This piece was originally published in my hometown Daily Hampshire Gazette.
I recently asked a friend of mine at work who voted for Donald Trump, "Any regrets?"
He looked at the floor and muttered, "Trump isn't what I expected." As he retreated down the hallway, he called back, "But Hillary would have been worse." His shaky voice confirmed that even he doesn't believe those words.
Before the election, my friend always gave me the same two reasons for supporting Trump: Trump knows what he's doing, and Hillary would be worse. He definitely regrets the first reason, and he's reconsidering the second as well.
Let's look at our current Trump debacle and imagine a Clinton presidency instead.
Trump has set new records for delusional bragging, being a sore winner, and embarrassing the country. He lies about voter fraud being the reason he lost the popular vote. He lies about the size of his inauguration crowd. He lies about Obama spying on him. He bad-mouths the millions of protestors who question his policies and character. He holds campaign rallies only in states he won while embracing policies that he admits will harm his supporters. He insults anyone who questions him every chance he gets.
Had Clinton won, she would have based her policies on values that bring us together. She would have looked for common ground with any Republicans interested in serving the nation rather than playing partisan politics. She would have listened to the voters who didn't choose her and worked for policies to help them, even as they slander her.
Trump's administrative picks have been a weird array of family members, extremists, incompetents, saboteurs, and corporate cronies. He appointed a paid agent of foreign dictators as his National Security Advisor and the head of a White Supremacist website as his Chief Strategist. Instead of "draining the swamp," as he promised, Trump made himself King of the Swamp.
Clinton would have selected accomplished specialists with a rich history of public service for her administration. And they would have represented America's diversity instead of reflecting a percentage of white males that rivals Duck Dynasty's regular viewers.
Trump has repeatedly denied Russia's attack on our election--even as members of his inner circle are implicated, and Trump's compromising business ties to Russia are revealed. Trump refuses to condemn Vladimir Putin as he murders his political opponents, oppresses his people, and leads a criminal Kleptocracy.
Clinton would have called for independent investigations into Russia's subversion of our election to prevent future attacks. She would have led the free world's opposition to Putin's dictatorial reign, just as she helped Obama do as his Secretary of State.
Without sufficient intelligence, Trump approved a misguided military raid in Yemen that led to multiple civilian casualties, little useful information recovery, and the death of an American Navy Seal. Benghazi pales by comparison.
Clinton would have shown restraint, resolve, and respect for our military and intelligence communities. She would have personally overseen missions in the Situation Room instead tweeting, as Trump did during his tragic Yemen raid.
Trump repeatedly embarrasses our country with obnoxious tweets, interviews, press conferences, and meetings with world leaders. Clinton would have represented us with strength, class, and dignity--just as she always has.
Trump signed Republican bills damaging our online privacy, allowing coal-mining waste to be dumped into rivers, and making it easier for mentally ill people to get guns. Clinton would have vetoed such nonsense.
Trump keeps pushing for misguided mass deportations and a wall that Mexico will not pay for. Clinton would have pushed for comprehensive, common-sense immigration reform.
Trump issued illegal, offensive travel bans for majority-Muslim countries, making America less safe by advancing the false narrative that we hate Muslims. Clinton would have made it clear, as Obama and even George W. Bush did, that our nation is not at war with Islam.
Trump's budget attacks the poor, education, diplomacy, and every aspect of American culture not related to defense contractors and corporations. Clinton would have budgeted with true American values and progressive initiatives to fund real efforts to keep America great.
Trump nominated a Supreme Court pick with a record of attacking the rights of women, workers, and disabled people. Clinton would have renominated Obama's well-respected pick, Merrick Garland, who was unconstitutionally blocked by cynical Republicans, or she would have nominated someone even better--perhaps Obama himself.
Trump tried to rush through a senseless Obamacare repeal. Clinton would have studied the issues, brought all sides into the discussion, deliberated with care, and championed real reforms to improve Obamacare and lay the groundwork for an eventual single-payer system.
In retrospect, how could we have predicted Trump's complete incompetence? If only we had some clue during the campaign that Clinton would have been a far better president than Trump. Oh, wait. We did. The entire campaign showed that glaring contrast. Some people just refused to see the obvious. But at least my formerly pro-Trump work friend is beginning to realize his mistake. Baby steps.
Anyone who still believes that Clinton would have been as bad as Trump is profoundly confused. His holdout followers are either hapless victims of Trump's propaganda operation or willing participants in that machine. Either way, as the world suffers under Trump, we all suffer together.
John Sheirer is an author and teacher who lives in Florence. His most recent book is, "Donald Trump's Top Secret Concession Speech." Find him at JohnSheirer.com.