Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Why I’d Vote for Hillary Before Trump

 

I just made this point in the comments, then realized I should make it explicitly. I know we have Trump supporters on Ricochet. We also have people who think that he’s not their first choice, but might not be a total disaster. I’ve made it clear that I think he’d be an unparalleled disaster, but perhaps haven’t made my argument as clearly as I could.

So I’ll give it my best. I have more arguments where this came from, but to me, this is definitive.

The moment that most clearly demonstrates that he’s nuts — and nuts in a way different in kind from any previous president in the nuclear era and from any of the other candidates for the presidency — was when he said George W. Bush knowingly misled the world about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. “I will tell you. They lied. And they said there were weapons of mass destruction and there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.”

It’s not absolutely clear who “they” are in this sentence, but by any plausible, common-sense reading, he means George W. Bush and his administration.

The assertion that Bush knew there were no weapons of mass destruction, as opposed to having been wrong about it, is extremely implausible and requires a belief in hundreds of conspirators, not just George W. Bush. It’s so implausible that it qualifies, to my mind, as a clinically paranoiac belief. People who hold this kind of belief tend to be people who’d also believe aliens abducted them and probed their orifices with laser beams. They are not capable of forming reasonable judgments about serious things.

It’s not clear to me whether Trump truly believes George W. Bush knowingly lied to the American people about the Iraq war. But if so, how does his mental universe work? What, in his view, motivated Bush and those around him to do this? How does he account for the most obvious objection to this theory, namely, that any administration prepared to go to war on premises they knew to be false would have had both the disposition and the motivation to plant the weapons they had told the world would be found?

What does he imagine motivated all of Bush’s intimates, as well as the House and Senate, to lie like that, but fail to cover up the lie? Why does he think no one has since come forward to offer evidence of this conspiracy? Why does he discount all the evidence that this was a catastrophic intelligence failure?

If he said this cynically, knowing it makes no sense, it’s a different order of malice than a standard political lie or exaggeration. If he believes it, it suggests mental disorder (I use the word “disorder” deliberately — as in, “not orderly, not logical”) of a more disturbing kind than any previous holder of that office in the nuclear era. Not just degree, but kind.

I have many other objections to him, but I think this one is — as George Tenet might say — a slam dunk.* You can’t put people who believe things like that in the White House. It’s too dangerous.

*I also think Tenet’s ultimately responsible for the worst intelligence failure in American history, but that’s another story.

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  1. Dr. Strangelove Thatcher
    Dr. Strangelove Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    My opinion is that Trump is very politically keen when it comes to corrupting the political process for his monetary gain. (The shorthand for this is crony capitalism.) I am pretty sure he is incurious about the rest of it.

    I suspect that Trump was aware of the allegations that “W lied” but had no awareness that this has been so well debunked because he never cared about it in the first place. But in the debate he had to manufacture a reason to contradict Jeb’s defense of W so he blurted out what he could think of off the top of his head.

    I believe that Trump is aware that he has gaps in his knowledge but I also believe that Trump knows he can evade being exposed as the political ignoramus that he is by BS-ing his way out of it. So far his rubes seem to buy anything he says regardless of how stupid, dangerous, illegal, or unconstitutional it might be.

    So, for what it is worth, Claire, I do not think the GOP is en route to nominating a lunatic, just a con man. (Not saying that is an improvement.)

    • #1
    • February 25, 2016, at 3:20 AM PST
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  2. Marion Evans Inactive

    Agree 100%, Claire. Imo, Trump is mentally unstable and lies nearly all the time. The other deal killer for me was when he encouraged people at a rally to “beat the crap out of” any heckler who may throw a tomato at him. Inciting the mob against individual dissenters is the stuff of fascism. He also sometimes seems to threaten to use institutions of state to get revenge (if he is elected) over his opponents.

    As here for example:

    • #2
    • February 25, 2016, at 3:20 AM PST
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  3. Profile Photo Member

    You’ve been away from us a long time. We never thought you’d miss us so. But oceans like eons apparently dim the cultural lights necessary to see far as well as near. Your argument is well laid out. But foreign. Come home until the election is over. No one, no American should have to make the choice you’ve chosen. But it’s your hypothetical. Come home until you’ve locally cast your vote for Hillary. Up close the wrinkles that deception hides are clearer. Come home until it’s sunk in what you’ve done. Then freely take up your outpost again. Pine and repent from afar. But first come home.

