Ryan, I am a big fan or yours. I follow your blog and your articles. I’m currently halfway through Ego is the Enemy and loving every page. First let me say that I am not as good of a writer as you. This essay will not be as coherent or as logical or as well written as yours. Yet I hope you find something worth reading in it.
As you said, “elections are complicated”, and in this one I agree with your assessment that the choice is simple. You say that the choice is between the “unpalatable” (Hillary Clinton) and the “disastrous” (Donald Trump), but the argument could be made that the converse is more accurate. I will not make that argument, however. Plenty of people make that case in the press and all over the internet every day. At best I would be compiling what others have already said.
I read through your 18 paragraphs arguing the case against Donald Trump, all the while not disagreeing with much of what you said. Finally, in the 19th paragraph, you acknowledge, “The problem is…that you feel a profound and real distrust towards Hillary Clinton.” Yes. That’s it. She’s just as bad. If not worse.
You go on to attribute that distrust towards Bill’s presidency, but the concern is not primarily about the Clinton name. Bill Clinton worked with Republicans and made compromises and even from a conservative viewpoint wasn’t too horrible as a President. It’s also not about her being a woman. At one point you inexplicably ask, “Is it because [Trump’s] opponent is a woman?”—pulling the gender card—when you know and even later acknowledge that there is so much more wrong with her. Why would you do that?
The concern is not about Bill Clinton’s presidency in the ‘90s. It’s not about Hillary being a woman. It’s about Hillary here and now: her disastrous stint as the Secretary of State, the Benghazi debacle, the e-mail server, the lies, the incompetence. If I had the time and the talent, I would write 18 paragraphs for you on all the reasons not to vote for her.
It seems you miss the irony that your argument, “Trump is so awful that you should vote for anyone else or not vote”, can be (and is often) restated, “Clinton is so awful that you should vote for anyone else or not vote”. Though you don’t directly say so, it seems that you intend to vote for the unpalatable Hillary Clinton—not taking your own advice to not vote for a candidate who is truly horrible.
So I implore you: Don’t Vote for Hillary Clinton. Vote for a third party candidate. Vote for a write-in. Only vote in the down ballot races. It doesn’t matter which you choose, but don’t compromise your principles just because you dislike the other option. But know this: no matter what you decide, I still have immense respect for you as a writer, and will still read all of your books.