My Last Post About This Election – Don’t Waste Your Vote

Please vote. Just so you know my bias before reading further, I’m voting for Hillary Clinton.

This post is not aimed at you if you have already decided to vote for Clinton or for Trump. It is aimed at you if you haven’t voted, are considering not voting, or are voting for someone other than Clinton or Trump.

At this point, especially in states like Colorado where it appears the election will be close, action other than a vote for Clinton is essentially supporting Trump. Regardless of your perspective about the candidates, the election process, our current system, or anything that needs to be changed going forward, either Clinton or Trump is going to be elected president by Wednesday.

I’ve been deeply upset about many things during this election. However, at this point, I feel extremely strongly that Trump is not a suitable candidate for president. I’m appalled that things have gotten to this point and that he’s been able to get away with things he’s said and done, but I’ve struggled with how to articulate my feelings in a direct and factual way.

Fortunately, Mark Suster did it for me last week in a post titled And Then They Came for Me … I’ve read Mark’s post once a day as I pondered what I wanted to write. As Amy and I finished Episode 5 of Goliath last night, my thoughts around this finally came into focus.

You should go read Mark’s post, but the rest of this post builds off of things he wrote.

“You don’t get to pretend for 5 years that the first African American president in US history wasn’t born in the United States and then get a free pass on running for the presidency.” (Suster)

On top of this clear racism, Trump had the audacity to both claim that Clinton started this and then he finished it. This was absurd beyond comprehension. It’s a classic example of extreme misdirection, something that is woven through many of Trump’s mistakes and misdeeds. It’s the opposite of a leader who takes responsibility for his actions.

“You don’t get to launch your campaign saying illegal Mexicans are “rapists and murderers and some, I assume, are good people.” That is racist and fear mongering and stoking the flames of those who want to vilify “the other” which has been done throughout our country to the Irish, the Polish, the Jews, Italians and yes — the Germans — and every other immigrant population throughout history. Racism is disqualifying. Immigration and assimilation are two of the unique features that have made America so great over its centuries.” (Suster)

I’m Jewish. My grandparents came here from Russia and Germany in the early 1900’s. Deep in my bones, I worry the Cossacks are coming to take me away and kill me. This is a recurring theme in my discussions with my therapist and my wife who is not afraid of this, but at least empathic to my concerns.

“You don’t get to call for a religious test to enter our country, potentially denying access to more than 1 billion Muslim people in the world including very large populations in Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.” (Suster)

In addition to being deeply offensive to me, it violates the basic tenets on which our country was founded. As a child growing up in Texas, I learned this in eighth grade American history.

“You don’t get to say out loud that you would kiss women against their will or grab them against their will. That isn’t “locker-room talk” it is sexual assault and you don’t get to normalize that talk and then be president of our country. ” (Suster)

I’ve been extraordinarily upset by this aspect of the election, an emotion I share with literally millions of women (and many men.) Sexual assault is a real thing, not locker-room talk.

“You don’t get to pretend that you “just don’t know anything about” David Duke especially when there is this pesky fact of public record that you do know about David Duke.”

Let’s go back to that Jewish and immigrant thing.

“But on issues of racism, race-baiting, religious intolerance, misogyny, sexual assault, white supremacy and demagoguery — there can be no gray area, …. These are disqualifying issues …  If we accept leaders who embrace demagoguery, intolerance and groups of citizens who would turn on each other and vilify “the other” then eventually they will turn on us, … I am the straight son of an immigrant father from South America whose parents on both sides are Jewish and who proudly thinks of myself as an American first and foremost and everything else second.” (Suster)

I am a son of immigrant grandparents from Germany and Russia. I probably would not exist if my grandparents hadn’t managed to get to America – there is a significant chance they would have been exterminated in World War I (Russia) or World War II (Germany). I love this country and while we have many issues, I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

I encourage you to be deliberate about everything you do. You get to choose who you are and what your values are. On November 9th, either Clinton or Trump will have been elected president.

Please don’t waste your vote by not voting.


Also published on Medium.

  • Morris Wheeler

    While I personally agree with every word from Mark and from you, I don’t see those character arguments being persuasive to those who remain on the fence. The Trump Camp has created a false equivalence, often from whole cloth, that a lot of voters see as disqualifying BOTH candidates on moral grounds. My hope is that by focusing on ISSUES, these who feel the candidates are equally morally or ethically corrupt, can find their way to what I see as the only possible outcome on the issues: A vote for Hillary between these two approaches Hillary can prevail in Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Arizona, New Hampshire and all the other new and old swing states. Our future depends on it.

    • You’re right – Trump and his ilk have persistently pursued a policy of competence nullification.

    • Ryan Martens

      Morris, Seth Myer does a nice job showing the false equivalence – https://www.facebook.com/LateNightSeth/videos/752515804899101/. It is just like the climate change debates where the media put 1 climate scientist to “debate” versus a non-believer. Of course, 97% of climate scientists believe in climate change. For some reason, we only John Oliver has shown a fair debate with 97 scientist to 3.

