There's Simply No Equivalence

Hillary Clinton has her problems, but Donald Trump is unfit for the presidency.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

On one hand, there’s former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who oversaw “grossly inadequate” security at a diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, the site of a deadly September 11, 2012, terrorist attack.

Misleading explanations by Clinton and other Obama administration officials fueled a congressional inquiry, which revealed her rogue email system, which led to an FBI investigation into her “extremely careless” handling of U.S. secrets, which almost prompted a public-corruption investigation into pay-to-play allegations at the Clinton Foundation. Only 11 percent of voters trust her.

On the other hand, there’s wealthy celebrity Donald Trump, who led the race-baiting attack on President Obama’s citizenship.

Who promised to build a wall along the Mexican border—“nobody builds walls better than me”—and unleash a “deportation force” on the 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

Who accused Mexico of “sending people that have lots of problems” to the United States. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Who dismissed the service of Senator John McCain and other prisoners of war. “I like people who weren’t captured.”

Who responded to fair but tough questions from the Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly by saying she had “blood coming out of her, wherever.”

Who bragged about his penis size. “My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”

Who claimed “thousands and thousands” of U.S. Muslims cheered the 9/11 attacks, which didn’t happen.

Who called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” and said, “I think Islam hates us.”

Who thinks he’s politically invincible: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody,” he said, “and I wouldn't lose any voters, okay?"

Who encouraged violence against his critics. “Knock the crap out of him, would you? Seriously, okay, just knock the hell, I promise you I will pay your legal fees,” said Trump in reference to a protestor at one of his rallies.

Who threatened to “spill the beans” on Ted Cruz’s wife and suggested his GOP rival’s father played a role in the assassination of John Kennedy.

Who said Clinton would not get even 5 percent of the vote were she not a woman.

Who said an Indiana judge was biased against him—and had no right to preside over a lawsuit against him—because the judge is Hispanic.

Who responded to terrorist attacks in Orlando, Florida, and Brussels not with empathy or dignity, but with self-centered tweets.

Who said the father of a slain U.S. soldier had no right to criticize him and suggested that the soldier’s mother was silenced by her religion. (Khizr and Ghazala Kahn are American Muslims, as was their war-hero son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, killed in Iraq 12 years ago.)

Who urged Russia to hack Clinton’s email and release U.S. secrets.

Who is already sowing doubt about the sanctity of U.S. elections, the cornerstone of a democracy. “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged,” he said without any evidence.

Who said that if he can’t prevent Clinton from winning the presidency and nominating Supreme Court justices, “Second Amendment people” can stop her.

Who said he was “softening” his immigration stances just before he said he was “hardening” them.

Who responded to the shooting of a mother in Chicago, not with empathy or dignity, but with a self-centered tweet about his appeal to black voters. (Never mind the fact that fewer than 1 percent of black voters tell pollsters they support him.)

On one hand, Clinton. On the other hand, Trump. That’s the unfortunate choice facing voters in a system rigged heavily in favor of the two major parties.

But there’s no equivalence.

On one hand, Benghazi and email and lies.

On the other hand, mendacity, bigotry, bullyism, narcissism, sexism, selfishness, sociopathology, and a lack of understanding or interest in public policy—all to extremes unseen in modern presidential politics.

I like to remind readers that there are other choices. While Green Party’s Jill Stein, Libertarian Gary Johnson, and independent Evan McMullin are unlikely to win, people should ignore partisans who say backing anybody other than Clinton or Trump is a wasted vote. That’s the duopoly protecting its selfish interest. The only votes wasted are the ones not cast.

On the other hand, Trump shouldn’t be president.