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“Together, let’s elect a sane, competent person.”
It’s not a soaring campaign slogan, but it’s the strongest argument for voting for Hillary Clinton – and it brought laughs and cheers when Michael Bloomberg said it at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night.
This is the most important election of my lifetime, and also the strangest, because one candidate clears basic bars of sanity and competence and the other does not. Therefore, unlike most elections, this one is not about policy.
Periodically, I have gotten pitches during this campaign about the particulars of Donald Trump’s policy proposals. Isn’t his tax cut too large and his healthcare plan unworkable and full of magic asterisks?
The answer to these questions is yes, and I have a background in economic policy reporting, so normally I would write about them. But I’ve generally passed on writing these stories over the past few months because they don’t matter very much.
If Trump becomes president, an overly large tax cut will be the least of our problems. The primary issue in this election is Trump’s disqualifying lack of sanity and competence.
As a result, the necessary thought process for making peace with voting for Clinton is surprisingly similar for a moderate like Bloomberg (or me) or for a leftist who is crushed that Bernie Sanders did not get the nomination.
No, Clinton does not agree with us on everything. And no, we might not find her ethics record assuring.
But what’s our alternative? Are we going to hand the nuclear codes to an ignorant, hot-headed egomaniac with a relentless urge to pursue vendettas and an insatiable thirst for Vladimir Putin?
The options on the table are that and Hillary Clinton, who at least is sane and competent and who does not pose a significant risk of the end of the American republic.
It’s a depressing choice to make but not a difficult one – which is why Bloomberg could sum it up so succinctly.