The most recent polls suggest that many Americans are rethinking whether they should support Trump over Clinton because of his crude 2005 interview with Billy Bush, mitigated by his debate performance, but then tested again with allegations of unwanted groping and kissing by assorted women.
We don’t know if the allegations are true — Trump has denied them. But the video is real. And I certainly found Trump’s remarks reprehensible. It’s repulsive to hear a grown man treat women as objects and so cavalierly discuss pursuing women as if they were just points on an ego scoreboard. But it’s also not a surprise.
I grew up with New York tabloids talking about Trump, and paid attention during the primaries — seriously, who can be shocked that in a private setting he talked this way?
But this election, to an even greater degree than most, is not about electing a candidate I like, but one that I dislike less, who will do a less-bad job as president.
There certainly are things Trump could do to lose my support. If the media, for instance, unearthed a recent speech in which Trump said that the public positions on key policy issues are different than his real private views, I’d be rethinking my support.
But that’s not what Trump did, it’s Clinton who proudly admitted to being two-faced on some policy issues.
If the media found an interview with him cheerleading wide open borders, gutting gun rights, or creating a single-payer health care system, I’d have a problem.
If he thought that the president should be able to rewrite major laws through executive orders and the labyrinth of agencies ceaselessly generating regulations that would have me worried.
If he was promising to continue the failed economic policies that have enriched the politically-connected in Washington while destroying opportunity for those in inner cities and Middle America, and making everyday life ever more expensive, that would give me pause.
But those aren’t Trump’s positions — they are Clinton’s.
If Trump said that he would only select judges who thought their job was to advance a liberal political agenda rather than defending the Constitution and leave legislating to the people and their elected representatives, I would hesitate. But that’s not what he has promised; it’s what Clinton promises.
I might decide that Trump wasn’t fit for office if the media uncovered documents that showed that Trump hadn’t actually made his money building his businesses, but rather had amassed millions by using a government position to wring hefty payments for speeches and for his foundation from bankers and foreign governments.
But it wasn’t Trump who built a fortune exploiting government power — that was Clinton and her family.
I might be concerned if we knew that once Trump was in office, the deep institutional self-serving corruption which has corroded the integrity of the IRS, the VA, apparently the State Department, and now the FBI, would continue. Because countries survive bad leaders, but once their institutions become deeply corrupt, restoring integrity and trust is incredibly difficult.
But Trump is the broom to clean out the Augean stables that is Washington — it’s Clinton who is the embodiment of this cozy, unscrupulous dishonesty.
I’d be worried if I thought that in a Trump presidency the media would downplay all scandals and evidence of corruption and abuse of power.
But we know that the media will be the most attentive watch dog if Trump is president, followed by many in the GOP themselves, ready to pounce on anything that would be remotely out of bounds, while Clinton will enjoy the same sycophantic treatment that she always enjoyed: Excuses of misplaced evidence are accepted, repeated claims of not remembering when deposed are not a matter of concern, and complaints of corruption and wrongdoing poo-pooed as mindless conspiracy theories or dismissed as old news.
I’d be appalled if Trump truly disrespected women: If I learned he was complacent about practices that would put the nation’s — and women’s — security at risk, or if I saw him asking women on his staff to do illegal things, like destroying evidence, to protect his sorry self.
Or if I saw him lying to women across the country that they could keep their healthcare and their doctors and their costs would go down, or hear him call large numbers of women “deplorable” and “irredeemable,” or touting that he had hired women because they were women, not because they were individuals who were good at what they do.
But Trump doesn’t disrespect the women in his life, his business, on the campaign trail, or in this nation; it is Hillary who jeopardizes us, lies to us, and disrespects us, and who is the worse role model for my children.
Yes, just about everyone has said that this is an election of imperfect choices. That’s true. Yet for me, it’s still an easy choice to make.
Voting for Trump does not mean condoning his lewd comments or behavior, it simply means faced with two choices, one is clearly better than the other.
When it comes to rebuilding the economy so that it works for American families, having a court that adheres to the Constitution and respects the will of the people, and creating a government that is accountable to the people and not corrupted by its service of the politically-connected, Trump is far superior to Hillary on just about every measure.
Higgins is President and CEO of Independent Women’s Voice.