On November 8, Americans will have the unenviable dilemma of having to choose between a divisive, misogynist brag and a seasoned, compulsive, and duplicitous liar. One is inarticulate and compulsively self-aggrandizing with a brash disregard for political correctness, and the other a failed lifetime politician who could end up in jail for more than one reason. With a race between the flawed and the unfit, it seems unfathomable that the world’s biggest superpower has a leadership vacuum. The post-Reagan years have been marred by mindless aggression, scandals, wars, economic disasters and political expediencies, but never have presidential choices been so divisive, at least in recent history.

America’s political reality is less issue-centric today and more a reflection of it’s increasingly divergent societal and philosophical beliefs that have emerged from the contrasting leftist liberals and the far right conservatives. Even the fundamental concept of America as a nation and its future direction often now incite passionate arguments on both sides. For the first time, therefore, a significant number of Americans may vote to prevent the opposing candidate from winning rather than in support of theirs.

Judging presidential candidates is, obviously, subjective and cannot be made strictly based on pre-defined criteria. People generally either vote by allegiance to a political party or by siding on the candidate that they relate to the most. But this election is different. Voters complain that both campaigns have been viciously negative and have failed in conveying a positive and concrete plan about their plans for America. The reality TV style mudslinging fueled by the media frenzy, certainly has not helped voters decide. Many voters are now considering voting for the candidate that they consider capable of less damage than the other, a terrible political scenario by any standards. It becomes imperative therefore, to evaluate candidates on their qualities and merits based on facts and evidence rather than emotional subjectivity.

People hold their leaders to much higher moral standards than what they would set for themselves. In reality it is rare to find people, leave alone a leader, who are morally inscrutable and with whom one would agree completely. Therefore, we have to accept that both leaders have their flaws and most voters will not agree with everything that the candidate says or stands for. The question is what flaws can we live with.

Few would argue against the importance of integrity. Leaders with integrity are consistent, honest, moral and trustworthy. Their deeds match their words. An overwhelming majority of voters including Democrats  think that Hillary Clinton lacks integrity and in some polls over 56% rated her as completely untrustworthy. Let’s examine some facts.

Benghazi: As Secretary of State, Hillary tried to get Sidney Blumenthal appointed at the White House. Blumenthal, a long-time Clinton faithful who worked as Bill’s communication’s advisor was also a senior advisor to Hillary’s 2008 presidential bid and the creator of the birther lie. Unsurprisingly, Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, blocked Blumenthal’s selection and made it clear to Hillary that the president and staff did not want anything to do with Blumenthal. In response, Hillary appointed him as consultant to the Clinton Foundation, blurring the lines between the foundation and her role as secretary of state. During the Congressional Committee on Benghazi Attacks, it was later revealed that Blumenthal, who had business interests in Libya, prepared and sent about 25 memos to Hillary relating to the situation in Libya. Part of these memos was from public sources and part of it inaccurate. Hillary, in a complete lack of judgement and responsibility, touted these memos as intelligence briefings and shared them with senior State Department personnel, painting a picture completely different from the ground situation in Libya. Ambassador Stevens kept requesting for increased security but she literally paid no heed and her utter disregard for the safety of American personnel in Libya ultimately resulted in the death of four Americans including the ambassador.

Hillary invented a new false narrative calling the attacks as unplanned and claiming that there was no intelligence to predict that an attack was imminent – a blatant lie. The white house press secretary towed the line as did the US Ambassador to UN, Susan Rice, who quickly appeared on five network interviews with the same story until the lie was exposed in the Benghazi committee. Even then, she famously laughed at some of the questions and wondered what difference it made since people had already died, a comment that says much about the way Hillary thinks.  Hillary’s mistakes cannot be held against her, but her wilful indiscretions and self-interest, systemic corruption, deliberate lying and cover up cannot be ignored, more so since she clearly demonstrated that she did not put America and Americans first.

