Do What’s Right for Everyone

I’m very progressive. I think I’ve said that a few times. A lot of people claim that I’m not very progressive because I put more emphasis on who available in the process is most likely to listen to progressives when we ask for something. I’d like to say I choose based on their record, but let’s face it, Democrats and progressives haven’t been in charge all that much in the last few decades, so there isn’t much to look at when it comes to any kind of available record. That makes things doubly difficult. It’s already hard to evaluate candidates because we can’t tell the future and we don’t know what they will face as president, or in Congress or the state house. But it’s doubly difficult when they have been in Congress for a decade or so, but they have never been part of a functioning majority.

That’s what was so hard this year, when it came to evaluating each Democrat running for president. In the Democratic field, Martin O’Malley was the only one of them with a verifiable record, with eight years as Maryland governor and another eight as Mayor of Baltimore. And I was there for most of that. He did overstep a bit when it came to raising taxes, but most of the rest of his actions in those positions were good for the people of Maryland. Bernie Sanders, while he said all the right things in many ways, had almost no record to run on. Most of the time he was in the House and the Senate, Republicans were in charge and hell-bent on blocking everything Democrats tried to do. He did spend time as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, but it was Burlington, Vermont, for crap’s sakes; not exactly a challenge. Hillary Clinton had eight years in the Senate, but Democrats only had a majority for her last two years, and not a functioning majority, in any case. (It will take 60 Democrats in the Senate to change the rules so that it doesn’t take 60 votes to pass a bill. For now, it does.)

What am I trying to say here?

It’s actually easy. Those who say they know exactly how Bernie Sanders would govern are lying. Those who say they know how Hillary Clinton will govern are also lying. That includes pro-Hillary people as well as anti-Hillary people, but while pro-Hillary people are being hopeful, when it comes from anti-Hillary people, it’s usually reprehensible. If you voted for Bernie because you thought he was the best person for the job, I’m with you all the way and you get nothing but respect from me. However, if your vote for Bernie was because “Hillary is a tool of Wall Street” or “Hillary is a warmonger” or “pro-fracking” or something similar, you get no respect from me because you’re lying your ass off. There is no evidence that Hillary Clinton will do far right wing things as president.  If you voted against Hillary Clinton rather than for Bernie Sanders, you are basing your vote on your own personal politics and not the good of the country. I’ll say the same thing to any so-called “progressive” who is planning to vote for Jill Stein, Gary Johnson or any of the other “third party candidates” who have zero chance to ever win.

I use my vote to get the best person in office. That is the purpose of our vote. We don’t vote to make myself feel better. I care about this country. I care about the poor and minorities and those who are having a hard time. I don’t care to vote for someone who says all of the right things; I want to vote for the available viable candidate whom I think can possibly be persuaded to do the right thing. Here are a few issues and I’ll show you what I mean.


The health insurance system is getting better, but it still has a way to go before it’s universal. We certainly need a public health insurance option, and we need to put more money into subsidies and we need to collect more taxes to relieve the admitted burden on health insurance companies that have come with larger and more diverse risk pools.

Hillary Clinton – If we present some proposals to Hillary Clinton and give her a Democratic Congress, there is a better than average chance that they will all come up with tweaks to the system to improve it, including those I note above. We may not get 100% of everything we want, but we will probably get 60%. She will also be motivated, given her experience in 1994.

Donald Trump – If we present anything to Donald Trump, he will be so beholden to the base who put him there that he will either not address health insurance at all, if the Senate goes to the Democrats or, if it stays in the GOP, he will likely sign a repeal of the ACA.

Jill Stein – She’s only going to get 2%, if she’s lucky, so she’ll never have to deal with it.

Gary Johnson – He might luck out and get 6-7%, so he’ll never have to worry about it.

Minimum Wage

Hillary Clinton – She will propose a significant increase in the minimum wage, or at least $10 to start and going to at least $12-15 within a few years, but it will depend on us. If she ends up with a Republican Congress, expect it to be pushed to about $9-10, which is better, but not good enough. If she gets a Democratic Congress, it will go to at least $12, but possibly $15 by sometime in her second term, plus it will be indexed, so that it keeps up with inflation.

Donald Trump – Trump is beholden to the constituency of the GOP that doesn’t even think there should be a minimum wage. If Trump ends up with a fully Democratic-majority Congress, they may be able to get an increase to $9-10 per hour, but if all Democrats do is win the Senate, the minimum will remain at $7.25 for a long time. If he ends up with a Republican House and Senate, a full-on repeal may be in the works.

Jill Stein – She’s only going to get 2%, if she’s lucky, so she’ll never have to deal with it.

Gary Johnson – He might luck out and get 6-7%, so he’ll never have to worry about it.

ISIS and Terrorism

Hillary Clinton – Will likely continue the very successful peace strategy she and President Obama started. ISIS may be out of business by the time she takes the oath, but she will still have to deal with training Afghan and Iraqi troops, but she is likely to engage NATO and the UN in that effort. Our reputation has grown by leaps and bounds over the past eight years, and she is a very knowledgeable foreign policy wonk, so it’s unlikely anything will change drastically under her administration. When it comes to Israel, she is unlikely to take any more crap from Netanyahu than Obama has. Domestically, I imagine she will take an even hand when it comes to remaining vigilant against terror. There will likely be no color-coded charts and Marines on every street corner armed with M-16s, you know, to keep us “safe.” Clinton is no George W. Bush, by any stretch.

