I am one of these libertarian/constitutionalists who is still undecided as to who I will vote for for President this November. Obviously, I would NEVER vote for Hillary Clinton. She is a career criminal politician of the highest order. Putting another Clinton in the White House just might put the final nail in the coffin of America. She is a disgusting, despicable, deplorable degenerate. Hillary and Bill are no better than Bonnie and Clyde. Let me take that back. They are FAR WORSE than Bonnie and Clyde.
Hillary is a Neocon's Neocon; she is a globalist's globalist; she is rabidly anti-Second Amendment; she is a radical pro-homosexual, pro-abortion, pro-transgender, pro-war, corporatist crony. Hillary represents ALL OF THE WORST in Washington, D.C.
That being said, it is my personal conviction to never vote for the "lesser of two evils" if both candidates are guilty of violating the core principles that I have determined to never compromise.
I haven't voted for a major party presidential candidate in the general election since Ronald Reagan. I did cast enthusiastic votes in the GOP primaries for Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul. Normally, the GOP nominates big-government Neocons like Bush I, Bush II, McCain, and Romney--and I refuse to vote for such candidates. Absent a principled Republican presidential candidate to vote for in the general election, I usually vote for the Constitution Party candidate. This year's CP candidate is Darrell Castle: a very good man and a committed constitutionalist--a man I could easily vote for.
The confusion this year is that the GOP presidential candidate, Donald Trump, does not have a legislative track record. His personal rhetoric and contributions in the political arena are all over the board. One could just as easily put him in either the Democrat or the Republican camp (not that there is normally that much difference between the two major parties in Washington, D.C., anyway). At times, he has talked and acted like a liberal, while at other times he has talked and acted like a conservative. However, without a definitive voting record, the REAL Donald Trump is extremely difficult to nail down.
Trump is campaigning as a nationalist/populist conservative. He claims to be pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-less taxes, pro-less government regulation, anti-illegal immigration, anti-globalism, anti-establishment, pro-law and order, and pro-freedom. If that was all there was to it, I could easily support him. But that is NOT all there is to it.
There have always been several things about Donald Trump that I've been uneasy with. I have said that repeatedly, as faithful readers of this column know. I've said I think Trump might be a really good President or a really bad President. And, quite frankly, it appears to me as if it could just as easily be one as the other.
Therefore, I watched the first presidential debate this week between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with much interest. Truthfully, I was looking for Donald Trump to assuage my reservations about him. He didn't. He only exacerbated them.
Let me begin with an objective and critical analysis of the debate: on the whole, I thought Donald Trump did poorly. He seemed ill-prepared and was not very good at thinking on his feet, albeit he did amazingly better in the polls afterward than I expected he would. This is a VERY BAD omen for Hillary Clinton. Trump's performance was less than spectacular, yet the American people (a record 84 million watched the debate) gave him the post-debate nod. Hopefully, all of the scandals and criminality of the Clintons are finally starting to catch up with them in this election. Because of Hillary's poor poll results following what was probably her best on-camera performance ever, it might even be safe to predict a Trump landslide victory in November. But I digress.
As Trump and Clinton went into the debate, Trump had all of the momentum. If he had had a strong performance Monday evening, he might have been able to seal a victory in November that night. Democrats were holding their collective breath hoping and praying that Hillary would not fall down during the 90-minute debate. Two-thirds of the American people now believe that Hillary is not physically capable of being President (another bad omen for her). That she stayed on her feet made it seem like a good night for her (and indeed it was). Trump entered the ring against a very weak and very unpopular opponent. But his mediocre showing allows Hillary's candidacy to remain competitive. It could have been a knockout night for Trump; instead, he left his opponent standing to fight another day.
Donald scored well when he talked about Hillary's email scandal, but he didn't drive it home. He let her slip out of it. He scored well when he talked about NATO countries not paying up for their own defense. He scored well when he said America is not the policeman of the world. He scored well when he said we should have never invaded Iraq. He scored well when he talked about stopping the hemorrhage of America's manufacturing jobs going overseas. He scored well when he forced Hillary to defend NAFTA. He scored well when he talked about reducing taxes and government regulation. He almost scored well when he tried to talk about Hillary and the career politicians in D.C. helping to create ISIS, but, again, he didn't know how to drive it home. That had to be due to either a lack of preparation or a lack of understanding about the nuts and bolts of it all.
With the help of her debate assistant, moderator NBC news anchor Lester Holt, Hillary had Donald on the ropes much of the debate talking about his lack of paying taxes and his several bankruptcies. Trump's lack of debating experience showed up when he fell into the trap of letting them put him on the defensive with those accusations.
Hillary Clinton is the quintessential corrupt politician. The way she sold access to foreign donors (especially the Chinese) via her crooked Clinton Foundation when she was Secretary of State and when Bill was President is infamous. Trump could have easily turned the tables on her by shifting the spotlight to the obvious financial improprieties of her criminal foundation, but he didn't even bring it up.
