires the best people throughout his life, this is far from the reality. You may know he has shady ties to dictators like Putin, Qaddafi, and the Castro brothers. Yet, he’s been linked to the mafia many times for many years over varying degrees of closeness. Of course, it wasn’t unusual for construction magnates like him to have mob connections during the 1970s and 1980s. Trump often portrayed himself as an unwilling participant but that’s probably bullshit. Trump’s reputed to have a close relationship with Gotti associate Robert LiButti whom he worked very hard to keep happy like not letting black and women card dealers at his table whenever he gambled at his Atlantic City Casinos, gifting 9 luxury cars in exchange for $1.65 million in cash, inviting him on his yacht and helicopters, and other instances. In the 1970s, he and his father were represented by a lawyer named Roy Cohn while sued for housing discrimination under the DOJ. Cohn also represented Genovese crime family boss Tony Salerno and worked for disgraced US Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s. Cohn would later get disbarred for fraud and other wrongdoing. But Trump didn’t just limit doing business with mobsters and despots. In 1992, Trump Taj Mahal foreign marketing vice president Danny Leung and 3 other Trump casino employees were named an associates of the Hong Kong-based organized crime group 14K Triad. Additionally, Leung was said to give complimentary tickets for hotel rooms and Asian shows to numerous Asian organized crime associates and members. And according to the New York Times, Leung, “flew in 16 Italian crime figures from Canada who stole more than $1 million from the casino in a credit scam. The incident was never reported because Trump never filed charges.” His casino and junket licenses were later removed. Another criminal Trump was associated with is Felix Sater in a questionable condo hotel scheme who had a 1998 racketeering conviction for a $40 million Mafia-linked stock fraud scheme and who had then become an informant against the mafia. Another associate in that scheme was Bayrock Group’s Tevfik Arif who was detained in Turkey for running a high priced prostitution ring consisting of him setting up trysts between wealthy businessmen and Eastern European models, some underage aboard a $60 million yacht once used by the nation’s founder Ataturk. Then we have a couple of con artists named Mike and Irene Milin who ran Trump Institute in the mid-2000s and were known were known serial operators of get-rich-quick schemes. And let’s not forget his campaign mangers Corey Lewandowski who arrested for battery of a Breitbart reporter, Paul Manafort who lobbied for despots along with campaign adviser Roger Ailes best known for sexually harassing women as CEO of Fox News and surrogate New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who’s under investigation for causing a traffic jam in political revenge against a mayor. You don’t want to see a guy with these connections in the White House. Then you have Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner whose dad spent 2 years in prison on campaign finance charges as well as used his New York Observer to punish real estate Mogul Richard Mack for refusing a write-down on a loan. Let’s just say Trump does not have nice friends.

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Here is Donald Trump tweeting about New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman whom he thinks is going after his Trump University because he’s a liberal stooge for the Obama administration. My theory: I think Schneiderman is after Trump for the Trump University scam because he’s doing his fucking job!

28. He Promotes Conspiracy Theories– One of my criticism in my Fox News article was how the network had a tendency to promote unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. Even before his campaign, Trump has spent years pushing conspiracy theories to his supporters’ delight and his enemies’ disdain. And he pushes these theories mostly to make his foes look bad. I’m not sure if he really believes them or not. His advocacy of birtherism is utterly shameful as well as his inflammatory claims about Obama. So was his claim that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination or his and Rubio’s questionable eligibility for the presidency (Cruz was born to an American mother in Canada while Rubio was born in Miami). Or anything about Muslims like 9/11 hijackers having girlfriends who fled to Saudi Arabia, Muslim Americans celebrating in New Jersey on 9/11, mosques preaching hate, or Syrian refugees billing ISIS for their phones. He’s even pushed theories like fake racist crime statistics, immigrants mostly being rapists and criminals, Mexico deliberately sending criminals to the US, people coming into the country with Ebola, vaccines causing autism, global warming being a hoax by the Chinese, and rampant voter fraud. As for the Clintons, well, Trump is eager to get those out like alleging their involvement in Vince Foster’s murder (which was actually a suicide), Hillary wanting to take guns, Hillary lying about Benghazi, the Clintons’ involvement in Whitewater, and more. By the way, he kept talking about Hillary’s involvement in Benghazi even after the late Chris Stevens’ mother told him to shut up about it. Recently 370 economists signed a letter to the Wall Street Journal as citing Trump’s promoting of conspiracy theories that mislead the public saying: “He misinforms the electorate, degrades trust in public institutions with conspiracy theories, and promotes willful delusion over engagement with reality. If elected, he poses a unique danger to the functioning of democratic and economic institutions, and to the prosperity of the country.”

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When Donald Trump tried to make a deal of how he made so many sacrifice after attacking a Gold Star family, there was a Twitter campaign called #TrumpSacrifices. Many of these were parodies of how little Trump sacrificed in his life.

