Thursday, October 13, 2016

I can no longer defend Trump's character... but I am still voting for him.

Donald Trump at a rally. Reuters. 

This election is probably the most vitriolic and sleazy election I have ever seen and it has gotten even worse. The New York Times and other outlets have just published 5 different accounts of women who say they were assaulted by Donald Trump. The allegations are that Trump either kissed, groped or touched the butt of these five different women. Reuters has a summary of the stories if you need to catch up. 

Before I say anything else, I realized that I have to walk a fine line here. I want to discuss the veracity of these claims and my reaction to them, but I also don't want anyone who has suffered similar things to be upset. Though I generally despise trigger warnings, I do hope that people that are especially sensitive to the issue of sexual assault either not read any further, or don't blame me if you get upset at what I write here. 

With that out of the way, I have some very serious questions about these allegations. That does not mean that we shouldn't investigate them. Though I don't go so far as to say that we should just "listen and believe", like many feminists do, I do think all reports of sexual assault should at least be investigated. False reports do happen, even if some people would like to pretend that they don't. In America it's innocent until proven guilty in a court of law tried by a jury of your pears, not guilty as soon as someone raises a charge. That's the way it needs to be if we are going to have any semblance of justice in this country. These claims against Trump need to be vetted and investigated by people outside the news organizations that posted them. Anything else would be an affront to justice

Unfortunately, these claims are going to be very hard to vet. They took place many years ago and did not generate any police reports, witnesses or lawsuits, so it's a classic example of a "He said/She said" case, the greatest headache in law that I am aware of. Right now, without any other incriminating or exculpatory evidence that I have seen, the whole thing is unsolvable. That evidence may be forthcoming but given the vague claims that I have read, it very well may not be. 

If the allegations are true, did Donald Trump commit crimes? Very possibly. Reading the descriptions it seems that most of the cases would count as misdemeanor in my state, Wisconsin. Certainly, feeling up a woman's chest and putting a hand up a skirt would count. Grabbing someone's butt would too, though when it happened to me during my drinking days, I never minded. Kissing is way more of a gray area. The case where Trump was accused of passionately kissing someone without permission would probably count, but the one where supposedly kissed a woman on the cheeks twice and then kissed her on the lips would be laughed out of court.  

Would charges ever be filed in these cases? Probably not with the evidence provided. The most serious allegation, the groping incident on a plane, doesn't even have a firm date attached to it, and there were no eyewitnesses to collaborate the claims. The other cases have dates, but still no witnesses or evidence. And the case with Trump kissing a woman as a greeting wouldn't be a crime anyways since that is fairly common in the crowd Trump runs with. It would be like calling a pat on the back battery. It's technically true, but no jury would ever convict on it. If the cases had been reported and investigated when they happened, the story might be different, but that did not happen in these cases. Right now it's just one person's word against another's. 

And of course, the entire issue just reeks of collaboration and conspiracy. We are supposed to believe that during a vitriolic and mudslinging campaign that nobody ever thought to ask anyone if Trump assaulted them? That these women just came forward now, just a couple of days after the Trump Tape scandal hit? And that all these separate stories just happened organically, with nobody behind the scenes pulling the strings? Not bloody likely, to say the least! 

That being said, the issue still gives me pause. It's very possible that Trump really did do some inappropriate things with women. Everyone knows he's a cheater and he has said some pretty stupid things on occasion. Even though I think that this is a setup, after all, Trump was directly asked if he had ever kissed or groped someone at the last debate, it still makes me think. If I had an attractive 18 year old daughter I would be way less comfortable with her being alone with Donald Trump then I would have before I had heard these allegations. Though I think innocent until proven guilty is among our most cherished and important civil rights, I still don't like hearing things like this about Trump. Given his comments and general playboy lifestyle, they are at least plausible. 

How, you may ask, can I still vote for Trump? Let's just assume that these allegations are completely true. I don't think they are, even though they should be investigated, but for the sake of argument let's assume. Would that disqualify Trump from the presidency? Legally, I have no idea since he was never convicted for anything. Morally? Much tougher question. Though I hardly think that someone who commits misdemeanor sexual assault should be awarded the presidency, it's really not that different then the long line of presidents and other high officials that have been embroiled in sex scandals. Some of those people were very effective at their jobs. People still love Kennedy, Clinton and FDR, and all of them had sex scandals... 

I, personally, don't elect a president based on how they treat women. Or how they treat men, for that matter. From what I understand, Hillary Clinton is an awful person to work for and she has been accused of berating her workers and even the police and secret service assigned to protect her. If true, that means Clinton is a bad person, just like these allegations, if true, would make Trump a bad person. It wouldn't make them bad leaders or bad at being president. 

As always, I have to fall back on policy. And I just can't support anyone else in the field. The other major candidate, Hillary Clinton is opposed to everything I believe in. And, given her anti-Russia ambition and Vladimir Putin's utter contempt for her, I think there is a very good chance that she could start a war with Russia. That would leave me, and everyone I care about, dead and gone. Given that choice, there is no way I could ever support her, even if Trump had done much worse then some misdemeanor assaults. I genuinely think that if Clinton is elected, it could be war, so I have to vote for the guy that has the best chance of beating her. Even if I liked Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, and I emphatically don't like either, they do not have that chance.

