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Politics, Unfortunately

OK, time to veer off into politics for what I hope will be the last time for a while. I always regret it when I do this on the blog, but with Election Day being tomorrow, it’s hard not to be a bit worked up. Back during the primary season I was very upset about the prospect of Donald Trump becoming the Republican nominee, because I saw no way that I could possible vote for him. Since then, those feelings have deepened: never have I loathed a political candidate more. I could go on for another five thousand words elaborating on that theme, but I’ll spare everyone. He is simply the person least fit for the office that I have ever seen a major US party nominate. Even the historical record brings little comfort. Millard Fillmore and Franklin Pierce were pretty bad at the job, but I don’t think that they were as comprehensively unworthy of it as Trump. As for unsuccessful candidates, William Jennings Bryan, perhaps? But if I have to go back over a hundred years (and I’m still not sure about that comparison), what does that say?

To be clear, I am not basing this opinion on anything to do with the subject of this blog. The positions of either candidate on the drug industry – indeed, on scientific research in general – are roundoff errors compared to everything else. And I also want to be clear that I find very little to recommend in Hillary Clinton. Growing up in Arkansas, I had the opportunity to see both her and husband from far back in their careers. Under normal circumstances I would cheerfully vote against her. But this is not a normal year.

I agree with P. J. O’Rourke that Hillary is likely to be a terrible president, but terrible on the existing scale. Trump, on the other hand, does not fit on the chart. I think that his candidacy alone has damaged the country, but (to be fair) some of this is probably also just revealing damage that has already been done more quietly over the years. The fact that so many people are willing to vote for him I find horrifying, and I’m still working through the implications of it. There are out-and-out racists in the crowd, but that’s not enough of an explanation in itself (and I think that people who stop there in characterizing Trump’s support are making a serious mistake). There are plenty of low-information voters, to be sure, who may find Trump’s characterizations of things believable and his proposed “solutions” kind of plausible. There are people who despise Clinton so much that “Not Hillary” is all the qualification they need – I can understand that thinking, anyway, because I’m almost to that level with “Not Trump”. And there are, absolutely, a lot of his voters who are just deeply pissed off, feel that they’ve been patronized and/or ignored over the years, and are ready to go for someone who terrifies and disgusts the people that they themselves hate.

But the fact that so many people higher up in the Republican party have been willing to endorse his candidacy ensures that I will never vote Republican again. I think that the party has been stained beyond cleansing by the events of this electoral cycle; I don’t see how anyone running under that banner can make a plausible candidate. You can divide Trump’s high-level Republican supporters into various camps, but none of them do the people involved much credit. There are true believers, of course, who have been waiting to hear the sorts of things that Trump is saying. There are opportunistic power-following types, who sign on with whoever looks likely to win and dispense the favors. And these shade into the I-have-a-career-to-think-about types who do not want to be seen lining up against their party’s nominee. There are also a number of people, opportunists of another sort, operating under the assumption that they and people like them would be the real powers in a Trump administration, since the Big Man himself is notoriously hazy and impatient when it comes to any real details of government or policy (the same thinking has been applied to other Maximum Leaders in the past, with mixed results). The number of public figures in the Republican party (and on the right in general) who have been willing to come out against Trump (as opposed to just keeping quiet) is as not large as it should be, not by a long shot, but as far as I’m concerned these are the people who have behaved with honor in a low-down, dishonest year.

Because proclaiming your support for Donald Trump as president is simply not an honorable act. President? If all he ran were a hot dog stand, I’d skip lunch. As I write, it certainly looks as if he’ll lose, but just having to worry about the possibility of him winning means that this country has some real problems to deal with after the election. That’s going to be some hard work, and if it devolves, as things may, into people screaming “Stupid racists!” and “Elite traitors!” at each other, that’s not going to help. But first things first: Trump has to lose. I know I risk sounding like Cato the Elder here, but Trump has to lose.

223 comments on “Politics, Unfortunately”

  1. luysii says:

    As a friend said back in the primaries, how did the USA come to have a choice between Karl Marx, Lady MacBeth and Mussolini ?

    Back 30 years ago a family friend who worked (and later owned) a chain of low cost furniture stores in the South, told us that the Clinton’s were dirty. Nothing much has changed.

    Vote for the defending wife of the rapist or the pottymouth.

    1. Falanx says:

      Karl Marx? Really? The one member of the Senate who for thirty years has consistently been shown to be on the right side of any argument – and that’s how the rest of the Western and developed world sees him – and that’s you friend’s appraisal?

  2. Anon says:

    Regardless of any need for change, I’ve been struggling for some time now to differentiate Trump from the classic traits of a sociopathic narcissistic demagogue.

    But ultimately, the US deserves to get whomever it votes for – good luck!

  3. anonymous says:

    I worry that if he were to be our next President, he definitely would be blackmailed his similar ilk Mr. Putin! Trump is security threat! A big no for me and am with her! This time around the US lost its high ground with an ilk like Trump. Speaking of election I also feel that second Tuesday every four year be declared national holiday for the sole purpose of going to vote.

  4. c says:

    The speculative fiction authors of the 20th century failed spectacularly to predict the effect wide-spread open communication would have.

    Instead of fostering the exchange of ideas so that we can all meet in the middle ground the internet has actually magnified tribalism. It’s too easy now to virtually surround yourself with like-minded peers.

    I don’t think there is a solution here. Polarization will get more and more extreme. This will be how the human race fails.

    1. Anon says:

      Very interesting thought/observation – I fully agree!

    2. Jim Hartley says:

      Butlerian Jihad’s a comin’.

  5. LeeH says:

    Derek –

    My condolences on the implosion of your party. And not to kick a guy when he’s down, but I do think that this Frankenstein is largely self-inflicted.

    And not that Hillary is perfect (by a long shot), but I do think that she is a pretty good negotiator. Which is something that Obama, in spite of his considerable intellect and long list of accomplishments, was not (consider his last-minute torpedoeing of budget negotiations with Boehner early in his term).

    My prediction, unfortunately, is that the GOP will continue their obstructionist ways through Hillary’s (probable) term, fueling the fire of division, instead of using this as an excuse to soften their stance and lift their long-term prospects.

    1. Kent G. Budge says:


      My prediction is that we will never have the conversation we need to have — over how we ended up with a slate of candidates who are entirely unfit to be President; whether it’s really wise to invest as much power as we do in an office that could be held by a Trump or a Hillary; and whether, in the end, we’re asking too much of our government.

      And the reason is that partisans will clearly see the faults of the other party’s candidate while blinding themselves to the faults of their own.

      1. Emjeff says:

        Everything you said about Republicans can be said about the Democrats and their choice.

        The anger in the US can be boiled down to the fact that there now exists two classes of people- the Elite , and everyone else. The Elite are not subject to the laws that everyone else is subject to, and there is no better example of that than the Clintons.

        1. Hap says:

          If that’s the case (and for a lot of people, it is), how is Trump going to change it? The only way he can do it on his own is to become a dictator, which is likely to end very, very badly. (For that to be a feature, the system has to be irrevocably broken, because that will probably break it.) He has been dishonest, repeatedly, about his own past, and has changed what he says he’ll do, so if he says he’s going to change it, do you think he means it, or that he won’t change his mind? And if he wants to change the system, and doesn’t want to be a dictator, he has to rely on the establishment (the elite) to change it, and the system is as it is at least in part because they chose it to be so, and the policies they will support won’t do what he would be promising.

          1. Hap says:

            I guess we will find out now if (President-Elect) Trump will and can do what he says he will.

            The most painful lessons are the ones that you are supposed to learn best, so I guess it’s time to learn some (“no, you don’t know everything”). I hope that not too many other people or countries get to learn them.

    2. cookingwithsolvents says:

      Don’t confuse Obama’s choice to not make certain concessions as ‘he won’t make a deal’. Liberals can have principles, too, and even though Obama is pretty moderate one thing he always actually does is do what he thinks is best for the country. Even if it’s unpopular.

      Back to deal-making, I actually want them to bring back earmarks so there’s something to negotiate/bargain with that won’t kill entire bills, limit campaigns to 3 or 4 months (as a realistic time, I’d prefer 4 weeks) and to do ANYTHING about campaign finance other than what we do now. If we shorten the campaign season then we can do publicly funded campaigns.

    3. loupgarous says:

      What’s dishonorable is voting for someone who’ll have the same press covering up her abuse of power (and history’s shown she likes nothing more than abusing power) that covered up for Obama while straining at every ethical gnat in a Republican administration.

      The Democratic Party hasn’t changed materially since the Boss Tweed days of the 1800s. Trump (who I bitterly opposed in the primaries) came to us courtesy of a cynical press that his supporters no longer trust (regardless of their other issues, and racists abound in the Hillary camp too – #blacklivesmatter are the tip of that nasty iceberg). Between them, the two major parties have done more for third party candidates than the efforts of their combined members.

      That said, I have pragmatic reasons for reluctantly supporting Trump – the press will be scrupulous in airing every abuse of power they were truly negligent in reporting under Obama (and can be expected to cover up for Hillary Clinton).

      The issue for me isn’t just Hillary Clinton’s character but the wave of journalistic malpractice that’s allowed her to remain a viable candidate, her enabling a compulsive sexual predator and turning the Secretariat of State into her private ATM notwithstanding. By comparison, Trump IS the reform and feminist candidate. He never had women’s cars vandalized and their pets killed for complaining about Bill Clinton’s advances.

      If you want four more years of cover-ups with press connivance, be sure and vote Hillary Clinton. I think the ayahuasca O’Rourke drank on one of his tropical jaunts has had lingering effects on his cognition.

      1. Hap says:

        Assuming they can – there’s at least some Trumpites who would prefer to neuter or extinguish the press (the dude Tweeted with the “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.” shirt) – the change in libel laws preference also is consistent. Much of Trump’s base inherently mistrusts the press but does not seem to have another alternative for information – if information fits what they believe, it goes, and otherwise, it’s just the liberal press again. That type of “information” provides very little of a substantive check on someone who needs an awful lot of checks.

      2. Big Bubba says:

        Absolutely agree.
        When will the 4th estate do their jobs? Answer: When a non-democrat is in office.
        This certainly will not happen with Hillary because the press have already been shown to be a third arm of her campaign.
        What a mess.

  6. AC says:

    You could always vote for Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, or another third-party candidate. Yes, they don’t have a chance to win the election but your single vote isn’t enough to change the election anyway. You might as well try to vote for a candidate that you like or write-in someone.

    1. Anon says:

      What’s Aleppo? Oh dear …

      1. Hap says:

        I’d be happier with independents if they tried to establish a consistent presence at lower levels of government – without those, running as an independent as President seems like a vanity position, which isn’t helpful. It would send a message, but without people at lower levels to make the message stick, it seems unsubstantive.

        1. Jeff says:

          Doesn’t serving as governor fit that criterion? Both Gary Johnson and Bill Weld have a very creditable history in their respective states.

          As for Aleppo… I would wager that a vast majority of those who poke fun at Johnson could not themselves have located Aleppo on a map, and likely still can’t. I’ll gladly take someone who honestly admits what he doesn’t know and learns about it, over the mainline candidates who are so accustomed to lying that they don’t give it a second thought.

          Does Johnson have a chance? Realistically, almost certainly not… but I cannot with any integrity affirm either Trump or Clinton. Yet it’s absolutely not a wasted vote: it sends the message that I care enough to get out and tell both major parties that No, their notions of leadership are unacceptable. And if Johnson gets enough of the vote this year, it will affect the distribution of federal funding, which can have considerable power.

          1. Hap says:

            You still can’t get things through Congress without people there, though.

            Ultimately, without having people who understand and can operate at all levels of the political process, I don’t think you’re going to make the change you want to. I don’t think it’s a wasted vote so much as it’s a pretty limited vote in what it can do.

          2. NJBiologist says:

            Weld ran for governor as a Republican, not a Libertarian.

            It’s a shame he’s not at the top of that ticket….

          3. RM says:

            True, I probably couldn’t locate Aleppo on the map … but then again, I wouldn’t vote for me for President, either.

            As an analogy, I wouldn’t expect someone off the street to know what an SN2 reaction is, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect someone in mouse physiology to know details about which solvents work best for promoting them … but I’d probably bin the CV of any synthetic organic chemist who seemed baffled by the question. If you’re applying for a job, you should be prepared to competently discuss key features of that job … even if John Q. Public or the rest of the hiring committee don’t understand the details. — they’re hiring you because (supposedly) *you* do.

            Sure, the other candidates may be similarly incompetent – and I respect anyone who honestly feels that Johnson is the least incompetent evil – but we shouldn’t attempt to excuse things with a tu quoque, “neither are you” argument. Again, I’m not the one running for President.

          4. Derek Lowe says:

            What gets me is not only the lack of knowledge, but the lack of knowledge about the lack of knowledge. Trump was asked a question during the primaries about the “nuclear triad”, which is not a man-on-the-street question, but something a President should know. And he had no clue. Then it came up again months later – still no clue. Didn’t bother to learn a thing, didn’t feel he needed to.

          5. Dylan says:

            That’s my thing. I find Gary Johnson’s lack of knowledge on international affairs and seeming unwillingness to learn much about it very troubling for a presidential candidate…but even with that big negative, I still think he and Weld are head and shoulders above the other candidates. I live in a state that is very safely blue, so I have the luxury of voting for the person I think is best for the job, this year I think that’s Johnson/Weld even while acknowledging their significant limitations.

        2. loupgarous says:

          Apart from Bernie Sanders and other New England “Democratic socialists,” and Joe Lieberman, who was strong enough to defeat his own party’s primary candidate running as the “Independent Democrat” who Connecticut sent to the US Senate, third party candidates don’t generally get elected as third party candidates. They usually are elected as members of one of the mainstream parties then experience a conversion, and some of them are then re-elected as incumbents in their new party.

          I favor abolishing the Presidency as an elected position. When the office was made elective originally, prime ministers were as much royal appointees as elected by Parliament (and Parliament in those days were the peerage and wealthy landsmen who could stand for election – or their stooges).

          We ought to let Congress choose the President from among its members. This would give us a representative of the people responsible to his or her peers for his tenure in office, and who (if we went all-out in copying Westminster parliamentarism as it now exists) could be recalled for defying Congress’ will.

          That would spare us the quadrennial embarrassment of Presidential elections by the masses, who have demonstrated this year they can’t choose an honest or decent candidate for President to save their lives – and with nuclear arsenals in China and Russia becoming a recurrent threat, it just might come down to that.

