Jul 29, 2016


I'm coming out of a self-imposed blogging break (more about that on Tuesday) for this post because I finally educated myself about our political system and I learned some things that really pissed me off.  But I'm going to try to come at this from a calm and rational angle.  Wish me luck.

I have clients who are Republican.  For the most part, I find it doesn't matter in the least, because they're on the local politics level and I rarely disagree with anything they have to say (jobs are good, pollution is bad, sure let's treat drug abuse like an illness instead of a crime, all good stuff).  But every once in a while I'll hear something like, "We need more Republicans in government positions in Delaware!" or I get invited to a Republican event and then I start to feel a little uncomfortable.

I wouldn't put myself in the Democratic party either.  Both parties have basic tenants that I disagree with.  I've more closely aligned with 3rd party candidates in the past, so just last night, as I realized how frighteningly close the 2016 elections are, I did my research to see who the other options even are.  I really, really liked Gary Johnson's description, "Socially liberal, fiscally conservative."  That's probably how I would describe myself.

I've been thinking, with the extremely low approval ratings of both of our main candidates, this might be the year of the 3rd party.  But as I continued to research Gary Johnson, I learned some things that really disturbed me.  3rd parties can get into the debates, but only if they receive 15% of the vote on the preliminary opinion polls.  Do you know who runs those polls?  The media.  You know what else?  Candidates often have to pay to get their names put on those ballots in the first place.  And while the organization (The Commission on Presidential Debates) that chooses which 5 polls to use to determine that 15% eligibility for the debates is supposedly impartial, neither they, nor any of the news sites, explain how the polls are conducted, how you can be part of them, or what kind of sample they use.  I spent hours researching this and I still don't know how it actually works and I feel utterly helpless as far as being able to do anything to influence the outcome.

HOW does this make any sense?  Do we, as a country, even pretend that our media has any semblance of impartiality anymore?  So why the hell are they the ones in charge of which candidates we'll take seriously?  As much as I'd love to "throw my vote away" and vote 3rd party, I'm also scared.  Because Trump is a disaster and the idea of a racist, misogynistic bigot whose platform is built on ignorance and hatred as our leader terrifies me.

I mentioned this to my sisters and they asked why I didn't want to vote for Hillary.  I thought about it and realized my (slowly forming) negative opinion was based entirely on what other people had said about her.  Not my own research.  And you know... it's a little suspicious that no one has been able to give me good, solid reasons for their intense dislike of her.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say some people hate her more than Trump or consider them roughly equivalent and that blows my mind.

I've heard Trump described as a joke, a clown, a disaster.  But I've heard several people call Hillary a bitch and other, woman-specific derogatory words.  I had started to wonder if maybe people were judging her more harshly for the same shit that a majority of our politicians do, just because she's a woman.  Not unlike that study done about CEOs, where the same career description was handed out to students, but the pronoun changed so that some read "she" and some read "he."  Both were considered competent BUT the male CEO was well-liked and the female CEO was considered selfish and cold.

After doing my own research and not just listening to what my male acquaintances were telling me (I don't think I've had a single woman tell me how horrible Hillary is EDIT: This is no longer true), I'm less and less convinced she's even that corrupt.  And yes, it is really fucking sad that I can quantify something as "not that corrupt" but I think the majority of our politicians are in it for power and not to support "we, the people."  I know of one, specific example where she did something that was a little shady, and that's the emails that "disappeared." (I'm linking to Wikipedia here, because I honestly trust it as a source more than any news outlet at the moment.)

So yes, there's one example of "corruption" which is somewhat debatable.  Other things people have used as their reason for such extreme dislike: she lies, she changes her stance on things, she panders to people.  Let's take a look at the lying, since that's easier to find factual information for.  Because I have to trust someone for information, I've decided to go with PolitiFact.  I read their "who pays us" page, and I think they're the closest thing to a truly independent source of information we've got.  PolitiFact double checks statements made by politicians and then gives them a scorecard based on the percentage of answers that were true, false, or somewhere in between.  Here's Hillary's scorecard.

Hillary Clinton PolitiFact Scorecard

You might look at that and say,"Oh man, so much half truth and some stuff that is blatantly false!"  But here's Obama.

Barack Obama PolitiFact Scorecard

And Bernie Sanders, the man who was supposed to be an end to political corruption.

Bernie Sanders PolitiFact Scorecard

And the one that won't surprise you, the Drumpf.

Donald Trump PolitiFact Scorecard

If you want more information, I highly encourage you to check out PolitiFact's website.  They have articles discussing every single fact they checked and the reason for their rating.

As for Clinton changing her stance or "flip flopping," this NPR article talks more about that.  Honestly, I don't think that bothers me.  I've changed my mind on plenty of issues in the short 29 years that I've lived, so is it really a big deal if Clinton changes her mind over a decade or more of living and working in a nation that's continually progressing?  I'm not even going to address "pandering" because A) That's not objective in the least and B) What politician doesn't pander?  I'll admit that Trump does tend to run around telling people how stupid they are, but I'll take any normal pandering politician over that any day.

So here's my theories for why the Hillary Hate is so high:
  1. The email scandal is genuinely a big deal, and somehow I've failed to understand that
  2. People are still disappointed that Bernie didn't make it and find Hillary to be an unsatisfactory substitute
  3. Blatant sexism
I'm inclined to believe it's a combination of 2 and 3.  Which is not to say that people think, "Oh man, we can't have a woman as president."  But that deep down, subconsciously, we see certain traits in a woman and think, "Oh God, she's the worst" when we wouldn't be bothered by those same traits in a man.

So am I still disappointed with the ridiculous hoops 3rd parties have to jump through to get into the debates?  Yes.  I absolutely believe we need to expand beyond the 2 party system, both to break free of the inherent corruption of our current system, and to give ourselves more choices instead of just "left or right?" (EDIT!!!  In the attempt to do whatever we can to get Gary Johnson into the debates, please consider signing this petition.  Even if you're solidly Hillary or solidly Trump, what's the harm in allowing another person to have a say?)  But am I still conflicted about voting for Hillary?  No.  She's not just "not Trump" as I would have said only days ago, she's a good candidate in her own right, and Steph had a really good point yesterday about the open supreme court seats that our next president will fill.  And, if we're being completely honest, I would be excited to have our first female president, in the same way I'd be excited to have more minorities (especially female minorities, who are the least represented), an atheist, or a member of the LBGT community.  The more diversity we bring into our government, the better we can reflect the needs of our entire population.

EDIT #2: IF Gary Johnson gets into the debate, there's a good chance I'll change my mind.  It's too early to be set in stone anyway.  So much could still happen.  Also, Stephanie provided this cool link to isidewith.com which gives you a quick idea of which candidate most closely shares your views.

What's your take on the issue?  If you've got any facts or information that I've missed, I would love to hear it!  (But I will ask for sources, because this independent woman does her own research.)  Got a preferred candidate yet?

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