Even ignoring the 7000 warhead dagger pointed at all our throats, Trump's policies match up much more for me than the policies of Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson or Jill Stein. Quite frankly, I hate all of them and I don't think any of their ideas policy are wise, coherent or even sane. Trump on the other hand is about as close to perfect as I could have hoped in this election in terms of platform. Maybe Rand Paul might have been a little better and Cruz, though just as sleazy as Trump, wasn't that bad, but it's way too late for them to even be an option. It's Trump or nobody for me, and I can't in good conscious stay home on election day. 

So yes, even if these allegations are 100% true, I still have to vote for Trump. I won't risk my life and the life of everyone I care about just because a few small crimes may have been committed. The stakes are just too damn high for Hillary Clinton to be president. Even if that means that Trump hurts some more women. Which seems unlikely given his old age. Better groped then dead. Period. 

The only good news to come out of this is that I get to accuse a lot of the people on the left of a huge amount of hypocrisy. Though Bill Clinton isn't running for president, he is married to the person that is, and he will be heavily involved in any Hillary Clinton White House. And Bill Clinton makes Donald Trump look like a choir boy. He's been accused of honest to god rape, by Juanitia Broaddrick and others. He has also been accused of far more groping and inappropriate relationships than Trump as well. Those allegations have been well investigated and some of them involved an admission of guilt from Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton stood by her man even though he's a genuine slimeball.

Surely, if you think that mere allegations of misconduct disqualify a person from being president, you have to admit that Bill Clinton is way worse than Trump. Even if you view the sex acts as equivalent, which I can't defend in any way shape or form, you can't give Bill and Hillary a pass for their behavior. If you really are so upset that you can't support someone who even has allegations of assault against them, then your only choice this year is to vote for a third party candidate. Somehow though, I don't see Gary Johnson and Jill Stein picking up many votes because of this...

So how does this effect the race? I'm not sure. Trump's voter's are largely rejecting the allegations and it is easy to see why. In addition to all the reasons I listed above for having doubts, there is also the fact that almost no one on the right considers the media credible anymore. The fact that these allegations will probably get more coverage than all the Wikileaks, James O'Keefe and Guccifer leaks combined shows that the media is incredibly biased. It's not hard to believe that they made the whole story up out of thin air in a desperate attempt to bring down Trump. Remember, just a few weeks ago, Trump was winning and the New York Times went as far as to say that they would break the law to get a hold of Trump's tax returns. When you cry wolf as many times as the media has this election, you can not be surprised when people think the wolf is never going to come. 

I also think that the fact that Trump has immediately threatened to sue the New York Times for libel is indicative of innocence as well, or it will at least be interpreted that way. I said, back when Ted Cruz was embroiled in his own sex scandal, that the fact that he never sued anyone meant that he probably was guilty. Though Trump is a litigious man, I don't think he would bring a lawsuit unless he thought he had a good chance of winning. 

Plus there is a lot more stuff coming out that could be hugely damaging to the Hillary Clinton campaign. There are many more Podesta e-mails coming out and what has been revealed so far has damaged Clinton badly. James O'keef and his Project Vertias have more videos which might involve racism in the Clinton campaign. And there is always a chance that Bill Clinton's sex scandals could rise again. I have heard some extremely dark rumors that they will and they will make Trump's accusations look quaint and Clinton's former allegations look tame in comparison.   

I will say this though. For the first time since the GOP convention, I kinda wish someone else had been on the ticket. Though I love Trump's platform, the man himself has become rather toxic. Though I don't think the allegations are true, I do think that there is a chance that they are, and even though I don't think it should knock him out of the race, I would feel better if he was more likely to win against Hillary Clinton. Plus, though I will vote for Trump, I can no longer say that I am excited about it or that I will feel good doing it... 

The only problem with that is that there really wasn't anyone else. Ted Cruz had the platform, but if he was the candidate, the October Surprise would have been his cheating scandal, which would be devastating considering his evangelical ways. John Kasich would probably be scandal free, but his platform would have been identical to Hillary Clinton's. And I think you could say the same for everyone else in the GOP field. Like it or not, we are struck with Donald Trump. And though I can still defend the platform, I will have a much harder time defending the man himself. 


  1. There is one point you are missing. That is the change in attitude toward women and the sanctity of their bodies. 10 years ago it was very different from today. Hugging, touching, and caressing weren't the crime they are today. Many of my female friends patted me on the butt, hugged me, and it was accepted as part of our affection toward each other. Its like suing someone for using the word nnnnnnn, oops almost typed the "N-word", for discrimination when they used that word 15 or 20 years ago. Society changed. If Trump was caught on tape since he began his campaign groping anyone, that would be significant. With no better candidates to vote for we have to determine whose alleged crimes are worst. But more importantly, as you said, who will be the better president. Trump apologized for his past "crimes". Hilary has yet to admit anything she has done wrong much less apologize for it. Which is worse? Lying to the FBI, lying to Congress, accepting money from nations hosting terrorist training camps to their foundation, or showing poor judgement with national security. I have to go with Trump who is obnoxious and loud.But you know who he is, the anti-politician.

    1. I'd definitely agree that the culture has changed quite a bit. I'm not a fan of the newer "affirmative consent" standards. Most of the outrage is that Trump didn't meet those standards, which are unrealistic today let alone back then. Still, it's a grey area and a potential minefield.