          1. 404 file not found says:

            The past several election cycles, the Democrats got 1-2 million more votes in the House races, but the Republicans still kept a strong majority of seats due to gerrymandering. Having Congress choose the president would just propagate the gerrymandering to the presidency.

          2. loupgarous says:

            The gerrymandering has been a bi-partisan process, which favored the Left until the nadir of Federal court-ordered gerrymandering occurred in Louisiana with a Congressional district drawn along a highway stretching in a diagonal line about a hundred mines south-east to north-west to ensure the election of an African-American to Congress from Louisiana. The Supreme Court found that to be an egregious violation of all the people’s rights to honest elections, and ended the practice.

            Ever since then, the US Justice Department, under both Republican and Democrat administrations, has done most of the gerrymandering in this country – mandating the shape, size and composition of local government voting districts toward the same end as the Federal judges who were over-zealous in promoting the voting rights of various ethnic groups.

      2. Mike says:

        Yes, Anon, and Hillary at the first debate said trickle-down economics caused the last financial crisis, and Trump says all manner of things. You are playing into exactly what the major parties typically want you to think, that you must choose who they feed you because anyone else is automatically a crackpot or woefully our of their depth.

  7. MTK says:

    The funny part is that for many the second banana on each ticket, meaning Pence, Kaine, and Weld are all preferable to Trump, Clinton, and Johnson.

    1. loupgarous says:

      Statistically, that’d be true if you pulled a random sampling of Americans driving to work and made THEM vice-president. That said, I could live with a Tim Kaine or Mike Pence presidency.

  8. Anon8 says:

    Derek: You opened up can of worms and the chemists in us will unleash it for this one time! I am bracing myself.

  9. MarkySparky says:

    I completely understand what you are going through.

  10. Hap says:

    The problem for Republicans (other than their willingness to embrace a candidate who seems to have contradicted almost all they claim to believe) is that a majority of their party chose Trump. At best, the process for choosing their candidate is flawed (led them to choose someone that did not really represent their party), although the number of people willing to vote for him seems to argue against that. The likely other option is that Trump is what most of the people identifying as Republicans wanted, and if the principles of the Republican Party conflicted with his candidacy, the largest part of its members were willing to reject those principles. If those principles aren’t relevant, what do you have other than power? Power is a lot, but it’s a tool, not an end (unless it’s 1984), and its unhindered use ends poorly.

    1. Minroad says:

      A plurality, not majority, chose Trump.

      1. Hap says:

        It depends – of the Republican population, you are probably right, though a) I think in some states (but not most) Trump received a majority in the primaries, and b) most of the party seems to be voting for him now, though, so whatever he is, most of the GOP appears to have accepted him. Most of the party apparatus chose him at the nomination, so the official party (though not necessarily all of its people) also chose Trump.

        I guess it is also possible that the party is inhomogeneous enough that only the fraction Trump represents could get enough consistent votes to get the nomination, and that no one could agree on an alternative – they wanted their own person, and weren’t willing early enough to compromise not to get Trump. The voting fraction for Trump, though, suggests that they are able to join together for something, even if it’s just “Not Clinton!”.

        1. Rich Rostrom says:

          Trump won majorities in seven contested primaries (NY, CT, DE,MD, PA, RI, IN). He won pluralities in 16 contested primaries (NH, SC, AL, AR, GA, MA, TN, VT, VA, LA, MI, MS, FL, MO, NC, AZ) and lost in seven (OK, TX, PR, ID, DC, OH, WI). He also won nine uncontested primaries (after all other candidates had dropped out).

          Seven out of 30 is not “most”. Even 16 of 39 is not most.

  11. Curious Wavefunction says:

    “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” – Churchill

    The emphasis on that quote is on “worst”; just how worse it can get Churchill did not specify. In one sense, what we are seeing is sadly neither surprising nor historically unprecedented. All it takes is a small percentage (10-20%) of extremely disgruntled and motivated citizens to change the face of the government and the country. The worst thing that anyone can therefore do this year is not vote. An equally worse thing – whatever the outcome – would be for the elitists on both sides to ignore the grievances of this disgruntled lot. If that happens then we might most certainly have another civil war on our hands next time.

    1. Hap says:

      I’m not sure what to do that could make them happy, though, or at least make everyone feel a part of America and thus have investment in it (or at least in not burning it down). The visions of what America ought to be seem fundamentally incompatible.

      1. Curious Wavefunction says:

        @Hap: It seems like one of the best things we can do to help those left behind by the economy is to retrain them for the “new” economy of automation through government programs. It’s hardly the first time in history that technology has made people’s skill sets obsolete and caused them to rebel; the solution in most cases has to been to train them for the new jobs which the new technology creates. It seems to me that neither of the two candidates addressed this potential solution. Instead one seems to have basically ignored the issue, and the other went off making impossible promises, like bringing coal mining back.

        1. Eric says:

          How, in practice, do we accomplish that? Automation is slowly replacing many jobs. As an example, if self-driving cars become a reality it will almost certainly eliminate taxi drivers/uber drivers. Uber will still need employees (coders/clerical work/mechanics for their cars, etc), but it will be far fewer than the number of drivers that are displaced. This type of upheaval already hit agriculture years ago. It’s an issue society has not yet figured out. What if automation results in not enough jobs to go around?

          1. loupgarous says:

            A recent report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development shows that mining in general, coal, iron, what have you, is going to see job losses no matter what, as mining companies automate the more costly and dangerous tasks now done by human miners.

            Everything from mass hauling by those monster dump trucks to tunnel boring and carrying off the tunnel fill (which in this case would be valuable ore) to blasting and reinforcing tunnels can and will be automated if significant savings can be realized.

            Retraining? Perhaps some of the miners displaced can be re-trained to work on the drive trains and powerplants of automated mining gear, but since the whole selling point of automation is to get companies off the hook for paying escalating health insurance and other payroll taxes on their human workers, it’s unlikely miners who lose their jobs this way will be anything but unemployed – under Trump or Clinton.

        2. Hap says:

          I don’t think anyone has been interested in training, though it would be good – employers want to permanently export the responsibility for training onto employees, and having the government help would make them responsible again through taxes, which I don’t think they like. Considering how quickly the specific desired skill sets seem to become obsolete, this would also be kind of difficult. Training in general areas would help (enabling people to deal with the evolution of their jobs), but those don’t pay now, and as long as employers and others are only interested in now, that can’t happen.

          There seems to be a big cultural component, which is problematic, because it is exclusionary, and because unless lots of stable jobs are created in rural areas, the culture can’t persist even locally (without requiring that the entire culture change). I think some of the less savory parts of Trump’s popularity hinge on cultural and racial primacy, and while financial improvements would negate some of the anger that underlies the primacy claims, they will still be present.

  12. Hap says:

    If the Republicans thought that Hillary Clinton would be a bad President (and based on her popularity, they wouldn’t have been alone), and wanted the position desperately to choose Supreme Court nominees and attempt to institute their principles or desires in law, they chose possibly the worst option for a candidate to defeat her. Had they chosen even a moderately capable candidate, we would probably not be worrying about this. (If Jeb Bush had told someone significant about Trump’s “discussion” with Billy Bush before the primaries, we also might not have had this discussion.)

    1. Phil says:

      The other Republican candidates made a huge mistake by not taking Trump seriously and therefore doing no opposition research on him. Revealing the Billy Bush audio during the primaries probably would have torpedoed his chances, but then we might be looking at Cruz as the Republican nominee. I don’t think he would fare much better in the general election. Rubio or Bush would have this in the bag by now.

      1. Hap says:

        Yes, but if Republicans didn’t want Bush or Rubio as their candidates, then you can’t make Republicans choose them. I don’t think Cruz would be doing well – he seems like at least some chemistry professors in being a charter member of the “Does not play well with others” club.

        1. Derek Lowe says:

          Agreed – I think that if Cruz had been nominated, he would probably be losing handily. That might have been a good thing, too, in the long run, because there’s been this persistent myth in some Republican circles that there are tens of millions of evangelical Christian voters who are just waiting for someone Godly enough to vote for. Disproving that would be a public service. Of course, you could say that disproving Trump’s case is also a public service, but I just hope it gets disproved convincingly enough that someone else won’t be tempted to try more of the same.

  13. 20 trillion says:

    gimme a break, so many politicians are just as bad, they just try to cover it up better. Clinton standing up on TV saying “it depends what your definition of is is”. LOL.

    The country is 20 trillion dollars in debt, everything is paid for by just printing money. No one seems to think this is an issue, All they do is wrangle about crude statements and legalizing pot.

    America is no more, the debt collectors just haven’t shut the place down yet.
    Maybe he can, maybe he can’t make a difference. Clinton will just double the debt the same way Obama did, this is for sure.

    1. Stiv99 says:

      No, absolutely not, other politicians are not ‘just as bad.’ Trump is unique in his danger to America and the Republican party is broken.

      Racism, misogyny, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and nationalism promoted through blatant misinformation and the peddling of an unending stream of conspiracy theories; a disdain for both the opposition party and democracy itself; this describes not just Trump, but his audience. But come home, say Republican leaders to the segment of the party uneasy with such things; we can work with this. This is no reason to leave.

      And that’s more alarming than what Trump or his own campaign may say. The Trump campaign will soon be ending, but the movement it caters to will be seeking a new leader and new banner—and even now, there are few among current Republican leaders who would turn them away.

      1. PoloniusLite says:

        I think it’s a small minority who support Trump due to shared misogyny or racism. I think he has attracted two groups mostly: 1) those angry at the establishment, mostly because globalism has taken away blue-collar America’s longstanding (‘god-given exceptionalist’) advantages over non-Americans, and 2) those who hate the Clintons.

        If this election finally satisfies and dissipates the second group, it’s the first that the country will suffer from for decades to come. Even if Trump does win, I suspect he’ll be turned on quickly by those angries, partly because their needs are unsatisfiable using government means, and partly because they’ll realize soon he’s the very model of the plutocrat power they despise — elistist, snobbish, dismissive, entrenched.

        Regardless of the outcome, this election revealed that America is ripe for the worst kind of authoritarian populism, a problem that won’t end until the country’s sense of cultural and economic entitlement that engendered it also dies out, something that’s certainly decades away.

    2. a. nonymaus says:

      There’s a saying that if you owe ten thousand dollars to the bank and you can’t pay then you have a big problem but if you owe ten billion dollars and can’t pay then the bank has a big problem.
      Meanwhile, another year where I will be voting against one candidate rather than for another. At least there are congressional elections where I have someone to vote for.

  14. Dave says:

    Isn’t there a chance that the election will go to the House? If Utah goes with that other guy? At that point isn’t there a chance that the selection can be someone reasonable? I think it would be funny if Paul Ryan wound up being president after saying so many times he didn’t want to be. Especially since he got to be speaker the same way.

    1. PeptoidChemist says:

      No there’s basically no chance of that.

    2. SP says:

      No candidate reaching 270 throws it to the house but they can’t just elect anyone, they can only choose from those who finished in the top three electoral vote totals. 12th amendment. The only way Ryan or anyone besides Trump, Clinton, or McMullin could get it is if a faithless elector(s) throw someone else’s name in and that person is third in the total (i.e. if McMullin doesn’t win Utah but faithless elector keeps Trump and Hillary both under 270.)

  15. luysii says:

    Never forget that Trump got more votes than the 16 other candidates time and again. Similarly, Bernie got a fair number of votes against Clinton. Add them to what the third and fourth party candidates will get tomorrow, and you have a large number of people who don’t like the way the country has been run by its elites.

    After Hillary is elected, and likely collapses again, we may finally find out what is wrong with her health. As you know, at the time of her ‘faint’ in December 2012, as a retired neurologist I thought she’d suffered a stroke causing the faint rather than the faint causing the blood clot which was found later. Nothing has really changed, even though the mainstream press covered up her faint at the 9/11 ceremony as a ‘stumble’. It wasn’t. For details please see

    1. Lyle Langley says:

      Isn’t it a bit unwise to diagnose someone you’ve never treated? With all due respect, I’d leave her medical treatment to her doctors.

      1. Anon says:

        And besides, Clinton would make a better Prisident dead, than Trump would alive. It would mean a fresh election, with better new candidates, but without Trump getting near the nuclear codes.

        1. Anon says:

          I’m assuming (or at least fervently hoping) that the Secret Service wouldn’t actually give him access to the nuclear codes.

          They could put a Lite Brite toy in a briefcase and tell him it’s the ‘football’.

        2. Michael S. Rogers says:

          You might want to reread the 25th amendment. There will be no new elections.

        3. Non-Anon says:

          ??? I’m not sure which country you’re thinking of. If Hillary were to die in office, Tim Kaine would become President of the US. Not such a terrible outcome, but different from a new election.

      2. luysii says:

        Not at all. Docs do it all the time when they present puzzling cases to their colleagues for help either in the hallway (called curbstone consults) or at grand rounds.

        Consider the sad case of Hugo Chavez, elected after declaring himself cured of cancer, only never to take office. It was obvious to me that he was a very sick man from the start. The electorate should have had this information all along – for details see

        1. Lyle Langley says:

          Were you presented her case by her doctors?

          1. luysii says:

            No, just like Chavez, I used what information was available in the popular press. However much of it subsequently was based on information released by her personal physician Lisa Bardach, then and subsequently. For example —


    2. Argon says:

      Ah, the tinfoil hat crowd appears…

      1. Lyle Langley says:

        Popular press. Ah, I see. Well diagnosed doctor.

        1. luysii says:

          Please have a look at
          to see what can be accomplished looking at the popular press (when the investigative press was nowhere to be found)

  16. Barry says:

    I waited for the Republican party to fall apart after Watergate. Didn’t happen. I thought the libertarians would desert when Ronald Reagan turned out to be excited about foreign interventions. Didn’t happen. I though the crimes of Iran/Contra would disillusion the base. Didn’t happen. So yes, Trump’s candidacy has wounded the GOP. Maybe it will fall apart like the Whigs after Zach Taylor. But Americans have short memories, and party affiliation is inherited with more fidelity than eye color, and George Prescott Bush is being groomed for 2020.

  17. R1-RA says:

    As an american-born research associate, with a PhD, at an R1 institution (in his 50’s), who has to compete for jobs with the legions of Chinese nationals fresh out of China with PhD’s, I can begin to understand why some support the anti-immigrant stance of Trump.

    With Clinton becoming president, I can only expect international visas increasing, making it less likely I will be able to keep a job.

    Ive come to the conclusion its easy to hold liberal values about immigration if you dont have to compete with the immigrants.