29. He’s Made No Sacrifices for Anybody or Anything– One of the most powerful speakers at the DNC in July was when Khizr Khan addressed Trump to, “Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.” This comes from a Muslim Gold Star father of a decorated war hero calling Trump out on his bigotry and selfishness. Trump cruelly and viciously attack Khan and his wife in true Islamophobic fashion. But when asked by George Stephanopoulos whether he made any sacrifices to his country, Trump replied, “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I’ve had tremendous success. I think I’ve done a lot.” Really? Well, from what I’ve heard, Trump skipped out of Vietnam while 58,000 men in his generation died there, bragged about cheating on his wives, neglecting his children, refusing to pay workers, failing to pay back investors, deliberately avoided paying taxes while taking government money, constantly breaking promises, uses his charity as a personal piggy bank, as well as conning customers in his scams. Not to mention, suing people in order to avoid the consequences of his actions. Let’s just say when it comes to sacrifices, it’s the party Trump deals with who ends up making them. Apparently, Trump’s idea of sacrifice is all about making wealth or you know greed which is the exact opposite. So much so that there’s a Twitter hashtag called #TrumpSacrifices as a joke. Seriously, this is a guy who’s never made any sacrifices whether it be for his country, in his relationships, or for anything else. If he becomes president, he will throw the American people under the bus.

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Despite that Donald Trump having a penchant for patriotic displays during his presidential campaign, his record shows that his patriotism is a sham. I mean the guy used government money for his projects and doesn’t pay taxes. Also, skipped out on Vietnam.

30. He Has No Respect for America, Its Values, or Its People– I’m very aware that Trump always likes to show himself as a flag-waving American patriot who loves his country. In truth, he’s more likely to say he loves his country in order to exploit it for his own gain while he couldn’t care less about our nation. He’s used his wealth and privilege to get out of Vietnam, avoid taxes, use taxpayer funds for his little projects, and filing lawsuits against people who’ve criticized him or want to hold him accountable. Hell, he even brags about paying as little as possible in taxes as he can get away with. Not to mention, he won’t release his tax returns. What about creating American jobs? Well, Trump has but a lot them came with imaginary paychecks that never materialized as well as jobs that pay below minimum wage. Some of them are even done by undocumented immigrants who could be easily told to shut up with deportation threats. Oh, and a lot of his goods were made in foreign countries like China, Mexico, Turkey, Slovenia, or anywhere in Southeast Asia. What about praising repressive dictatorships who hate America and have a rap sheet of human rights violations? I mean he did business with Cuba during the Embargo, rented out his Winchester house to Qaddafi, rented out New York office space to state-owned Iranian bank, is chummy with Russia’s Vladimir Putin whose country is hacking Democrats’ e-mails on his behalf, and praised despots on the campaign trail. What about spreading damaging but unsubstantiated claims about the President? What about calling a Vietnam War POW a loser for getting captured? What about renigging his promise to donate money to veterans? What about advocating torture? What about hostility to minorities and immigrants? What about his RNC speech about America being a pitch black country soaked in blood a la Hunger Games dystopia? A presidential candidate who has done these things deserves to have his patriotism questioned. Sorry, but I think Trump seems to salute himself and not any flag. And certainly not the American flag. To Trump, patriotism is just a convenient cloak to play to the masses.

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If Donald Trump had any respect for democratic values, then tell me why he feels the need to issue legal threats and file lawsuits to anyone who’s challenged or criticized him. Of course, the New York Times knew how to respond to this threat.

31. He Has No Respect for Democracy– Now the United States was built on the idea of democracy which Americans cherish as a government that’s conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal. Now let’s see how Trump does with democratic values. American melting pot of cultures? Build a wall to keep Mexicans out and ban Muslims. Free speech? Sues people who challenge or criticize him. Also, hates when people joke about him. Freedom of the Press? Bashed the media for liberal bias despite airing almost every word he’s said and sued a reporter for challenging his billionaire status. Freedom of Religion? Ban Muslims and attack the Pope. Freedom of assembly? Stop a bunch of workers from unionizing at his Las Vegas hotel. Right to petition? Threaten to sue a guy who wants you dropped from Macy’s. What about election results? If he loses, then it must be rigged by minorities committing voter fraud. Equal rights? Believes that women should be fired for being pregnant, ugly, or fat. Also, blacks need to be stopped and frisked, Muslims banned, and Mexicans deported. That and along with a disturbing affinity for tyrannical dictators, Trump doesn’t have much respect for democracy.

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On the campaign trail, Donald Trump has often said he’ll bring back American jobs and how he’s created so many jobs fore this country. Excuse me, but can you tell me where this was made?