      Our only way out of this nightmare is to applify the good of Hillary to break the equivalence. You point on focusing on ISSUES and 78 months of job growth and now wage increases seems a way to bust the myth of “Making America Great Again.”

  • +1
    Deeply Deeply Deeply agree with every word.

  • Turns out we have similar heritage. My great grandfather (Glaser) came to the US in 1904 through Ellis Island by way of Ukraine where he and the previous 2 generations of Glaser’s(Jewish) lived after immigrating from Germany to Russia/Ukraine. This wave happened as Katherine the great was German and convinced her husband the czar to allow this. This German ancestry group that came to US fleeing Cossacks are called in US “Germans from Russia”. My Uncle Dick is a bit of an expert in this area of history and immigration.

  • I keep hearing this argument that not voting for Clinton amounts to supporting Trump. It’s specious and based on bad math, and no matter how terrible and unqualified Trump may be, it belittles the democratic process: whereby people are empowered to choose to vote for a candidate and issues they support.

    Pressuring people to choose to do something out of fear for the alternative is the beginning of a slippery slope… Do this unsavory thing because otherwise this worse thing will happen.

    It’s how people are herded to war. They’re told not to follow their hearts, but to be afraid. Be afraid of Trump. Be afraid of Terrorists. Be afraid of Communism. Be afraid of the Jews. Be afraid of the Devil.

    Responding to the fear Trump is spouting with more fear, by compromising one’s values, that to me is the path to another century of war and division. I’m not saying don’t vote for Clinton. If she embodies the values you support, by all means choose her.

    The process of giving each person a voice means that we are going to hear some ugly, nasty shit rise to the surface. Trusting in that process and seeing it through is the only way to heal.

  • James Mitchell

    The most important reason to not vote for Trump is, “Do you really want him to have control of the nuclear launch codes?” I suspect that a lot of the totally insane things he says, he does not really mean or he would reconsider. But do you want to take the chance? Whatever you think of Hillary, most people will agree she will not use military force on a whim.

    As for why to vote for Hillary, I think the strongest reason is her husband. No one is fully prepared to assume the Presidency. In her case, she is married to someone who served two terms and was a pretty good President. And no, I am not being sexist. If the situation was reversed — Hillary had been President and then Bill was running — I would say that was a strong reason to vote for Bill.

    Bottom line, I think Hillary will win, but it’s scary that Trump has come so close.

  • I’m a bit surprised, Brad, that you fell into this trap of “a vote for a third party candidate is really a vote for X.” By that EXACT same logic, the third party vote is also a vote for Y. It’s a true failure of logic.

    A third party vote (or abstention, or write in) is removing your vote from both X and Y. Equally. That’s the way arithmetic works.

    I agree that thoughtfully applying your voice is important. If you thoughtfully choose to remain silent, OK I guess, but you’re then combined with all the others who remain silent for a wide variety of reasons. But there’s a good reason why we don’t have mandatory voting in this country.

    • No, actually it isn’t.
      A vote for a 3rd party vote actually benefits whomever you like the least of the two candidates.
      To illustrate – let’s call them A & B instead of specifics. We’ll use C for 3rd party generic candidate.
      It requires 270 electoral votes for one to win. C is not going to get that number. At the moment, A & B are the only ones capable of reaching that right now.
      Between A and B, there is one you find just a little more reprehensible/dangerous/afraid of. If forced to vote between them? You would go with the least objectionable. So that vote of yours that goes to C? It’s taken from the side you would’ve voted for. Not the one you wouldn’t have.
      A nonvote works the same.

      • Actually I really think you have a flaw in logic here.

        Not talking about this election.

        Saying you can never vote for an obvious minority candidate means that minorities are to be dismissed and never to be granted traction.

        It applies to many things in life not just an election.

        I’ll be lighthearted because I know pointsandfigures loves the Cubs.

        It would be like saying never root for the Cubs. That is wasted. Except for this year.

  • This is worth watching. Hillary brings this to the White House: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgVP3H122nw

    or, read an excellent column by John Kass: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/kass/ct-clinton-trump-kass-1106-20161104-column.html

    Trump is certainly not a great candidate. I won’t be voting for either. It’s not a wasted vote to not vote for Trump, or Hillary.

  • BarryG

    I’m Jewish and have secured dual citizenship for my family for just such an event.

    But, my fears are a bit different. I’m a bit of an archeology buff. I live near Stanford and my recurring fear is when I’m walking around Stanford but seeing it like what the Roman Forum, the once center of the Universe, looks like today. That’s what haunts me, and Trump looks very much like how my nightmare starts — no care for objective truth or facts, just assertions and emotions. Where Google and Facebook now stand, I see weeds and a few stones standing at knee height.

    But, enough of 3am shivers. When Bush was elected, I took my money out of the Market, held it in cash and went all back in with Obama. Score! That was the most obvious economic move I ever saw. With Trump, I don’t know what to do, I don’t trust him on the currency. What do you suggest as a hedge? Gold? China??

