Dave Rubin’s choice for U.S. President

For some reason—and it may just be my advancing curmudgeonhood—I’ve gotten peeved at the proliferation of anti-Trump posts on my Facebook feed.  As I’ve said repeatedly, I despise what Trump stands for and consider the man not only unqualified to be President, but deeply egocentric, ignorant about governance, and even unbalanced. If you don’t believe that, read the New Yorker article (free) about Tony Schwartz, the guy who ghost-wrote Trump’s bestseller The Art of the Deal. After spending weeks with Trump, Schwartz discovered what an egomaniac he is, how short Trump’s attention span is, and concludes that there’s no way any sane person should vote for the man. I agree.

Still, the endless proliferation of Trump mockery on social media seems to be overkill, especially now that his chances are waning. (I’ve made five bets that Trump will lose, including with Julia Galef and reader Lou Jost; I call those “sucker bets.”) And sometimes the Trump-bashing sounds like virtue signaling. (In the video below, Rubin is tired of the acrimony, too: see his statement from 6:40-7:38). So on every anti-Triump post by a Facebook “friend” who knows me, I’ve commented by posting a photo of a kitten. As I’ve said repeatedly, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton, but I’m not happy about it. And I’ve explained why. I cannot believe that in a country of nearly 320 million people, we can’t find a Democrat to get behind with enthusiasm.

Here’s a new video by Dave Rubin—an incipient curmudgeon whom I greatly admire—about who he’s supporting for President. He agrees with me about both Hillary and Trump—that is, they’re both problematic candidates, and the fact that they are the best we can do in the U.S. bespeaks a deeply flawed electoral system.

The video works up to Rubin’s announcement of whom he’ll be supporting as President. I won’t give you a spoiler, but you can hear the answer at 9:48. I doubt that many readers will agree, but listen to the whole 14-minute video and weigh in below.

As for the “throwing his voting away” accusation, Rubin deals with it at 11:00. But his answer doesn’t really make sense: his “support” is apparently something he intends to convey to pollsters—to get his candidate into a national debate (a creditable aim). But he doesn’t explain who, once his candidate fails, as will happen, Rubin will actually vote for. He says he’ll decide that later. Ten to one it won’t be Trump!

After I wrote most of this post, I discovered that reader Heather Hastie put up the same video, and gives her take on Rubin’s message in a post at Heather’s Homilies.


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I agree – anti Trump “memes” and clips are a credit to no one, and say nothing new. The hair jokes got old fast. But it’s not a surprise- it’s like the guy is asking for it.

  2. Somite
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I semi-liked Rubin until he brought in and legitimized a climate change denier/troll and let him present his denialism unchallenged.

    His arguments is that because of free speech everyone should be heard, but what’s the point of journalism if all points of view are held to be equivalent? He made a video attempting to explain himself and made it worse by trying to justify a fallacy of the middle.

    • Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      I don’t think that’s quite fair. He accepts anthropogenic global warming in this video, and he explains that interview.

      Watch the 5-minute video.

      • Somite
        Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        Maybe I’m oversensitive to climate change denialism but at 2:35 in that video he makes the appeal to the fallacy of the middle.

        • Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

          “Maybe I’m oversensitive to climate change denialism but at 2:35 in that video he makes the appeal to the fallacy of the middle.”

          Agreed. I posted specifically about that, on that video, on the day it was posted.

          • Posted August 18, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

            He said “in between”, not “in the middle” as you said. And in between, for Rubin, seems to be pretty close to what the scientists are saying.

            • Posted August 18, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

              “He said “in between”, not “in the middle” as you said. And in between, for Rubin, seems to be pretty close to what the scientists are saying.”

              If “in between” was the opinion he wanted to give voice to then he could have had an actual climate scientist who represents the consensus on climate change, because yes that is what they are saying. You don’t invite a climate change denier on to have that discussion.

              • Davide Spinello
                Posted August 18, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

                He had an actual climate scientist (Michael Mann) representing the consensus on climate change:

              • Posted August 18, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

                “He had an actual climate scientist (Michael Mann) representing the consensus on climate change:”

                Then presumably he already covered the “in between” the Antarctic is going to melt, and we’re all going to drown in 10 years claim, and the 2 inch increase in sea level over the next 100 years claim. What was the point of having Epstein on except as a climate denier.