32. He’s a Notorious Hypocrite– While Trump likes to relish in dishing out Hillary Clinton’s baggage such as calling her a liar and a crook who’s put our country in danger. However, records show that Trump is a much bigger liar and crook who praises and does business with dictators. He’s savaged people for not paying taxes as well as companies for moving overseas for tax and business advantages. Meanwhile, Trump hasn’t paid federal income taxes in over 20 years and has no problem using the American tax code to suit himself. Besides, many products with his name on them aren’t American made. Trump has attacked Bill Clinton for his affairs while he tried to get his wife to pose for Playboy, bragged about his affairs, and has been married 3 times. He’s blasted Hillary’s use of foreign donors for the Clinton Foundation pay for play scheme. At the same time, he’s been using his charity as a personal piggy bank with other people’s money for over two decades. He complains about undocumented immigrants being criminals while exploiting them as cheap labor he could threaten to deport. While he constantly slams Hillary for her e-mails on private server during her time as Secretary of State, court records show that his company has yearly erased e-mails since at least the late 1990s.

33. He’s a Trigger Happy Coward– We all know that Trump tends to be quite aggressive in his rhetoric. And he’s been seen by many as crazy and unstable. Doesn’t help he lacks total self-control on a podium. He has to attack everyone who opposes him even after he’s defeated them. He has to be hostile on Twitter as well as threaten or file lawsuits at anyone who’s challenged him or wants to hold him accountable. Even when it’s a Muslim Gold Star family stating how he has never made any sacrifices. His menacing, angry convention speech can only be seen as delusional and demented as if it’s spoken by a raving lunatic. He’s promised to bomb the shit out of ISIS and lock Hillary up in prison. Sure he may talk tough to trigger happy proportions. Yet as David Atkins states in Washington Monthly states, “Ultimately, however, Donald Trump is a coward. Not just for serving himself at the expense of others even as millions of Americans devoted their lives to causes greater than themselves on the battlefield, in the classroom, at the laboratory table and in the civic engagement hall. He is a coward because he cannot face the reality of what he has done with his life before an audience not prepared to idolize him.” And in many ways, he usually takes a coward’s way out in order to cover his own ass whether it be denial, blame, lawsuits, threats, or what have you. Because if Trump was truly brave, he’d take responsibility for his actions and apologize. Democrats have a word for crazy men like him known as “chickenhawk.”

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Though Donald Trump brags about being a successful businessman, the truth is that he inherited his money from his father Fred. Fred also bailed him out a number of times until his death in 1999.

34. He Constantly Appeals to His Privilege– Note I’m not talking about white or male privilege here. But privilege Trump enjoys as a lifetime member of the 1% which allows him to be the entitled rich man he’s always been. All his life, Trump has constantly appealed to his status of as being born a white man of wealth and privilege to do whatever he wants and get away with it. His inherited status has allowed him to get out of serving Vietnam when thousands of other drafted young men were killed. When his personal finances were a disaster, his dad bailed him out. He’s used his status to get government funding for his projects, avoid paying taxes, and avoid responsibility for his actions while leaving his workers, investors, customers, and others screwed. And it’s his affluence and privilege as being part of the 1% that Trump can rise to positions of power and get away with breaking laws. Any normal person who’s committed a fraction of his crimes would’ve been stopped years ago. In fact, it’s because he’s so rich and powerful that he’s able to use lawsuits as a technique for retaliation, intimidation, and damage control. And he’s not shy about it at all. Yet, it’s because of his privilege as the rich white man Trump is that he’s been able to sell his image as the successful businessman for years despite it only being a façade as slews of renowned reporters have pointed out.

35. He Constantly Appeals to Secrecy– Trump has often harangued Hillary for being secretive as each batch of her e-mails is being discovered by the FBI and the Russians as well as made public by WikiLeaks. However, Hillary has released both her medical records and tax returns while Trump hasn’t. In fact, Trump is far more secretive than Hillary. Transparency is just simply not his style. His platform doesn’t have clear cut policies and no clear details on how to accomplish them. And even before his presidential campaign, Trump has a penchant of secrecy such as having employees sign non-disclosure agreements, erasing e-mails from company computers each year, destroying and withholding testimony and evidence, not disclosing charity records, and more. We don’t know how much Trump actually earns since he won’t release his tax returns. Neither does Wall Street know what Trump did to the money he stole from them. The fact Trump has resorted to secrecy so much over the years matters, especially when he’s a candidate of a major party for president. If he wins, his administration will be one of secrecy which won’t be good for the country.

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While politicians are used to mudslinging each other during campaigns, Donald Trump attacks his opponents unusually viciously. Here he is saying how Ted Cruz’s wife is ugly.

36. His Campaign Strategy Mainly Revolves Around Bringing Down His Foes– Trump’s campaign is particularly noteworthy since it’s more or less on appealing to people’s prejudices and anxieties while viciously attacking his opponents in any way he could in order to get media attention. He won the Republican primary this way as he attacked and defeated his toughest opponents one by one. And it’s clear that Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush got the worst of it. Whether its calling Hillary a criminal who should be in jail or promoting conspiracy theories, Trump’s campaign has set a very hostile precedent for this election. In fact, if you watch his debates, Trump devotes more time to attacking Hillary than discussing actual policy. Even during the town hall which Trump devoted to interrupting her and talking about Bill Clinton’s sex scandals and even spent some time following her on the stage. And if he thinks he’s losing, he claims that the whole thing is rigged by voter fraud and that people need to be vigilant poll watchers in order to intimidate minorities at polling places. In years of ugly elections, Trump’s persistent bullying on the campaign trail makes it so apparent that he should be the candidate to lose.

