Trump v. Clinton: Judging ‘the Lesser Evil’

The mainstream U.S. media rightly criticizes Donald Trump for his bigoted remarks about Mexicans and Muslims – and his know-nothing-ism on global warming – but wrongly ignores Hillary Clinton’s role in futile and bloody wars, Gilbert Doctorow notes.

By Gilbert Doctorow

There are many folks, including the editorial boards of several of our newspapers of record, who insistently tell us that the ongoing American presidential election is one of the most vile in the country’s history considering the venomous attacks that candidates have made on one another’s personal qualifications, morals, family members and — from time to time — even on specific political stands.

How this race really compares to elections past is hard to say. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacks on the military valor and medals of candidate John Kerry in 2004 were a pretty good marker in the “how low can they go” category of trashing one’s opponents. (Republican operatives, many of whom had ducked war service themselves, even passed out “Purple Heart” Band-Aids at the GOP convention to mock the severity of Kerry’s war wounds.)

Billionaire businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Billionaire businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Yet, given Kerry’s timid and ineffective response to the smears, he allowed this cynical personal attack to demonstrate his psychological weakness as a mature politician, especially compared to his courage as a young man. (Whatever anyone says about Kerry’s war service, commanding a Swift Boat in the rivers of Vietnam was one of the most dangerous assignments in the war.)

Throughout this year’s primaries, all the mainstream media have done negative PR on Donald Trump, a great deal of which he certainly invited. Regarding his statements on Mexican migrants in the U.S., legal as well as illegal, to his remarks on closing U.S. borders to Muslims, it has been easy to paint him as a bigot.

Meanwhile, the big thinkers in the neoconservative and liberal interventionist camps, fearful that they will be driven from their cozy nest of power after a 20-year run at destroying U.S. foreign policy, have made Trump the target of their own voodoo rituals. We hear about Trump, the authoritarian who likes Vladimir Putin because they have shared concepts of governance.

From neocon luminary Robert Kagan, who was one of the early cheerleaders for the Iraq War and the husband of Victoria Nuland, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for coup d’états and regime change, we hear about Trump, the fascist.

(There are even lurid comparisons to Hitler, although there are many more contrasts since Trump favors a non-aggressive foreign policy based on firm but respectful negotiations with other powers, not world conquest. In that sense, the neocons and liberal hawks are closer to the megalomaniac Nazi invader who engaged in aggressive wars.)

In other words, today’s arbiters of American political morality will gladly support candidates who have personally been responsible for policies that have led to the deaths of tens and even hundreds of thousands of innocent people, someone like Hilary Clinton, an ardent supporter of the Iraq War as a U.S. senator and the architect of the disastrous regime change in Libya as Secretary of State.

Decrying Donald Trump

Yet, these same arbiters hold their noses when speaking about Donald Trump’s readiness to negotiate with Russian President Putin or Trump’s personal crudeness, how shocking it would be to have someone like him as America’s President and Commander in Chief. So, hands dripping in blood are fine, but the idea of working with Putin or a proclivity toward rude and offensive language is going too far.

Trump has also been questioned about his marital infidelity, his lack of religious piety and his dubious business practices, but those old-fashioned “values” have not been center stage as much as his temperament and language.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The fact that Trump has been in and out of matrimony, isn’t overtly religious and has made a good portion of his fortune from sin (as the owner and promoter of casinos with their traditional ties to mafia organizations, real or imagined) has been discounted, perhaps because his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton has her own troubled marriage, ethical issues and sleazy business practices. Throwing stones from glass houses is always a risky strategy.

Yet, against this background of cockeyed values from the establishment, I will weigh in with my own experience regarding Donald Trump’s personal character. Though I have never met the man, I heard a great deal about him — off the record going back to about 1985 — from someone who worked not only for him but with him as spokeswoman in the Trump Organization over the course of more than 20 years, my good friend Norma Foerderer.

Norma was a loyal keeper of the Trump secrets and they remained safe with her. But she did share her impressions of the man’s qualities and of his political convictions. Norma was a dyed-in-the-wool Reagan Republican and a pious, church-attending Catholic. On both counts, she was very comfortable with Trump, while admiring his strength and decisiveness. Norma was a close witness to and at times implementer of Donald’s various charitable activities which were always color-blind and big-spirited.

