PRICES GO UP AT THE GATE
Come on America give me a little faith in humanity and don't let Trump win.
He bit my lip and drank my warmth.
Meh. This is probably way over most other posters' tl;dr thresholds from what I've gleaned of the discussion-ethos on CR thus far, but here goes:
While I'm no Trump supporter, I really don't see why he is constantly singled out as a uniquely dangerous candidate among all the ones still in the running. Well, okay, I do, it's because he goes out of his way to say provocative and silly shit on national television, and most Americans are way too lazy to peek beneath the covers to see how horrifying most of the other candidates are as well, so from within their reality-bubbles, he looks scarier by comparison. But, in my opinion, there is no good reason why he should be regarded as worse than any of the others left in the race aside from Sanders. My reasoning for this opinion:
Trump almost certainly does not believe most of the battier things he runs his mouth about in speeches. Have you looked at his pre-campaign positions? Aside from a few points of eccentricity (most notably the weird "birther" stuff he was going on about a few years back, and still stands by to this day), the man is basically a Neoliberal Democrat to the marrow of his bones. Dude supported socialized medicine right up until he had a Republican base who needed much telling of what they wanted to hear, and I strongly doubt he would make any half-serious effort to dismantle Obamacare if he were actually elected, whatever he might be saying about it now.
And frankly, he is more progressive on drug prohibition than any Democratic candidate who's had a serious shot at the White House aside from Sanders — which, very ironically considering the headlines he's made with his stances on immigration, is actually the one policy we could change in the United States that would stand a chance at bringing about a bloodless resolution to the illegal immigration question in relatively short order. Whatever he may be saying about it these days, Trump has been on record in the past stating that he'd like to see a total end to the War on Drugs (and this despite his being a teetotaler).
As awkward as this is, I'm just going to go ahead and say it: Trump has by far the sanest, and perhaps even the only rational, foreign policy stance among all candidates from either party. It makes for a truly fucking cognitive dissonance-worthy contrast with the silliness encasing many of Trump's other declared positions. Regardless of how much "blah, blah, military, blah, blah" he may throw out as fap material for the Republican base, Trump:
• spoke out against the Iraq War from the get-go, correctly foreseeing the disastrous effect this would have on the entire Middle East — and on a side note, let's be honest: as all non-retards who were not getting something out of it did at the time. For fuck's sake, I was a high school sophomore in March 2003 and saw this coming in reasonably clear detail. Clinton just plain does not have the excuse that she misjudged what would happen in voting for the war, and her genuinely favoring it is entirely consistent with her later actions as Secretary of State (see bullet point below).
• basically made the same point as above, but concerning the 2011 annihilation of the Libyan state — the real start of Europe's refugee crisis, two years before the mass influx of Syrians began.
• actually acknowledges that al-ʾAsad can and must be worked with for any realistic prospects of ending the Syrian Civil War in a way that does not leave Salafists in control of the region.
• has condemned the needless saber-rattling for a Second Cold War against Russia, and has correctly pointed out that all this is doing is cementing a strong Sino-Russian alliance — a fact already well in progress of which the significance has practically gone unfuckingnoticed by virtually every American politician in office today —, which will increasingly pursue and win influence in the world at the expense of the West if the latter just insists on not permitting Russia to be a partner in its own system for no rational reason.
Given that an anti-Russophobic position is not at all popular right now on either canonical side of the political spectrum (regarding both the last bullet point, and the second-to-last insofar as Trump has acknowledged the basically beneficial effect that Russian intervention has had in Syria), and given that his general outlook on foreign policy is actually one of the things that seems to have remained consistent in essence pre- and post-campaign, I am even willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that these are probably more or less his sincere positions. The glaring contradiction in all this is his position on the "Iran deal" — and it stands out so much from his other positions on foreign policy that I'm perfectly willing to consider that shit as obligatory pandering to the base.
