A Few Radical Thoughts on the State of American Politics

Last night, the Associated Press reported that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had secured the necessary 2,383 pledged delegates and super delegates to become the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party. Clinton will be the first woman to capture the nomination of a major political party in United States history.

This is an important milestone, the impact of which may not become clear for some time.

AP‘s announcement, however, comes at an inconvenient time for both Clinton’s and opponent Bernie Sanders’ camps. With primaries being held today, June 7, in six states, including major prizes in California and New Jersey, neither campaign wanted news that could suppress their voter turnout.

Both candidates responded to the news in similar ways, urging voters not to stay home even after the announcement that the race was all but over.

The Sanders faithful immediately called shenanigans, claiming that AP‘s proclamation was intended to keep Sanders supporters from going to the polls today. Although, as some political pundits have pointed out, the early tally from AP could have adverse affects on Clinton, as she tries to secure a symbolic victory in California.

So here’s my first radical thought: AP was just doing its job when it called the race for Clinton last night. Every news outlet would kill to break that news; AP just put in the leg work to count all the superdelegates and came to the conclusion that they did. I don’t think it was a conspiracy to suppress voter turnout for either Democratic candidate.

Whatever the results in today’s six primaries, it’s now abundantly clear that Clinton will face Donald Trump in the general election. Which leads me to my next radical thought:

Almost all humans, and most inanimate objects, would make better presidents than Donald Trump.

I know there are some liberal and independent voters who can’t help but bristle a little at the thought of President Hillary Clinton, but who would otherwise almost always vote for the Democratic nominee over the likes of Trump. I am not one of those people (I’ll get into that a little later), but I urge those voters thinking of not voting for Clinton to consider the alternative.

Josh Barro wrote in Business Insider:

Because the distribution of possible Trump-presidency outcomes is wide, you’d have to expect him to be a better president than Clinton on average in order for him to merely be equally as good a pick as Clinton. That is, if Trump were a stock, then you’d be demanding a risk premium to buy him.

In fact, Trump calls for a huge risk premium because, while he probably wouldn’t be a disastrous president, the low-probability disasters that he might cause would be immensely costly. Some of them involve nuclear weapons and global mass deaths. Pricing those risks in properly should push his share price comfortably below Clinton’s, even if you think she is very bad.

If you really feel that a broken system nominated Hillary Clinton, I promise that breaking it harder is not going to fix anything.

That being said, I actually think (radical idea #3) that Clinton is a strong candidate who will make a good president. Of course I have qualms with parts of her history and some of her policy. No candidate is perfect, and hero worship is dangerous. But those complaints are largely transferable to our current president, Barack Obama, as well — and I still think he’s been an exceptionally good president. (And right now, more than half of the country agrees with me.)

Obama and Clinton share nearly all of the same ideals, and Clinton even comes in more liberal than Obama on some issues. I don’t doubt that Clinton will continue his legacy of overall pretty good presidentialism (new word!).

If, however, you are not satisfied with the state of American politics (and honestly, we should never be completely satisfied if we want to continue progress), the good news is that the system is in place for you to go out and fight for the candidates and policies that best represent your views. If you care about politics, that should excite you.

Now, let’s go and keep Donald Trump’s grimy fingers as far from the nuclear codes as possible.

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