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Here’s Donald Trump giving his daughter Ivanka a friendly hug during the RNC. Yes, I know there’s a real Manchurian candidate vibe here. It’s disturbing. Yeah, that’s just creepy.

37. He’s Terrible to His Family– Yes, I know that Trump’s family is extremely loyal to him despite that he’s completely despicable. Of course, his father was the same way which is why the two got along so well. But this didn’t help his brother Freddy whose fatal flaw was being a normal guy born to an affluent family of sociopaths. He also liked to fly planes which his father and brother Donald constantly thought was at the same level of a bus driver. Freddy died an unhappy alcoholic at 43 in 1981. Yet, it was reported that Trump helped draft his father’s last will that cut Freddy’s kids out of their grandfather’s inheritance when the old man died in 1999. According to the New York Times, “Freddy’s children sued, claiming that an earlier version of the will had entitled them to their father’s share of the estate, but that Donald and his siblings had used ‘undue influence’ over their grandfather, who had dementia, to cut them out.” It gets worse as the Times adds, “A week later, Mr. Trump retaliated by withdrawing the medical benefits critical to his nephew’s infant child.” We should take note that his nephew’s son had cerebral palsy. And you thought his mocking a disabled reporter was bad. He’s also very shitty husband who bragged about cheating on them as well as groped other women. His marriage with first wife Ivana ended after Trump’s affair with Marla Maples went public and their nasty divorce with Ivana claiming Trump raped her. His second marriage with Maples also ended in a nasty divorce with her taking their daughter Tiffany to California. As with third wife Melania, well, there’s rumors that she may not have been legal when she came to this country. But you probably know what she has to deal with. Then we have his children for whom he wasn’t really around much when they were growing up. But how he treats his daughters is pretty telling. I mean Trump once told reporters that he’d date Ivanka she wasn’t his daughter. And then he touched her ass at the RNC. Yeah, that totally seems too much like Mrs. Iselin and Raymond Shaw in reverse. Let’s just say if Jared Kushner’s New York Observer isn’t endorsing Trump right now, this is probably the reason. As for Tiffany Trump, well, he doesn’t really take much notice of her as her RNC speech makes her seem like she’s begging for his attention. And he didn’t even watch her. Yet, when she was born Trump already seemed to reduce her to body parts saying that she had her mom Marla’s legs but wasn’t sure whether she’ll have her breasts yet. Oh, and there’s a chance he may not have wanted her in the first place. His sons Donald Jr. and Eric have turned out to be pricks who hunt endangered animals on African safari. And according to one of Donald Jr.’s classmates, Trump once slapped him across the face in college and that Jr. despised his father, was habitually drunk, and hated the attention his last name afforded him. Yet, he and Eric also inherited their dad’s racism and sexism, too. Yeah, Trump isn’t really very nice to his family is he?

38. His Campaign Is Tampering with the Political Process– The reason why Trump managed to get this far in the 2016 election is that his train wreck go so much press attention during the Republican primary that the news networks basically gave him free publicity that basically put his competition out of commission. And he did the same thing during the general election with constant allusions to the Clintons’ scandals as well as Hillary’s e-mails. It doesn’t help that he’s had help by Putin’s Russian government and WikiLeaks who both have beefs with Hillary and the Obama Administration. We know the DNC hacks were by the Russians. Not to mention, Trump has called for his supporters to poll watch for in person voter fraud at the polling places particularly where minorities vote. There are even allegations of voter suppression in states like North Carolina, Indiana, Florida, and Pennsylvania. And we know who’s targeted in these states. You know minority voters who support Hillary. That doesn’t get me started by how Republican dominated states have resorted to gerrymandering. Let’s just say if Trump is losing, it’s not because the election’s rigged against him as he believes. Quite the contrary.

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Donald Trump rallies have been known for their moments of violence. And Trump is said to encourage the spectacle. Here is a fight in Tucson, Arizona.

39. His Campaign Rhetoric Is Inflammatory and Incites Violence– All through the campaign season, Trump’s rhetoric is very inflammatory with racist and sexist comments that have caused supporters glee and opponents cringing in fear. And some of them have a good reason to be concerned, especially if they’re minorities since Trump’s endorsed by white supremacists. Yet, Trump also has a history of calling for violent acts against those who protest at his events that goes back until at least August of last year. He’s encouraged supporters to beat up protesters at his rallies, particularly if they’re people of color. He’s even suggested violence against Hillary alleging she’d get rid of the Second Amendment. Yet, what’s even more disturbing is how he talks about it so casually. But violent rhetoric can get too out of hand, particularly since some of his supporters are known terrorists.

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Here’s what Donald Trump said about appointing Supreme Court Justices. What he says indicates he doesn’t know what the Supreme Court does at all. This is a problem.