The financial corruption of the Clinton Foundation makes Trump's legal wrangling that allowed him to pay no taxes and business bankruptcies look like child's play in comparison. But Trump let himself stay on the ropes by trying to defend himself instead of attacking the political bribes associated with the Clinton Foundation. That alone might have been a knockout punch for Trump. But he never threw it. That could be because he is reported to have donated to the Clinton Foundation in the past. If so, that sadly left him vulnerable on what would otherwise be a winning issue for him.
Trump also missed a huge opportunity to drive home Hillary's corruption when the subject of cyber security came up. Clinton's email scandal is the perfect example of how she willingly compromised our national cyber security as our Secretary of State.
Then there is Benghazi. Trump never broached it. Maybe he is waiting for later debates. But this is an issue he simply cannot ignore in prime time debates. He can bet that the pro-Clinton media moderators will never broach the subject, so he will have to.
But I thought the worst mistake of the night was Trump's failure to highlight Hillary's radical anti-Second Amendment agenda. He had a wide-open door, a golden opportunity to drive home the point that he was truly the only pro-Second Amendment candidate on the stage, and he blew it. BIG TIME.
The only thing Trump did to separate himself from Clinton's radical gun-control agenda was to tout his endorsement by the NRA. How lame!
Not only did Trump NOT drive home his support for the Second Amendment, he spent quite a bit of time AGREEING with Clinton about "getting guns away from criminals." At this point, Donald Trump sounded downright scary.
Trump went on and on talking about all of the shootings in Chicago. But he said NOTHING about the fact that Chicago is one of the most gun-controlled cities in the country. He could have used the shootings in Chicago as an example of how gun-control laws do not work and how gun-control laws make life more dangerous for law-abiding people. He had a golden opportunity to drive home the fact that gun-control laws do NOT keep criminals from having guns, that they will ALWAYS have guns (because they don't care about obeying the law), and that it is the law-abiding folks who are at risk because they are disarmed and, hence, unable to defend themselves. But, again, he said nothing of the sort.
That's when Trump got scary.
Instead of promoting lawful self-defense, Donald starting promoting Police-State-style "stop and frisk" laws. This was exactly what I DIDN'T want to hear from Donald Trump. It was very obvious at this point that Trump is quite ignorant of the Constitution. When he started talking about "stop and frisk," he made Hillary look GOOD when she retorted that such laws are unconstitutional. THEY ARE INDEED UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Geez! Did we have to have Hillary Clinton tell us that? UGH!
Police have NO authority to stop and frisk people without cause. America is not a Police State (at least not completely). This is one of my nagging questions about Trump: Does he even realize the constitutional constraints on government--including the executive branch of government? Should his "stop and frisk" policies become law, America will have pretty much officially crossed the Rubicon into a Police State. I have to tell you, this one scares me silly, because it portends MUCH MORE in the way of police abuse--and we already have WAY TOO MUCH of that.
And I don't know if Trump was trying to draw in the Ted Cruz supporters (Ted having just recently endorsed Donald) or what, but he seemed to go out of his way to talk about his friendship with Israel's Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That didn't set well with me either.
Zionist Israel is NOT America's friend and is certainly no friend to world peace. For all intents and purposes, the Zionist agenda in Tel Aviv and the Neocon agenda in Washington D.C., and New York City are one and the same: war and the financial profits that come from war.
One of the attractions to Trump's campaign is his "outsider" status. The people of America are mostly fed up with the status quo in Washington. They are tired of endless wars of aggression; they are tired of war for profit; they are tired of American globalism; they are tired of our State Department and CIA meddling in the private affairs of foreign nations; and they are tired of America's coercive, bullying foreign policies--including nation building and forced regime changes.
Donald Trump is 2016's anti-establishment, anti-Neocon, anti-globalist candidate. But by identifying himself with the Zionist Netanyahu, Trump lumped himself in with the whole Neocon, Warfare State machine. I guess the question is: Does he realize it, or is he truly ignorant of who these people really are and merely trying to entice the Ted Cruz Israel-First Christians into voting for him? That's another unanswered, nagging question I have about Trump. And all he did Monday night was, again, exacerbate my reservations.
And though it didn't come up in this first debate, I am truly not certain where Donald Trump comes down on the whole wars of aggression issue. When he talks about it being wrong to have invaded Iraq, he sounds really good. But he has also talked before about nuking nations in the Middle East. Then he turns around and says in this first debate that nuclear weapons are the biggest problem in the world. So, again, which Donald Trump would occupy the White House if he were elected? More nagging questions.
The good news for Trump is, again, post-debate polls indicate that despite a mediocre performance, he still seemed to come out ahead of Hillary in the minds of the general public. However, I'm sure there are many libertarian/constitutionalists like me who came away with more questions than answers about Trump. And just to go on record, I will follow Ron Paul's example and NOT endorse Gary Johnson, who is more liberal than he is libertarian--and his running mate even more so.
The other good news for Trump is that there are yet two more debates in which he will have an opportunity to try and assuage my reservations about him. Like the Zen master said, "We'll see."
© Chuck Baldwin
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