Martin Dyckman: Thinking of voting for Donald Trump? Do yourself a favor and ask why

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“I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,

“The reason why — I cannot tell;

“But this I know and know full well,

“I do not like thee, Doctor Fell.”

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both have their liabilities, but his are so much more numerous and serious than hers that the race should not be nearly as close as it seems to be.

Why is he even competitive? More depends on the answer to that question than rested upon on the outcome of any presidential election that I can remember.

If you’re for Trump because you agree with what you think he stands for, or if you just can’t bear to vote for any Democrat, or if you simply admire his chutzpah, well, so be it.

But how can you be sure what he stands for? There have been no consistent themes in his message other than the undercurrent of intolerance that breeds violent words and physical assaults at his rallies.

Or perhaps you think he speaks for those “who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change.”

Those are Hillary Clinton’s words. She spoke them in sympathy with fully half of Trump’s supporters right after that ill-chosen — but accurate — description of the other half as a “basket of deplorables.”

The media has largely — and, I believe, intentionally — overlooked the kind words she said.

Trump has not proposed the slightest remedy for a government that shafts working people because it is controlled by wealthy investors and by corporations like the one charging $600 for a lifesaving drug.

Clinton would cut them down to size by ridding the country of the curse of Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that sold you and I and all ordinary Americans out to the power of big money.

Trump never mentions that.

Clinton is capable, qualified, intelligent, and experienced.

Trump is the most morally unfit, unprepared and untrustworthy candidate ever to seek the presidency. He’s made a life’s work out of stiffing people who work or invest with him, or trusted in ventures such as his misnamed “university.” He is exuberantly ignorant of everything a president should know. He’s a narcissistic bully whose expressed admiration for tyrants like Vladimir Putin is fair warning of how a President Trump would abuse power.

And yet the race is competitive.

So if you’re thinking of voting for Trump simply because you don’t like or trust Clinton, please do yourself, your children and your country a favor. Ask why.

Is it because she voted for the Iraq War? Well, Trump supported that too.

Is it because of her emails?  Nothing about that even remotely justifies electing someone like Trump, who won’t reveal what are surely some highly damaging tax returns, rather than someone like Clinton, whose finances are an open book.

Is it because of Benghazi? The blame really belongs to the gang of Republican hypocrites in Congress who cut funding for embassy security.

Is it because she isn’t charismatic like Barack Obama? Because she’s not an aw-shucks candidate like Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush?  Well, this isn’t a contest for Homecoming Court or first place on a reality show. The presidency is deadly serious business. Charisma is nice, but not indispensable. The “likability” issue reeks of misogyny.

Or is it simply because she’s your Dr. Fell? You don’t like her, but you don’t know why?

In that case, I’ll tell you why. It’s because that vast right-wing conspiracy is a fact, not a figment of her imagination. Professional propagandists and right-wing hacks have been after the Clintons for more than 25 years, never distinguishing between valid criticism and slander. The right wing abhors progressive senators and presidents whom they can’t control. They have had an effect. What’s amazing is that she perseveres.

The Citizens United decision, one of the Supreme Court’s worst ever, was about her. Let’s not forget that.

As the case went to the court, the question was only whether a professional propaganda shop named Citizens United could legally distribute a video attacking Clinton during her 2008 presidential race. It was a question of whether the campaign finance law applied to that kind of material.

In an act of staggering judicial activism, John Roberts recast the question into whether there could be any limits on a corporation’s spending on behalf of or against a candidate.

And now Trump’s new deputy campaign manager, David Bossie, comes to his campaign straight from Citizens United. The Washington Post characterized Bossie as “the Captain Ahab of Clinton haters.”

Google him. He’s vile.

There’s more. According to Yahoo.com/news, Trump’s questionable charitable foundation gave $100,000 two years ago to Bossie’s Citizens United Foundation, which that same year filed a lawsuit against the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Yes, the same attorney general who’s pursuing Trump University on behalf of the victims whom Florida’s attorney general, Pam Bondi, chose to ignore right after getting a $25,000 contribution from the same Trump Foundation.

Citizens United says the lawsuit, which has been thrown out of court, was to try to stop Schneiderman from getting at donor information and had nothing to do with the Trump dispute. So they say.

It would be poetic justice if Hillary Clinton became the president whose Supreme Court appointees overturned the Citizens United decision.

And that’s a powerfully good reason to vote for her.

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Martin Dyckman is a retired associate editor of the newspaper now known as the Tampa Bay Times. He lives in suburban Asheville, North Carolina.

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