40. His Campaign Has No Substantive Policies– While Trump’s campaign contains enough spectacle to take over the airwaves, but there’s no substance to it unlike those of his opponents. He’s never been transparent on anything especially when it comes to his medical records and tax returns. We don’t know how he’ll build his wall on the US-Mexican border or how he’ll force Mexico to pay for it. He doesn’t have details on his healthcare plan he intends to replace Obamacare with (and probably has none). Most of his campaign promises tend to have vague assertions and broad rhetoric. There’s little on what Trump plans to spend, how he plans to pay for it, and what he thinks his programs will look like. In his rhetoric, Trump doesn’t seem to have much knowledge on public policy details even stumbling on basic American governance and frequently demonstrating his ignorance of key challenges and issues in policymaking. For instance, Trump accused President Obama for keeping interest rates low which is the Federal Reserve’s job. If he’s elected president, we won’t know what he’s going to do which is very troubling.

Protestors hold up a sign towards the crowd at a rally for U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma

While the media has tried to make Trump support about economics, support is mostly based on racism, xenophobia, and authoritarianism. This banner makes it clear.

41. His Political Appeal Is Based on Cultural Hatred and Authoritarianism– I know many Trump supporters probably don’t have much faith in government and are going through tough economic times. I know many Trump supporters are working class whites with no college degrees. Yet, according to Nate Silver, Trump supporters are on average wealthier and more educated than their peers. So the white working class isn’t a monolithic group. For instance, there were a lot of white working class voters who supported Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary. Besides, a lot of these white working class voters tend to be very suspicious of government as well as continually complain about paying taxes for welfare recipients. So it’s more likely that Trump support has more to do with race and xenophobia since it’s Trump’s spewing of cultural hatred that has made him so popular like building a wall, stop and frisk, and banning Muslims. The fact he’s been endorsed by white supremacists and terrorists that he hasn’t denounced shows this. Besides, if you’ve heard “Make America Great Again,” it evokes some kind of warped nostalgia as if he sets to make it the way it was. Even though that imagined past didn’t really exist or wasn’t anything like that they thought it was. We should also take into account how white society in the South has long been structured to view whiteness as a mark of higher status whether during slavery or segregation. Not only that we should also account how Southern whites learn their history within the nostalgically racist “Lost Cause” mythology when it pertains to the American Civil War. And how Barack Obama’s presidency challenged that and many didn’t like it. Let’s just say, the cultural hatred angle for Trump support makes a lot more sense for me.

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This list shows who’s been suing Donald Trump for stealing their money over the decades. What he’s done by cheating these people really shows how Trump doesn’t have much respect for the law. Not to mention, he uses the court and his money to get away with

42. He Has No Respect for the Rule of Law– If reading Trump’s history tells me anything about him, it’s that he often believes that the rules don’t apply to him. Or at least when the penalty doesn’t consist of jail time. But whatever the case, he tends to treat rules and laws as inconveniences as well as exploits legal loopholes. He ignores conflicts of interest as well as takes what he wants regardless who gets hurt. He’s been repeatedly caught for discriminating against blacks whether in housing or in the casino business. For years, he’s been repeatedly fined for breaking rules relating to operating his casinos including an incident in 1990 when his father Fred bought 700 chips at Trump Taj Mahal for $3.5 million. He’s also went to great lengths to avoid being accountable for paying back investors along with wage theft. Yet, what shows Trump’s disrespect for the law the most is his Trump Foundation charity in which he used other people’s money for his own purposes. With his Trump Foundation, Trump has used the money to pay for lawsuits, bribe public officials, buy stuff like portraits of himself and a helmet signed by Tim Tebow, and funneling money in them that would’ve been counted as taxable income otherwise. He’s even said to use Trump Foundation money to fund his campaign. All these are known as self-dealing which is illegal for a charity to do under the IRS. But Trump gets away with this. Even more telling is how many times Trump has used lawsuits to avoid taking responsibility for his actions. Furthermore, Trump’s campaign has been plagued with money shenanigans. Another can be him expressing no regret calling for the Central Park Five to be executed despite the fact they were exonerated due to DNA evidence. But Trump still believes they’re guilty to this day. Even legal experts across the political spectrum are scared of a Trump presidency since he doesn’t seem to have respect for the rule of law in this country nor has any respect for American constitutional traditions. As Adam Gopnik wrote for the New Yorker, “The American Republic stands threatened by the first overtly anti-democratic leader of a large party in its modern history—an authoritarian with no grasp of history, no impulse control, and no apparent barriers on his will to power. The right thing to do, for everyone who believes in liberal democracy, is to gather around and work to defeat him on Election Day.” He later goes on to say, “If Trump came to power, there is a decent chance that the American experiment would be over. This is not a hyperbolic prediction; it is not a hysterical prediction; it is simply a candid reading of what history tells us happens in countries with leaders like Trump. Countries don’t really recover from being taken over by unstable authoritarian nationalists of any political bent, left or right—not by Peróns or Castros or Putins or Francos or Lenins or fill in the blanks. The nation may survive, but the wound to hope and order will never fully heal. Ask Argentinians or Chileans or Venezuelans or Russians or Italians—or Germans. The national psyche never gets over learning that its institutions are that fragile and their ability to resist a dictator that weak. If he can rout the Republican Party in a week by having effectively secured the nomination, ask yourself what Trump could do with the American government if he had a mandate.” In the US, it’s well established that nobody, not even the President is above the law. Unfortunately Trump always thought he’s above the law because he’s rich. And there’s a strong chance he won’t uphold the constitution if he ever becomes president.

