To begin, while obviously this piece will involve Donald Trump (it’d be weird if it didn’t), this isn’t just about him. Let’s look at the three men who’ve held the presidency for the last 24 years.
Barack Obama served less than four years in the U.S. Senate before becoming Commander-in-Chief.
George W. Bush was governor of Texas for under six and hadn’t held any earlier elective office.
Bill Clinton was elected to a term as attorney general and four as governor of Arkansas, though even that only translated to 13 total years of service, all in a state with a population of roughly 2.4 million at the time he became President, which represents less than one percent of the country’s total population.
This question is for members of all parties and independents too: If we’re so concerned about where America’s headed, why the fuck do we insist on picking people with as little experience as possible?
And the man who will be in the White House for at least the next four has never held office. Indeed, The Washington Post found in over a third of general elections he didn’t vote, though Trump did switch political parties six times.
This question is for members of all parties and independents too: If we’re so concerned about where America’s headed (and there seems to be a lot of anxiety from everybody on this matter), why the fuck do we insist on picking people with as little experience as possible?
I fully understand the appeal of crying out, “We’re sending an outsider to Washington!” That’s great, except once they get there they literally don’t know how to do anything. Who do they turn to? Lobbyists and other politicians. Trump, for instance, wants his transition headed by Governor Chris Christie, who hopefully will do a better job of cleaning up Washington than he did cleaning up his home state because his closest aides are going to prison and, as a bonus, he’s stuck New Jersey taxpayers with a bill of over $10 million and counting to cover his legal expenses.
Not that Democrats should be holier than thou, since when he first reached D.C., Obama leaned heavily on Chicago’s loathsome Rahm Emanuel.
It’s understandable voters like candidates who haven’t made mistakes. But we aren’t getting people who are perfect: We’re just getting people who haven’t done shit. We love blank slates, with Trump being the blankest so far. Hell, we aren’t even certain of his views. This video is from 2008.
It’s not just that he praises Hillary and Bill Clinton and mocks anyone attacking them—during an earlier interview he categorized Bill accuser Paula Jones, the same Paula Jones he brought to a debate, as a “loser”—but that Trump seems so aligned with their political views that he now so loudly opposes. Once more, this is 2008, after Bill Clinton’s two terms in the White House, after Hillary Clinton had been elected and reelected as a U.S. Senator—by this point, for better of worse, you knew what they were peddling.
Did he tell the truth then? Does he tell the truth now? And if he’s telling the truth in both cases, what’s to stop him from deciding the truth is something entirely different tomorrow?
Quite simply, a vote for Trump was a vote for the unknown, just as it was when voters went for Obama, Bush and Clinton (1992 version).
I come from Irish Catholic and Jewish stock: Traditionally, the unknown hasn’t turned out great for us, usually ending with our villages being burned.
This year, I voted in Brooklyn near the intersection of “President” and “Clinton” streets (which clearly weren’t meant to come together a second time). While voting, I literally got to watch how easily democracy can be derailed. Our polling station came to a grinding halt—the line just stopped moving entirely, then inched forward over the next hour.
Eventually, we got inside and discovered the reason for the delay: An elderly poll worker was struggling to find voter names in the sign-in book, possibly because of cataracts that were larger than her actual pupils. We also overhead it was her first time on the job. While she was theoretically only responsible for a quarter of the voters (A-M of one district), her line was so backed up that it blocked people from the other groups from even getting inside the room.
To recap: One person with the best of intentions still somehow managed to screw everything up for everyone because she was placed in a position for which she had no experience or, it turns out, qualifications.
Let’s try to remember that come 2020.