    • #3
    • February 25, 2016, at 3:22 AM PST
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  4. Animositas Inactive

    So the choice is between an allegedly traitorous felon and a potential Huey Long style demagogue… hmmmm….. that’s a tough one.

    I think I’d have to choose ‘No’ in both cases and hope the following period of ‘interesting times’ is not too long or horrific.

    • #4
    • February 25, 2016, at 3:24 AM PST
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  5. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Derek Simmons: No one, no American should have to make the choice you’ve chosen.

    I agree, and hope I won’t have to make that choice. My argument isn’t foreign. The argument that “Bush lied” is, however. I’ve spent a decade patiently explaining that this isn’t true to every conspiracy theorist the globe around.

    • #5
    • February 25, 2016, at 3:29 AM PST
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  6. I Walton Member

    If we ultimately face this choice, those compelled to either stay home or pull the lever for Clinton should instead organize a third party, or agree on a write in. A sane conservative third party couldn’t win, but it would be the beginning of something which clearly must begin. We’ve survived a left wing Narcissist, we can probably survive this no wing narcissist. We cannot survive this continuing drift, now trot toward a complete administrative state, which in it’s extreme form we call fascism. Such things don’t self correct, they just stagnate and rot, indeed that is one of the reasons we face this choice. If such a move becomes real enough its leaders should be able to negotiate some appointments and policies with Trump.

    • #6
    • February 25, 2016, at 3:31 AM PST
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  7. Fat Dave Member
    Fat Dave Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Well, I reckon I’d vote with a clean conscience and pull the Libertarian lever. The ironic thing is, the libertarian-leaning malcontents and ringleaders in the Republican Party of Virginia and Virginia blogosphere are full-throatedly plumping for Trump, the most authoritarian and bellicose candidate in the race. The cognitive dissonance boggles my mind. Maybe they’re pushing a candidate who will destroy the GOP so the Libertarian Party can fill the void? (I have it from multiple reliable parties that a former-Libertarian-turned-Republican who became a GOP District Committee Chair said as much to a group of folks, so I guess it is plausible.) I just wish they’d apply their litmus tests as harshly against Trump as they have against Virginia electeds and party officials.

    • #7
    • February 25, 2016, at 3:32 AM PST
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  8. Skarv Coolidge
    Skarv Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Agree to the assessment of Trump. More recent and equally disturbing was his re-tweeting about Rubio’s eligibility. He would jump on any opportunity to go after his enemies with the power of the state. Even more so than Obama.

    Now, how does that lead to a conclusion to vote for Hillary? She is anything but trustworthy and her record is very bad. Some say she speaks kind of ok on foreign policy. Really, she was in charge of it for a large part of the Obama reign and did not achieve anything (except high-profile disasters like Bengazi and Reset).

    If we only have unsavory options, we may as well let one of them win supported by their hacks only. Sniffing glue on election day seems to be a more responsible civic activity than lining up behind any of these alternatives.

    • #8
    • February 25, 2016, at 3:41 AM PST
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  9. Profile Photo Member

    I suspect that Trump’s position on immigration would be enough to keep you from ever voting for him. It’s just that you think his 9/11 comments are the most outrageous thing he has said.

    I can’t vote for Trump, but I don’t think I can vote for Rubio either.

    • #9
    • February 25, 2016, at 3:51 AM PST
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  10. Boge Inactive

    I’m with Claire on this one. Almost every day while driving my 15 year old son to school, he stops me in the middle of some rant I’m on about politics and assk, “If it was between Trump and Hillary, who would you vote for?”

    My answer changed after Trump made the very charge Claire points out about Bush and the war. (By the way, my son knows this question causes me grief… which is precisely why he asks it!).

    Either Trump believes what he’s saying, in which case he’s delusional or dumb (or both?) or he is saying this because… well, I’m not sure. Maybe he thinks this is what he needs to say to keep his lead. But if that’s the case, then in my mind it’s worse than the first.

    So, what’s my answer to my son’s question? Well, I first try to tell him (myself?) that it won’t ever come to that. But in the end, I admit I’d vote for Hillary over Trump (or more likely a third party, praying for a House decision).

    • #10
    • February 25, 2016, at 3:52 AM PST
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  11. Profile Photo Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: My argument isn’t foreign. The argument that “Bush lied” is, however. I’ve spent a decade patiently explaining that this isn’t true to every conspiracy theorist the globe around.

