Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Would I vote for Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump?

This is my response to a Facebook post asking who you’ll vote for in November if Bernie Sanders is the nominee and you have to choose between him and President Trump. (The question is interesting because of the limitation to only those two choices, so I may reject comments that bring up other options.)

I’m no fan of Sanders, and I voted for the Libertarian nominee, Gary Johnson, in the last 2 presidential elections.

In the unlikely event that Sanders is the nominee even though he’s behind in overall delegates and isn’t the type of candidate who wins the Democratic nomination ... I’d vote for Sanders.

I don’t know if Sanders would be a better president than Trump. I don’t need to have an opinion about that in order to choose Sanders over Trump. There’s something larger at stake, which is the need to send a message to the world and to history: “Whoops, we screwed up in 2016. We need a different tone and direction.”

If Trump is a two-term president, he’ll appear to have a halo 😇 in retrospect: people assume that Obama and Reagan were great presidents whether or not they really were. One-term presidents who lose their reelection bids are almost inevitably seen as failures and footnotes to history, whether that’s deserved or not.

Making Trump a one-term president will have positive ripple effects that could last for decades, far beyond the next president’s administration. That would change the thinking of future presidential candidates, and it would change how the Trump administration is viewed in history books.

Making Trump a two-term president will legitimize the idea that the president should sink to the lowest common denominator in his rhetoric, and try to close off America from other countries through his policies.

We need to make Trump a one-term president. We already know what we need to know about President Trump, and we have only one more chance to act on that knowledge. We don’t yet know what President Bernie Sanders would be like, but if he turns out to be bad, we’ll be able to deal with that problem in other elections.

Plus, Sanders would be the first Jewish president and he might legalize marijuana.

(Photo of Sanders in June 2019 by Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons.)


dbp said...

I too voted for Gary Johnson in the last election, but if it comes down to Bernie or Trump, I will not hesitate to vote for Trump.

There is a lot to not like about Trump's deportment and decision-making, but there is a lot more to dislike about how the permanent bureaucracy and the past administration has unethically hobbled this administration. That is a much deeper and systematic problem. A problem that calls into question the degree to which the will of the people matters.

And yes, I know and support the fact that we are a republic, but democracy plays a big role and if the deep-state is undermining that role, that is a problem which needs a lot of push-back.

I Callahan said...

If I understand your point, you believe that the damage Trump has done is greater than the damage a Sanders administration will do.

If that's the case, I believe you are dead wrong. Bernie Sanders is a communist. He's always been a communist. And communism, by its very nature, is the greatest evil on the planet. The last 100 years of millions of people dying should make that abundantly clear.

So the idea that Trump is more dangerous for the country's psyche than Sanders is utterly laughable on its face.

melissa said...

As someone who also voted for Johnson in the last two elections, I agree with all of this. I'm not a fan of Sanders' policy proposals, but I'm not a fan of most republican or democratic policy proposals. And these other policy proposals actually have a better chance of becoming law.

tommyesq said...

I'd vote for Trump - making Trump a two-term president will have positive ripple effects within the country, that could last for decades, far beyond the next president’s administration. The benefits - reduction of the massive regulatory state, which has been propounded, implemented and enforced almost entirely by unelected and unaccountable people, the pushback against the deep state in general, and the programs and policies that seem to be bringing more improvement to minority economic life than anything brought about by the war on poverty - more than outweigh any negatives from Trump's rhetoric, Further, voting against Trump due to dislike of his "tone," despite the positive results he has brought, seems to be a pointless elevation of form over substance.

Mike said...

I have a lot of similar concerns regarding the message that is sent to the world and what sort of lessons it will teach subsequent politicians. But I'd opt for Trump in that equation, easily.

To me, it's about accepting the result of an election, something a great many people still haven't done when it comes to 2016. A Trump defeat will make validate all the efforts to undermine that election result and do far more damage than Trump's behavior ever would.

The calculus is similar to Brexit and the effort to undermine that result.

Chris-2-4 said...

I did not vote for Trump in 2016, but I would vote for him in 2020 for the same reason you cite. We MUST send a message that the Deep-State shenanigans they have been employing since 2016 will NOT be tolerated. Nor will their own substantial contributions to turning up the rhetoric and the disrespect THEY have shown to the Presidency.

Virgil Hilts said...

Economically my family and extended families will be fine even if the economy crashes after a Bernie election. We probably would have been OK in Venezuela too. But if Bernie is elected I believe (fear) that we will have an economic crash, higher unemployment and a return to malaise that will be bad for an awful lot of the less fortunate. That belief/fear is sincere.
I think Trump is a detestable person but like it or not his policies are helping an awful lot of people. I would rather put up with Trump's silliness for another 4 years then sacrifice the economic well-being of millions just to look better to some EU so-called elites.

robother said...