The Clinton Foundation: Hillary and Bill Clinton’s Foundation gives another insight into her lack of integrity. The Clintons are accused of selling their influence in exchange for money and power and influencing America’s foreign policy decisions to favour their donors, a clear misuse of power and a gross betrayal of the people. During the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Bill was the UN representative and Hillary the US Secretary of state and together their foundation raised millions of dollars for the relief efforts in Haiti. Most of the money was instead used for investments in insurance businesses and luxury hotels. The Clintons also controlled the flow of money from other sources into Haiti, and the contracts to rebuild the country in the aftermath of the earthquake were given either to friends and relatives like Hillary Clinton’s brother or to Clinton Foundation donors. The moniker “Crooked Hillary” was born and has stuck ever since.

The Russian government strategically poured millions into the foundation and in return, the state Dept., headed by Hillary Clinton, sold Uranium One to Russia, handing over control of 1/5th of all uranium in the United States. Her foundation received $ 2.35 million more from Uranium One. In her questionable judgement, or perhaps blinded by her own self-interest, Hillary did not think that handing over a strategic asset would have any implications on national security. It doesn’t end here. Rajiv Fernando, a wealthy Chicago businessman donated vast sums to the Clinton Foundation as well as to Hillary’s 2008 campaign. He was rewarded with a position on the “Nuclear advisory board for the use of tactical nuclear weapons and crucial arms control issues”, an extremely sensitive and strategic position requiring top clearance.  Once again Hillary demonstrated a casual compromise of national security for her own interests.

Hillary has also shown no moral standing by accepting money for the foundation from countries that have atrocious human rights records. Saudi Arabia, for instance, donated an estimated $25 million to the foundation and, in turn, Hillary cleared the path for the sale of almost $30 billion worth of Boeing planes to them. What’s more, Boeing also donated heavily to the Clinton foundation, a personal windfall both ways for Hillary. The foundation has also accepted money from Algeria, Bahrain, Qatar and many other countries with questionable intent or records. Women who intend to vote for Hillary because of her gender must seriously question her public “pro-women” position for accepting money for personal gain from countries that treat and kill women like cattle.

Hillary’s top aide, Huma Abedin, who was brought up in Saudi Arabia has been part of the Muslim Brotherhood and even ran a Sharia newspaper with her family. Trump calls her a Saudi asset, perhaps for good reason. Even security agencies are wondering how she got so close to Hillary in such a short time. But Hillary has brushed it all aside, going as far as calling her like a “daughter”.

E-Mail Controversy:  As secretary of state, Hillary, in gross violation of State Department protocols and procedures as well as federal laws and regulations, used an unsecured private server for official communications. If this was just an honest error in judgement, one would have expected Hillary to simply hand over the emails to the state department and/or FBI investigators. However, just like her Benghazi cover up, she chose to wipe out and delete about 30,000 e-mails before investigators could get their hands on them. Since then many of her e-mails have been found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop, and is now under re-investigation. Questions linger on her intent and reasoning to do this. In various interviews, Clinton claimed that she had not sent or received any classified material on the server. However, FBI investigation found that 110 messages contained information that was classified at the time it was sent. Sixty-five of those emails were found to contain information classified as “Secret”; more than 20 contained “Top-Secret” information. Many analysts believe that there is a strong reason to believe that her e-mail server was hacked, thus (once again) compromising national security. Hillary claims to have the stable mind that can be trusted with the nuclear codes, but she has time and again jeopardized America’s national security and interests. The e-mail issue may not be something that voters would consider important, but what comes out yet again is Hillary’s reckless disregard for national security, and a criminal conspiracy to wipe out any trail of her wrongdoing. Certainly not the kind of qualities one would look for in a president. Starting to get the idea?

Foreign Policy: Having been at the helm of affairs, one would assume that Hillary has an astute understanding of foreign policy, and would be steady and calm compared to Donald Trump. Hillary’s supporters tout this as critical “experience” that Trump does not have.  Let’s examine just some of her statements and decisions on foreign policy.