Donald Trump – Given his complete and utter lack of knowledge of how the world works, foreign policy would be a disaster. Again, he would be beholden to the same elements of the GOP who think we should be “carpet-bombing ISIS” and who think that bombing the shit out of everyone is how a country shows “strength.” If he has a Democratic Congress, he may get away with less, but with a Republican Congress, he will not even try to keep us safe. The Iran nuclear deal will be history within a short time and we saw this week that he not only doesn’t know what NATO is, but that he also believes they should do the United States’ bidding. His nationalist bullshit will get us in trouble around the word. He will have no choice but to bluster and blunder his way through, which will wreck our standing in the world and his tendency to like war over everything else will likely lead to several more skirmishes, in addition to the Afghan and Iraq messes we continue to deal with because the last President who didn’t know what the fuck he was doing (Dubya) broke two countries.

Jill Stein – She’s only going to get 2%, if she’s lucky, so she’ll never have to deal with it.

Gary Johnson – He might luck out and get 6-7%, so he’ll never have to worry about it.

Civil Rights

Hillary Clinton – The first woman president, following the first black president, who has led the way on greater civil rights? We know she’ll try. As was the case with Obama, how well she does will depend on Congress. If it stays the same, the obstruction will remain. It will also remain if Democrats only win the Senate, especially if they end up with fewer than 60 seats, which is likely. If she gets a Democratic Congress all the way, come on… you know she’ll go balls to the wall to get equal rights for women and LGBT people; if you don’t believe that, then you haven’t followed her career. Not only that, but she’ll also make at least 2-3 Supreme Court picks, which the Democratic Senate will be able to approve, which means an end to the right wing-led 5-4 courts we’ve endured for so many years.

Donald Trump – Again, he will be beholden to the faction in the GOP who apparently think men are transitioning to being women just so they can go into the girls’ locker room and do some molesting. These are people who think Kim Davis is a hero and who imagine that Christian white people are the most put-upon demographic in the country. If he is confronted by a Democratic Congress, some civil rights action might happen, but it’s not something I would bet the farm on. His followers are undeniably racist and he is drawing the white supremacy crowd out of their hovels. And if Trump has a Republican Congress, we might be looking at reviving “separate but equal.” And do I even have to mention the Supreme Court? Can you imagine a 2016 version of Roger Taney on the court? (Google him if you don’t know who I mean…)

Jill Stein – She’s only going to get 2%, if she’s lucky, so she’ll never have to deal with it.

Gary Johnson – He might luck out and get 6-7%, so he’ll never have to worry about it.
I could go on and on. On every single actual issue, there is a stark choice in this year’s election, between a candidate who will at least try to do the right thing and someone who doesn’t know enough to get out of his own way. And even if Trump realizes he’s not up to the job and resigns, you’re looking at racist, homophobic Mike Pence, whose most successful career has been as right wing talk show host.

This is the greatest chance we have ever had to do something amazing for the American people and wipe out the current version of the Republican Party. Put away your ego and do what’s right. If we end up wrong, in four years we can elect, say, Elizabeth Warren, and fix it. If we end up electing Donald Trump, there’s no telling if anyone could possibly fix the damage he would do. Put your ego aside and vote for the good of the country, for once. Your vote doesn’t really belong to you; it belongs to all of us. Act like you understand that.

About Milt Shook

A writer with more than 45 years in the political game (and let's face it, it is a game). I am a liberal because facts have a liberal bias, and I really like facts. If you like facts, you'll like this blog. If not, you'll have a hard time.


Do What’s Right for Everyone — 7 Comments

  1. Milt .. your comments are exactly what I wish I could say as articulately as you have .. Donald Trump is dangerous .. he’s a con artist who’s the most incompetent, unqualified presidential candidate in our nation’s history.
    I understand the passion that the Bernie supporters feel and their disappointment, but I would hope they keep one “HUGE” issue in mind, and that is the fight for campaign finance reform and the opportunity to overturn “Citizens United”
    Donald Trump will never appoint Supreme Court justices that will make that happen … Hillary Clinton will …
    Everything Bernie stands for will be impossible to achieve if Trump gets to appoint the next justices ..

  2. What ultimately needs to happen is that both parties are forced to the left by voters. That’s the only way lasting progressive legislation can be passed.

    • That is a fantasy. The GOP is too far gone to the right. To demand that the Democrats “go to the left” is also foolish since the Democrats have been moving that way for years now.

      A statement like yours shows ignorance of what the Democrats have supported–protecting voter rights, giving more Americans access to affordable health care, protecting a woman’s right to choose and getting more rights for the LGBT community is proof of this. Step down off your high horse.

  3. Congress can change the 60 vote threshold for cloture on the very first day of the session with a simple majority vote. But they won’t. Senate is meant to be a minority rule body. And if you’re in the majority now, someday you won’t be.

    • It has to be shown that Democrats will keep the majority for a long time, including several mid-terms. Until then, I’m afraid you’re right.

  4. Actually you left out one of my favorite ones. Fiscal and monetary policy.

    Hillary Clinton: Will pretty much stay the course and let the Fed do its job the way it has been. The U.S. can borrow at incredibly cheap rates right now and that should be the time you borrow to invest.

    Donald Trump: Convinced that the US is “bankrupt” he has said that he will repudiate the debut and walk away from as much of it as he can. Specifically, he thinks he can force T-Bill holders to accept some percentage of what they are owed through suave negotiation. Just like he has so many times in business he will screw the creditors. In other words, “full faith and credit” of the U.S. would become meaningless. It would also be a direct violation of the presidential oath of office but I doubt Trump or anyone associated with him knows or cares.

    I am not sure of the full effect of this would be, but it would definitely mean that the safest haven for wealth in the world would disappear. About the only thing you could count on is near total chaos in money markets world wide. It would make Brexit look like a lost contract in bridge in comparison.