              • Davide Spinello
                Posted August 19, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink

                Then presumably he already covered the “in between” the Antarctic is going to melt, and we’re all going to drown in 10 years claim, and the 2 inch increase in sea level over the next 100 years claim.

                Yes he did.

                What was the point of having Epstein on except as a climate denier.

                After listening to Epstein I did not turn into a climate change denier, and I think I gained a better understanding of some of their arguments, and I think I can discuss the topic better than before as I am more prepared to address some of their fallacies.

              • Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

                “After listening to Epstein I did not turn into a climate change denier, and I think I gained a better understanding of some of their arguments, and I think I can discuss the topic better than before as I am more prepared to address some of their fallacies.”

                I suspect that would be true of most relatively intelligent knowledgeable people who frequent this site. Unfortunately even Dave in just the first 3 minutes of the interview agreed with Epstein when he conflated the opinion of scientists with scientific consensus.
                What’s even worse with Rubin is people overestimate him. His fans assume if Dave agrees with a guest, or doesn’t push back then said guess must be making a good point.
                Now don’t get me wrong I understand why people appreciate Dave. He’s one of the loudest voices fighting back against SJW’s. HE broke ranks with TYT, and left their network largely as a result of their support of Affleck in the Harris v Affleck affair. I too appreciate much of what he has to say, and the push-back he generates, but a significant percentage following has become almost cult-like, and a significant percentage are right wingers. When he has an Epstein on IMO it’s that group he’s pandering to.

            • Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

              I think that with “somewhere in between” Dave Rubin refers to the EXTREME positions expressed by people, rather than to the question of acceptance or denial itself. Trying to transcribe what he says after 2.14:

              …..I also believe that the national conversation around climate change is mostly idiotic [not sure if that is the correct word?] vacillating between:

              – people who think that we are on the brink of a catastrophic climatic disaster,

              – and those who hide their head in the sand to the realities of the changing environment.

              And like most things, and I say this, right?, the answer is probably somewhere in between….

              • Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

                “And like most things, and I say this, right?, the answer is probably somewhere in between…”

                I agree, and most climate change scientists agree. You don’t need to interview a denier to make that point. Just like you don’t need to interview a Bigfoot supporter to point out that we have yet to discover numerous plants and animals, or Ken Ham to discuss Piltdown man.

            • ScientificApe
              Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

              I think he actually means it’s in the middle (like congratulating himself on being on showcasing both sides)

              Also alex epstein’s company is funded by koch brothers.

              • Posted August 22, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

                “I think he actually means it’s in the middle (like congratulating himself on being on showcasing both sides)”

                Virtue signaling to skeptics.

    • Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      “I semi-liked Rubin until he brought in and legitimized a climate change denier/troll and let him present his denialism unchallenged.”

      You expressed my sentiment perfectly.

      • Posted August 18, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        So I guess if he takes one position you disagree with, it’s no longer okay to “semi like him” and, by extension, to dismiss everything he says?

        Is there ANYONE on this planet who doesn’t take a position you people disagree with?

        Sorry, but I don’t like the attitude that if you agree with someone, say 85% of the time, but have maybe one disagreement (and Rubin is NOT a denialist), then you write him off for good. That is a Social Justice Warrior tactic.

        You know, I could say, “I semi liked Dan Dennett until I heard him give a talk on compatibilism.” Yes, we have that disagreement, but I still like him, consider him a friend, and respect his work. What the hell does “liking” have to do with this? Are we at a point where we sniff around for one thing we don’t like about someone, and then write him off? Because that’s what some of this discussion sounds like.

        • Posted August 18, 2016 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          “So I guess if he takes one position you disagree with, it’s no longer okay to “semi like him” and, by extension, to dismiss everything he says?”

          First of all I never said that I would dismiss everything he says, but some issues are important enough to degrade my opinion of someone from semi-like, or even full on like to neutral, or worse. Climate change is one of them. If he had the Grand Wizard of the KKK on, and gave him free reign to spew his racism under the guise that there is “provocative, and complex conversation surrounding” race that needs to be had, I suspect no matter how much I liked him I would no longer use that term to describe my feelings about him.

        • Somite
          Posted August 18, 2016 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          What would be your approach if Rubin brought in someone from Templeton, The DI or Ken Ham and then made the argument that truths are in the middle?

