Liberals and Hilary Clinton versus Donald Trump

Among liberals, it is manifestly clear that Hilary Clinton was supposed to win the election for the presidency of the United States. Indeed, the thought was that she would easily beat Donald Trump. So, there is a deep, deep disappointment on the part of countless many liberals. Although I do not share that sentiment, I fully understand that Hilary Clinton supporters feel that way.

Alas, one fundamental message that the victory of Donald Trump over Hilary Clinton conveys is that we do well not to take a victory for granted. It was taken as a given by so very many people that, of course, Hilary would win over Donald. Duh ! ! ! How could it be otherwise? Alas, there is the reality that we can be so besotted with our point of view that we are oblivious to the reality that there are many do not share our view, although they make little, if any, noise to that effect. That reality reminds me of the following passage in the Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple: “A good listener listens not only to what one says but also to what one does not say”. There was an awful lot of silence with respect to Hilary Clinton being president that went entirely unnoticed precisely because way too many simply took it for granted that she would win.

Countless many individuals took it as a given that Hilary would win over Donald owing to the following reasons: (a) she had been secretary of state, (b) she is the wife of Bill Clinton, and (c) she is a woman and would thus be the first woman president of the United States. Alas, individuals were so besotted with the truth of (a)-(c) that they did not notice that many people were not at all impressed by those three factors, since neither individually nor collectively do the factors entail that she would be phenomenal as president of the United States. And then there is the reality that so very many denizens of the United States had had the experience of electing someone as president owing to his biological configuration only to find themselves rather disappointed. When Obama leaves the offices of the presidency, very few will be of the mind that having elected him to the presidency easily stands as was one of very best things that the American people did precisely because they elected a black person to the office. Against the backdrop of that reality, there was undoubtedly a level of precaution in being ever so committed to electing a woman as president simply because she is a woman.

With regard to Donald Trump, there is the quite indisputable reality that he had some quite significant accomplishments to his credit, where the accomplishments are by and large tied to his strength of character and to his perceptivity.
Here is my poor analogy. Whom would I want to fly me from North America to Europe? Would it be () Someone who did very, very well on the pilot test? Or would it be () someone who has a wealth of phenomenal experience with respect to flying across a very, very large body of water? To me it is unequivocally obvious that the answer is ().

With respect to the presidency of the United States, the most desirable person is a morally decent individual whose history of experience indicates that she or he would be able to lead a nation. Am I mistaken in thinking that Donald Trump’s life surpasses Hilary Clinton’s life in that regard? Ironically, it seems that Barack Obama’s two-term presidency would mightily suggest that I am not mistaken. There was tremendous enthusiasm with respect to electing the first black President of the United States. Alas, I do not get the sense that 8 years later, there a is deep and ever so profound satisfaction over having done so. Rather, I sense tremendous relief that his presidency is over. Alas, I suggest that the reality of that very sentiment was undoubtedly a major factor in electing Donald Trump over Hilary Clinton.

© 2017 Laurence Thomas

About Laurence Thomas

Laurence Thomas is Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Department of Philosophy at Syracuse University. His most recent book is The Family and the Political Self and his most recent article in French is "Juifs et Noirs: Au-delà du Mal" in Trigano (ed.) Juifs et Noirs: du Mythe à la Réalité. Thomas has published numerous essays on the topic of friendship. The essay "The Character of Friendship" has appeared in volume on friendship, entitled Thinking About Friendship, edited by Damian Caluori and the essay "Friendship in the Shadow of Technology" has appeared in the anthology Moral and Moral Controversies edited by Steven Scalet and John Arthur. His most recent essay--entitled "Being Moral and Handling the Truth"--is about circumstances under which it is morally permissible to lie. Indeed, an example is given in Section IV of a lie being morally virtuous.
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4 Responses to Liberals and Hilary Clinton versus Donald Trump

  1. Jeffrey says:

    There are few people who I have admired as much and who have had the influence on my life that you have. However, I am nothing less than stupefied that you would not be able to see the clear lack of depth of character that is Donald Trump. He is insecure and he is a bully. It is for THAT reason that no-one thought he would win; it was not because everyone was so “besotted” with Hilary Clinton. If ANYONE had won besides Donald Trump, there would be no similar outcry. Your inability to recognize this is astonishing.