  • ISIS: To be fair, Hillary did not deliberately create ISIS, as Trump states. But American foreign policy incompetence and missteps under her created the perfect environment for the creation of the ruthless, blood-thirsty outfit. Back in 2012, a leaked Pentagon report indicated that the US was backing “rebels” against the Assad regime, which was supported by Russia, China and Iran. What most Americans don’t know is that the so called rebels driving the insurgency in Syria included mainly The Salafist, The Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda, known extremist and terror outfits. To change the power dynamics of the region, the US armed these terrorists to fight against the Syrians and overthrow Assad. The “rebels” turned out to be mercenaries and sold these arms for money to a small outfit in Northern Iraq called ISIS. The money was so good that many sections of the army deserted to join the rebels. ISIS quickly also captured the innumerable weapons left by the US troops in Iraq which helped them emerge as the biggest threat in the region, exporting terrorism to Europe and promising to strike the United States. What does that tell you about Hillary’s foreign policy judgement?
  • Following the Syrian refugee crisis, which the US was largely responsible for thanks To Hillary’s incompetence, ISIS openly stated that terrorists had infiltrated the refugees and soon several terrorist attacks followed (Paris, Brussels, Nice, Normandy), killing scores of people and wounding hundreds. Scores of sexual attacks and rapes followed as Europe’s liberal, peace-loving social fabric was systematically attacked. With the ISIS threats and the live example of what is happening in Europe, anyone would seriously consider the safety of Americans and it’s society before admitting any refugees. But Hillary will hear none of it. She has used images of injured Syrian children to tug at the hearts of her large women voters and show her very human and sympathetic side – just to get their votes. Trump took a pragmatic stand by proposing a temporary immigration ban on all countries that could pose a threat to American people, something that makes a whole lot of sense. He has been venomously attacked for being anti Muslim and not being responsive to a humanitarian crisis while he is taking a stand to protect Americans. Hillary calls this xenophobia. How many people will willingly allow a complete stranger in their house if they know that strangers have committed murders and rapes in their neighbourhood? Trump calls it as it is but Hillary doesn’t.
  • Basing her judgement on spurious intelligence, Hillary strongly advocated for intervention in Libya, even though Obama and his senior advisors where against it. The consequences were far-reaching than anyone had imagined, leaving Libya a failed state and a terrorist haven.
  • In September this year, Hillary said that as president, she would use military action if there was any cyber-attack from Russia, China or North Korea. Basically she did not rule out full scale war when most would consider political and diplomatic solutions before even remotely considering war.

So for those who think Hillary has the experience, time to take a good hard look.

Hillary for women:  In a world plagued by gender discrimination, many women plan to vote for Hillary, not for who she is or what she can do for the country, but just because they want to see a woman in the White House. Indeed it would be a great day when a deserving and capable woman becomes the president. However, putting gender interest ahead of national interest is not only completely illogical but also ironically regressive. Today women want to be known for their capability and substance and so choosing someone primarily on gender is completely ridiculous. Sarah Palin was a disaster and Americans rightfully did not consider her worthy of office. So why Hillary?

Some women argue that Hillary’s mandate is pro-women but a closer look at that doesn’t show any concrete agenda. For instance she says she will “Work to close pay gap”….. “work to” but not “will close”. “Fight for paid leave”… again “Fight for” but not “will give”. “Make child care affordable”…. With $20 trillion debt, she has not come out with any plans on how she can make that happen. Most economic analysts wonder how she can find funding for it and feel that it will most likely end up being just another election promise.

She does stand on the right side of the Planned Parenthood debate though, but that’s more to do with her party position that her own. So if you look at it closely, there’s nothing really pro-women that Hillary brings to the table. In fact, her self-interest trumps women’s issues, as seen in the millions she has raked in from countries with dubious records against women and how she decimated all women who were sexually assaulted by her husband. Her duplicity is evident.

The notion that Hillary should be president because she really wants to be president and she has tried very hard, is absolutely ridiculous and just exposes the  illogical mindset that she is perpetrating. No one deserves to be anything simply because they want it. A president’s job is for the worthy, not for the demanding.

