Colum­nist ex­plains his vote in pres­i­den­tial race

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Eu­gene Robin­son Colum­nist Eu­gene Robin­son is syn­di­cated by the Wash­ing­ton Post Writ­ers Group. His email ad­dress is eu­gen­er­obin­son@wash­post. com.

Charles Krautham­mer gives the rea­sons why he won't vote for Hil­lary Clin­ton or Don­ald Trump.

It is tempt­ing to laugh at Don­ald Trump’s erup­tions and out­rages be­cause he is such a car­toon­ish buf­foon. But he gave chill­ing ev­i­dence Wed­nes­day night of why he poses a grave and ur­gent threat to our democ­racy — and why he must be de­feated.

There have been many bit­terly con­tested elec­tions in our na­tion’s 240-year his­tory, but never has the loser re­fused to accept the out­come and claimed the pres­i­dency was stolen by fraud. Trump threat­ened, in ad­vance, to do just that. “I will keep you in sus­pense,” he said, prov­ing once again that he cares more about pro­tect­ing his frag­ile ego than serv­ing the coun­try he asks to lead. De­bate mod­er­a­tor Chris Wallace gave Trump two op­por­tu­ni­ties to say he will accept the peo­ple’s ver­dict. Both times he de­fi­antly re­fused — and in the process dis­qual­i­fied him­self as a can­di­date for the na­tion’s high­est of­fice.

Not that he hadn’t al­ready given us a thou­sand and one rea­sons he should never be pres­i­dent, mind you. But how can any Repub­li­can of­fi­cial sup­port a man who so chal­lenges the very le­git­i­macy of our demo­cratic sys­tem? To all who, like House Speaker Paul Ryan, have shown dis­dain for Trump but made the po­lit­i­cal cal­cu­la­tion not to fully re­nounce him, I ask this: Why should any­one, ever again, take se­ri­ously your ide­al­is­tic rhetoric about Amer­ica be­ing a “shin­ing city upon the hill” and a bea­con to the world? You are sup­port­ing a man who spits on your ideals.

That mo­ment com­pletely over­shad­owed the rest of the de­bate, as far as I’m con­cerned. Trump must not be pres­i­dent and de­serves to lose in a land­slide on Nov. 8. Vot­ers should send him back to his Trump Tower aerie and ad­min­is­ter the cru­elest pos­si­ble pun­ish­ment: ig­nore him.

Hil­lary Clin­ton, mean­while, once again demon­strated her preter­nat­u­ral poise and com­mand of the is­sues — and, yes, also her abil­ity to get un­der Trump’s ex­ceed­ingly thin skin.

Those prais­ing Trump’s per­for­mance in the first halfhour of the de­bate are grad­ing him on a gen­er­ous curve. For a short while he was able to enun­ci­ate stan­dard GOP po­si­tions — against abor­tion, against gun con­trol — with­out mak­ing any ma­jor prat­falls, but also with­out any no­table so­phis­ti­ca­tion or sub­tlety. Clin­ton de­fended Roe v. Wade and ad­vo­cated sen­si­ble gun re­stric­tions in terms that seemed in­tended to ap­peal to Trump’s fe­male vot­ers, if he has any left.

On im­mi­gra­tion, Clin­ton out­lined the sen­si­ble cen­trist so­lu­tion — border con­trol, de­port­ing crim­i­nals and pro­vid­ing a path to le­gal­iza­tion and cit­i­zen­ship for the mil­lions of un­doc­u­mented mi­grants al­ready here — that should have been adopted long ago. Trump, by con­trast, be­gan to go off the rails, first deny­ing but then later af­firm­ing his pledge of mass de­por­ta­tions. And when he talked about im­mi­grants who com­mit crimes, he called them “bad hom­bres” — an ap­par­ent at­tempt to drive his party’s Latino sup­port even closer to zero.

When the de­bate turned to Trump’s bizarre ad­mi­ra­tion for Vladimir Putin, he claimed that the Rus­sian leader, “from ev­ery­thing I see, has no re­spect for this per­son,” in­di­cat­ing Clin­ton.

“Well, that’s be­cause he’d rather have a pup­pet as pres­i­dent of the United States,” Clin­ton snapped back. This, in­cred­i­bly, is what fol­lowed:

TRUMP: No pup­pet. No pup­pet.

CLIN­TON: And it’s pretty clear ... TRUMP: You’re the pup­pet! CLIN­TON: It’s pretty clear you won’t ad­mit ...

TRUMP: No, you’re the pup­pet.

Any kinder­garten teacher could see that Trump would have ben­e­fited at that point from a spell in the time-out chair. Un­for­tu­nately none was fur­nished by the Com­mis­sion on Pres­i­den­tial De­bates, so he blath­ered on and went steadily down­hill from there. He lost the abil­ity to wait his turn, in­stead in­ter­rupt­ing with “no” or “wrong” when Clin­ton was mak­ing a point. He de­nied ever say­ing that na­tions such as Ja­pan and South Korea should de­velop their own nu­clear weapons rather than rely on the U.S. shield, even though there is video­tape of him say­ing pre­cisely that in an in­ter­view with mod­er­a­tor Wallace.

He main­tained that all the women who have ac­cused him of grop­ing or other un­wanted sex­ual ad­vances are ly­ing, claim­ing im­prob­a­bly, “No­body has more re­spect for women than I do. No­body.”

“Ev­ery­body” would be closer to the truth.

We knew that Trump is un­fit to be com­man­der in chief. We knew that he is only su­per­fi­cially ac­quainted with his own pro­posed poli­cies, for­eign and do­mes­tic. What we didn’t know is that he has such ut­ter con­tempt for Amer­i­can democ­racy. He’s not a states­man, he’s a spoiled brat, and the na­tion should turn him over its col­lec­tive knee.

De­bate mod­er­a­tor Chris Wallace gave Trump two op­por­tu­ni­ties to say he will accept the peo­ple’s ver­dict. Both times he de­fi­antly re­fused...

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