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Democrats Don't Understand the Moral Vote

Medium is definitely a left-leaning internet forum. It’s kind of hard to find a conservative voice here. And my hypothesis is that many conservative values cannot be well defended against logical thinking. Post a conservative article on Medium, then expect its flaws to be logically exposed by great writers and thinkers.

So I am surprised that many Medium writers cannot see the impropriety of Hunter Biden’s appointment to the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma. To recap, Biden Jr. was given a job that paid $50,000 a month to sit on Burisma’s board of directors. However, Biden Jr. doesn’t seem to have a resume that warrants him being on that board. The only logical conclusion is that he got a cushy job because his father was the vice-president.

Of course, this has all been explained away by several Medium contributors. Here are reasons I have come across: (1) there’s no evidence that favors were granted, (2) this appointment is not as bad as some of the appointments of Mr. Trump, (3) the appointment did not hurt USA in any way, (4) these kinds of controversial appointments happen a lot in the corporate world, and (5) this scandal is a lot less expensive when compared to Mr. Bush 2’s Halliburton scandal. There are probably a few more ways to spin this Burisma appointment as “not wrong.”

The high-ranking Democrats and their apologists will never be able to spin this situation away to the people who just see a powerful political person gets his son a cushy job to which he is not qualified. The Democrats just can’t put themselves in the shoes of these people, many of whom are unlikely to earn $50,000 a year.

Here is another situation in which the Democrats missed the boat: the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

As a voter, I like to see my elected officials having a virtuous lifestyle, and I will base my vote on candidates who have their moral act together. For example, I consider Mr. Obama as a classy guy in this regard: personal scandals did not affect his presidency. And without being dogged by personal scandals or addictions, such a person has a clearer head to think things through and a clearer path to chart a course. Politics is hard enough without deliberately giving ammunition to the enemy.

So when Mr. Clinton got caught with his pants down in the White House, he lost all my support. I just can’t fathom how someone can do a good job manning the nuclear button or staring down central bankers when his mind is working on the same reptile level as a pick-up artist in a singles bar.

Of course, I ended up on the wrong side of popular opinion in this part of history. I had my thinking shamed by “If he is doing a good job, then what he does in private life should not matter.” I say what you do in your private life does somehow affect your performance in public life. For proof, look at what happened to Mr. Clinton: he got impeached!

For sure, you are not doing your best job for the world when you give a vice a high priority in your value system. If nothing else, detractors can use your lack of morality against you.

And I have the right to base my voting decision on morals.

And then there was Strike 2. Mr. Clinton lied under oath about his affair. I get the fact that politicians do need to bend the truth to become and stay elected, but lying in this particular situation was not good political judgement.

Of course, I will be shamed again. Many apologists will claim it was OK for Mr. Clinton to lie because it was a private affair for which Mr. Clinton should not have faced impeachment in the first place. But I just don’t see that logic.

Again, I was on the wrong side of public opinion. But guess what? Enough American voters were thinking just like me. And they cast their votes in such a way to give Mr. Bush 2 a narrow victory over Mr. Gore in 2000.

Democrats just don’t get that they lost the 2000 election because of Mr. Clinton’s behavior. Rather they want to blame thinkers like me who base much of their voting decision on morals.

Here’s what the Democrats should have done.

First, they should have picked someone else in 1992 as their candidate. At that time, it was well known that Mr. Clinton was a controversial political figure, and history suggests these kinds of people will bring those kinds of controversies into a higher office. We were not disappointed in this regard. Democrats should not rationalize “Well, he beat Mr. Bush 1, didn’t he?” as the reason for condoning Mr. Clinton’s past behavior.

Second, the Democrats should have realized the political liability after the lie under oath. That was the time to take decisive action—and put Mr. Gore in charge in 1998. Just think of how history would have been changed: maybe a USA leading world against climate change today or a wiser response to the 911 attacks. All because the Democrats should have done the right thing at the right time. But they didn’t.

But, hey, if “what a public figure does in private life doesn’t matter” and “he can win elections” is so much more important than being a virtuous character, then we should not be surprised that many people lost their enthusiasm for the Democratic Party. How many, you ask? Maybe a million votes lost in 2000. This doesn’t sound like a lot in a pool of 250 million voters, but that one million could have flipped a state or two in the Electoral College. But in close elections, voters like me should not be so easily disregarded—even if we are shamed for not being on the right side of public opinion.

And here is Strike 3. Ever since 2000, the Democratic Party has been putting Mr. Clinton on the front stage of many of its events. They treat him as a rock star. On one hand, it is good that they have forgiven him. Maybe he can bring more people to Democrat rallies and bring more money to election coffers. But die-hard Democrats are not the majority.

On the other hand, those of us looking for morals in our elected representatives have to wonder why the Democratic Party cannot keep this guy in the basement. His very presence at their party functions says “Morality in elected office does not matter.” So where should we park our vote?

According to my understanding of history, about 25% of Americans thought Mr. Clinton should have been held accountable for his actions. If the Democrats wanted these votes, holding Mr. Clinton accountable was the way to win them. As for the other 75%, where would those votes have gone in 2000 if the D’s had put Mr. Gore in charge in 1998? I could not see any political upside for the Democrats to leave Mr. Clinton in office. 

What about those blue-collar workers who used to vote Democrat? Could not the failure of the system to hold Mr. Clinton accountable in 1998 affect how they are voting today?

Does it not seem strange that Democrats can use “private-not-in-public life” excuse in 1998, but not the Republicans in current times? But did the Republicans use that argument in 1998? But today, it does not apply to them. I’m confused!

So maybe some of those 25% went strongly to the other side. If one side of the political process cannot hold politicians accountable, why not vote for the other side?

Let’s come back to 2020. The Democratic Party just can’t come to the right decision at the right time with Joe Biden and his son. Whether Hunter’s appointment to Burisma is moral, immoral, rational, irrational, proper, improper, serious, trivial, or whatever else, the optics are not very good. It certainly is starting to leave a scar on the Democrat side of the impeachment trial.

It doesn’t take a genius to see how Mr. Trump could make Hunter Biden the most important campaign issue in 2020—to erode enough of the soft support of the Democratic Party to give Mr. Trump an easy victory. The only people convinced of the Hunter spin are the Democratic apologists, who, for some reason, don’t believe Democrats have soft support that can be easily eroded away by a few simple campaign taunts.

The Democratic Party should cut Mr. Biden loose. The big D players in the big back room should have a little talk with Mr. Biden Sr. But maybe he is their preferred choice, believing, once again, that anyone can beat Mr. Trump. Or maybe those Biden supporters giving time and money to Mr. Biden’s campaign could stop doing that—just to save the USA from another four years of Mr. Trump. If Mr. Trump is indeed the worst president ever, one has to wonder whether the Democratic Party is really putting the USA first!

If it seems I am trashing the likes of Mr. Trump, Mr. Biden, and Mr. Clinton. I should clarify that they and the scripts they are acting from are just a symptom of western democracy going downhill. If we replace these actors, we should expect similar actors to follow.

When political parties cannot make the right decision at the right time, is that not a sign that we really need another democratic system?

January 2022 Addendum: The Republicans—with the assistance of Foxx News and other right-wing media—really tried to make the Hunter Biden issue a campaign issue. Other media outlets stayed away from the story. Maybe there is truly not much of a story. Maybe other media outlets are deliberately not reporting it? Who knows what moves to the top of the news cycle? And why? 

Published on Medium 2020

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