The Case for the Lesser Evil

Let me be clear: when I cast my vote for Hillary Clinton on November 8th, it will not be with enthusiasm.

Despite easily being one of the most qualified candidates in US history, Hillary Clinton has flaws that cannot be overlooked. In the international arena, she has repeatedly demonstrated an eagerness to use military force as the primary means of promoting US interests. She has offered singing praise of Henry Kissinger and the CIA-funded coups that plagued his tenure as Secretary of State. Domestically, her reluctance to tackle criminal behavior on Wall Street signals that large corporate interests are likely going to be a huge part of what drives her work.

In regards to the private email scandal and the attack on the Benghazi embassy, I find myself in a rare moment of agreement with Colin Powell; the former has been examined thoroughly enough, and the latter truly is “a stupid witch hunt.”

But I am not here to convince you that she is a model candidate, or that she will even be a good president. I am here to tell you that electing Hillary Clinton this November is necessary for the future stability of our country and our entire world.

Oftentimes when discussing this election, I hear friends and family agonize that they will vote for “the lesser of two evils.” This is usually coupled with another sentiment: “Both candidates are so bad, I don’t know which to choose.”

Yes, friends — this election we will be forced to vote for the lesser of two evils, but make no mistake, these evils are not of the same caliber. They are not even close.

Trump is, almost objectively, the single worst presidential candidate in the 240-year history of this republic.

Before you chalk this up to exaggeration, let’s keep a few things in mind. This is a man who doesn’t have one day of policy experience under his belt. This is a man who casually talks about violating international law, boasting of the war crimes he will commit through the use of tortureand the extra-judicial killings of foreign civilians. This is a man who has repeatedly said he will reorganize our border controls to deny people based on ethnic and religious guidelines. This is a man who asks us to trust his temperament with the nuclear launch codes — the same man who is so easily baited into petty fights with Rosie O’Donnell and reality television stars.

He has made so many brazen, untrue assertions about global politics, we can see he does not understand the reality of the world around him. He spreads baseless rumors about minority communities and excites the fantasies of neo-nazis, and white-supremacists throughout the country. He has repeatedly mocked our country’s veterans, people with disabilities, and women in a way that only a malicious playground bully can. He disregards the rule of law and threatens the very values of our democracy. He is, by nearly every measurement, unfit to be president.

Now, I know that people may read this and see reason to vote for a third party candidate, especially one that shares more of their beliefs, but I believe this is misguided. I understand the appeal to vote your conscience — genuinely, I do — but the two-party system will not go away simply by voting for a different candidate. It is, after all, a system. If we want to create a multi-party system, then we need to rewrite our constitution to improve democratic representation. Stanford professor George Cheung provides a more detailed look at what a multi-party system could look like. But until we achieve larger systemic change, every vote for Johnson or Stein will be wasted. More importantly, those votes will not protect our country from the immediate danger of a Trump presidency.

The office of president is not a reality TV show; it is a serious and difficult job. It is absolutely delusional for any man to claim “I alone can fix the system” through sheer force of personality. Trump’s erratic, megalomaniacal behavior may help a contestant get to the final round of Survivor, but it should not bring someone to the final round of a presidential election. It is shameful that we have allowed him to get this far, and we cannot allow him to get any farther.

Hillary Clinton is the solution. Her shortcomings are serious, but they pale in comparison to those of her opponent. At the very least, she has the temperament and the international understanding not to send the world into a chaotic downward spiral. She has proven that she understands the world better than most through her work as Secretary of State, through her interactions with countless world leaders, and through the maturity of her responses at the last presidential debate. Some of her policy proposals can and should be protested as they are announced during her presidency, but until then, her electoral victory is the greatest safeguard against a slip into authoritarianism.

The fact that I will be voting for Hillary Clinton doesn’t exactly incite warm fuzzy feelings, but it is a decision I am firmly committed to. The alternative is too terrible to accept.