I’d been working on a piece about reasons to vote for Clinton, but it was becoming huge and unmanageable. So I’m breaking it down into bite-sized morsels.
I recently did a poll of my Facebook readers, asking, “Clinton supporters — what are the main reasons you’re voting for her? Not reasons you’re voting against Trump, those are easy, but things you positively like about her and make you want to support her.” The entire thread is well worth reading, especially if you’re planning to vote for Clinton but aren’t wild about it — or you’re not planning to vote for Clinton and are wondering why other people are. And one of the themes that came up again and again: Clinton’s administrative skills and knowledge of government are fierce.
Clinton knows government inside and out. She knows how to get things done. She has years of experience in government, in the Senate and as Secretary of State: even when she was First Lady, she engineered the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a compromise she forged from the defeat of her attempts to create universal health care. Her platform is detailed, with specific policies and proposals for how they can be accomplished (a fact that, weirdly, may be detrimental to her campaign),
And she is well-known in Washington, even among her opponents, for her policy expertise, her willingness to study and increase her already prodigious knowledge, her work ethic, her ability to work with others and make effective deals while maintaining her tenacity, and her willingness to share credit (a useful and underrated trait in long-term political strategy).
Trump, on the other hand…
I don’t think I have to tell you that Trump is profoundly and dangerously ignorant about government, both domestic and international, and is arrogantly unwilling to acknowledge the limits of his knowledge. He is famous for his self-worship and his arrogant belief that he is the best at everything and that he and he alone can solve problems.
As for the idea that he’d know how to run the country because he knows how to run a business…
I’ve always been baffled by the idea that business people would automatically be good at government. For-profit businesses are not government, and government is not a for-profit business. Businesses exist to make money for their owners and stockholders. Governments are structures a society uses to pool resources for services that benefit the society, and to make decisions about how those resources should be used. Governments don’t have to make a profit. They’re not supposed to make a profit. They’re supposed to stay within a budget. (And some evidence suggests that they’re better and more efficient at that than for-profit businesses: Medicare actually spends less money on administrative costs than for-profit insurance companies.) In fact, many government programs are inherently not profitable, and privatization would either corrupt them or change them so radically it’d be missing the point. Public parks, for instance, can’t be made profitable without abandoning their entire purpose, and privatized prisons are a disaster, creating an abusive prison system with no incentive to reduce the prison population and every incentive to increase it.
But even if business success were a good reason to vote someone into office, Trump doesn’t have it. Oh, he’s been successful in that he’s personally wealthy. But his success has been built, to a great extent, on not paying his bills. I’m not talking about bankruptcy, which is a complicated issue that gets misused by both Trump’s supporters and opponents. I’m talking about flat-out stiffing people by the hundreds: employees, contractors, even lawyers hired to represent him in lawsuits from people he stiffed. In addition, his companies have been cited 24 times for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage. And these are only the cases that went to court. To quote USA Today:
The actions in total paint a portrait of Trump’s sprawling organization frequently failing to pay small businesses and individuals, then sometimes tying them up in court and other negotiations for years. In some cases, the Trump teams financially overpower and outlast much smaller opponents, draining their resources. Some just give up the fight, or settle for less; some have ended up in bankruptcy or out of business altogether.
I want our President to know government inside and out, from the small details to the big picture. I don’t just want her to know policy and the players: I want her to know how to get things done. I want her to have good working relationships with the people she, you know, will be working with. And I want her to understand that a successful government doesn’t mean one that profits by stiffing people for work they’ve done.
I want Hillary Clinton.
(Comment policy: In addition to my regular comment policy, I’m going to ask people to keep comments narrowly focused on this issue. This is not a platform to discuss everything else you do or don’t like about Clinton or Trump. Thanks.)