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Here’s Donald Trump Mar-a-Lago portrait that the Trump Foundation paid for at $20,000. It’s at his Florida Resort. Of course, how Trump got it is an act of self-dealing which is illegal under the IRS.

43. He Constantly Breaks His Promises– All his life Trump has made promises to people in order to give him what he wants. Yet, once he has it, he often doesn’t fulfil his word and always making excuses why. A June article from the USA Today alleges that Trump has refused to pay workers for decades when he said he would. As of 2016, Trump has at least 60 lawsuits involving employees and contractors alleging he didn’t pay them. He’s settled with 48 servers at his Miami golf resort in a lawsuit about failing to pay overtime for a special event. There were at least 253 subcontractors who weren’t paid in full and/or on time for work on Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It’s very clear that Trump promised to pay these people or they wouldn’t have agreed to work for him. And yet, he refused to pay them in the end. He’s also failed to pay back investors who’ve lent money to him and now Wall Street no longer trusts him. Not only that, but Trump has promised to donate money to charity over the years and never makes good on them. Well, unless he’s called out on it. It’s not that Trump constantly breaks his promises. It’s just that Trump constantly makes promises that he has no intention to fulfill. It’s part of how he works. You can’t have a president like that.

44. Even Republicans Hate Him– We should understand that Trump was never the favorite to win the Republican primary in the 2016 election. The Republican establishment wasn’t happy when he was ahead in the polls or when he won primary after primary. And when the many of these Republicans finally caved to Trump in the general election, it was mostly because they feared for their jobs and possibly the good of the party. Yet, many Republicans still won’t support Trump such as Mitt Romney, the Bushes, Colin Powell, Condolezza Rice, Glenn Beck, Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Tom Ridge, Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Reagan Education Secretary Bill Bennett, the National Review, Wall Street bankers, the Weekly Standard, and many conservative newspapers. George Will even left the Republican Party for his opposition to Trump. Nebraska Senator Bob Sasse wrote a long Facebook post explaining why he won’t vote for Trump. Right wing radio host, Eric Erickson explained his reason because he’d, “put my country before my party and decline to help the voters in this country commit national suicide.” At the RNC, it’s very apparent that the Republicans weren’t warmly behind their candidate. In fact, many prominent Republicans like John McCain refused to attend. Those who did, didn’t give an enthusiastic endorsement and don’t seem to like him much. For instance, I know that Paul Ryan doesn’t like Trump and has even called him out on it. Yet, he ended up endorsing the guy anyway, because he’s Speaker of the House and was in a tough primary fight with a Trump supporting opponent. And even in his convention speech, he barely mentioned the guy. Then there’s Texas Senator Ted Cruz who declined to endorse Trump at the RNC in his speech after the latter viciously attacked him at the primary for calling his wife ugly and insulting his father. Yet, Cruz would eventually cave to endorse Trump anyway when he discovered he was up for reelection in two years. You also have Chris Christie who’s only been supporting Trump to get on a ticket or at least a cabinet position, whom Stephen Colbert likened to “a best man at a wedding he doesn’t believe in.” Any way you look at it, the Republican establishment more or less supports him as if they feel that they have to since he’s their party’s nominee.

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Donald Trump has received very few major newspaper endorsements during this election than most candidates. Perhaps it’s because Trump is no fan of freedom of the press. And that he’s a morally bankrupt individual to begin with.

45. Newspapers and Experts Have Warned People Not to Vote for Him– While experts and newspapers usually have their own political biases, what’s unusual about this election is how many have refused to endorse the Republican nominee. In fact, there are many who are coming out to encourage Americans not to vote for Trump. For one, Hillary has received way more newspaper endorsements than what’s usual for any presidential party nominee. Even more telling is that many of these publications usually endorse Republican candidates with some not endorsing a Democratic presidential nominee in decades. Major publications that didn’t endorse Hillary usually went with no endorsement, Gary Johnson, or not Donald Trump. Nevertheless, Hillary’s high newspaper endorsement count doesn’t indicate an acceptance of her politics that many of these papers disagree with. In fact, it’s indicative that the newspaper industry doesn’t want Trump to be president for good reason. After all, Trump is no fan of First Amendment rights since he sued a reporter for challenging his billionaire status. Experts who oppose Trump include 370 economists, 50 GOP national security officials, legal experts across the political spectrum, and more. Even 600 historians have spoken against Trump. David McCullough said the prospect of a Trump presidency distressed him that he felt he could no longer remain publicly attached saying, “When you think of how far we have come, and at what cost, and with what faith, to just turn it all over to this monstrous clown with a monstrous ego, with no experience, never served his country in any way — it’s just crazy. We can’t stand by and let it happen. The Republican Party shouldn’t stand by and let it happen.” Filmmaker Ken Burns voiced opposition against Trump in his commencement address at Stanford University, where he said that despite 40 years of avoiding advocacy in his work, he no longer had, “the luxury of neutrality or ‘balance’ or even of bemused disdain.” It should be a red flag that a Trump presidency poses nothing but trouble.