Norma was part of the lean-and-mean management team at the Trump Organization. Trump selected his team members well, stayed with them and gave them the freedom to fill all available space and grow their talents over time. This management style is typical of family businesses. It is what brings Trump much closer to Main Street than to Wall Street. And it is precisely this un-bureaucratic approach that our weak-kneed organization men in Washington fear like vampires before the sign of the cross.

For those who expect — that should Trump win in November — his new foreign policy of accommodation with Russia and China to be held up by the Senate confirmation process of his new appointments to State and Defense, be aware that this no-nonsense executive would be psychologically prepared to reverse our present confrontational course from his first day in office using presidential directives and without the cover of expert group reports.

I have no doubt that if Norma were alive today she would be a strong supporter of her former boss despite his undeniable flaws.

Gilbert Doctorow is the European Coordinator of The American Committee for East West Accord Ltd. His most recent book, Does Russia Have a Future? was published in August 2015. © Gilbert Doctorow, 2016

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16 comments for “Trump v. Clinton: Judging ‘the Lesser Evil’

  1. Kiza
    May 31, 2016 at 10:51 am

    This is the best endorsement of Donald Trump I have ever read, especially because it comes from a highly trustworthy individual. Yet, I still feel that too many people expect too much from Trump and I many will be disappointed. But I sure would love to see a more isolationist US policy, that is the policy of fixing its own house first and only and leaving the rest of the World to sort its own problems. It would be such a relief to move the nuclear clock so far back under Trump.

    • James
      June 4, 2016 at 10:18 am

      I admire Trump for his correction to political correctness. On the other hand, excessive isolationism can itself, ironically, lead to war. if America pulled put of Korea, for example, it could tempt N Korea to invade the South. A withdraw from NATO could tempt Putin to invade various Baltic and other countries. More countries might be tempted to obtain nuclear weapons as the American guarantee of security might be less obvious; this could increase the use of such weapons being used.

  2. Mark Thomason
    May 31, 2016 at 10:58 am

    The dangers of Hillary are real. Trump says he would not do those things, which is why the neocons desert him for Hillary.

    Trump would probably do *other* stupid things.

    Which stupid things are worse? It is not which candidate is worse, it is which is worse of the stupid things we know they’d do.

    Bashing the stupid things of just one side is both true and entirely misses the point.

    We can look at what Hillary supported, tried to do, actually did as Sec of State, and advocated for as Sec of State. It was uniformly disaster. So what would she do as President? She’d do that.

    What would Trump do? Back off, but likely in ways that would cause new problems. Well, to me that seems the lesser evil.

    • David G
      June 1, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      Great comment, Mark Thomason.

      In a few words, you make redundant much that has been and will be said about this contest this year.

  3. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    May 31, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    The question the whole world is asking is “If the presidents of the US are of the caliber of Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, Baby Bush, and Barack Obama; don’t you think that something is definitely wrong with the American Society itself?! To put it more bluntly, America must be STUPID if that is the caliber of the men it puts in its highest office…..Why would Trump or Hillary be any different?!

    .Here are some references that might help:

    – Crazy Like Us – The Globalization of the American Psyche.
    – The Age of American Unreason.
    – The Closing of the American Mind.
    – Dumbing Us Down.
    – The Dumbest Generation.
    – Idiot America – How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free.
    – Why We Suck? A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy ,and Stupid.

    • Bob Van Noy
      May 31, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      Exactly, Dr. Soudy. That is one of the reasons that I always try to bring this forum back to 11-22-1963. Because of the really terrible continuity of government going back always to that date…

  4. Bill Bodden
    May 31, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    There is one justification for voting the lesser evil. Candidate A will lead the nation into the abyss, but Candidate B will stop at the precipice. In this case there is something to be said for voting for Candidate B as the lesser evil. In what appears to be a dilemma for Americans who are awake and thinking, can Clinton or Trump be Candidate B? Only one point would justify that assignment to Trump. He appears less likely to go to war with Russia; whereas Hillary and her neocon/Israeli friends are more likely to engage in that lunacy.

