A reader who heard me say on the radio last week that Hillary Clinton is my least favorite Democratic Presidential candidate of my lifetime (even worse than Michael Dukakis) emailed to ask me for whom I am going to vote.
Lord knows that Hillary Clinton is driving me crazy.
She's matched up against a racist, sexist, lying blowhard, one that, for some reason, otherwise-serious people in the Republican Party cannot bring themselves to disavow. All she has to do is set herself apart by telling the truth and she'd be up 20 points and coasting to a landslide victory. Instead, the truth—which, admittedly, is sometimes painful and often uncomfortable—is a shifting concept for her, much to her own detriment. The truth can't possibly be as bad as the lies that her detractors make up about her.
However, while Clinton is the worst Democratic candidate of my lifetime, Donald Trump is the worst presidential candidate of all time. He's worse than white supremacist George Wallace, who actually won five states in the 1968 election. He's even worse than Aaron Burr, whose sole claim to fame is that he killed one of the Founding Fathers.
A quick note on Trump: When I watched him make his climb to the top of the GOP heap (it was like watching a bus accident in slow motion or, worse, like watching an episode of The Bachelorette in real time), I tried to make sense of it all. Maybe, I thought, he was like Bob Roberts, the fictional troubadour-turned-politician with a fascist undertone in the eponymous mock documentary. But that would have given him way too much credit.
Then I thought maybe he was a real-life Willie Stark (All The King's Men), a hustler who tapped into a populist anger and rode it to political victory. But even Stark had some good in him before absolute power corrupted him absolutely.
After listening to him blubber and reading his tweets over the past couple weeks, it finally came to me. He's not Bob Roberts or Willie Stark; he's Chance the Gardener, the fictional idiot whose inane babbling is mistaken for deep, plain-spoken truth by people who really, really should know better.
Anyway, when I got to the end of the email, it turns out that the reader was pushing Gary Johnson, the guy who is heading the Libertarian ticket. The quick and final answer to that question is hell to the no! Mr. Johnson (and the Libertarian Party from which he diverges on a regular basis) are both so out there, they almost make Donald Trump look rational. Almost.
Let's forget that Johnson probably couldn't pass a high-school Social Studies course. So what if he didn't know what Aleppo is; he probably bogarted that joint one time too many. And he can't name even one world leader? He's an isolationist; big deal. Donald Trump could probably only name one and that's only because he has the warm, trembling thighs for Germany's Angela Merkel. If you asked Trump to name the Mexican president with whom he shared the most-uncomfortable press conference of all time, he'd probably say Speedy Gonzales.
No, it doesn't matter than Johnson is a dolt. We've had lots of dumb-ass presidents. The real problem is that Johnson's stances on some very basic issues are flat-out frightening. Here are just a few:
• When asked whether there might be some reasonable restrictions on the purchase of firearms, such as background checks (which are favored by a majority of both Republicans and Democrats), Johnson said, "I don't believe there should be any restrictions when it comes to firearms. None."
• Not only does he oppose the raising of the minimum wage, he doesn't believe that there should be a minimum wage at all. Like lots of other rich white people, he wants the "market" to determine wages. Besides, he has been quoted, "nobody works for the minimum wage anyway."
• He wants the government to shrivel up and die and, in the meantime, he wants what government there is to butt out of private business. For example, he doesn't think that government should be able to tell people that they can't smoke in public places, including restaurants. Yeah, let's go back to those good old days.
• Both Johnson and the Libertarian Party want to do away with public schools, despite the fact that public education played a major role in America becoming a great country and a world power in the first place. Like the teacher-hating jerks in the Arizona Legislature, Johnson and his Party want the "marketplace" to determine the education of America's greatest resource. Yeah, great idea! Moron.
He opposes almost all taxes and is against paid medical and/or family leave, but favors the Citizens United decision that allows corporations to pour endless amounts of money onto the political battlefield.
And please don't try to convince me to vote for Jill Stein. Last I heard, she was on the lam after an arrest warrant was issued for her in North Dakota. Yes, North Dakota ... the birthplace of Gary Johnson. Maybe it's a conspiracy.
People who want viable third-party candidates should come up with viable third parties.