Edward Packard

September 17, 2016

There are a lot of thoughtful people in this country who dislike both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Many of them feel that as a matter of principle they shouldn't vote for either: they should abstain or vote for a third party candidate.

Sixteen years ago, I watched Ralph Nader on television criticizing both Bush and Gore. He said there was no difference between them. A lot of good people voted for Nader, almost certainly denying Gore votes that would have enabled him to carry Florida and win the election. The ensuing "preventive" war, authorization of torture, tax cuts for the rich, and appointment of right-wing Supreme Court justices laid bare that voting for Nader was a mistake.

In this election, the stakes are far higher. George W. Bush was, and is, a deeply misguided, but basically decent, man. Donald Trump is not. He would like to run the United States the way his role model, Vladimir Putin, runs Russia. It would be folly to think he could be stopped. 

The principle that will guide me when I vote is that of saving our country from a con man whose sole allegiance is to his own pathologically inflated ego. "What have you got to lose?" Trump asked, seeking support of an African American audience. No matter to whom he asked that question, the answer would be the same: Everything.

Failing to vote for Hillary increases the chances that Trump will win. Voting for her is the principled thing to do.

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