I thought I’d re-run my post on character-based voting from two years ago, in case anyone finds it of interest. I’m inclined to think it has clear application to the candidacy of Donald Trump. The thesis of the post plus the facts that have emerged about Trump over the past year or so rule out voting for him. Whatever you do tomorrow, there is no justification for voting for Trump.
I updated the post to include some facts about Trump, but stopped after December 2015. That was enough. I really don’t think you can justifiably vote for someone who lies about whether thousands of his fellow-citizens have been celebrating in the streets over a mass-murder terrorist attack on the country.
As I said the first time around, a year ago, Trump lied about those “celebrations.” He didn’t just mis-state the facts. He didn’t just get the facts wrong. He didn’t just mis-remember this or that detail. He didn’t just exaggerate. He lied. Then he doubled down on the lies. He hasn’t disavowed his lies, he hasn’t stopped lying, he shows no sign of ever stopping, and he shows no consideration for the foreseeable consequences of this particular lie–that those who believe the lie will regard people of Muslim or even apparently or nominally Muslim or Arab background as traitors and enemies of the state who, in virtue of that fact, deserve mass deportation, mass incarceration, or for that matter, mass death.
Just to be clear, in case you didn’t get this the first forty times around: There is no bona fide evidence that anyone in the New York metropolitan area celebrated the 9/11 attacks, with the possible exception of a small handful of Israelis. Donald Trump didn’t produce any evidence, and neither has anyone else–in sixteen years. And it’s not entirely clear what the Israelis were doing, either, so don’t take my bringing it up as an excuse to start promulgating rumors about Jewish or Israeli celebrations or foreknowledge of 9/11. (The most thorough inquiry into the “small handful of Israelis” and what they were doing is Marc Levin’s, in the film “Protocols of Zion” (2005). I highly recommend it.)
My university has given us tomorrow off for Election Day. I’ve been telling my students to use the time at their disposal to do their civic duty. I told them all to get flu shots. As my Facebook friends already know, having voted a few weeks ago (for HRC and the rest of the Democratic ticket), I’m getting a different kind of shot.
Postscript, Nov. 8, 2016: Roderick Long’s “The Benefits and Hazards of Voting” is well worth reading. I don’t accept the specifically libertarian or anarchist assumptions he makes, but I agree with his argument against (c), as well as his rejection of (b).
I’m not sure where I stand on (a), because (like Long) while I reject (a) as stated (i.e., that we have a general duty to vote), there is probably a weaker version of (a) I can accept. I guess my view is that it can be rational to vote, and in a weak and attenuated sense some of us sometimes have a duty to vote: voting is one acceptable (and easily discharged, and otherwise enlightening) disjunct of a disjunctive set of activities that constitute our imperfect duty to contribute to the common good. There are plenty of other acceptable ways of performing that duty, but voting is one way, and in the right circumstances can be a legitimate one.
Since I’m neither a libertarian nor an anarchist, it’s not my political aim (as it is Long’s) to de-legitimize the system, but to reform it–so I don’t accept the part of his advice that aims at de-legitimization. I should add that while I regard myself as a reformer, I probably sound like I’m de-legitimizing even when I’m trying to reform. So I regard myself as a rhetorically vehement reformer. But still a reformer.
I should also add that I’m a big fan of mail-in voting, which is easy where I live, and which I find very entertaining. (Granted, I’m single, so my standards are pretty low.) It’s worth remembering that there are down-ballot choices to be made, not just on candidates but on public referenda. Even when I don’t vote for candidates, I vote in referenda. Which yields hours of free entertainment. Because why go on a date when you can sit at home and figure out whether the new gas tax should be earmarked for the transportation fund?
Anyway, take a look. Part of your imperfect duty.