    • I have no idea about the macro – or strategies around it – in either case.

    • Josephine K

      Couldn’t you just bet on downside to equities? In a broad downturn, just shorting the indexes would be hedge

  • Dil-Dominé Leonares

    Just wondering if you vote for Clinton and it comes out she was behind a child sex trafficking scheme – if your conscience would be okay with that?

    • Is this a serious question?
      If you vote for Trump and it comes out he has personally castrated a three year old boy every week since his thirteenth birthday would your conscience be ok with that?
      Have you stopped beating your wife yet?
      jees…

  • Elizabeth Kraus

    Regardless on what happens on Tuesday, Donald Trump has succeeded in making America great again. The risk you are taking to publicly stand up for what you believe in is just more evidence of that. From every bone in my body: Thank You.

    I share your sentiments about Trump and will be casting my vote for Hillary Clinton. However, I will be forever grateful to Donald Trump for starting this conversation.

    Because of this election:
    – I am closer to my community than ever before. I’ve had the most beautiful, deep conversations with neighbors, family members, fellow investors, and even random people at the bus stop that have clarified and strengthened my conviction for my life choices and moral beliefs. (My conversation with Amy about my choice not to have children was perhaps the most impactful.)
    – I realized that I have taken the opportunities I have as a woman because of the hard work of generations of women and men before me for granted. I have a stronger conviction for investing in women and am completely energized about my role at MergeLane.
    – Like you, I took the risk to publicly stand up – in both my personal and professional community – for what I believe in. While I received a few comments of backlash, I was mostly met with sincere appreciation for sharing my fear of coming forward and mustering the courage to take a stand. Professionally, it strained my relationship with a select few, but strengthened my relationship with far more – a welcome reminder of the power of putting a stake in the ground in business and in life.
    – When I saw the first Confederate flag I’ve ever seen in the neighborhood I grew up in, and it was flying next to a Trump flag, I was reminded that while we’ve come a long way, we still have a long way to go.
    – I’ve been reminded of the importance of civic involvement. I am making the most informed voting decisions I’ve ever made from the top to the bottom of the ballot.
    – And….fueled by the frustration of this election, I’ve shaved 10 seconds off my running split time – a welcome reminder that in the face of adversity, I can run faster and further than ever before.

    To you, to Amy, to Mark Suster, to my business partner Sue, to my husband, to my staunch Republican and argumentative mother and father, and yes…to you, Donald Trump, THANK YOU. You’ve succeeded in making America great again.

    • Are you kidding? Kudos to you to be able to turn Trump’s ascension into a positive event for yourself, but would you say the same thing about WW3? “Thanks to so and so for making the war happen, we’re much closer to each other now”.

      Personally, I disagree with your premise. Trump hasn’t made America great again. He has greatly harmed it, and he isn’t even President. The world is looking at America for what it really is: a country that has let a sociopath get as far as he’s gotten into this race — much like has been done in Europe some decades back.

      This is a real black eye, and America would have to make itself great again in order to dig itself out of the deeper hole it’s now in; but I’m not holding my breath….

      • Elizabeth Kraus

        I’d be the first to admit that we have a lot of work to do, but this election has reminded me that we still have something worth fighting for. It’s also reminded me that like anything great, it takes work to keep it great. I can’t just put my head down and let others take care of it. I’m thankful that I’ve been re-energized to do my part. I hope you are too.

        • I’ve disagreed with the particular point you were making, but I agree with you: it’s individuals such as yourself that keep the world going. Keep it up.

    • Good god.

  • Jordan Wolfson

    Thank you, Brad. I passed on your blog. Dire times.

  • Glenn Neal

    When do Elon’s trips to Mars begin?

  • kermit64113

    I voted in North Carolina before the Comey announcement. Not changing my vote. Senate is more important issue than president, IMO. If Clinton is elected (most likely outcome), it’s very possible that she will face a Republican Senate and a likely special prosecutor.

  • There is a bigger picture here too which is simply the scale and veracity of information and media. Could Trump have happened without the current state of the Internet and social media? I don’t think so. For good or ill, we’re headed toward a world where the consumption of all media is guided and metered by AI…

  • Agree, there is something on the present election that confused me even from the very beginning. I hope that the election won’t divide the nation for the two parts and we’ll love in peace and without any conflicts. So, the time will show us who is right and who is not.

  • StevenHB

    Amen, Brad. Sally and I completed our ballots last night and have joined you in support of Hillary Clinton.

  • Rich Weisberger

    Donald Trump clearly is one thing and that is inarticulate (at times). Moreover he seems ignorant to many issues (often). A better argument is simply stating that having a president being this inarticulate and ignorant could be troublesome (It has certainly been troubling for him as a candidate). Rand Paul framed and identified this issue during the campaign. When voters weighed it vs the (potential) upside, they just didn’t buy it.

  • Yeah! Its almost over! You know whats funny? When I told my Dad I was voting for Johnson, he said I was essentially voting for Hillary!

    Praise democracy, may it be what survives today!!!