I do not advocate voting. Ever. Electoral politics is a spectator sport for me, in which I wish every candidate could lose (because every time someone wins everyone else loses). Politics doesn’t reward decency. With that in mind, here is a ranking of all of the remaining relevant candidates for POTUS, from terrible to the absolute worst. Note: The list of everything wrong with each candidate is far from exhaustive. I need to make this snappy enough for mass consumption, mmkay?
6. Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders is definitely one of the more earnest, genuine politicians I have ever seen. He is also terrible.
The Good: He voted no on the Patriot Act. He has a good record on racial justice issues and feminist issues, including a lifetime pro-choice record. He thinks marijuana should be legal to reduce incarceration rates. He supports limited immigration reform and his foreign policy is much less hawkish than his opponents. He’s always been against the death penalty.
The Bad: For a candidate who is supposedly anti-corporation, he has voted for a lot of corporate bailouts under the guise of economic stimulus. His free education plan would seriously devalue higher education, meaning more Americans will be overeducated for the jobs they can actually get. Bernie would continue the drone program, which continues to take countless innocent lives abroad. His anti-corporate sentiment often comes in the form of increased regulation to diminish competition, leading to more corporate oligarchy, not less. He opposes privatizing social security, an unsustainable system destined for bankruptcy.
The Ugly: Bernie’s protectionism is not only economically disastrous, it’s downright xenophobic. In the same vein, he does not support open borders because he believes it brings down American wages (more xenophobia and economic illiteracy). He voted for the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, leading to the resignation of one of his staffers. He called the police on Code Pink and Occupy protestors at his office, which makes his past protesting arrest significantly less endearing.
5. John Kasich
My partner told me that people would complain if I didn’t include Kasich in this list. I don’t think he’s relevant, but he’s definitely terrible.
The Good: Compared to most Republicans, he’s pretty decent about gay people. He thinks government officials should respect the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, saying it’s time to move on. He supports a balanced budget. Against ethanol subsidies. Supports school choice.
The Bad: He thinks the federal government should have a Department of Judeo-Christian Values and thinks that bible stories are historical facts. He’s bad enough on abortion to be a Republican. He supports the death penalty. He opposes drug legalization.
The Ugly: He wants mentally ill people to “register” to make it harder for them to access guns. Wants to bar all Syrian refugees from the U.S. He proposed creating a Department of Propaganda.
4. Ted Cruz
To his supporters, Ted Cruz is not just a Republican. He’s a conservative. He’s also the biggest threat to Trump’s nomination.
The Good: Against bank bailouts. Wants to end sugar subsidies and corporate welfare. Not opposed to marijuana legalization. Supports localized education. Wants to eliminate the IRS, HUD, and Departments of Commerce & Energy.
The Bad: Supports the death penalty. Wants to undo the Iran nuclear deal. Opposes amnesty, as a son of an immigrant.
The Ugly: He thinks Planned Parenthood sells the parts of unborn babies, which is factually untrue. He said the SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage “undermined” the Constitution, and led prayers against the ruling beforehand. Wants to defend Judeo-Christian values against “liberal fascism.” Wants to bomb the Middle East until the sand glows in the dark.
3. Marco Rubio
The Republican establishment’s golden boy is falling behind in this race, but if he can win Florida, he may have a chance.
The Good: Opposes economic stimulus packages. Recognizes that regulations help big banks because smaller banks can’t afford to comply with them. Acknowledges corporate influence in government.
The Bad: Opposes gay marriage but accepts it’s the “law of the land.” Opposes amnesty, as a second-generation American. Replace all property taxes with a 2.5% increase in regressive sales taxes.
The Ugly: Rubio has referred to abortion providers as barbarians. Wants to modernize all three legs of the nuclear triad. Thinks being the world’s largest military power makes America safer. Thinks defense spending is the most important federal obligation, and would increase defense spending as president. Thinks we need a coherent, classified interrogation strategy (torture). Supports the NSA’s collection of data to fight terrorism. In America’s fight against ISIL, brushed off civilian casualties as “unfortunate but inevitable.” Led a chant: “Boots on the ground! Boots on the ground!” (okay he didn’t actually do that).
2. Donald Trump
I remember seeing Trump speak in person last July at Freedom Fest in Las Vegas. I don’t know why the hell he was there, but at the time I thought of his speech, and his presidential campaign, as one big joke. He now dominates the Republican primary race, and I’m not laughing anymore.
The Good: He slammed Cheney for starting the Iraq War, and has mocked every other politician in this race as well as made a mockery of the political process in general, which I’ll count as a win for liberty.
The Bad: “Evolved” on abortion, for the worse. He wants to restrict free trade for the same reason as Bernie, and thinks free trade is losing a “competition” between nations. Blames mass shootings on mental health issues.
The Ugly: Thinks police are the most mistreated people in America. Touts racist rhetoric about immigrants raping and killing American citizens to justify the Great Wall of Trump. Makes jokes about women being on their periods when they challenge him (Megan Kelly). When I saw him speak at Freedom Fest, a Mexican-American challenged him on his stance on immigration, and Trump asked if the Mexican government had sent him.
Claire Underwood Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton will say whatever it takes to get elected. She has changed her mind on gay marriage, gun control, immigration, mass incarceration, the Iraq War, and the keystone pipeline. Some of these changes have been improvements, some have not, but regardless, we can tell she pays close attention to the polls. Why is she worse than Trump? She has a voting record.
The Good: Pro-choice. Supportive of gay marriage (now). Supports immigration reform (now). Against mass incarceration (now). Against the Iraq War (too late).
The Bad: As First Lady, she supported DOMA. As a Senator, she voted for the Iraq War. She voted to loosen restrictions on cell phone wire-tapping. She voted to authorize and reauthorize the Patriot Act. She co-sponsored a bill to criminalize flag burning. I mean, come on. She supported massive bank bail-outs, claiming that Lehman Brothers and AIG weren’t big banks. She supports the death penalty.
The Ugly: She referred to young black men as “super predators.”She also supported three-strikes laws and the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity for crack powder to cocaine, targeting poor, black communities. She voted to build a fence on the Mexican border to keep out “illegal immigrants” and then bragged about it even after “flip flopping” to support immigration reform. She happily models her foreign policy off of that of her close friend Henry Kissinger. She is the candidate for the military-industrial complex.