          • Posted August 18, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

            He said IN BETWEEN, not “in the middle”, and for Rubin that is CLEARLY very close to what the climate scientists are saying. Nowhere in that video does he imply that the truth is exactly halfway between the denialists and the scientists. For Templeton, I’d give him a pass depending on what he said. For creationists, if he said “the evolutionists are mostly right but the truth about evolution is in between”, I’d try to find out what he meant by that, and then, if he had some creationist misconceoptions, I’d try to dispel them.

            If he were a straight creationist, I’d stop listening to his stuff on creationism, but not necessarily reject everything else he said.

            • Francisco
              Posted September 3, 2016 at 12:36 am | Permalink

              To each SJW there is a Rubin Warrior I guess

    • Posted August 18, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      I semi-liked Rubin until he seemed to jump whole-heartedly onto the Milo Yiannopoulos bandwagon. I find much of what Milo does and says to be repulsive (genuinely racist, misogynistic, etc.), but Dave seems to think he’s a great guy doing good, important work. Since his Milo interview, Dave has only dropped even further in my estimation. He reminds me of the saying, “Keep and open mind, but no so open that…”

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted August 18, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think people always “get” what Dave Rubin is trying to do.

      Too much of American TV is now a cult of personality. Shows like Colbert etc have trained people to think that a show with someone’s name on it is all about that person. Rubin is not like that. He is interested in making people talk so that we can discover their point of view.

      Rubin isn’t an egoist who wants to debate everyone who comes on. His views, where relevant, are addressed before or after the show. The actual interview is all about the guest, not about Rubin.

      It’s actually smart, but I guess people are so polarised into camps now that they think that they want to watch 50 episodes of “Dave Rubin smacks down ” rather than learn something new about 50 different people that one wouldn’t normally listen to.

      • Posted August 19, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        I guess, but most people draw a line somewhere. If your guest (guest, who you invited, on purpose) says something like, “The problem with Jews is that they kill Christian babies and drink their blood.” And your response is, “That’s interesting. Please, go on.” You’re gonna lose some fans.

  3. Cole
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    If America elects Trump, it will be thanks to people like David Rubin. This is a bad call.

    I loved an analogy from Bill Maher. Imagine you need to get to San Diego, and there are two buses. One is going to San Diego on a very indirect route. It’s going to take you a lot longer to get there than you hoped. The second bus is going to hell. Which bus do you choose?

    The time to support people like Gary Johnson (or Bernie for that matter) is in the primary. Now is the time to stop Trump at all costs.

  4. Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    In 2016, this is dangerous advice. In 1968, frustrated by Hubert Humphrey’s waffling on the Vietnam War, I cast a protest vote for comedian Dick Gregory. Humphrey lost by a whisker to Tricky Dick Nixon. Nearly 50 years later, I still regret my vote. In 2000, the 10% of the electorate who voted for Ralph Nader (75% of whom would have voted for Gore), discovered that their ballots made it possible for the Supreme Court to tip the election in favor of G.W. Bush. Remember the ‘Brexit’ vote – people will lie to pollsters when they are about to make a controversial decision. So polls could be misleading. Listen to the 50 Republican national security advisors: if elected, Trump would be “the most reckless president in our nation’s history.” In this election, don’t throw away your vote.

    • Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      + 1. Americans who do not want Trump for president should just vote for Clinton, period. I do not understand the intellectuals who see the election day as an occasion to prove how out of the box they think and throw some fancy vote, relying on working-class voters (whom they despise) to do their job and stop the Bad Guy. Personally, I do not see the eventual Trump victory as the end of the world. I have fastened my seat belt during Bush presidency and have never since unfastened it. Nevertheless, why give Trump the key to the banana plantation? The world is interesting enough as it is.

  5. Stephen Barnard
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    “Attention spam” : Is there a word for a typo that makes sense?

    • Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      LOL. I fixed it.

    • Kevin
      Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink


    • Alastair Haigh
      Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      By Jove, that’s brilliant.

      I just Googled the phrase and got a paltry 16,700 hits. How strange that an expression so apt should be virtually unknown.

    • Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      a serendeepity?

    • Posted August 18, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Loved it! Sort of a pseudo-oxymoron.