  2. Joe says:

    I don’t think liberals took a Hillary Clinton victory for granted, after all she won by 3 million votes. Democratic voters were correct in thinking the majority of voters would overwhelmingly reject Trump. And they did, Clinton received 48% of the vote, Trump received 46%. Unfortunately for the democratic voters, they lived in the wrong states. The glaring problem is the electoral college as it is configured now is affirmative action for conservative politics. It’s an antiquated system that no longer represents the geographical distribution of the population. Whereas a radical individual like Trump would never be able to win the popular vote no matter which strategy he employs, by targeting the rural population in a handful of states which have disproportionate voting power in the elector college, he can win despite being rejected by the majority of the voters.

    I don’t think one’s financial accomplishments is a representative of one’s character or their ability to lead a nation. Often times, those at the top of society get there by unethical means that serve themselves. And Donald Trump appears to be the embodiment of someone who has had no problem enriching oneself at the expense of others. This includes running operations like Trump University, refusing to pay architects and contractors and forcing them to take the prohibitory expensive route of legal action against Trump to get their money, exploiting cheap foreign labor, utilizing the tax code to his advantage, etc. In what ways is Donald Trump the more morally decent person than Hillary Clinton? Hillary Clinton has lived under the Republican microscope for 20+ years which includes an invasion into her emails, the DNC emails, and John Podesta’s emails and all they could pin on her is a fake “Pizza Gate” scandal.

    We’ve had president elect Donald Trump for 2 months and he’s found himself in a scandal involving komromat with the Kremlin supposedly having videos of him with prostitutes urinating on a bed Barrack and Michelle Obama slept on. And for a person who says he can grab women by the pussy, and lead a birther movement against Barack Obama, it doesn’t seem that out of character for him. I think most people would gladly sign up for 8 more years of scandal free Obama. Imagine the accomplishments without GOP obstruction every step of the way.

  3. Jackie Green says:


    Dr. Laurence, you may speak for the Libertarian right, but claims of “relief that [Obama’s] presidency is over” and that Trump is a “morally decent individual whose history of experience” is more than Hillary’s are not universally held beliefs (to put it lightly).

    On experience, you in fact contradict your third paragraph and the flying analogy, as we are electing the first president ever without ANY government experience. And if you are to say that running a real estate empire = equivalent experience to running the nation, well, i’d say that is a pretty dubious claim and fairly condescending to career public servants, like the many people who spend a lifetime as a Congressional staffer.

    As far as Trump’s moral decency – again – i do not think we can say that it is clearly more than Hillary’s. She was not a good candidate, and had many flaws. However, Trump’s ‘Access Hollywood’ tape plus comments on building a wall were morally loathsome to many Americans.

    Lastly, much of middle America is pleased by the end of Obama’s presidency. But again, this is moreso a reflection of a divided nation, as opposed to a universally held belief. There are many Americans who will think fondly of the past eight years, where many bad things happened, but where the economy improved and we had a president devoid of the ethical failings of Bill Clinton and others who tarred the White House with their personal lapses. No President fixes all problems, and Obama’s talent as an orator perhaps set too high a bar for him – but at the minimum – i think a representative sample of the country, from big cities and small, would say that he and his family have conducted his presidency with dignity.

  4. Leslie glazer says:

    I am as aghast as others here have already noted. I have respected your work on character and morality for many years, and your emphasis on character has been quite perceptive. How is it you could even suggest the current president has good character, whether or not you feel him better able to move this country forward than his opponent in the election? He has shown himself as lacking all the cardinal virtues, and many others, almost daily. While he has managed a business and reality television type of success, domestic and international politics require a different set of skills. He has demonstrated little knowledge or understanding of history, the constitution, the meaning of law, or basically even how to get along with others. He seems to have a thin grasp of the truth, to say the least, and thinks what he wants to be true is true. So, where is the great and wise captain to steer our ship of state? Lets just hope we avoid disaster. I think your politics have led you here to only see what you wish to see as well. And as for Obama, again quite the opposite. Many are dissappointed because of the great hopes they had for him. And whether you blame him or congress, his character has been impeccable, demonstrating many of the virtues you would advocate in general.

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