    1. anon says:

      Could you please provide any numbers on the foreign vs. American RA’s in academia? Let’s see how the competition looks like. If you can’t keep your job as an American RA, it is your fault. What you want is job security even if you produce nothing of value. I am sorry but it is 2016 where you can’t except to be paid by doing lower quality work.

  18. So Sad says:

    I’m depressed, because tomorrow I’ll be faced with a ‘ballot of deplorables’.

    These are not the best and brightest America has to offer. I long ago came to the conclusion that wanting to be President, wanting it badly enough to fight through an entire campaign cycle, should probably be a disqualifying condition for actually being president.

    1. John Wayne says:

      Absolutely. My dad always told me that the person we need for president is a person smart enough not to run.

      1. Neal says:

        Almost like he thought of this election when he wrote the book:

        “It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it… anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”
        Douglas Adams – The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

        1. sgcox says:

          That is a classical Catch 22 !

  19. anon says:

    “The funny part is that for many the second banana on each ticket, meaning Pence, Kaine, and Weld are all preferable to Trump, Clinton, and Johnson.”

    maybe in demeanor, but not in terms of anything else.

    Pence scares me the most of all. He’d like us to…
    -stop teaching evolution
    -use taxpayer money to “convert” gay people
    -establish the United States of Jesusland

    1. NJBiologist says:

      A Pence presidential run would have done two things.

      1) The election would have worked more like a referendum on the broad social currency of the issues you identify. That could only help.

      2) Pence looks like a morning-in-America conservative, not a “make America great again” type. I think that would have made for a less ugly campaign.

  20. NC says:

    Derek – I’m impressed by your willingness to change your mind, not because it’s you specificially, but because most people are not willing to do so.

    As a chemist not from USA but living here at the moment, I’m heartened by your change in thought and hope others will be bold enough to follow. Maybe one day the politics here will have time to sort itself out.

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      The old line about how the party has moved away from me comes to mind. I feel as if my core beliefs haven’t changed all that much over the years – free trade, strong defense, individual liberty – but damned if I’ll vote for a mentally disordered carnival barker in pursuit of them.

      1. Eric says:

        I agree – it’s rare to find someone that will change their vote when confronted with an unappealing candidate, which IMO is why Trump continues to poll at near 40%.

        I think there is a fraction of the republican party that will vote for any candidate that is anti-abortion and pro-gun. As long as the carnival barker at least pays lip service to these positions he will get their vote.

      2. McChemist says:

        This is one of the things that really strikes me about Trump – policywise, he’s not even in the traditional Republican camp. Trade wars? Cancelling free trade agreements? Being best buddies with Vladimir Putin?

        Trumpism might stick around (unfortunately), but there’s so many aspects to Trumpism that it’s hard to tell what made him win the nomination in the first place. Being a clear outsider? The willingness to say whatever random thing just popped into his head? His relentless screaming about how various Democrats are ineligible because they should be locked up, or were secretly born in Kenya? Or does he represent a genuine shift in the policies that self-proclaimed conservatives want?

      3. navarro says:

        i agree that it is difficult to put aside previous loyalties to and identification with a group that has been a staple condition of one’s life. as a long-standing democrat i have few qualms about clinton aside from her tendency to be hyper-cautious. still, i’m not married to my party. if the democrats had voted to nominate rob blagojevich as their candidate for president and he were recorded making outright bribes to people in exchange for support i wouldn’t vote for him. you have both my sympathies and my admiration,

      4. tangent says:

        I don’t know which dispirits me more: the idea that so many Republicans would not look to see that Trump isn’t even one of them, or the idea that for a large fraction he actually is one of their group.

  21. Lane Simonian says:

    When Trump began his presidential candidacy by announcing that most Mexican immigrants were bringing drugs, crime, and were rapists and then almost as an afterthought said that he assumed some were good people, I thought this guy is a joke and he will get nowhere. I suppose it did not help that he was running against a large field that did not take him with enough seriousness either. It will be good karma if it is the Latino vote that now denies him the presidency.

    Besides engaging in race baiting, being a misogynist, an authoritarian, and completely unqualified for the office, Trump is one of those most dangerous types of politicians–a fake populist. He has not cared about working people throughout his entire life and yet he is appealing to some less educated whites through his populist economic rhetoric. Then he adds racist populism to the mix. I don’t think he believes in half of what he says, the half he may believe in is what scares me.

    At this point the Tea party/alt-right branch of the Republican party takes over the party for some time or splits from it. Or perhaps there is some uneasy coexistence. If Hillary wins, maybe that gives many Republicans a common target for the next four to eight years. But I am afraid the days where moderate Republicans had some say in the party is over for quite awhile.

  22. SuddenlyWorried says:

    Derek, I agree with you on your dislike for Trump. He is an idiot. However this election has exposed widespread corruption among the Clintonistas. Hillary is a major hypocrite as she is supposedly a defender of women but at the same time went on the attack against women that her sexual predator husband raped or molested. The Clinton Foundation is a pay for play scheme. So while we both share our dislike for Trump you need to be concerned by the massive corruption with Hillary and Bill. Regardless of the election outcome, the fact is that America is the big loser.

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      I am very upset about the corruption you’re talking about, and I agree that the country is terribly served by either of these candidates being President. I fear, though, that Trump is both corrupt *and* totally unqualified, which leads me to voting “merely corrupt” as the alternative.

      1. A Nonny Mouse says:

        If you can get hold of it listen to this radio interview with the person who wrote “Art of the Deal” for him,

        Very frightening

        1. Derek Lowe says:

          I read Schwarz’s article in New York Magazine about that ghost-writing experience, and it certainly sounded believable – unfortunately!

      2. Jim Hartley says:

        Sorry, Derek, but the “corrupt” word is meaningless without a topic. [Deleted rant] So tell us what Bill and Hill did in Arkansas so long ago that turned your otherwise reasonable and knowledgeable self against them? As specifically as you can. Thanks.

        1. Derek Lowe says:

          It goes back a long ways, but one early example (for her) is the old cattle-futures controversy. While she was First Lady of Arkansas, you may recall, she managed to turn a $1000 investment into $100,000 in less than a year of futures trading. Initially, she said that she didn’t remember that happening. Then she said that she did all the trades herself, by reading the Wall St. Journal or the like. Finally, it came out that most (if not all) of the trades had been placed by a friend, James Blair, along with a broker, “Red” Bone. Suspicion has long been that this was a not-very-well disguised payoff to the new Governor and his wife, although that is, of course, impossible to prove. The odds of being able to achieve a tenfold return in the commodity futures market, with no prior trading experience whatsoever, are rather long, though. And if I had ever done such a thing, the first time out, I would still be boring people with the story even in the nursing home, not having trouble remembering any of the details.

          This is only one story, but it’s not atypical, nor was Clinton’s response to the controversy. Again, growing up in Arkansas and observing its political culture, I’m not “shocked” by this behavior, but I don’t find it appealing, either. But this is the candidate I’m going to vote for tomorrow, rather than Trump.

          1. Jim Hartley says:

            Thanks. Well written and reasonable, as usual.

          2. dstar says:

            When I went to college in New Orleans, my first year there was the year of Edwin Edwards vs David Duke. The bumper stickers reading ‘Vote for the crook — it’s important!’ have never seemed more apropos.

            I honestly never expected to see the Republicans run a candidate that Clinton had a chance against; it’s the day before the election, and I’m _still_ having trouble believing it.

    2. Phil says:

      The Clinton Foundation is rated as highly as the American Red Cross for accountability and transparency, but better for financials. Stop listening to pundits.

  23. Home says:

    Yet again, the Ciceros seem to have had it figured out:

    “See to it, given an opportunity, that report circulates of any crime, lust or bribery warranted by your rivals’ behavior.”

  24. Steve says:

    I think the anti-Trump arguments are short sighted and don’t understand Trump’s appeal to well educated upper income voters. Many pundits are quick to point out how his campaign is racist, xenophobic, anti-semitic and whatever other ism is out there but fail listen to what Trumps actually says in his speeches vs. what the major news networks report.

    C’s comment above is what is driving this election. With the advent of social media the general public can finally receive news without the majority, read Democrat, spin on each political event. This disconnect is so apparent that the voter base is literally ready for a revolution. Whether or not Trump will be a good president is irrelevant to the voter base. For over a decade they have been force fed biased and outrageous reporting. E.g. constant upbeat economic numbers and lack of inflation is an affront to any working citizen. There is 4.9 % unemployment but 100 million not in the labor force! Hillary Clinton has been proven time and time again to abuse power and pedal foreign political favors for money. And yet the media covers none of it in any convincing way.

    A Trump vote is a FU to the establishment. He addresses the alternative media and speaks about what people are reading on social media. He speaks to the disenfranchised the people who NBC, ABC, CNN and SNL write reports and skits while shaking their heads about what a shame it is to be like them. He may not be the best candidate but he’s their candidate and they are going to vote.

    This election is amazing to watch because for the first time the powers that be have lost control and the underground is rising up and I’m sorry it’s not pretty. In the end it may be a good thing we may be able to address the issues that caused started this to begin with, namely exposure of the biased media and fallacious economic reporting. It’s a wake up call for many who have only been reading the NYT but the independent bloggers and reporters have been at it for years.

    1. Erebus says:

      Right. Even prominent intellectual leftists support Trump, for those same reasons. See, for instance, what Camille Pagila said a few days ago:

      “This idea that Trump represents such a threat to western civilisation — it’s often predicted about presidents and nothing ever happens — yet if Trump wins it will be an amazing moment of change because it would destroy the power structure of the Republican party, the power structure of the Democratic party and destroy the power of the media. It would be an incredible release of energy… at a moment of international tension and crisis.”

      And see also the endorsement of left-wing philosopher Slavoz Zizek.

      Whether you’re on the right or the left, it should be obvious that a Clinton victory is, to say the very least, a victory for the status-quo. (And likely far worse than that, given her views on immigration, trade, and war.) Trump is an unknown. But it’s difficult to see how he could be any worse than Hillary. And, indeed, as “Publius Decius Mus” said in The Flight 93 Election: “A Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.”

    2. Hap says:

      1) Screwing yourselves to screw other people is not a winning strategy.
      2) The solution to bad information is not “no information”, and the solution to hypocrisy is not nihilism.

    3. jbosch says:

      “A Trump vote is a FU to the establishment.”

      That’s what the Brits did with the Brexit and see what they got out of it. If things are a mess in US politics then you rather have to work the 4×365 days before an election to get it fixed and not on the one single election day. This country is unfortunately so messed up, that it requires a real crash. And it certainly is not a given that such a crash would actuelly lead to a change in mentality. A two-party system is simply unhealthy for democracies.

      I would go as far as to say that every vote for anybody else than Trump or Clinton is a wasted vote and will in the end only help Trump and not Clinton. If that is what the “undecided” want, then live with the consequences of it.

      I am definitely not looking forward to tomorrow. As an European citizen I can leave this mess if need be and return to Europe if Trump gets elected. But for all the Americans be it Republican or Democrat, this will be a huge mess if he gets elected.

      Good luck to all Americans who deeply care for politics, independent of their political color

    4. Not an econ major says:

      “E.g. constant upbeat economic numbers and lack of inflation is an affront to any working citizen. There is 4.9 % unemployment but 100 million not in the labor force!”

      That 100 million number isn’t very relevant in describing the performance of the economy. People in the labor force between 25 and 54 years old is slightly down compared to numbers from before the recession, but it’s not that far off:

      November 2007: 79.6%
      October 2016:78.2%

      Fivethirtyeight had a nice article today covering economic issues facing the next President ( The situation isn’t perfect, and there’s room for improvement. But I don’t think a Trump political revolution is the best way to achieve growth (and, according to polls, neither do the vast majority of “well educated upper income voters” that you reference in the beginning of your post).

      1. anonymous says:

        It is funny for unemployment rate, On June when significantly less person found jobs, unemployment rate decreased. On July when significantly more person found job, the unemployment rate increased,
        The unemployment rate is not determined by the dividend, instead, it is determined by divisor, whom quitting from the labor force.
        The unemployment rate means nothing now. It is the same when talking about tax rate for wealthy person. You give the tax rate, the wealthy person determine the taxable income. Ironically, Buffet was always used as a positive example. His wealthy is 60B while the whole wealthy of US is around 80T. If you scale up his 1M federal tax, US will get around 1.4B federal tax in total, which can be used for build 20% of a corrupt website by Obama.

    5. Bagger Vance says:

      Good description, and much closer to what i’ve been thinking.

    6. Rock says:

      OMG, I thought there would be a higher level of discourse on this site. But I guess the trolls have found it (or the Trump bots). The fact that social media allows for unfiltered news is what led us to the disaster that is Trump. The mainstream media just helps to filter out all the bullsh*t, and Trump is nothing if not a bullsh*t artist. A false equivalency has been created between the two candidates when there should not be one. I have seen numerous articles with titles like “why do Trump and Clinton lie?”. You can’t equate the two. Clinton lies as much as every other politician (even less than Bernie). Trump is off the charts. Virtually everything he says is either opinion or a lie. You just regurgitated one of his earlier lies. 100 million Americans out of work. Well you know what? There are 125 million Americans over 65 and under 18. Give me a break!

  25. Joe Q. says:

    Watching this election as a Canadian (though one who lived for some time in the USA) has been an interesting experience, to say the least. It’s as if everyone watched too much reality TV and decided it’d be a good idea to extend that genre’s particular values to the political system.

    There’s obviously lots that can be said about the campaign, but per Derek’s post, it seems clear as an outside observer that the Republican Party is due for a major reset — they need to figure out what they actually stand for (vs. just obstruction / opposition) and how they provide viable solutions for the USA’s problems. In that sense, a drubbing at the polls — plus the nature of the US system that quickly sends failed presidential candidates off into the political sunset — would be a blessing in disguise for the GOP.

    1. John Dallman says:

      Joe Q, Trump may disappear if he looses, but he’s demonstrated an approach to winning support from the US public that will not be lost on others,

      Be supremely confident. Say all kinds of things whose purpose is to demonstrate decisiveness and purpose. Treat the feelings of people who feel they’re loosing out as fundamental political truths, Show strong authoritarian tendencies, which will scoop up the section of the population who value authority above all else, and will ignore your conflicts with their values. Embrace the conspiracy narrative and the paranoid style. Win.

  26. anon the II says:

    Thanks for this column. And the comments are somewhat enlightening also.