46. He Brings Out the Worst of America– Watching the Republican primaries take its course this election was especially distressing for me. Whenever Trump would do something outrageous that would get normal presidential candidates out of the race, he didn’t suffer any fall in his popularity. It’s like his supporters kept excusing his behavior on the stage even when he was encouraging them to beat up protestors at his rallies. There are even people comparing Trump rallies to 1930s Germany which led to the rise of Adolf Hitler. And we know what happened there. Yet, such comparisons do have merit since Trump’s campaign revolves around a cult of personality like he would make everything okay. And these supporters think he would because look how successful Trump is. Look how strong and fearless he is. And to prove how much America needs him, Trump reminds voters that America is in deep, deep trouble. Yet at same time, Trump’s campaign has no substantive policies on how he’ll get things done. Nevertheless, a candidate who says he’ll fix it but doesn’t offer any plans spells trouble. But it seems that his supporters don’t seem to care what he does and seem to take him at every word. This is bad.

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Donald Trump likes to use “America First” in his presidential proposals, particularly when it comes to foreign policy. This term was used by Charles Lindbergh’s anti-war group called the America First Committee known for it’s isolationism as well as virulent Anti-Semitism. Lindbergh’s “America First” speech was filled with Anti-Semitic language and cost him his reputation.

47. He Has Little Knowledge of History or the Lessons Learned from It– Trump has never cared about the consequences of his actions and his candidacy certainly shows this. It’s very clear the Trump isn’t just ignorant on matters of basic civics, he has no sense of the American past and doesn’t understand the achievements in this country. Sure he’d want to “make America great again,” but he doesn’t understand what already makes America great in the first place. According to the New Republic, he’s never read a presidential biography and that his knowledge of presidential history is almost entirely self-serving. It doesn’t help that people in the media have compared aspects of Trump’s campaign to parts of America’s past and none of them are good. One example would be Trump’s foreign policy outline which he refers to as “Restore Fortress America” or “America First” which to him means disconnecting from other countries, more barriers to trade, tougher negotiations with long standing NATO allies, and a more restrictive immigration policy with a wall and Muslim ban. It also shares similarities to the America First Committee before US entry into WWII while Nazi Germany was taking power across Europe. Now the American First Committee was an isolationist group who opposed US involvement in the war, which originated with college students. Yet, it soon became a group that included conservatives who wanted to stick it to a liberal president as well as virulent Anti-Semites and Nazi sympathizers. Things got worse when famed aviator Charles Lindbergh became their public spokesman and gave a highly Anti-Semitic speech in 1941 that was universally condemned, which combined with being too nice to Nazi Germany led him to suffer an epic fall from grace. The phrase “America First” has become taboo ever since as well as an Anti-Semitic byword. But when Trump was asked about this group in July, he claimed that “America First” was a brand-new modern term and that he never related it to the past and not what Lindbergh had in mind. It’s very clear that Trump doesn’t know about the shameful American First Committee nor does he even care. Nor does he care about the parallels that suggest how the old isolationist movement is relevant to his campaign. Because he kept using “America First” as a slogan not just to his foreign policies but his other ones, too. It’s like he’s using this phrase because he thinks it sounds good for his campaign. Another term is the “silent majority” which seem eerily reminiscent of the radical right John Birch Society of the 1960s, which played an active role in the Red Scare. It was also used in the Nixon campaign of 1968. Yet, what Trump doesn’t know is that the past doesn’t always stay in the past and those who don’t know much about history are doomed to repeat it.

48. He Gives Little to No Thought to His Responses to Questions or Challenges– Trump’s campaign has been characterized as all spectacle without any substance. Trump doesn’t seem to think that policy matters much, details don’t matter at all, and that positions are negotiable. All that matters for Trump is running on attitude and charisma, strength and success, that goo-goo elites make America a loser, and that he’s the superhero who can make it win again. However, this campaign style is extremely done. Presidential elections aren’t about mere policy face offs, they’re also about competence, leadership, values, vision, records, and which face voters want to see their TV the next 4 years. Sure like Trump, Obama ran as a political outsider which worked out well for him. However, Obama had a detailed policy agenda and much of it has become the law in the land. We’re not sure what would become law under Trump or how he’d face challenges. Even worse, Trump has given little or no thought in his responses to questions or challenges as we’ve seen from his debate performances. But when we’re choosing a president, then we need to know what they’re going to do if elected. And if Trump can’t give a good response to a policy question, then he shouldn’t be elected.