    The basic problem with voting the lesser evil is the obvious consequence – you still get evil. That has been the pattern for decades, and the evils have become progressively worse. It is time for a majority of the American people to make a loud and clear statement with a vote for “None of the Above.” But that would be like an addict going cold turkey. Not likely to happen.

    • Kiza
      May 31, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      Bill, let us be fair about this – in how many countries do they publish what percentage of voters voted and voted correctly on tha ballot paper. If you vote for none of the above, you are voting to be ignored. But my dream is to have voter participation below 20% and then below 10% etc. At some point, the system will not be able to invent new “candidate for change”, like Obama and Trump, and the none-of-the-above will be the clear majority. But the country will go down the abyss even before any true reform of the system could be initiated. If this was not so, no empire would have crumbled in the past. This is just the nature of every system. The only difference with this empire is that it could terminate the physical existence of own subjects, as well as the rest of the humanity.

      You are absolutely right that the only promised difference between the present two candidates is in a nuclear war with Russia. The fact that such war is possible or likely with one of the candidates just says how off-the-rails the whole system is, by threatening even our existence (and its own).

      • Erik
        May 31, 2016 at 7:13 pm

        There are probably too many fools to get voter participation so low – they will play the game as their masters plan, just to feel that they have some power. But if enough people dump the corrupted Dems, they may have to reconsider who they offer – or what new hopey-changey scam to offer.

        • Bill Bodden
          May 31, 2016 at 10:24 pm

          But if enough people dump the corrupted Dems, they may have to reconsider who they offer …

          At best that would probably be a more plausible lesser evil. If a decent person did make it on the ticket and was elected, the oligarchs of both parties would gang up on him or her to get back to corrupt business as usual. Just as they did to Jimmy Carter.

      • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
        June 1, 2016 at 7:22 pm

        If you think extreme low voter participation is a good thing, you’re an idiot. The Progressive Turnout Project says low voter participation led to Republican victories in 2010 and 2014, and Stephen Harper’s reelection back in 2008 Fortunately, he’s out of office now. Low voter turnout will always result in the worst choice being elected.

    • Pat Goudey O'Brien
      June 1, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      Who will the candidate nominate for the Supreme Court? That is the question.

  5. Christopher Stube
    June 1, 2016 at 3:03 am

    Why vote for either evil. The powers that be have given us a choice of swimming in cesspool a or cesspool b which suggests they have no regard for us. So i will vote for someone who seems reasonable and would make a good president, the green party candidate Jill Stein. Because i can and they have so far not outlawed it.

    • Peter Loeb
      June 2, 2016 at 9:22 am

      CHRISTOPHER STUBE….

      1. Will Jill Stein support #Black Lives Matter? Perhaps she and
      her supporters don’t think they do.

      2. Will Jill Stein begin to dismantle our defense establishment
      including defense contractors etc. Will she propose programs
      for those who have sucked at the table of building killing
      machines to build and work in hospitals, schools, roads,
      expanded rail communication?

      3. Will Jill Stein do anything to support the embargo of
      Israel and US’s illegal support of settlements, continued
      Israeli blockade, demolishing of homes…stealing
      of water resources?

      Like so many others I think so many are seeking a
      magic bullet (excuse term) of salvation. It will not happen.

      I have no information to the contrary but believe Jill Stein
      is a well-intentioned woman.

      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  6. diogenes
    June 2, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    When you vote for “the lesser of two evils” you still vote for evil, and that’s what the corrupt fake so-called “Two” Party system operated by the 0.1% of Americans, the one-in-a-thousand who are the hereditary oligarchy that has controled, owned, usurped and subverted American democracy since the 1890s INSISTS that you vote for — EVIL. So, go ahead, get as much blood on your hands as you want, and lick it off, and tell us how it tastes. Journalists who participate in this charade are part of the problem and part of the evil.

  7. diogenes
    June 2, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    The duty of a journalist or anyone genuinely concerned for our country and its dying democracy is to POINT OUT THIS FRAUD, not play along with it. That is to choose other than evil. And it shows how all American media, including so-called alternative media, is almost exclusely also part of this EVIL, that we almost never see this pointed out, or discussed, or considered as the place and realization from which we must BEGIN if we wish to recover America from its filthy oligarchic betrayers.

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