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      The whole flippin’ election has been like that – the “somewhat enlightening” effect has been most unpleasant.

  27. Jess says:

    Guess this makes Trumpium a Thing You Wont Work with

  28. db says:


    While I share your disdain (for me it is more like “contempt”) for both candidates, I find it hard to understand what you mean when you write about Hillary “Under normal circumstances I would cheerfully vote against her. But this is not a normal year.”

    I presume you live and vote in Massachussetts. A single vote for Hillary or anyone else for that matter is less than meaningless, statistically and practically, in your Commonwealth. She is absolutely guaranteed to win the popular vote there and take all of the electoral votes.

    I humbly suggest you consider voting for a third party candidate or write someone or even “NONE OF THE ABOVE” to avoid getting dragged into thw mud.

    Voting for either one of the major parties will only perpetuate the current situation, and especially in a place like Massachussetts, where your vote has a competely insignificant effect on the outcome, more protest votes are valuable.

  29. Anon says:

    Is there a box to vote for “anyone else – and I mean ANYONE!”?

    1. Anon says:

      A “lucky dip” vote from the rest of the US population would actually be a good choice in this case, as all current candidates are clearly sub-par.

  30. Chrispy says:

    We are lucky Trump is as obviously bad as he is. Had he a bit more subtlety and intelligence we could be electing the next Hitler or Mussolini.

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      That’s actually one of my big worries – a more competent Trump, with enough burn-it-down for the folks who want that, but with an actual attention span and less personality disorder. Spare us.

      1. b says:

        That, in other words, is my fear of Pence.

      2. JimM says:

        If climate projections come even close, tens of millions of refugees from collapsed tropical agricultural ecosystems will be storming the borders of now-temperate countries, and competent Trumps will likely rule them all — my guess is, by late mid-century.

      3. Old Timer says:

        That is Marine Le Pen in France. She is intelligent, extremely well-spoken, and ultra-right wing. If we get someone like that in the US, they will skyrocket to office. Scary!

  31. Donald's wig says:

    Like many of my friends and colleagues here in Europe, I have a somewhat morbid fascination with the US political system as a whole. The fact that the world’s most important two-horse race can be run by two three-legged donkeys such as this pair is quite incredible. I honestly cannot wrap my head around it.

    I love America and Americans. I’ve travelled to your fine country probably 30 times in the last 5 years, and enjoyed every single trip. It just saddens me that you’re all facing such a choice.

    I can imagine you loathed writing this post Derek, but it is excellent and gives some spin-free insight into what my American peers are going through. Thank you for writing it.

    Ps, the system and people involved in politics this side of the pond can be pretty crappy too – please don’t think I’m suggesting otherwise. It’s just Trump is a whole new level of crap

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      Come back soon! With any luck, all this will be over in the not-too-distant future. . .

  32. Peter S. Shenkin says:

    I was for H in 2008 and have had no hesitation being for her this year, even when B was her opposition – even though I “like” B better as a person. Despite all the email leaks and revelations, I see nothing at all to indicate corruption on the part of the C’s. I wonder if T could have stood that test, had leaks about him been as extensive. Be this as it may, I will continue to be grateful to T for the Central Park ice-skating rink.

    Having said that, I will resort to one of my favorite definitions of Democracy, by H. L. Mencken: “The theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

    1. Hap says:

      The problem for me is that much of the argument Clinton is based on the assertion that she’s corrupt. Isn’t that a falsifiable hypothesis? For example, Starr spent six years looking for evidence of such and found, mostly, that her husband lied to Congress about the travails of his nether regions. Is there significant evidence that she committed crimes?

      I think this is where the Republicans have gotten what they asked for. When you make facts and evidence irrelevant to deciding what you should do and how to argue with others on what you should do, you divorce politics from the one thing that can hold it to ground. Once honesty is irrelevant, you get a race to the bottom that everyone can lose.

      Chrispy has my worry too – had someone with much less evidence (actual evidence) of stupidity and unfitness but with Trump’s policy desires been the Republican nominee, he would most likely be President, and America (and the world) would have a very large problem.

      1. Mr. Rogers says:

        Al Capone was not found guilty of anything except tax evasion. Does that mean that he was not guilty of anything else? In addition to the “cattle futures” payoff outlined by Derek above, there was also the disappearance/reappearance of Rose law firm billing records (that could have shown that she was involved in fraud re: Whitewater/Castle Grande) just after the statute of limitations ran out. There are numerous cases of state department decisions being influenced by Clinton foundation “donors” and those who hired Bill as a “speaker.” It is the latter arrangement that the email server was clearly meant to conceal. That it also revealed classified information was just a hook. Whether a future FBI director will try to make a criminal case, doesn’t determine whether an arrangement is corrupt.

        1. Hap says:

          The investment thing was out a while ago (but I wrote before Dr. Lowe’s response).

          Do you have evidence of the “numerous cases of state department decisions being influenced by Clinton foundation “donors” and those who hired Bill as a “speaker.”? (It’s not clear that the email server was designed to hide corruption – my assumption would have been that it was used to avoid transparency, which could imply corruption or could simply imply that she is playing more than one side of the street. Being that Powell apparently used the same system, it doesn’t seem immediately obvious that the system was designed to facilitate corruption.)

          At some point, though, when you claim things, you should back them up. That’s what science is about, and it’s not a particularly bad idea for politics, either.

          1. Dr T says:

            Thanks for the welcome reminder that these sorts of assertions should be backed up by data! Now, I haven’t done any deep dives into early 90’s era Clinton policies (sorry, I’m too young to remember!), but for so many of the recent stuff (emails, Bengazhi, Clinton Foundation), the more you look, the less there is.

            For example, on the email front, Politico just did a big story on the genesis of the email server (, also featured on This American Life — I know liberal media, blah blah), and it’s pretty clear that it was standard not-paying-attention bungling and lack of technological savvy that lead to this whole thing rather than any secret evil plan (or even to avoid FOIA requests). Which we’ve been hearing about ad infinitum for how long?

        2. Peter S. Shenkin says:

          @Mr. Rogers
          Al Capone was only convicted of tax evasion; and certainly it is common belief that he was convicted of far worse. It seems likely to me that he was.

          The Clintons, on the other hand, haven’t been convicted of anything, but their detractors seem to think that in fact they’re guilty of everything, which seems unlikely to me.

          For example, though it’s true that some who donated to the Clinton Foundation received benefits from the State Department, (1) no evidence has emerged of a quid-pro-quo in any case, despite extensive searches and leaks; (2) the Clinton Foundation gets the highest grades from several charity watchdog organizations and spends 88% of its funds on its charitable work, so the Clintons don’t benefit financially. (See the Wikipedia article.) (3) Yes, those who pay the Clintons for talks, etc., and donate money to them also donate to the foundation. I wish all who made a lot of money would encourage their business partners to donate to charity, even their own charities, provided they are bona-fide, which there is every reason to believe the Clinton Foundation is.

          On the email server: A moment’s thought ought to make it obvious to anyone that keeping both private and public work on the same server is going to make it easier, not harder, to hide any nefarious deeds. If the private correspondence had been kept on a separate server and the public server simply allowed to stay with the State Department, quite possibly none of the supposedly horrible revelations that people are so concerned about would even have been visible. Apparently, Hillary’s acts were innocent enough, at least in her own view, that she was willing to take the risk of keeping everything on the same server, for convenience. (Personally, I think it was a poor choice. Even I, before I retired, kept my work email on a work server and my private email separate; but others whom I know use a single email address for everything.)

          Finally, I think there are better reasons to oppose Hillary than these red herrings. She is way too bellicose for my taste. I deplored her vote for Iraq War 2.0 the moment she cast it, and was dismayed by her pro-active support of the NATO Libya initiative. In 2011, I felt it extremely unlikely that Assad was going to be deposed, particularly given the Soviets’ need to maintain their warm-water port in Tartus, and have viewed her wish that we had intervened more active militarily as tilting at windmills. However, despite this, I prefer her to the competition, and did even when the competition was Bernie.

  33. johnnyboy says:

    As another long-term outside observer of US politics, what most blows my mind about this election is not Trump’s antics, but how putatively educated and thoughtful people (eg. Steve and Erebus above) seem to actually believe that electing a middle-of-the-road, centrist, career politician would be a catastrophy on the same level as electing a narcissistic, ignorant, vengeful, unhinged demagogue, whose only reason for running is a pathologic need to consider himself King of The World, not to actually govern or do anything of use. Hillary’s failings are the same as the failings of any long-lasting politician, and if she’s elected, the absolute worst that will actually happen is the same gridlocked status quo of the last 4 years, which for most people reading this blog (ie. white upper middle class) would actually be good news. If Trump is elected, the results could be a horror beyond anyone’s capacity to imagine.
    If anything, this election cycle shows how much a generally lazy and profit-driven media can influence people’s thinking. The fact that the media has been going on incessantly for months about Hillary’s various “scandals” despite no actual scandal ever being shown, to a greater extent than the real instances of Trump’s various frauds, tells you how rotten and useless the mainstream news industry has become in the US.

    1. PoloniusLite says:

      I strongly suspect much of the venom directed at Clinton arises because: 2) she’s a Clinton, and 1) she’s a she.

      If an equivalent male pol were running in Clinton’s place, I think 90% of the plaints against her would dissipate. The fact she’s a aggressive unfeminine hard-edged female must rile paternalist oldtimers no end.

      Obama succeeded as the first black POTUS candidate because his intelligence and level headedness mollified many stereotypers. But Clinton doesn’t acknowledge or try to assuage biases arising from her womanhood. I suspect many traditionalists see that as provocatively unladylike.

      She refuses to play the game by my rules? Then I’ll hater her ’til I die.

  34. 123 says:

    Look no further than the predictions of

    Please do not loose your sleep and go vote tomorrow…I agree that any body but Trump would be better so as to not to undo what has been accomplished over a century in US.

  35. Bud Hammers says:

    This is what a two-party election looks like when one of the parties (in the words of senator Lindsey Graham) is “bat-shit crazy”. It’s also what you get when “journalism” is based upon instantaneous newspeak cycles, designed to fan the flames of a polarized and contested election, ultimately for the placement and gratification of consumer advertising. The fact that a bum like Trump will likely get ~45% of the popular vote speaks volumes about the state of American politics, democracy, education. If the Donald actually manages to win, America will get what it richly deserves – and at YUGE political, economical and social cost. Ironically, the disadvantaged and disenfranchised who vote for him will suffer the most. If the party of Lincoln had any class or leadership, it would split. Republicans need to rekindle true fiscal conservatism and free enterprise values, and they are long overdue in unloading the divisiveness (race, religion, xenophobia, …) that they sow in order to retain white/christian voters – leave that crap to an independent fascist party.

  36. Lyle Langley says:

    And through all of this, Trump does have a chance to win and it will not be a blow-out tomorrow.

      1. Hap says:

        So what do we do? Whatever happens, (I hope) we’re stuck with each other. What happens that enables us to get over this?

  37. Dave says:

    I have been stymied by this election and the personalities that have come to dominate it. The media has invested a tremendous amount of effort in telling us this election is all about personalities, but looking at the number of people voting for Trump, the personality issue is just a side show. In the end, people will ignore the candidate and vote on the issues that are near and dear to them – the same issues that have driven every election we have had during my 62 years. Forget the personalities – these are these issues that will drive people to the polls to vote for one person or another:

    Trump Voters are voting for one of more of the following:

    * Will stack the Supreme Court with conservatives to stop abortion and retain the Citizens United ruling.
    * Supporters believe his business skills give him the ability to lead without input from others.
    * Supporters believe he knows more about war than all of the generals in the US military.
    * Will abolish the EPA and environmental regulations.
    * Will abolish the Department of Education.
    * Will eliminate funding for NASA and folding the money into the defense budget.
    * Will eliminate the ACA (Obamacare).
    * Will eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
    * Will eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts.
    * Will eliminate the Department of the Interior, and auction off federal lands to highest bidder.
    * Will abolish the Common Core teaching standard.
    * Will reduce or eliminate Social Security (considers it a form of welfare).
    * Will defund and eliminate Planned Parenthood.
    * Believes vaccines cause autism, wants to make child vaccinations optional.
    * Does not support gun background checks for gun shows, and will not restrict sales of guns to people on the no-fly list.
    * Wants to provide greater support for coal, coal exports, and LNG exports.
    * Will implement trade barriers with China, Mexico, and other countries.
    * Will terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
    * Will abrogate the Paris climate accord and reject climate science in general.
    * Will increase the US military budget.
    * Will diminish or eliminate the US role in NATO.
    * Will implement water boarding and other forms of torture for military prisoners.
    * Will kill the family members of known terrorists and militants.
    * Will use limited nuclear weapons as a “tactical deterrent” to ISIS.
    * Will stop immigration into the US.
    * Will apply a religious affiliation test for US Visas.
    * Will build a wall between the US and Mexico.
    * Will institute forced deportation of Mexican and Latin American immigrants without due process.
    * Will increase manufacturing in the US (which is doubtful based on the extreme automation used in the current economy, but one can hope for a miracle).
    * Will eliminate the minimum wage.
    * Does not support wage parity for women.
    * Wants tax credits for child care expenses.
    * Will reduce and/or eliminate taxes on the wealthy.
    * Will eliminate federal inheritance taxes
    * Will reduce the deficit and the national debt through supply side economics (note that supply side economics has been tried three times and resulted in five recessions – 1 Reagan, 1 H Bush, and 3 W Bush)
    * And last but not least, you are a republican or conservative, and you always vote republican.