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While Donald Trump’s campaign has many veteran supporters, this doesn’t mean he’s nice to them. In fact, quite the opposite. Here is his fake veterans hotline voicemail.

49. He’s Shown Disrespect to People Who’ve Supported Him– Trump has been unusually vicious to people who opposed him and not just on his campaign either. Yet, he could also be quite awful when it comes to people who support him. First, Trump has had a long record of bashing veterans including times when he’s had disabled vet vendors chased off Trump Tower, calling a decorated war hero and POW a loser for getting captured, organizing fake veterans fundraisers, accepting a Purple Heart from a supporter and saying how he always wanted one, ignoring a mother’s demands not to politicize her son’s death in Benghazi, setting up a fake veterans hotline, calling his sexual escapades during the 1970s his “Vietnam,” attacking a dead soldier’s parents, claiming to know more about ISIS than the generals, and more. Let’s just say Trump really has no respect for those who served our country in uniform and kept our country safe in a time of war. Yet, veterans rank among some of his most loyal supporters despite all that. Second, while Trump claims he’s pro-life and has considerable support in the pro-life crowd, his record isn’t, even on the campaign trail. He’s taken 5 different positions on abortion in 3 days, called pregnancy an “inconvenience” for a business” (before he denied it), had a woman fired for getting pregnant, tried to replace a pregnant employee who refused to sleep with him, may not provide maternity leave to his employees, mocked a disabled reporter, rejected his first wife after she popped out 3 kids for him, bragged about sexual assault, rates women based on their bodies, cut medical benefits to his nephew’s son with cerebral palsy, praised his future current wife for taking birth control every day on the radio, may have paid and urged mistresses to have abortions (since he answered, “such an interesting question” when asked this), and once told future second wife “Uh, excuse me? What are we going to do about this?” after finding out about an accidental pregnancy (despite that Marla Maples had already made up her mind to go through with it). Sorry, pro-lifers, but Trump is not your man. I mean calling pregnancy an “inconvenience for a business” is even less pro-life than calling abortion “a women’s right to choose” especially since the former statement has killed far more innocent unborn children than the latter. And I think Trump’s belief in pregnancy as an inconvenience for business basically sums up his stance on reproductive rights. In other words, he believes a business’s needs are more important than an unborn child’s or even the mother’s. Besides, whenever he speaks on the matter, he seems like he has to go the extra mile to prove he’s pro-life. Yet, while the pro-life movement backs Trump in droves, it’s very apparent that these people are being played for major fools. Third, are women, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, and minorities who are supporting him but that goes without saying. Fourth, this can go on.

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Of course, this is very true when it comes to Trump supporters. It seems that these people treat Donald Trump like he’s a bad boyfriend thinking he’ll change. But let’s just say his employees, investors, and ex-wives thought the same thing. Seriously, if you support Trump, I guarantee he’ll let you down. So I hope Trump let’s you down by losing the race. Because if he wins, we could be in trouble.

50. He Brings Out the Worst in His Supporters– I know that a lot of Trump supporters aren’t bad people. I know that a lot of Trump supporters are well-educated and not stupid. Yet, whenever I see or hear people I know support Trump, I feel utterly appalled. Now Trump isn’t a guy these people would want in their neighborhood or someone they’d want their children to emulate. Of course I know many of these people support Trump because they’re racist, Islamophobic, and xenophobic even if it doesn’t define them. Some people who support Trump are violent like some of the Second Amendment fanatics who like to carry their guns in full view as well as right wing terrorists and extremists. But this is a man who’s violated the norms of ethical behavior even the most ardent Trump fans wouldn’t accept in someone in their lives, let alone in a presidential candidate. And yet, these same people continually excuse Trump and his campaign no matter what happens like they have little to no standards for what a presidential candidate should be. Look, I know many people are supporting Trump because they’re pro-life, Republican, or don’t like Hillary Clinton. But come on, to support Trump for these reasons just makes you look pathetic. Because there are plenty of people who are in all these camps but are still voting for Hillary Clinton anyway because they have standards for what to expect in a president. Hell, even some of Hillary’s enemies are supporting her like Michael Chertoff. Yet, what’s worse is that plenty of Trump supporters don’t seem to care if their man is a raging sociopath with no political experience who’s lying them into a gigantic con. They don’t seem to question his morals. They don’t seem to question his policies or lack of them. They don’t question whether he’s fit for the presidency. They don’t question whether the veracity of his statements or whether he’s lying to them. They don’t question his sordid past that debunks his claim as a successful businessman. All they care about is whatever Trump says and how he’ll make America great again. And the fact so many Americans are willing to vote for a guy like Trump, including people I know such as friends and family just scares the living shit out of me.

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Yes, here we have robber baron Trump sitting in his gaudy gold oval office ushering a new autocratic gilded age for America. For the love of God, America, please don’t let this happen. Jesus, please, don’t. I don’t want to see a Trump presidency.