Honestly, on the basis of foreign policy alone, Trump would get my vote hands down in a general election over Clinton, who is pretty much the arch-warmonger in American politics these days (no one person is probably more responsible for the catastrophe in Libya). The only reason the Republicans in general have not called her out on this is because they're cut from the same cloth, and the only reasons I can think of why Trump hasn't — aside from possibly the reason described in my third point below — are because he doesn't need to unless he faces off with her in the general election, because he might fear that her positions are more popular than his (unfortunately, the fear is justifiable), and because Ron Paul demonstrated twice the futility of trying to clinch the Republican nomination while voicing a reasonable anti-war approach to foreign policy.
While Jeb Bush has no chance, nor should he, at becoming the next president, there prove to be some shockingly plausible grains of truth beneath all his butthurt in one of the accusations he's made toward Trump: namely, that the Trump campaign's raison d'être could actually be to cause discord in the Republican Party in order to aid Clinton in ultimately getting elected.
Trump has right up until the start of his campaign been a good personal friend of the Clintons, and has donated a fuckton of money to them over the years. And then there is the infamous phone call he received from Bill Clinton shortly before he began his campaign, in which Clinton reportedly strongly encouraged him to become more involved with Republican politics. Clinton has denied only telling Trump to run, which is probably true, since he is nowhere near being dimwitted enough to risk such incriminating overtness when there are plenty of other ways to get the message across. Clinton also played the "I don't recall" card when asked what the call was about, and Trump, to the best of my knowledge, has never made any comment on the matter at all, which I find a bit out of character for him, given that he is not normally one to shy away from opportunities to berate people for things they say.
All this, plus the fact that the things he's talking about the most are some of the things most likely to hurt him to Clinton's favor in a general election, many of which stand in direct opposition to his political positions prior to the start of his campaign? All far from proven. But also all far from being a possibility that can just be dismissed out of hand, in my opinion.
Have you looked at the other choices we have? Sanders is the only non-terrifying one. The Republicans left in the race aside from Trump hardly require commentary, they are basically just a bunch of yes men for the plutocrats who look back on the Bush-43 administration with nostalgia, and who have no meaningful differences to speak of among themselves aside from maybe the extremeness and degree of sincerity underlying their Bible-thumpery. While I would ultimately go for Clinton over any of those men, the differences between them are not much. Basically, it just comes down to her being someone who can at least be relied upon to not undo the small gains we did manage to make in healthcare under Obama, and to not appoint Supreme Court Justices who want to do wacky shit like roll back gay marriage and Roe v. Wade.
Clinton completely disregards the advice of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and leads the charge into Libya (Obama takes blame for the final decision, needless to say, but by all accounts Clinton was the one enthusiastically spearheading the interventionists among his advisers), destroys its state for no good reason and plunges it into a civil war which began Europe's refugee crisis and allowed Islamic State to win a firm foothold in Africa; she then giggles with delight on national television in response to the barbaric sodomizing and execution of al-Qaddhāfī, a man who, whatever his vices, made Libya into the most prosperous democracy in Africa (yes, democracy, because that is what Libya was under his rule, a system of direct democracy, which actually prevented him from getting some of the more progressive things he wanted done, including funding for alternative education and abolition of the death penalty) with the highest human development index on the whole continent, and who went out of his way to forge good relations with tribal societies across Africa and universally won their admiration — Clinton does all this, but Trump is the scary nutcase for making crazy-uncle-talk on TV?
Trump's presidency would be a setback for women's rights? Maybe so, it's a cause for real concern. But the accusation is more than a little disingenuous coming from someone who postures at feminism while intimidating women who have been sexually assaulted by her piece of shit husband out of seeking justice. (And let's not forget that Bill Clinton used to hang out on Jeffrey Epstein's rape island — but, of course, they never went to any of the "rapey" parts while he was visiting, Epstein just invited over a former President of the United States with previous and much-stifled sexual assault allegations against him to hang out and chill on the one piece of his property which was hiding a world-class felony, with no apparent concern about the risks of this being discovered by a non-confidant who was way too powerful to be silenced in the event that he found out what was going on. Completely plausible shit right there.)