    Hillary voters are voting for one or more of the following:

    * Placing liberals on the Supreme Court to keep abortion legal and eliminate Citizens United.
    * Supports the EPA and environmental regulations.
    * Will use political experience to build coalitions and use advisors to lead.
    * Will rely on military leaders for military expertise.
    * Supports the EPA and environmental regulations.
    * Supports the Department of Education.
    * Supports funding for NASA and wants to expand space exploration.
    * Supports the ACA (Obamacare), wants to improve the program, wants a public option.
    * Supports the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
    * Supports the National Endowment for the Arts.
    * Supports the Department of the Interior, would not auction off federal lands to highest bidder.
    * Supports Common Core teaching standard, will work with teachers.
    * Supports Social Security, wants to strengthen it.
    * Supports the funding of Planned Parenthood.
    * Believes vaccines DO NOT cause autism, believes in science.
    * Wants background checks for gun shows, will restrict gun sales for people on no-fly list.
    * Supports renewable energy sources, wants to eliminate support for coal.
    * Supports trade with China, Mexico, and other countries.
    * Supports the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
    * Supports the Paris climate accord and climate science in general.
    * Wants to find a way to reduce the US military budget to reduce deficit spending.
    * Supports the US role in NATO.
    * Against the use of torture for any reason.
    * Does not support the family members of known terrorists and militants.
    * Wants to use diplomacy to avoid war instead of violent response.
    * Believes nuclear weapons are a last resort option, not a tactical option.
    * Supports immigration in the US and a path for immigrants.
    * Does not believe in a religious affiliation test for US Visas.
    * Does not support building a wall between the US and Mexico.
    * Does not support forced deportation of Mexican and Latin American immigrants without due process.
    * Supports free education and training of people affected by economic disruption in the manufacturing trades, allowing them to secure jobs in a modern economy.
    * Wants a balanced tax policy to ensure the wealthy pay a fair share of taxes.
    * Will reduce the deficit and the national debt by removing the college debt burden from the millennial generation and allowing them to fully participate in the US economy.
    * Supports an increase in the minimum wage.
    * Supports wage parity for women.
    * Wants federal cash support for child care expenses.
    * And last but not least, you are a democrat or liberal, and you always vote democrat.

    The difference between the two candidates could not be more defined – they are literally on opposite poles from one another. In the end, it is not about email, or grabbing pussy, or slogans, or anything the media spins. What do you want for America? If you sit on the fence and do not vote, or you vote for a third party that will obviously lose, you have no right to bitch when things do not go your way. Participate in the process. Select one of more from column A, and one or more from column B, and figure out what is is that you want for your future. Then vote on Tuesday. It’s that simple.

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      You’re generally right about that – but one problem with Trump has been that (since his positions have been all over the place) you can often find quotes that back up several inconsistent approaches from him. Heck, sometimes you can find them in the same speech, or in response to a single interview question. He has a talent in that respect, but it’s not one that I value much.

      1. RogerMexico says:

        And Hillary’s positions haven’t been all over the place??? First she was calling the TPP the gold standard and then, after seeing the outrage over it, flip flopped and said she’s not for it. This is the same woman, who in her speech’s to Goldman Sacks says that she has to have a public position and a private one. So which is she going to rule by? Are we supposed to guess?

        And about Clinton:

        Fact: Clinton perjured herself under oath during her congressional testimony. This is cannot be disputed by any measure.
        Fact: Clinton obstructed justice by deleting emails when she was under subpoena. Again, this cannot be disputed.
        Fact: Clinton, by setting up her own server and putting classified information on it, broke the law, and severely compromised the security of the United States.

        Her defense “i wasn’t aware this was an issue” doesn’t make it any less a crime, and is incomprehensibly stupid. This is excuse making that you might expect from a 5 yr old, not a Sec of State. We have a person in prison for having a couple pics of a submarine interior on his phone and this is not a problem for her? Are you kidding me?

        I don’t care how much you hate Trump, these things are egregious crimes from a high official in our government and have to be prosecuted. They alone (not even getting into the massive conflict of interest that is the Clinton Global Foundation) should preclude her from running for office.

        Furthermore there is extremely strong evidence she, in collusion with Debra Wassaman and Donna Brazile, cheated Bernie Sanders out of the primary. Brazilie just lost her job at CNN for handing debate questions to Clinton beforehand. Why is nobody questioning Clinton on taking that information and acting on it? It’s unethical. It’s cheating. And it goes against the very notion of a democracy. Bernie, that cowardly little old man should be outraged.

        And not only that, but there is verifiable proof that high ranking clinton staff paid individuals to go and incite violence at Trump rallies. There are hours of video of Bob Creamer, (who by the way, visited the White house over 300 times), detailing the operation down to it’s finest points. Again, unethical and corrupt on scales that’d make Nixon look like a choir boy. How is she not being held accountable? This information is available for any and all to see. And no, it’s not faked, there is hours of this idiot Creamer going on about it – not even Spielberg could pull off that editing job.

        Through Wikileaks, you have access to the actual email correspondence of Clinton , her campaign chair Podesta and various other that come and go in that circle. As someone who’s spent a fair amount of time reading it, i can tell you confidently it’s all quite horrifying. Worse, by many orders of magnitude, than any of Trump’s worst gaffes, or vulgar private talk, or his penchant for running his mouth without thinking first. She and her camp are a threat to the underpinnings of our Democracy. The data in wikileaks has been investigated and found to be legitimate by numerous sources. Furthermore, the fact that Clintons don’t deny it should provided even more credence. So go read their correspondence and see exactly for yourself what you have in her as a candidate. Go follow “wikileaks” on twitter and read. Read till you can’t stand any more and then keep reading. It should make you sick to your stomach. If you can still vote for Hillary after that….. well, then you just have my pity.

        I’m a registered democrat who voted for Obama twice. First time enthusiastically, second time holding my nose. I’m done with that party and their corruption. I’m fulling willing to admit that Trump is not palatable. But at this point the vote comes down to this: a guy with a big mouth and maybe over hyped career as a builder who may or may not do what he’s saying …… or a woman with a 30 yr proven track record of lying, cheating, war mongering (who is already antagonizing the russians) and who is 100% going to say one thing and turn around and do the exact opposite. I’ll choose an uncertain hope over a certain criminal for sure, every time.

        1. Hap says:

          That assumes, though, that the uncertain hope has no cost, or that the likely outcome is no worse than the criminal. Since Trump does not appear to understand the job he wants (the Constitution, how the nuclear system works, for two) and either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that he doesn’t know) and has shown that there is no situation that he cannot make worse (most of the peccadilloes that have come out in his campaign), it’s likely optimistic that he would be no worse than his alternative. Self-interest paired with knowledge has a limited downside, while self-interest unpaired with knowledge has no downside limitations.

          1. loupgarous says:

            What we have is a choice between ignorance (which the Supreme Court and Congress will sort Trump out on double-quick, with the press cheering them on) and deliberate law-breaking, which we’ve had from Hillary Clinton as SecState, and will get from her again as President. I can’t vote for that.

          2. Hap says:

            You mean he same Congress who’s been falling over themselves trying to figure out whether to friend or unfriend Trump? Expecting them to find a backbone would seem to be highly improbable – at minimum, it’s as likely they stick their fingers in the wind, and decide that it’s blowing Trump’s way than they decide to remember what the Constitution is there for. The partial SC in place now may not be sufficient to stop Trump.

            You don’t play amateur electrician with the neighborhood transformer, and you don’t let someone who can’t be trusted with a Twitter account play with nuclear devices. Sorry.

          3. xplo says:

            Hillary Clinton is not _merely_ corrupt. If the worst thing about her were that she were dishonest and in bed with Wall Street and even foreign governments, selling favors for donations to the Clinton Foundation, and rattling a saber at Russia for no good reason, that would be enough reason to oppose her election, but it might substantiate an argument that we have to coronate her anyway to block Trump.

            But Hillary Clinton is a criminal. The FBI has all the evidence it needs to recommend indictment and enable the DOJ to put her away. The fact that it will not do so, and that the FBI has taken highly unusual actions in the course of its investigation that can only be regarded as willful and deliberate incompetence, and that the DOJ is not prosecuting her anyway, shows that Hillary is actually above the law – our law enforcement will not touch her!

            Furthermore, we know for a fact that the DNC cheated in her favor by siding with her before and during the entire primary season – and we have good reason to believe that she won partly through electoral fraud. Despite this, no one in the Party (least of all her) has seen fit to make even an empty public show of concern. Electing someone whose candidacy’s legitimacy is so much in question would make a mockery of democracy.

            In short, Trump is not the only candidate who represents an existential crisis for America, and he may not even be the worst one.

          4. Hap says:

            Doesn’t criminal mean, like, actual evidence, and convictions, and stuff? Same with the “the FBI has all the evidence they need to convict her…” ? Cite, please?

            My biggest problem with the Republican Party is that it seems to think that repeating stuff they want to believe makes it so (*cough*global warming*cough*). When dealing with issues of fact, facts have the ultimate say. We’re scientists, we’re supposed to know that by now.

        2. It is unfortunate that you make the claim that the FACT of her perjury cannot be disputed, since it absolutely can. Perjury is notoriously difficult to prove, and a few moments with google shows up precisely what the difficulties are with proving it in this case.

          In short, it *can* be disputed, reasonably.

          This casts the rest of your remarks, which to be blunt I didn’t bother to fact-check, in a rather unfavorable light.

          People seem to have decided that Hillary is a terrible, criminal, person, based on the sheer number of accusations that have been thrown. Where there’s smoke, there has to be fire, is the rationale. Except in this case it is, in fact, demonstrably a FACT that Hillary Clinton has a lot of enemies who are willing to make a lot of accusations.

          Why? Because it *works*. Just say stuff. Lots of stuff. Keep saying it. It you say it often enough, it gets repeated and passed around and misquoted and it comes back to you and it sounds like corroboration, not echos. This stuff works. Ask any propagandist. It’s their bread and butter.

          Now, is Hillary nice? Probably not. Professional politicians are pretty dreadful people. But they’re mostly not criminals.

  38. Dale Cooke says:

    I suspect you will receive some rather inappropriate responses to this column, so I just wanted to add a word of thanks. I appreciate your perspective, though I don’t share all of it, as I’m voting for the candidate I want (namely Hillary Clinton) not merely against the menace you describe. We need a functioning Republican party in America. Our democracy cannot survive with only one functional party, but that’s what we currently face. I’m hopeful (though also doubtful) that enough Republicans in America will look at what happened this election cycle and retake their party. If so, it will be because of people like you who are not only willing to cross party lines but also willing to publicly acknowledge doing so.
    I wish you all the best and look forward to enjoying your musings on prescription drug research for many years to come.

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      Thanks – back to science tomorrow, I promise!

    2. loupgarous says:

      “Only one functional party… ” (action: rolling on the floor, laughing my … ).

      Depends on how you define “functional”. The Democrats can get out the vote, sure. But look what they’ve vomited up for us… someone who broke the law on disclosing classified information to an infinitely higher degree than Bill Clinton’s former CIA director John Deutch (who brought two laptops home from the office with classified, but quite old CIA files on them, in the process of being declassified). The Clinton administration prosecuted Deutch over and over again over that for four years, because Deutch told Congress what he really thought the Clintons had done to minimize the danger from Iraq.

      So that party is “functional” in that its members who are also journalists can log-roll with the DNC to get a rotten deer carcass elected President. Somehow, the Republicans, while pretty pathetic, at least have less hazard of inflicting a tyrant on is.

  39. pete says:

    re: “..Hillary is likely to be a terrible president..”
    While I appreciate that you – as a former Arkansan & then, ongoing observer of the Clintonian modus operandi – have a substantial base from which to judge Hilary Clinton, I can’t agree with such a glib PJ O’Rourkian prediction.

    Yes, she could turn out to be terrible but I think her record as Senator and Sec of State says she just might turn out to be effective in the job. Possibly better with the Republican opposition, and possibly more coherent and effective in implementing US foreign policy aims than Obama.

    OTOH, I don’t want to put down my good money betting that her White House team & Cabinet can go 4 years scandal-free.

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      Agreed on the foreign policy, which has been one of my biggest problems with the Obama administration. I worry, though, that the same circle-the-wagons tendencies she’s shown throughout her career, whenever opposition to her policies shows up, might compromise her time in office. Of course, I don’t agree with all her policy proposals, either, so some of that may be a feature rather than a bug. I’ll worry about the details once Trump is out of the picture!

    2. McChemist says:

      I should say (to both you and Derek) that the version of the PJ O’Rourke quote I’ve come across is different – he’s said “she’s wrong about everything, but wrong within normal parameters.” The sense I get is that not that conservatives should question her *competence*, but that they have fundamental policy disagreements.

      The implication is not that conservatives should not think she’ll be an incompetent president, just that they’ll disagree with a lot of her policy. And frankly, a lot of that policy can then be undone by a subsequent non-insane Republican president if need be.

    3. Mr. Rogers says:

      In what sense was she effective as either a Senator or as Sec. State? I can’t think of one major piece of legislation that she effectively nurtured through the Senate, or one major line of inquiry in hearings where she showed creativity or insight. As Sec. State, I can think of several things that she botched (Russian reset, Arab Spring, Iranian uprising, overthrow of Libyan government, etc.) but none where she was particularly effective. If having marked time in a particular position recommends a person, then I’m in the wrong business.

      1. Hap says:

        Wasn’t Russian reset way before her time? Clinton (her husband) and W would seem to have more to answer for not trying harder to keep Russia from slipping back into kleptocracy/dictatorship than Clinton as SecState.

        1. Postdocin it says:

          ^ Hap,

          No, Russian reset button was on Clinton’s watch as Sec of State. And while one could argue that WJC or GWB could have/should have done more to limit Russia’s autocratic trajectory, I don’t think the US ever had the power to strongly direct the internal politics of Russia.

          1. Hap says:

            Sorry. I was dumb.

  40. luysii says:

    Readers of this blog have several things in common with the great unwashed (e.g. –supporters of Trump supporting restrictions on free trade and immigration). (1) There have been complaints about the shoddy work that outsourcing various forms of chemistry has produced from China and India. (2) There have been complaints about the number of visas allowing highly educated foreigners in to compete with the locals. (3) There have been complaints about the supposed shortages of STEM graduates enabling business to flood the market with new graduates when seasoned chemists are losing their jobs.

    All of the above is quite reasonable and I disagree with none of it.

    Now put yourself in the position of someone with little education and low skill competing against others flooding across the border without visas etc. etc.

    Do you see any similarity here?

    1. Hap says:

      There’s similarities – lots of the skilled jobs that didn’t require a college degree have gone and show no signs of returning (or, if they do, return at half the wages and fewer benefits, removing their ability to sustain a family). There’s a lot of cultural frustration as well, which I can understand.

      Trump just seems like a bad response, because it’s not clear that he can do what he says (and it might be worse for them if he could), and because he doesn’t seem to mean what he says (more than the average politician, a high bar). Nothing in his background would make me think he shares their concerns. It’s sort of like teenage rebellion – your parents probably wouldn’t pay attention to a sane response unless it’s what they want to hear, so they get an insane response – unfortunately, sometimes the insane response makes discussion impossible, for lots of reasons.

  41. JG37 says:

    A comment from George Carlin a few years ago, s republished today in
    Carlin said the following:

    “Now, there’s one thing you might have noticed I don’t complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out.”

