(L.A. Times OpEd 8/8/2016) IF DONALD TRUMP had flamed out of the primaries as almost everyone expected, I would have proudly voted for Marco Rubio, John Kasich or Jeb Bush, and would have supported Scott Walker or Chris Christie. But compared with these candidates, Donald Trump lives on another planet. Simply put, he is not a Republican nor a conservative as we have understood those terms for decades.
Instead, I will vote for Hillary Clinton in November. I will do this knowing full well that she has more baggage than United Airlines and that she would nominate Supreme Court justices that would do violence to the 1st, 2nd and 5th amendments to the Constitution. She flat-out lied about her home-brew server and the classified information on it, thereby imperiling national security. I recognize that she is owned in fee simple by one of the most reactionary groups in the United States, the public employee unions. Further, I assume that the SVR, the foreign intelligence service of the Russian Federation, will cause to be released documents showing a very unsavory connection between Clinton’s actions as secretary of State and the Clinton Foundation.
Despite these serious flaws, Clinton believes in America and its values. Trump — who would establish religious tests for immigration and ethnic tests for judges — does not. She is open to the world; Trump is not.
Trump believes in only himself. As Khizr Khan, the Muslim father of a slain U.S. Army captain, noted at the Democratic convention: Trump has “sacrificed nothing.”
And if we ever see the contents of Trump’s tax returns, I believe they will demonstrate that he is not as rich as he says he is, has given only a pittance to charity and has played the IRS like an aria. The media should consider boycotting Trump events until he releases his tax returns, like every modern candidate for the presidency. Why do they let him get away with it?
I’ve argued before that we are in the process of reliving the 1930s. Russian expansionism in the Ukraine is analogous to Adolf Hitler’s moves in central Europe, and the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe today also has a parallel to that dark era. Trump, for his part, echoes the proto-fascist America First movement championed by Charles Lindbergh. He wants to close off America from the rest of the world.
But unlike the America Firsters, Trump’s blathering about international affairs seems rooted in ignorance rather than ideology. He quite simply doesn’t have a clue about foreign policy. He has no advisors of stature, military or diplomatic — no one who can rein in his “bromance” with Russian leader Vladimir Putin or explain to him why we must honor our commitments to NATO.
In contrast, Clinton is a tough-minded foreign policy realist who understands the dangers we face in Putinism and Islamist radicalism.
You can believe — as I do — that Clinton has a problem with the truth, but must also acknowledge — as I must — that in that regard she doesn’t hold a candle to Trump’s prevarications. Simply put, as the old adage goes, “How can you tell when Trump is lying? Answer: When he is moving his lips.” You really can’t predict what he will say from one day to the next, or if he will say the same thing again the following day. He is an unstable egomaniac who is unfit for public office, any office.
We Republicans brought Trump on ourselves. The congressional leadership, K Street lobbyists and public policy intellectuals (save a few) only talked to themselves. They had no clue as to what was going on out in the country and lost touch with the party’s working-class base. Instead of the tony restaurants of D.C., I suggest they visit the fast-food joints and bars of the Midwest, the South and California’s Central Valley. Simply put, a whole lot of soul-searching is ahead of us.
DAVID SHULMAN is emeritus professor of economics at American University and author of “The Economy Today”