    Bush didn’t lie about WMD’s. Trump and all the Code Pink coterie said he did. Bush didn’t lie about WMD’s. BUT from the available intelligence it seems to me he cherry-picked and chose to believe what fit the narrative he was predisposed to believe. And he chose war. I think he wanted to finish what Dad hadn’t. Is that lying? I don’t think so. I don’t think Trump thinks so though he clearly said it. Is that truth-telling by Bush? I don’t think so. But how is that political hypocrisy on Trump’s part so egregiously different from what others have asserted? So different from the stuff that stuff that so naturally (preternaturally?) drips from HRC lips that for decades it’s been cast as “Clintonian”? But, as you’ve agreed: it is your hypothetical. My prayers are that it not come to that. Not even close. But as for me and my house–the choice would NOT be Hillary.

    • #11
    • February 25, 2016, at 3:53 AM PST
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  12. Wiley Inactive

    I truly understand the Trump hate and agree with the analysis of him, but I think it a disservice to the nation and our children to suggest support for Hillary for the shock effect, especially on the main page. And yes I will vote for Trump or a minor level demon, before voting for a major level psychopath. I have pointed out before, than even not voting is effectively giving a vote to the other side (by not letting your vote cancel out an opposition vote).

    It may be good rhetoric, but it might contribute to a bad reality.

    • #12
    • February 25, 2016, at 3:54 AM PST
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  13. Titus Techera Contributor

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: It’s not clear to me whether Trump truly believes George W. Bush knowingly lied to the American people about the Iraq war. But if so, how does his mental universe work? What, in his view, motivated Bush and those around him to do this? How does he account for the most obvious objection to this theory, namely, that any administration prepared to go to war on premises they knew to be false would have had both the disposition and the motivation to plant the weapons they had told the world would be found?

    ‘What difference, at this point, does it make?’ ‘It’ stands for intentions–good intentions. Being that politics is practical, it takes no small amount of nobility to grant that good people can do bad things & that virtue goes unrewarded.

    Mr. Trump seems to be the only guy running for the GOP nomination who has noticed Americans–even the GOP electorate–are ready to declare the war in Iraq a catastrophe. Only one faction of this electorate strongly disagrees–remember the people who cheered when the Sunshine Senator said his family thanks God Mr. W. Bush was in the White House on 9/11. Who will not blame the man who dedicated his presidency to war? Many Americans would, I suspect. This will no more hurt Mr. Trump than previous insanities. That’s not much of a prediction, for more than one reason, but there it is.

    & always remember, he is a class warrior-

    • #13
    • February 25, 2016, at 4:02 AM PST
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  14. Tennessee Inactive

    Please don’t say “Hillary before a Trump.” I’d rather have inconsistent insanity than consistent and calculated corruption.

    If Trump is wrong only 75% of the time he’d still be 100% better than Hillary. You don’t want to relitigate the 2000’s. I don’t want to relive the 1990’s!

    This is the Republican party’s fault for years of frustrating its base. The answer can’t be to defect to the Democcrats.

    Religious Freedom, Freedom of Speech, the Supreme Court and so much more are on the line.

    Please Ricochetti, Trump before Hillary.

    We’re already in the Twilight Zone with either candidate.

    HRC is not the answer.

    • #14
    • February 25, 2016, at 4:05 AM PST
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  15. J Climacus Member

    Trump’s words are so much blather he just throws out there for effect. I judge people by their actions. What do we know about the two of them?

    Hillary: Not just a corrupt politician. She’s a criminal who commits felonies as a routine matter. She is willing to put her own self-interest ahead of the national interest, and national security, not just in an extreme circumstance, but as a deliberate policy, knowing national security would likely be compromised as a result and lives probably put at risk.

    With American lives in the balance in Benghazi, she thought first and only about her own political future and their lives counted as nothing for her. Later she lied to the face of a father, over his son’s dead body, about the circumstances of his son’s death.

    Not to mention the rest of Hillary’s sinister career. As far as I know Trump has nothing like this on his resume. He’s a loudmouthed showman and a blowhard, but there is nothing in his record to indicate he would leave American soldiers to die or would put national security at risk as a matter of policy. He’s done some things with eminent domain and crony capitalism I don’t like, but as far as I know he hasn’t put anyone in the grave.