  42. Cubs says:

    To anyone who may remain undecided at this late hour, here’s some advice from Cub Nation:


  43. milkshaken says:

    the two candidates are rather like two negative infinities – maybe one of them sinks exponentially faster than the other but they both lead to singularity. I will not take part in a fixed election where I am certain to lose no matter what.

    Also, the government of Clinton – horribly stable for the next 8 years – will continue marching toward a stagnant but belligerent national surveillance state. Whereas Trump government would soon collapse or he gets deposed by a military coup, after which maybe there will be some major popular upheaval in US – and hopefully a start of a process that will do away with the discredited political party system. US probably needs few years of catastrophic government followed by military junta, to find its way back to democracy.

  44. Oblarg says:

    Derek, I know you don’t post about politics often, but I’d like to say that as someone who doesn’t entirely agree with your politics, it is deeply refreshing to me to see level-headed people on the other side of the political spectrum. So, thanks for posting this – the world needs more like it.

    This election cycle has degraded American politics. I fear that the real legacy of this election will be the enduring victory of post-truth politics and further retreat into our own echo chambers, from which nothing good can come. I don’t think Trump’s particular platform is one likely to see success in future elections, if only due to shifting demographics, but his general approach of *never* admitting fault nor allowing himself to be constrained by the truth – instead relying on motivated belief on the part of his base to compartmentalize away the inconsistency/dissonance – is likely to stick around for a while to come.

    And, despite being somewhat of a Leftist myself, I am deeply worried about the potential results of certain “trendy” (as Sokal would put it) segments of the Left being allowed to grow unchecked given the lack of convincing opposition in the current political environment. Trump and his facilitators may have done irreparable damage here, too, though they likely do not know it.

    1. Hap says:

      “Post-truth politics”. That sounds a) accurate and b) like our suicide note. Unfortunately, having a multitude of WMD means the world can share in the bounty of our mistakes if we’re not careful.

  45. Michael Corleone says:

    A true viable third party is what is needed to make America great again. My vote for Johnson is not going to be a waste.

  46. Calvin says:

    As a Brit living in the US (taxed but no vote; those them the rules) I have sorta got my head around this. It’s entirely tribal. Huge chunks of the populace support their team no matter what. Even if they hate the team. It would be like asking Arsenal fans to support Spurs. Celtic fans to support Rangers. It’s just not going to happen. And so people support Trump even if they are normally entirely rational. I find it maddening given the obvious insanity of Trump. I’d vote Clinton without much of a qualm. She’s qualified and experienced.

    Derek. One comment on the corruption BS. The constant attacks on the Clinton Foundation are troubling. By any objective assessment they are a charity with robust and functioning rules that are “gold standard”. They money gets spent on the charity stuff. Not on self portraits. And I’ll let you into a secret. The Foundation is not beneath asking for money from other (much bigger; the biggies in fact) charities; ones that are very twitchy about giving their money away to “political” organizations. After crawling all over them, the CF is as clean as they get. Nothing to see here. You can insinuate all you like but despite decades of investigations nobody has ever managed to get the Clintons on anything other than Bill’s cigar habits. Now the paranoid might shout “corruption by the elites”, but seriously, do we think that the Clintons are some kind of criminal masterminds. Get real.

    By the way, let me know when they find Trump’s tax return in Clinton’s e-mails.

    1. Eric says:

      I agree. There is a portion of the population that will not vote across the aisle under any circumstances. I don’t believe either party has gone below 30% of the vote in a national election within the past century. That makes 60% of the vote essentially locked up.

      The growth of online ‘journalism’ seems to be widening this divide.

    2. Phil says:

      Earlier this year, I met a chemist working at the Clinton Health Access Initiative. They are developing processes to make HIV drugs that can be scaled up locally (i.e. in Africa). I don’t see how the Clintons stand to benefit from that, except by accomplishing their stated goal of ending the AIDS epidemic in these countries.

  47. Bagger Vance says:

    Derek demonstrates the success of Project Fear-American edition. Demonize an opponent and you don’t need to explain your own shortcomings. Democracy is great, except when the people might vote in their own interest and not in the elites.

    Trump’s tough talk inspires violence? There are literally videos of Dem operatives saying they pay people to disrupt his events. Temperament? There are lots of folks that have worked with Trump over the years that report him intelligent and even tempered. (He is successful by most standards–is that an accident?) Trump has never started a war, war is bad for his type of business, and he has not talked up war over the last many years. He suggests we could more wisely spend $ at home. He is unqualified? The 2008 election was won by someone with 2 years in the Senate, against someone he derided as too “old” (now about HRC’s age). And if you’re worried about a return to Bush-era GOP, the fury with which the establishment has fought puts the lie to that.

    Derek’s display of moral cowardice is pretty disappointing, inasmuch as he says almost nothing new or rational and has the disdainful, “too low-brow” sneer at the hoi-polloi that have supported Trump so far. I guess he can vote for Evan McMullin, and preserve his precious sensibilities.

    “We will no longer surrender this country, or it’s people, to the false song of globalism.” What have you got to lose?

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      Saying that a real-estate developer has “never started a war” is one of the less compelling arguments I’ve heard for Trump, I have to tell you. There are also lots of folks that have worked with Trump over the years who report him as narcissistic, vengeful, and ill-informed, and watching his public behavior – speeches, interviews, the debates – makes me more inclined to believe the second set.

      1. Bagger Vance says:

        The “war” meme is mostly a reminder for the left, who practically ran it as the sole criteria in 2008. I mostly bring it up because part of the Trump frame is he is unhinged, can’t negotiate, will bring constant war…. That seems unfounded, and sort of a projection from HRC’s own poor record.

        I would have liked to confront some of my FB friends about what they really believe now. The Dems used to be anti-war, anti-wall street, pro-rights for everyone. They seem to have really overlooked the first two and overreached the last this time.

        anyway thanks for the feedback, top kek everyone. “”I go to die, and you to live, but which of us goes to the better fate is known to none but the gods,”

    2. Hap says:

      Someone who puts his own name on his political views is being accused of moral cowardice by some pseudonymous dude on the Web? Really?

      If you want to stand up for a candidate, you could try standing up for one who actually possesses the principles your party stood for, rather that the “principles” the United States fought (twice) to escape, wrapped in thick layers of narcissism and ignorance, and who hasn’t met a situation he couldn’t make worse, unless you actually want your party to become the White, Stupid Pride Party of the 21st Century. I’m sure that’s a recipe for long-term success, electoral and otherwise.

      1. Bagger Vance says:

        I apologize for “moral cowardice” since I have been annoyed by that “principled conservatives” shtick the NeverTrump movement has pulled this year. It is frustrating that someone who not only believes in moderate/libertarian/conservative positions focuses on random character assassination stuff, especially when they are even more familiar with the long sketchy history of the Clintons than I.

        I started this year expecting Bush vs Clinton so I have been grateful at least one bullet was dodged. As I found Trump battling not only HRC but his own party and all the media (even Fox!), I found someone who would fight for the country he obviously loved–even if it is just to satisfy an outsized ego. Motivation is much less important to me than results.

        1. Hap says:

          I worry that what he’s willing to fight for is him. People are voting for him because they think he’s fighting for them, but if it’s only him (and he’s done that before, though not on this scale), then there’ll be a lot of collateral damage. He’s also been willing to stand for lots of people who want to deprive others of their voice, which reflect ill on the others who believe that Trump cares about them.

          I can’t argue moral bravery, myself (or in some cases knowledge). It’s just that a lot of the things the Republican Party claims to stand for Trump does not appear to. If the party really hasn’t stood for them lately, then that’s a point for someone, but not Trump.

          1. Bagger Vance says:

            Yeah, I keep my preferences pretty close to my vest. You can look up Brandon Eich if you don’t remember.

            Anyway I shouldn’t snip at you or Derek for being open about your interests. The truth is, I can’t even tell whether much of this is Trump’s own manipulation of events/feelings to get support (“reframing” the election to Us vs Establishment). However the idea that vanity is a poor motivator for success–to be a successful American president–seems silly. Either he is successful in improving our country, or he fails. No one wants to be GWB 2.

            (Since the spamfilter ate my website refs, a lot of this comes from Scott Adam’s blog, which at least had the track record of picking him early as a talented persuader and potentially successful POTUS.)

  48. Dr T says:

    I think one of the most important things you brought up was how much the mainstream Republican brand has been (and should be) stained by the association with Trump. That has also been most striking and long-lasting for me during this election season as well. Having been born in a poor rural Midwestern town, I’ve known a lot of people that fall into the Trump base, so that doesn’t shock me. Nor does the man and all of his racism/misogyny/reality-show-flair.

    But the cowardice and I-am-100%-against-this-but still-endorsing rhetoric from the Republican party leadership has been appalling. Speaking as a woman, it’s been surprising how much the misogyny both from grab ’em by the pussy Trump and his supporters (Trump that Bitch) has felt deeply personal and brought up a lot of memories of my own experiences. But on top of it to hear Paul Ryan and many other leaders say things like “as a father of daughters…” or that women should be “championed and revered” makes me incredibly angry. I don’t want to be revered, I just want to be treated like an autonomous full human being! Not to mention all of the racism and the response: “that’s the textbook definition of a racist comment”…but I’m still endorsing him (Paul Ryan on Judge Curiel controversy).

    I was actually talking to a Republican labmate this weekend, and we were chatting about the Senate race here in Illinois. He was lamenting the fact that his party wasn’t getting the perfect textbook immigrant/lost limbs in Iraq/smart/well-spoken candidate that is Tammy Duckworth. Well, the reason (aside from policy differences, etc) is that the Republicans are CONSTANTLY telling people like her that she doesn’t belong in their party (or frankly, America). Even the by all accounts very moderate Republican incumbent Mark Kirk, in their only debate made an incredibly racist remark. When she (accurately) brought up that her family has fought in every American conflict since the Revolutionary War, he responded “I forgot your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.” That’s the sort of incredibly telling reflex thinking that “of course a half-Asian woman can’t be a war hero — those categories just don’t compute” that really makes me angry!

    Anyways, if the Republican party wants to be a credible and honorable organization, they (you all?) had better do some deep soul searching and clean house!

    1. Jim Hartley says:

      I’m taken with the argument that the Republicans have been the deplorable party for decades, and Trump is the logical outcome of their conniving. Birthers? Sure, glad to have you. Anti-evolution, anti-climate change? No problem. Southern Strategy? Yup. All bow down to the NRA? Of course! Limbaugh and Breitbart? Love what you do. Sarah Palin? What a great speech! Obstruction from Obama’s first day in office? Serves the uppity N right. Kick 15 million people out of health insurance? Just wait until you see OUR plan! No hearing or vote on the President’s Supreme Court nominee? It’s never happened before but we can do it! Impeach Clinton as soon as she takes office? Great idea! No laws considered that would require even a single Democratic vote (“The Hastert Rule”)? Makes perfect sense! Death panels? I’m sure they exist somewhere! Puff out our big chest and destabilize the Middle East for decades? Done deal. Impeach a sitting president for lying about sex? He had it coming! See Hillary coming decades ago and throw all the slime you can manufacture at her? Perfect for the perpetual news cycle. Restrict voting rights in all the best districts? Great for us! ….. And ALL of this is 100% independent of the Orange Vulgarian. He is perfectly at home in the mess that Newt Gingerich and Tom DeLay and Darrell Issa and Trey Gowdy have put together. Go ahead, try to come up with anything even close to equivalence on the Democratic side. And if you say Benghazi then we’ll all know you haven’t a leg to stand on.

      Sorry about your party Derek.

      1. Derek Lowe says:

        I generally don’t do this sort of back-and-forth-ing, but I have a bit of spare time.

        Problem is, although you have some good points, there are quite a few that can be made the other way around. I think that the Senate should vote on Merrick Garland, and if they want to vote him down, they should do it, but no Supreme Court nominee has been nominated and confirmed in an election year since 1940. Back in 2005, for example, Harry Reid was adamant that “Nowhere in that document (the Constitution) does it say the Senate has a duty to give presidential nominees a vote. It says appointments shall be made with the advice and consent of the Senate. That’s very different than saying every nominee receives a vote.” Reid, of course, has a different opinion now. This is similar to partisan opinions on the filibuster, which switches back and forth from ancient obstruction to last bastion of liberty according to whoever is writing the editorial page.

        My objections to the Affordable Care Act centered around the use of budget reconciliation to pass it, the various deals cut for the same purpose (such as the “Louisiana Purchase”), the accounting tricks used to make it score well with the Congressional Budget Office, and the whole “You’ll have to pass the law in order to find out what’s in it” attitude. But I should let one of its architects, Jonathan Gruber, speak to that: “In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in—you made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed, okay. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass” This is not the sort of behavior that Democrats would give Republicans a pass on, and rightfully so.

        And as for conservative media, there’s a lot of real crap out there, for sure. But I also remember the Bush years, when there were plenty of comments about having him assassinated, etc., on Air America and in other outlets. In election years, of course, a lot of nasty rhetoric gets thrown around, and that will certainly never change. I did actually appreciate Bill Maher apologizing recently for the way he (and others) treated John McCain and Mitt Romney, but as far as I know, Joe Biden never did anything like that for his remark that Romney was going to put black Americans “back in chains”. This was around the time that Harry Reid (more than once) claimed, on the floor of the Senate that Romney had not paid taxes in eleven years, which was also false.

        I certainly can’t defend everything the Republican Party (or Republicans themselves) have done over the last X years, and it’s true that Trump has walked into an environment that he’s unfortunately well suited to exploit. There has been too much craziness in the party, and I’ve been getting more frustrated with the situation over the years. Trump, of course, has just blown all of this to degrees I never could have imagined, and other blowhards are rushing to get in on the action. But the Democratic Party has some zanies of its own to contend with (the Bernie Sanders wing and others), and once Trump is (one hopes) dealt with, Hillary may find them as hard to deal with as the Republicans.

  49. abos says:

    Its all about abortion, I think. Which makes sense, only something which demands belief despite all odds (ie ‘faith’) could drive so many people to support someone so undeserving. As long as Trump supports a pro-life platform he’ll get 35% of the vote. And as long as Hillary supports pro-choice, and she is the poster child of pro-choice, those same 35% will view her as the devil and make up all kinds of crap to hate her for. Everything about bengahzi, emails, bill’s affairs, its all abortion-related fueled hatred.

    I just find it amazing that people are willing to destroy the country, due to a religious fueled hatred of a pro-choice candidate. Maybe it makes sense though, religious wars are the nastiest ones, and there are plenty of them.