Now let’s look at Donald Trump.

Trump is one of the worst presidential communicators in a long time. His adjectives seem limited to “Disaster” and “Beautiful” and clearly he is unable to smartly articulate his reasoning and public position on various issues. His ineffectiveness as a speaker and compulsive grandiosity makes him take extreme positions on issues that have become divisive for many Americans, although he ha connected well with his base. He comes across as a gaffe-prone man with a penchant for superlatives and not one for details, perhaps a result of his working as a businessman for so long. His campaign has thus largely focused on demonizing Hillary which he continued in the three presidential debates. He has sounded angry and critics argue that he paints the current American picture starker than it is. He has a weird obsession with proving others wrong and often seems to drift while making an argument. His inexcusable admission about groping women has turned off many supporters, especially women who wonder what an example he will set for others. Many Americans who recognize Hillary’s dubious record as a politician feel that they still cannot vote for Trump because they see him as racist, bigoted and mentally so unstable that he cannot be left in charge of the nuclear codes. In an ideal world, there is no doubt that Trump would not be a first choice for many people voting for him, if they had someone better to pick. He doesn’t come across as suave and polished and in fact hates the obsession with political correctness.

Having said all this, one thing Trump is not, is a crook. He is also not a two faced liar. Unlike Hillary, people view him as honest and someone who cares for America. This perception is extremely critical and a possible game changer in this election. Whether or not that is true, time will tell, but until then it is crucial to his election success as is evident in his surge in the national polls, where he now leads nationally. His critics are flummoxed as they seemed sure that Hillary would decimate him in the polls.

Despite his grandiose style, Trump seems more approachable and connected with the masses than Hillary. He can take credit for daring to speak out on issues that most politicians have turned a blind eye to. But the media has done well to paint him a racist and he hasn’t done much to clarify his positions.

The US Census data estimates that there are up to 15.7 million illegal immigrants in the United States. It is also estimated that over ½ million illegal immigrants continue to come to the US every year. Illegal immigrants often wok on farms and construction, and get paid in cash at rates significantly lower than what an average American gets. This cuts heavily into lower income families whose work is either taken away by illegals or must compete with them. Ironically many Hispanic and African American communities suffer because of this. Drug related violent crime is a reality in many American cities. Trump commented that “When Mexico sends its people; they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people”. It is evident that he did not call all Mexicans rapists. He did state a problem that has plagued the US border areas for decades now. Every house has a front door for a reason!

Hillary supporters must know that it was Bill Clinton who built a 325 mile fence along the California-Mexico border in 1993. In 2006, Hillary voted for the “Secure Fence Act” that called for building for an impassable fence along the Mexican border. In the 2008 election, she categorically stated that it was important for America to secure it’s borders and build a wall. Somehow when the same idea came from Trump, it sounded racist and drew ridicule from the Democratic camp. It’s bizarre.

Deportation of illegals has become a contentious issue for it’s legal, social and economic impact. By some estimates deporting illegals would cost about $600 billion, a 4.7% reduction in total private sector output. Whether or not mass deportation would be plausible is questionable, but it is perfectly legal and most certainly not racist. Trump can be faulted for promising something that he may not be able do, but instead the media has wrongly and unfairly labelled him as racist.

Trump has several great ideas for America that show that he plans to clean up the political mess left by his predecessors that the masses are up against. What’s important is that he represents a flawed but honest individual who wants to make his country better, a much better option than an autocratic and corrupt Hillary. Among many concrete ideas, Trump wants to focus on American jobs by repealing NAFTA and penalizing American companies that take jobs away to Mexico & China. He plans to waive interest against student debt, fix the broken healthcare system, audit the Federal Reserve, put a limit on the tenure of career politicians, put a hiring freeze on the federal government and clean up the special interest groups that control policy for their own gain. He may not be able to achieve all of his plans, but it seems highly implausible that, like Hillary, he will jeopardize national security and interests for his own gain.

On November 8, voters will have to make a choice and Trump should be it.