    Hillary is far more dangerous than Trump.

    • #15
    • February 25, 2016, at 4:06 AM PST
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  16. genferei Member
    genferei Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    This Trump derangement thing is getting pretty boring. People lie. Politicians lie a lot. People say things for effect. Politicians say things for effect a lot.

    Trump has lived in a world where he has to live with the consequences of his actions. He has made a lot of mistakes. We all have. Other politicians have lived in a world almost entirely free of consequences.

    If President Trump has his finger on the nuclear trigger I’m not going to lose any sleep. If President Rodham is waiting for that 3am phone call, I fully expect to see Russian tanks rolling into the Baltics before her inauguration is finished.

    • #16
    • February 25, 2016, at 4:12 AM PST
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  17. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    I agree whole heartedly that that moment constituted a new level of shame and should be a wake-up call to everyone who’s supported him.

    I’m increasingly convinced, though, that the GOP really missed an opportunity when Trump mocked McCain’s capture and torture. That’s on a different spectrum than the WMD thing, but it clearly indicated that we were dealing with a dishonorable and irresponsible person. The other candidates should have refused to share a stage with him.

    • #17
    • February 25, 2016, at 4:17 AM PST
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  18. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: How does he account for the most obvious objection to this theory, namely, that any administration prepared to go to war on premises they knew to be false would have had both the disposition and the motivation to plant the weapons they had told the world would be found?

    This is absolutely correct, and I feel stupid for never having thought it myself. Thank you!

    • #18
    • February 25, 2016, at 4:17 AM PST
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  19. BrentB67 Inactive

    I think this is good criticism.

    I’ve considered what I would do if it came down to Trump vs. Hillary. Ultimately my decision will hinge more on Congress than the presidency.

    • #19
    • February 25, 2016, at 4:22 AM PST
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  20. BrentB67 Inactive

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:I agree whole heartedly that that moment constituted a new level of shame and should be a wake-up call to everyone who’s supported him.

    I’m increasingly convinced, though, that the GOP really missed an opportunity when Trump mocked McCain’s capture and torture. That’s on a different spectrum than the WMD thing, but it clearly indicated that we were dealing with a dishonorable and irresponsible person. The other candidates should have refused to share a stage with him.

    Interesting. I had no issue with how he handled that. Perhaps my Navy bias is showing.

    • #20
    • February 25, 2016, at 4:23 AM PST
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  21. Columbo Member

    twilightzone

    Imagine …… if you will ……..

    The Editor of HuffPo coming out in favor of Ted Cruz …. BOOM.

    • #21
    • February 25, 2016, at 4:32 AM PST
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  22. Valiuth Member
    Valiuth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Until that last debate I had a growing sense that Trump might not be as bad as I thought he would be. He obliterated all of that with his Code Pink rhetoric. My biggest concern about Trump prior to that debate had been his impact on US foreign policy. Trump is amazingly inarticulate and ignorant on the topic, his domestic policies also seem inclined to alienate our allies, and his narcissistic personality coupled with his ignorance led him to make various ovations about Putin that should give any American pause. Any hope I had that he would be anything other than an erratic wrecking ball when it comes to foreign policy was obliterated in that exchange. It betrayed a level of ignorance and malice that frankly I don’t think any candidate on either side has.

    I did not agree with Rand Paul’s foreign policy analysis or opinions, but I did not think him utterly ignorant or malicious. Had he somehow won the nomination I would have voted for him over Hillary, despite my reservations on this very important issue. Theoretically Hillary is probably closer to me on foreign policy than Rand is, but I would trust Rand’s values over he corrupt calculations. I don’t think Trump has any values, and I at least have an idea of what Hilary’s corrupt calculations would are.

    I would pick the devil I know over the one I don’t.

    • #22
    • February 25, 2016, at 4:34 AM PST
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  23. MSJL Thatcher
    MSJL Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I do not think I should be obliged to find the indeterminate choice in a contest of the lesser of two evils. Clinton, Sanders, and Trump are all unsuited for the presidency, and it is an unserious primary electorate that propels them forward as the potential standard bearers.

    Trump falls so far below the acceptable minimum threshold for a candidate for dog catcher that I cannot bring myself to vote for him out of love of my country. My key issues with him are his demeanor, behavior, and general disinterest in actually dealing with this country’s serious problems. He brings indignity to everything he participates in.