    1. loupgarous says:

      Other hot-button issues exist that cleave along party lines. Gun control’s reliable for a one-issue response. To give Trump credit, he really hasn’t played to the haters. They like him, and as much as any politician can, he’s disavowed them. More than Hillary Clinton’s disavowed those who reliably turn out in the streets in turmoil when given permission to by Democratic politicians (what our current President calls “an understandable reaction” when it’s a white police officer standing trial and others have called “lynch mobs” when blacks were being tried, or denied trial and murdered).

      The fact is, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have betrayed the public trust repeatedly and given us the opposite of this “unpredecented transparency and honesty in government” we were promised. Both had an opportunity to show us probity and competence, and both failed. As a result, we failed to deter Russian adventurism, with potentially catastrophic consequences for the human race, should a nuclear miscalculation occur.

      Trump’s candidacy was a referendum on that, and the Republicans in Congress (including two of Trump’s primary opponents) who failed in their affirmative duty to impeach malefactors in Federal office. If the Republican party can be faulted for something, it’s that attitude of accommodation with grasping, usurping overreach in government.

  50. James C. says:

    No need to worry, the FBI has everything under control.

  51. Eric says:

    I always enjoy the discussion on Derek’s blog! I wish more online discussions had a similar readership, I get so tired of the constant trolls.

  52. Rhodium says:

    A real problem for me is what to do, electorally, with non college educated white males. They do not, with the decline of the unions, seem to have much of a home in the Democratic party. Appealing to their frustrations and blaming various sectors, such as immigrants and elites for their problems is a lot of of what makes Trumpism so objectionable. It seems unlikely you can win nationally with this group as your core in 2016, and less so with each subsequent election. And yet they do have real and rational greviences that need to be addressed politically.

  53. watcher says:

    Whoever wins, it’s going to be a very rough and tumble 4 years and beyond. Closed factories will not be reopened. Jobs moved to other countries are not going to return. The stock market may continue to rise, but only those with enough money to invest will benefit, so that the split will widen between the top and bottom in income and wealth. The clock cannot be reset; there is no magic time machine to return to an earlier time (that includes no Derek Lowe blog, no internet, no cell phones, no personal computers, no cable or satellite tv, no smart cars, no air bags, and more). Unfortunately it’s hard to see how this can end well with the ongoing nastiness in Congress, where one party refuses to consider bills or even nominations made from a President by the other party. Do we simply regress to paralysis, jerking along from one budget extension to another until the debt can no longer be paid?

    Unfortunately, how can there not be ongoing discord between the “haves” and the “have nots”as the biggest discriminating factor other than gender is college and graduate level degrees which become more and more expensive. It’s hard to see an end to this cycle, to this madness where college education costs increase yearly, where goals for endowments increase regularly, where such institutions value sports and tv revenues more than instruction and education. Does this really make sense?

    And its those who inherit this nasty stew, this dysfunctional mess, the deep debt, the loss of country prestige that will pay the ultimate cost to our inability to compromise, to function in a civil manner, to stop all the threats, to look to a better future for all.

  54. Zorkbiologist says:

    I certainly could not vote for Trump, but I do not blame the Republican party or its many members for “endorsing” him. They are mostly backed into a corner, if they want to be elected most need to at least tepidly acknowledge him. So come 2020 I hope sanity will return to the GOP, and I will evaluate their candidates on their policy positions. I see very little the Democrats are doing to be in the long term interest of the US.

    But I am just as appalled that the American people are poised to return he Clinton Crime Family to the White House. They have run the Foundation, Bill’s “consulting” and Hillary’s “speeches” as one big influence peddling scheme that makes the old Gambino crime family look like cub scouts. I’m not sure Hillary has ever answered a tough question truthfully.

    1. Bud Hammers says:

      Not sure what return to “sanity” you’re referring to with the GOP. Sanity departed the GOP after their integrity departed, many years ago now. The GOP is not a victim of the Donald. Far from it, their divisive rhetoric and political strategy created the beast – thanks GOP! Now the rest of us have to deal with this spectacle, in addition to a dysfunctional GOP. This election is a wake-up call for the GOP to clean up its act – at least get back to conventional dysfunctional politics, like the Dems, instead of being log-units off in a GOP Trumptopia.

  55. Michael Corleone says:

    A true three-party system will make America Great Again.

  56. Daniel Barkalow says:

    I’m surprised that this would taint the entire GOP for you; Charlie Baker is about as opposed to Trump as anyone who’s in a state where Clinton’s probably got a million more enthusiastic supporters needs to be. Maybe he should have said that, if you’re in a swing state, you should vote for Clinton, but it’s pretty common for governors to not address issues that don’t apply to their constituents.

  57. Anonymous Researcher snaw says:

    An under-reported aspect of all this is how both of the third-party candidates have disqualified themselves. One of them is utterly ignorant of foreign policy and the other cozies up with the anti-vaxxer and anti-GMO crowds. Like it or not, there truly is just one candidate this time who is in cognitive engagement with empirical reality

  58. Anon says:

    Unlike you I vote for Hillary Clinton with little or no hesitation. I believe that she will be a good president with a focus on policies supportive to families (including educational policies) and to the environment (including global warming) and that she will continue the efforts begun by President Obama to expand access to health care to all Americans. I’m happy with my choice.

    1. Andre says:

      I agree with you. The unreflective demonization of Hillary Clinton by many media has become outrageous. It is as if she is responsible for all the is going wrong in the US. In my humble opinion, she is a politician with good and bad sides as any other male politician. This year however the choice is very clear between someone who had never cared about anything else than himself or a person that has been an effective politician defending the rights of women, children, and minorities. I trust her to get more done than the lunatic in the Trump tower. From a European point of view, I am looking forward to a US president that will draw the line with Putin and not get in bed with him. So the choice is a no-brainer. It is also time for an end to the obstructionist policies of the GOP in congress. How come we hear already talk of blocking any of Clinton’s Supreme Court nominee? If you do not overcome this type of thinking, then there will be just more gridlock in the future.

    2. EB says:

      For the record, I’m with HRC all the way. Time to put a competent woman in office. I’m a scientist and did my research. When you tally up the evidence, she is the most well-qualified candidate we’ve had for this office. She knows policy – in depth – and cares about it! She does her homework and understands the consequences of her words. That’s who I want working for this country.

  59. matt says:

    I’m afraid my response is a dozen pages after the last weary eye closed in sleep, but what about strategies to address some of the problems? We may not be able to forestall all the tox issues, but perhaps we can address a few small corners of the paranoia, extremism, and bitterness in the country.

    For example, ranked voting. My preference would be, both in the party primaries, and in the general election. Rank each candidate in terms of first choice, second choice, etc. Stop when you can’t stomach any others, or when there is only one left, or rank ’em all. So, in the Republican primary, someone might have picked say, Jeb Bush 1, Marco Rubio 2, John Kasich 3, Ben Carson 4, Ted Cruz 5, Donald Trump 6 (or not at all). On vote tabulation, if any candidate has 51% of the vote (this is for a winner-take-all state, the scheme can be modified if it is proportional appropriation of delegates), they win. If no one has 51%, then strike the candidate with the fewest votes, and re-assign those voters to their next preferred candidate. Repeat as needed, until one of the candidates reaches a true majority of the votes cast (not a plurality).

    This has a huge effect on the election: first, your vote is NOT thrown away–you can vote for however obscure candidate you wish, secure in the knowledge that your vote will rebound to less obscure candidates should that one be eliminated. In theory, this should benefit the more centrist candidates, because they will be more palatable as fallback candidates for a larger group of people. But, if it benefits a side candidate that many secretly wanted to support but were afraid wouldn’t be popular, that seems pretty okay too. The point is, the least-bad candidate for the most people wins, rather than a fringe candidate who benefits from a lot of others splitting the “sane people” vote.

    Next, building on the idea that your vote would not be thrown away…Why do we need the obscene, drawn-out spectacle of watching how other people vote in Iowa and New Hampshire, etc, over months of time? If ranked voting assures that our vote won’t be cast away, then we don’t need that elaborate dance of trying to figure out which candidates are more viable. ALL primaries, in all states, held on ONE day, perhaps a few months away from the general election. Political junkies, perhaps, would be sad, and no doubt Iowa would resent losing its one chance at attention other than the Farm Bill, but why exactly do we care so much about who the people in another state are voting for? Right, because we are afraid of “throwing our vote away.”

    Third, why try to shut down talk about “this election is rigged” when you can open up the process a bit more? If you were following the bit above, you probably noticed that the counting and re-counting of votes would need to be automated a bit. Shifting to second and third preferences and recounting…all that needs to be done by computer, but having those crucial calculations disappearing into a black box is, and ought to be, a little worrisome. The answer: paper ballots!

    Now, maybe you go into a booth with a computer (which has the advantage of multiple languages and extra large font sizes and hopefully brighter lighting), or maybe you pull some mechanical handle, or maybe you grab a sharpie and color in a scantron-ish form the way God intended–whatever front end is used, the voter ALWAYS leaves the booth with a paper ballot in hand, to inspect as desired to make sure the vote was accurately captured. This ballot is placed in the ballot lockbox (which scans it, to make sure it seems readable, and rejects if it appears to be defective).

    Ultimately, those ballots are machine-read, but they also get scanned onto contact sheets, perhaps eight or sixteen per sheet, marked per polling location, along with the total votes tabulated for that location. There may even be a tiny square on the corner of the paper ballot for you to leave a “secret sign” if you wish, so you could look back through the scans and see your ballot and verify it is as you cast it. (And yes, I’m well aware those “secret signs” would likely be quite profane if there’s enough space.) Those scans are publically available (on the secretary of that state’s web pages) and permanently archived. The paper ballots are held for one year after the election and discarded at that time if no legal challenge is ongoing. So the computer can count and re-count, and ANY citizen can audit that process. Yes, there will no doubt be technical problems, but rather than sweep them under the carpet, they should be in public view, if the public chooses to look. (This is on top of the normal auditing and monitoring process that _should be_ being done already by the elected official in charge of elections for the state).

    That should make a process robust against fears of hacking, and fears of vote-count fraud, but it doesn’t address the Republican’s current talking point about who is on the voting rolls. I think there are ways to address those, too, but I’m going to cut off the blog-post-within-a-blog-post here. Suffice it to say, even 240+ years in, we can still improve on the democracy we’ve been given. Especially right now, at its lowest ebb in quite a while.

  60. DN says:


    Do you clearly understand Hillary’s release of national security secrets? Let’s try an analogy. When you started work at your current employer, you probably had orientation training about the importance of not clicking on links on emails, of never ever releasing information or delivering invented chemicals to customers until the patent application was submitted, of escorting visitors at all times after having them sign a new NDA for every visit, and so forth. National security orientations are like that raised to the Nth power. They make no bones that it is a serious life-and-death duty, and that mere laziness buys you years in the slammer.

    Imagine what would happen if you kept your electronic lab notebook on a computer in a disused bathroom in mainland China, for the purposes of evading FDA oversight and selling secrets to competitors. Every competitor can tap the cable because you did not bother to use encryption. And gave the Haitian who mows your yard the passwords so he can print things out for you. Company management would be incandescent with rage when they found out, right? There would be a blizzard of prosecutions and lawsuits, right? You’d get years in prison and be bankrupted, right?

    Well that is exactly what Hillary Clinton did. I don’t mean a little like it, I mean exactly like this scenario, down to giving the keys to her NSA-certified radio-shielded vault to her Filipino maid.

    But it gets geometrically worse. Pharma secrets are one-shot. Losing control of the SAR data for an antibiotic tells nothing about a schizophrenia lead. In the spy business, losing one secret allows the adversary to crack other secrets. If they know that Minister Abdullah is sending reports to the CIA, they can put him under surveillance, find out who the CIA spymaster is, then put the spymaster under surveillance and roll up his entire operation.

    Hillary’s traitorous gift of secrets to our enemies will take decades to recover from. We have lost insight into who knows how many unfriendly regimes, meaning we will be dragged into numerous shooting wars when we misinterpret their stances. Installing new spymasters and developing new networks will take years.

    The Intelligence Community is in an incandescent rage over this. Forget white hot fury, they went right through UV and are glowing in x-rays. A few have had their friends killed, and many have had decades of work thrown away. They believe that Hillary cannot be trusted with the secret of using instant coffee, let alone the high-level briefings the President needs to effectively run foreign operations. If elected, she will essentially be a puppet whose strings are pulled by intel analysts who will slant the truth to what they personally think will produce a good outcome. The situation will be like the Japanese Imperial Army of WWII, run by the middle officer class operating in a strategic vacuum, going around kicking sleeping giants in the nuts. The results may get a lot of its killed.

    Even if she didn’t leak secrets like a bucket with no bottom, she has zero strategic or military sense. She sincerely thought that killing Mummar Ghadaffi would liberate the tribes of Libya and bring about a modern liberal democracy. “We can, we saw, he died!” she bragged. The tribes, of course, immediately started a 50-sided war that may undo all of the modernization that had been achieved. Under her planning most of the Middle East was set on fire. Thousands of women were enslaved and will be raped millions of times. You expect me to worry about Trump bragging about women throwing themselves at him?

    I fear that what has already been done in the Middle East is unfixable, that the die has been cast. Remember what the Woodrow Wilson administration did in Russia? They thought they were propping up a minor king against some irrelevant barbarians. What they were actually doing was getting into bed with the nasty Romanov’s and scaring the holy hell out of the vigorous Bolsheviks. The result was the Cold War. I fear that Hillary Clinton has already started Cold War 2.0 with her childish, feckless insanity in Africa and the Middle East.

    Trump is NOT a mad man. He is a demagogue, in a similar vein to William Jennings Bryan and Huey Long. We can easily imagine Trump saying “You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.” (Go read the whole Cross of Gold speech sometime.) He speaks to the very real fears of over half the country, fears that are ignored by the Republicans and sneered at by the Democrats. For the first time in decades they have a candidate who validates their feelings, who relishes being attacked by the Left’s rhetorical weapons of mass destruction.

    Do not confuse his expressed preferences (campaign rhetoric) with his revealed preferences (actions over the last few decades). His actions reveal a man who can bring huge projects involving thousands of people to successful conclusions as judged by Mr. Bond Market. He sells the sizzle and then actually delivers a steak. Whether he can pull it off in politics is unknown, but plausible on the face of it.

    1. NJBiologist says:

      DN: “His actions reveal a man who can bring huge projects involving thousands of people to successful conclusions as judged by Mr. Bond Market.”