John's reasons for choosing Bernie over Trump are simply stated:

"Making Trump a two-term president will legitimize the idea that the president should sink to the lowest common denominator through his rhetoric, and try to close off America from other countries through his policies."

Lowest common denominator is of course entirely subjective: Obama's race-baiting against American white working class and cops seems far lower than Trump's rhetoric aimed at foreign and domestic leaders and illegal aliens. Curious that jaltcoh thinks Trump is uniquely bad in this regard, but given his caste, not shocking.

"Closing off America from other countries" is policy, and seems to implicate precisely those areas that a President can most directly affect without Congress. Bernie could quickly implement de facto open borders with blanket amnesties and stopping all border enforcement by Executive Order. Similarly, all gains from renegotiated trade deals with other countries could be cancelled by simply refusing to monitor compliance.

Global enterprises will quickly reverse the capital investment in manufacturing in the US. Even the prospect of Bernie's tax policies making their way through Congress will motivate that, even as the US ceasing enforcement of Trump trade agreements will.

Steven said...

I also voted Johnson the last two elections. And I don't think it's even close; I'd vote Trump.

Trump's sins are entirely outclassed by those against him. Fraudulent and criminal abuse of the foreign intelligence surveillance apparatus for domestic political ends should not be rewarded. Massive and occasionally-violent protests against someone merely for being elected (like the first "Women's March") should not be rewarded. Subversion attempts by bureaucrats who do not understand the elected President, not the unelected "interagency", sets US foreign policy, should not be rewarded. The first-ever impeachment of a President on charges that didn't include a single count of actually violating the law should not be rewarded.

And if you're electing the lunatic fanatic who, in 1988, went to the crumbling Soviet Union and said the US needed to import parts of Soviet policy, then you clearly aren't picking someone because they'll be a good president. You're instead choosing to reward the people who have spent the last few years trying to subvert our democratic institutions because they didn't like who got elected.

Kay said...

I guess I would go with Sanders. While I do like some of his ideas I have my doubts that he can realistically get his policies through. And I guess that’s also fine with me.

In all honesty, though, I haven’t decided yet if I’m even going to vote in the upcoming election.

CR said...

Sanders or Trump? Hmm...

Sanders's policies would be a disaster for the U.S., particularly for the energy industry. Mostly he just promises free stuff (college, health care) that isn't free. He strikes me as pretty anti-American and definitely an old Marxist.

Trump has a crude and combative style that I am not fond of. Yet I think he just treats Democrats the way Democrats (and the media) have always treated Republicans. I probably agree with his policies more often than not, but I don't know if I'll vote for him. I didn't in '16. He loves America, though, which I appreciate. In this age of the 1619 Project, I am grateful for any political leader who genuinely loves America.

I'll probably make my decision on Nov 3rd.

John Althouse Cohen said...

I rejected comments that made baseless claims about me, e.g. calling me a "self-described _______" where that blank is filled in with something I've never called myself and wouldn't call myself. When commenting on my posts, you'll be on firmer ground if you stick to the topic of the post (e.g. Bernie Sanders vs. Donald Trump) rather than trying to tell me about myself.

Tim said...

My biggest reason to NOT vote for Bernie Sanders: You can vote your way into socialism, but you have to shoot your way out of it. Forget who said that, but it has been proven true too many times to not take it seriously. And I really do not want to have to shoot a bunch of Americans even if they are occasionally delusional.
My second biggest reason to NOT vote for Bernie Sanders: If you believe people have a right to health care, then you believe in slavery. Period dot. Health care is people, and if they are forced to give health care at the point of a gun, that is slavery. Deal with it.
My biggest reason to vote for Donald Trump: Quoting Abraham Lincoln. He fights. And right now, we need that. I voted for Cruz in the primaries in 2016, and I was wrong. He would not have make the progress that Trump has made. Yes, he is a New York Yankee and can be abrasive. But he fights for the things that need fighting for, and I will be voting for him in 2020.

hawkeyedjb said...

Communism is not just evil, it is the greatest evil inflicted on humanity. Bernie likes it. For all the childish caterwauling about Trump (or every other Republican president) being Just Like Hitler, here is a candidate who actually celebrates the effects of the socialist system. It is not a light decision to choose to vote for someone whose ideology killed 100 million and counting. To be a socialist after the experience of the 20th century indicates a hatred of humanity that is frightful to contemplate.

What's Bernie's campaign slogan going to be? One hundred million - not enough?