October 31, 2016

RUBASHKIN | And the White House Goes to…

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We’re almost there, people. After 589 days, 24 debates, 22 candidates and enough talk about Donald Trump’s anatomical proportions to fuel my nightmares for a decade, we’re seven days away from making the most consequential election of our lifetimes.

I’d like to sleep easy knowing that we’ll make the right decision, but I watch enough Fox News to know that these days, you can’t take anyone for granted. This is important stuff, America, so close out that Netflix tab you’ve got open and meet me over in paragraph three.

Hey guys, glad you could make it on such short notice. Really happy you’re here. I think I speak for all of us when I say, don’t screw this one up. Please. Just don’t do it! It’s really not that hard. All you have to do is walk into that voting booth and press the button next to “Hillary Clinton.” Takes five seconds, tops. And trust me, that “I voted” sticker will feel a lot better if you still have some dignity left when you put it on.

It would be hard to manufacture an election that presented as easy a choice as this one. On one side, we have a bloviating “billionaire” whose most successful business venture was playing a manager on TV: a man who has a documented past full of misogyny, sexual assault, racism, ill judgment, moral degradation and God-knows-what lurking in his tax returns. On the other side, we have one of the most qualified candidates in history: a former secretary of state, U.S. Senator from New York, accomplished lawyer and former First Lady. This is not a difficult choice. Only one candidate has the necessary experience and skillset to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and that candidate is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“But the emails!” you yell forlornly, as tears flow down your face into the half-full bowl of Marshmallow Mateys you had started to eat before remembering they weren’t Lucky Charms. Yes, Clinton messed up with the emails, and certainly could’ve handled the aftermath with more tact. But you know what? We’re electing a Commander-in-Chief, not an Emailer-in-Chief. If you really want to discredit someone’s entire career because of less-than-ideal email practices (that weren’t illegal and didn’t harm anyone) then I strongly suggest you take a look at your own email privacy settings and (more likely than not) excuse yourself from applying for another job ever again. After all, President George W. Bush used a private RNC server for official business while in office (losing 22 million emails in the process), and he got two terms! Where were the Republican email police then?

“But the speeches!” you yell out, spilling over the bowl of Cinnamon Toasters you poured to replace your lackluster Marshmallow Mateys, only later realizing that your new cereal wasn’t the Cinnamon Toast Crunch you expected. Yes, a highly successful private citizen gave top-dollar speeches to a variety of institutions, including some banks, but also universities, trade unions, synagogues and hospitals. If Clinton gave a speech one day to Goldman Sachs, and was therefore “beholden” to them, and then gave a speech to a labor union the next day, and was therefore “beholden” to them, she would be very confused indeed when it came to policy. Isn’t it more likely she just spoke to whoever would foot her fee and wasn’t signing deals with the devil every time she stepped in front of a microphone?

If that’s the value the free market has attached to Mrs. Clinton, then so be it. In high school I was paid $100 to play music at a wedding. It didn’t make me beholden to the happy couple; it made me a savvy businessman. So why, then, do so many Adam Smith sycophants insist on forgoing Mrs. Clinton for Mr. Trump, a man whose name is synonymous with stiffed contracts and jilted business partners? Mr. Trump has managed to amass massive wealth, but he did it unscrupulously, with plenty of aid from his father, the best accountants and a willingness to leave partners on the hook for his losses.

“But the—” No. You don’t get another one. The only thing you get now is a choice. Your choice is between a man who cannot handle the slightest bit of criticism without devolving into a sniffling mess of insults, and a woman who endured the most withering attacks of any national figure over the past two and a half decades and emerged stronger than ever. Your choice is between a man who feels that his star power entitles him to take advantage of women, and a woman who has devoted her life to advocating for underprivileged children and families. Your choice is between a man lacking the most basic understanding of the workings of the presidency, of the government writ large, of military operations, of fiscal and monetary policy and of general decorum, and a woman who has prepared for this role her entire life. America, the only path forward is Hillary Rodham Clinton. Don’t screw it up.

Jacob Rubashkin is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He may be reached at jrubashkin@cornellsun.com. The Jacobin appears alternate Tuesdays this semester.

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