      1) Successful conclusions, except for the projects that are abandoned in the planning stages.

      2) Mr. Market doesn’t like Trump–look, for example, at the drops in the Dow Industrials and other indices every time Trump makes progress with the electorate. No, the business class does not respect him, except for a subset that admire his ability to transfer losses to individual investors while retaining gains.

  61. Some Dude says:

    I’ve never understood why Trump’s campaign was not over immediately when he announced, after that horrible racist slur against immigrants. He could imagine (but was not sure) that some of them are decent human beings. In every other country I know well, this would have been a political career ender. For Trump, it was just a start, and it went downhill from there rapidly.

    As much as people, possibly deservedly, dislike Hillary, they have to be acutely aware:

    every vote not for Hillary and every non-vote is a vote for Trump.

    Good luck today, America!

    1. Joe Q. says:

      For me, an additional key “signal moment” (watching from afar as a Canadian) was Trump’s slur against John McCain’s military service (essentially called him a loser for having been captured and imprisoned all those years). I couldn’t understand anyone in the GOP could have supported Trump after that remark. That he went on to win the nomination was a real eye-opener, and says a lot about what the GOP has become.

      1. Derek Lowe says:

        Definitely a clarifying moment for me, too. When I saw that Trump was going to get away with that one, I knew that something had changed, very much for the worse.

  62. Druid says:

    How about an extra day’s holiday for Thanksgiving this year? There may be more to give thanks for than usual.

  63. Andre says:

    An amazing endorsement of Hillary Clinton by the British Magazine Economist:

    The presidential election
    America’s best hope
    Why we would cast our hypothetical vote for Hillary Clinton

  64. PorkPieHat says:

    The people sang…”America! America! God shed His grace on thee…”.
    And all the world quietly whispered to themselves, with full sincerity: “Amen”
    God bless this nation today.

  65. Bagger Vance says:

    Hmm, looks like my comments got disappeared. Thanks for the “open discussion”, folks.

  66. Bagger Vance says:

    Hm, looks like my comments got censored or deleted. Thanks for the “open discussion” folks.

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      Nope, they ended up in the Spam folder, with several others, all of which I’ve just unearthed. I hardly every check there; it’s mostly full of the usual compost. Find something else to complain about, BV!

      1. Bagger Vance says:

        Well thanks for that, although you didn’t have to drag out the duplicate.

        I am going to leave my previous comments as too late anyway and just note that I view most of what I read here as confirmation bias. Most of you have been fed a media diet that reiterates a view of Trump that doesn’t correlate to history. For decades, Hitler II has been making business failures that somehow still make him rich in the heart of NYC! I get it; all the TV media says it, the print media says it; everyone says it. You decide you don’t like him; then everything he says fits the frame. If you bother to look at context for quotes, or when he is joking vs serious, you might find a different story. But no, a crazy man’s been groping women and attacking immigrants in the most liberal city and media outlets in the world, but they didn’t bother to say anything about it until now. Case closed.

        None of that explains how the working/middle class in America is going to pull themselves back up, though.

        1. Lyle Langley says:

          The usual Trump supporter claim. Everyone that doesn’t support him just is a liberal media blind follower. Yep, that’s it. Not that Trump has done more to hurt himself than any media outlet could ever do. No, that’s not it. Only those with the Trump-colored glasses can see the real “Donald”; we others simply cannot see the great man for what he is. The liberal media is a very, very, very, very tired argument from the Trump supporters. You only have to listen to him to know.

          1. Bagger Vance says:

            I try not to go “tinfoil” but a) the media is 100% in favor of Clinton and b) most of what he’s done/said has been pretty small potatoes blown out of proportion. Things he said in private 11 years ago? Social media fights? I chalk some of it up to his admittedly rough way of talking and years of a no-such-thing-as-bad-publicity life. *shrug*

            As I said, confirmation bias though. You see what you want to see. I don’t see him as perfect, but I don’t go looking for excuses to jump ship either.

            No, I get the con-man argument too, but if the ‘establishment’ (both parties + media) haven’t done anything for you in 20+ years, why not? What do you have to lose? Find some new options! (Michael Moore’s quote actually works pretty well too.)

  67. idiotraptor says:

    Any one who has read this blog for an extended period of time (nine years for me) can discern Derek’s political inclinations. His explicit political posts are few. To Derek’s credit, his political commentaries are are thoughtful, informed, analytical, and mature. Full disclosure, I am a white mid-50’s life science PhD, socially liberal, a pragmatic financial moderate who often (but sometimes grudgingly and not always) supports federal social programs, and I am married to a non-white immigrant wife. I am voting for Clinton. My vote is not that of a heartfelt enthusiast. I acknowledge the validity of some of the criticisms that her detractors have leveled at her. Through my partisan lens, she has been excessively and personally vilified. However, there are only two effective (meaning one will be elected) choices: Trump or Clinton. I feel Clinton is the more suitable choice. Electoral choices are always an interplay of emotional and rational components. So be it for me as for everyone else who has posted here and the electorate at large.

    Trump is a profound narcissist. I know the phenotype well because I had a very narcissist parent. Label Clinton what you may, she is not a narcissist. I can personally attest that pathologic narcissists are very dangerous in positions of power and authority:

    1) They are manipulative and will unscrupulously control people and situations to their own perceived advantage. Yes, there are many people in the country who feel, justifiably or not, they have been economically and politically disconnected and disenfranchised. Trump as taken a page from the fascist/autocrat play book an told the former it is “others” who are to blame for their problems and given legitimacy to every xenophobic, homophobic, and anti-Federal government impulse. It is a bit late for this but Trump supporters might derive a bit more perspective by reading and understanding some history about the rise of Nazism or Facism in Europe prior to the start of WWII.

    2) They lack empathy. At his core, Trump cannot relate to people in any genuine way. All his personal interactions are entirely transactional. If one subserviently and submissively praises and extoll his abilities, you will be looked upon with favor. If you criticize or find fault with his views, he will belittle little you trivialize your views. He no genuine respect or appreciation for anything he himself can’t do or understand himself because it is threatening to him. Trump has no documented record of every really doing anything selfless on the behalf of others. Reflect on his well-documented disparagement of women, handicapped individuals, etc. BTW, my wife thinks Trump is physically ugly 🙂

    3) They have no genuine humility. Trump respects no God, person, or code or moral conduct. Why should he when he already knows best? Trump has many thoughts but, exhibits little evidence of thinking. As Derek and other commentators have noted, Trump is shockingly and willfully ignorant. Would any reader here want a complete ignoramus to fix their complex home plumbing problem or excise their pituitary tumor? Trump exhibits no evidence that he has even a middle school civics or history class familiarity with the structure or operation of the U.S. government. He is psychologically incapable of genuinely accepting advise. How is it even conceivable that he can conduct coherent foreign policy and economic reforms?

    Finally, a personal assessment: Trump is really f**king stupid, barely literate, embarrassingly inarticulate, and exhibits the gravitas, impulsiveness and maturity of a two year old.

  68. 10 Fingers says:

    Derek, thanks so much for your heartfelt comments. Your feeling that the party moved away from you can be seen as an objective fact in the xkcd map linked to above – which graphs the distribution of partisan ideology over time in the Congress. The Republican party has not looked like it does today since the Gilded Age. And, not only the idea of a middle ground, but the actual center of the political spectrum has clearly declined.

    Regardless of what “side” we are on, the ongoing assault on places in the “commons” where we can discuss our differences should concern everyone. Many thanks to Derek for the fortitude to open his greatly appreciated, intellectually rich space to such a function.

  69. Karl says:

    Amen, Amen.

    ‘Nuff said.

  70. flem says:

    If corporations are people, why not computers?
    IBM’s Watson for President? Maybe after the first women, gay, jewish, muslim, hindu, [name your minority group], etc…atheist president, why not a computer?

    1. loupgarous says:

      “Garbage in, garbage out,” in any case. We’d just go over to George Soros, Warren Buffett and the Koch Brothers bidding to see who buys off the Watson programming team.

  71. Sunny_in_Boston says:

    I get that people dislike Hillary, even hate her. And there are a host of reasons, some of them legitimate. She’s a politician, and politics is inherently messy. But I don’t get how Trump is supposed to fix any of the problems. Renegotiate our trade deals to bring jobs back? Open up competition across state lines to lower healthcare costs? Huge tax cuts to stimulate growth over 5%. Give me a break! He’s just a con man trying to sell you a lemon! People really need to think about whether he’s put forth a single serious policy proposal that holds up to even basic scrutiny.

    One analogy that comes to mind is when people get frustrated with the limitations of modern medicine, and turn to alternative medicine! Sure, there’s plenty to dislike about how medicine is practiced, but do you really want change for change’s sake?

    1. Bagger Vance says:

      Politics and to some extent economics are basically a placebo effect combined with mass hysteria. Why not try to use that to our advantage?

      1. Druid says:

        One of the big lies in politics is “things are so bad, they can only get better!” Experience is different – it is much easier to make things worse and asking for some kind of revolution in order to shake things up creates the opportunity for the worst people to take charge. The world keeps changing in spite of our wishes, and it is just not possible to go back to the good ol’ days. And the alternative to free trade was tried in the 20th century and it led to the depression. Everybody lost out.
        The UK is still discovering just how damaging Brexit will be. It turns out, movement of people is a big factor in getting a free trade agreement with India. I don’t know why, but that is how it is.
        And when it comes to measures to control CO2 emissions, we depend on well-meaning statesmen who care what history will make of them – the electorate will never fix global problems. When I was at school, CO2 was 300ppm; now it is 400 – that ain’t natural.

        1. KJ says:

          Totally agree. It is simply not possible to wind back time, it never has been and it never will be and the scientists out there will be familiar with this through entropy and the second law of thermodynamics. Anyway, having been alive for 6 decades, I am not sure the old days were better! As you point out we have tried other models of ‘trade’ over the centuries and they all failed for one reason or another. Given the Brexit and Trump successes in 2016, I am pessimistic for our future.

  72. Nekekami says:

    My viewpoint, as a Swede with a very varied personal political spectrum, is that it’s a shame Bernie Sanders was essentially defrauded of his candidacy by the DNC.

    Trump and Clinton are both horrible, however, as a Swede, I’d prefer Trump to become US president, because it’d focus the US inwards, and reduce US tampering with other countries political systems(Like Sweden’s, for example.), even though US citizens would get a harder time.

  73. Some Dude says:

    My condolences.

    Good luck to America, and to the rest of the world. We’ll need it.

  74. Mister B. says:

    Do you need an aspirine with your coffee this morning ?

  75. Lyle Langley says:

    This is what happens when the DNV shoves a candidate down everyone’s throat and limits the number of people that run. This was clearly Hillary’s “turn” in the DNC’s eyes and it back-fired big time. Sad politics by the Dems.

  76. Anon says:

    Well at least I don’t need to go watch any more disaster movies when I can just tune into CNN.

  77. luysii says:

    A mass Shiva will occur at 1 PM today in Harvard Square. Grief counsellors have been flown in overnight from states that will no longer need them.

    1. no kiddin' says:

      Do you see this result impacting the well-being of the Boston life sciences sector?

  78. Isidore says:

    Scadenfreunde big time today!

  79. Anonned says:

    I am disgusted that the Republicans would nominate someone blatantly unqualified and that the Democrats would nominate probably the only person who could lose to this guy.

    As a 59 year old laid-off out of work chemist surrounded by foreclosed houses, I am not very optimistic about the coming years.

  80. Anon says:

    The first impact of Trump’s election is that imported heroin from Mexico is now 12% cheaper.

  81. Bud Hammers says:

    It’s official – America has made the Donald Great Again

    what we learned:
    1) America is more divided than ever, except for one unifying theme: contempt for the cesspool that is Washington D.C.

    2) Not to be outdone by the Brits, America “trumped” the B’jesus out of Brexit.

    3) The politics of fear and hate are alive and well in the U.S.ofA. Now it’s a question of whether Congress will do the Donald or will Donald do Congress? Regardless, the average Joe and Julie will be on the receiving end.

    4) Putin had a bender last night.

    5) If the production and consumption of the media stays on course, we’ll soon become an oligarchy too.

    6) The scientific community is on even thinner ice now. Fact-based policy decisions are irrelevant – just “show me the money” already.

    7) A mentally unhinged carnival-barking short-fingered vulgarian gets to select THREE supreme court justices.

    8) and the short-fingered vulgarian also gets the nuclear codes.

    9) The markets are down, but pharmaceuticals are up – way to go pharma!

    10) “Big Data” failed miserably. The story of 2016 election forecasting: garbage-in – garbage-out. Congratulations to all the pollsters and consulting firms that made out like bandits – well done!

  82. 123 says:


    It is all about 9/11 curse that America faces…All bad things happen on this day to disturb the integrity of the country and shake the very faith of people and American dream.

    9/11 curse america…face it for next 4 years… the other one gave us Laden to fight with for years and now it gives us Trump and Trumpism!

  83. 123 says:

    Also, I agree that media messed with Clinton along with FBI;

    Media projected her to be the clear winner probably which made Trump voters to turn out more than Clinton’s probably who thought she would any how win!

  84. Anon, for obvious reasons says:

    Worth reading, if you dare to consider a different view:

    A well stated summary of the educated conservative position. Some of us did vote for Trump.

    As our current president said,
    “This is a more fundamental choice — about who we are as a people, and whether we stay true to this great American experiment in self-government. ” (He is of course walking that back now- as with all of his statements (“you can keep…”) it comes with an expiration date.

    This election has announced that for at least half of us, we are finally saying who we ARE NOT. As a (large) group, we aren’t comfortable with the Democrats’ statist vision; with their attacks on individual freedom in the name of “social justice”; with their favoritism towards certain classes of people; and with the way they enrich their friends while treating many of us as their moral inferiors.

    We are not deplorable; we are not evil. And, interestingly, WE are not rioting (nor have we in the past) and WE are not announcing that those who disagree should quit their jobs. Something for the “educated” to think about. If they can.

  85. Rich Rostrm says:

    I understand your loathing for Trump; I share it.

    But the Republican Party (as an institution) did not choose Trump or embrace him. He won the nomination fair and square, with the votes of a plurality of primary voters, despite the opposition of nearly all important Republicans.

    (Clinton, by contrast, was embraced and sustained by Democratic Party insiders, such as Donna Brazile.)

    What should the party have done then? Announced that the will of the people meant nothing if the party organization disagreed? That would have been as much a repudiation of democracy as the recent spate of riots “protesting” the election of Trump.

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