    If this race comes down to Trump vs. Clinton/Sanders, I will do something I never thought I would do: I will look for a third-party candidate that I will at least not be embarrassed to say I voted for. If there is none, then I will skip the presidential part of the ballot and vote down ticket.

    • #23
    • February 25, 2016, at 4:40 AM PST
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  24. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Sigh. Not crazy. Calculated.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2016/02/15/did-trump-damage-his-chances-by-accusing-bush-of-lying-about-iraq/

    And it worked. Jebs! gone.

    • #24
    • February 25, 2016, at 4:50 AM PST
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  25. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    I don’t disagree with anyone’s assessment of Hillary, by the way. And I agree the Iraq war was a catastrophe. But it’s really important that people grasp how it happened, not that it happened. Does anyone here think it would occur to Donald Trump to ask the questions Bush should have been asking about the intelligence he was given?

    Hillary’s record as Secretary of State — completely irrespective of the scandals that follow her everywhere and my suspicion that she’s simply too old to understand the job — utterly disqualify her against any normal candidate. But I think we’d have to be in complete denial not to envision that she could end up running against Trump. And in a choice between them, I think Hillary is less dangerous. Not safe, but less dangerous.

    The VP pick is important with both of them, too, because neither of them are young.

    I’m not loving this thought, believe me. I’m Margaret Thatcher’s biographer. I took this job in the hope of having cordial conversations about conservative politics and strengthening conservative thought and values in America — I never, ever, imagined this choice.

    Although of course, I should have. Anyone who claims special political insight and couldn’t imagine this happening is obviously missing some key insights. So, take it for what it’s worth.

    • #25
    • February 25, 2016, at 4:52 AM PST
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  26. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    Why not vote for a third party candidate or don’t vote for president at all, just the other political offices?

    It seems to me that that might be the best way to keep your dignity, especially if you don’t live in a swing state.

    • #26
    • February 25, 2016, at 4:57 AM PST
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  27. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Derek Simmons: Bush didn’t lie about WMD’s. Trump and all the Code Pink coterie said he did. Bush didn’t lie about WMD’s. BUT from the available intelligence it seems to me he cherry-picked and chose to believe what fit the narrative he was predisposed to believe.

    Were those the same cherries that Bill Clinton and his CIA picked? MI-6? DGSE? FSB?

    Mighty popular cherries.

    • #27
    • February 25, 2016, at 5:01 AM PST
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  28. Dave L Member
    Dave L Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I share deeply your concerns Claire, but like some of the others I think Trump is just a huckster, a very good BS artist, but one who is unfit to be President. I briefly considered voting for Hillary, but unlike you over in France, probably, I get to see Hillary regularly on the news, the gaping smile, the manly laugh, it all brings home the lies, corruption, and incompetence. A vote for Hillary could be the last nail in the coffin for this Republic, however electing Trump as President could be a crossing the Rubicon moment. It is truly a tragic situation.

    • #28
    • February 25, 2016, at 5:06 AM PST
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  29. Robert McReynolds Inactive

    Derek Simmons:

    Bush didn’t lie about WMD’s. Trump and all the Code Pink coterie said he did. Bush didn’t lie about WMD’s. BUT from the available intelligence it seems to me he cherry-picked and chose to believe what fit the narrative he was predisposed to believe. And he chose war. I think he wanted to finish what Dad hadn’t. Is that lying? I don’t think so. I don’t think Trump thinks so though he clearly said it. Is that truth-telling by Bush?

    I can’t let this slide. Bush did not look at Iraq as finishing daddy’s project. Bush was reacting to 9/11. He was presented with some pretty incredible evidence from a source known as “Curve Ball.” (Get the book by the same name, please.) And reacted accordingly with the intent of picking low hanging fruit in the Middle East to set up a stable base to conduct clandestine operations against the underworld of Salafist Islamism. What Bush did not calculate was how much the Democrat Party hated the United States and resented him for having the chance to become a great war-time president, so they immediately set out to destroy him and consequently our efforts to win in Iraq.

    • #29
    • February 25, 2016, at 5:10 AM PST
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  30. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Dave L: It is truly a tragic situation.

    It is. And I don’t believe, deep down, that it’s what we deserve. And some part of me still thinks, “It can’t possibly come to that.”

    • #30
    • February 25, 2016, at 5:11 AM PST
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