  6. BobTerrace
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    First of all, there are as many anti-Clinton Facebook posts as anti-Trump ones. What you see is dependent on who your “Friends” are. I do see some of the anti-Clinton ones because I have relatives who are on the dark side. I finally had to “unfollow” them due to all the anti-Clinton fabrications (many each day).

    As far Dave Rubin’s video, The libertarian candidate and his running mate are both former Republicans and still adhere to some of the dogma. Also, Clinton represents the same (but improved) liberal social stances as Johnson/Weld. One thing that is a non-starter for me of the Libertarian party is that they abhore regulations on corporations and they are just fine with oligarchs controlling business.

    Anther flaw in Rubin’s argument is that the two parties hold a strangle hold. This is because people VOTE for them. No one is forcing the electorate to support them.

    Also, his ‘solution’ of the third party achieving 15 percent is nullified when there is a fourth party (Green) also vying for attention and votes. The two minor parties will cancel each other and deny both of them the required percentage.

    • kieran
      Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      I get a lot of the evangelical christian stuff from my relatives state side pretty much saying that flawed as donald trump is the republican platform is the right one to chose as such vote trump.

  7. Bernardo
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I am honestly surprised a smart scientist like you supports Dave Rubin, who is not exactly a reliable intellectual reference. He’s just an average joe with a youtube channel

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      I personally find that comment a bit elitist. Rubin doesn’t pretend to be anything he’s not, and he’s just as entitled to comment on stuff as anyone else.

      He also has a fairly professional operation. He was part of TYT but left them because of disagreements on positions, then was part of Larry King’s Ora TV. In the last few months he’s gone out on his own.

      • darrelle
        Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        Yes, just a bit.

    • Posted August 18, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Bernardo, that’s a Roolz violation, as it’s an ad hominem remark. You will apologize for what you said or leave.

    • Posted August 18, 2016 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Jebus. One needn’t have a PhD or be a scientist to be a “reliable intellectual reference.” And, if we waited for “smart scientists” to voice opinions we liked, we might die of starvation. Many scientists are gagged by the rules of their own social societies into not saying what they think. This is especially true of women, like myself, who haven’t yet established themselves. In science, you are beholden to those with more power. Unless famous or have a lot of money, scientists have to be careful. It’s a sad and sick state of affairs that depresses me as I enter the game.

      Thank god for people like Rubin. And while I don’t agree with his vote for president, his position was healthy and we desperately need more of it.

    • Bernardo
      Posted August 18, 2016 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      You’re right. I made a precipitated remark. My apologies

  8. Stephen Barnard
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    The Trump ridicule on my Facebook feed doesn’t bother me. I actually like the witty ones.

    What does bother me are people taken in by fake news and satire sites that post outright falsehoods. This happens on the right and the left, but FAR more often on the right. Just yesterday a rabid anti-Obama, anti-Clinton “friend” posted a news story, purportedly from ABCNEWS, saying that Obama issued an executive order banning “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance in all government schools. This was so transparently false that only someone blinded by hatred could fall for it, as did several of his friends.

    When I pointed out and proved it was false his response, which is typical, was that it didn’t make any difference because it was about Obama.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      This particular lie was repeated throughout the GOP primaries at churches across the country by Ted Cruz’s father. He was always introduced as the father of the next president and Ted Cruz was lauded as the guy who was going to stop same-sex marriage, abortion, and several other “iniquities of the modern world.”

    • Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      I’d wish some US president (or whatever institution has the prerogatives) to make this false news true. Actually, I think the entire Pledge of Allegiance should be discarded. We haven’t had such stuff since 1989 and we do not miss it.

      • JB2
        Posted August 18, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        The climate change skeptic and Milo were strikes one and two. Dave’s support for third party wankery is strike three. I doubt I’ll be watching him anymore.

        We have a first-past-the-post, winner-take-all electoral system. This makes all third party efforts a complete waste of time. If you don’t like it, then advocate for amending the constitution. In the meantime, any U.S. citizen who does anything but vote for HRC in November is helping Trump become president. Voting is not a consumer choice.

        • Posted August 18, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          “The climate change skeptic and Milo were strikes one and two. Dave’s support for third party wankery is strike three. I doubt I’ll be watching him anymore.”

          Yeah I actually feel the same. I unsubscribed from him after the third strike. In the future I’ll watch him only if he has guests who’s unchallenged opinions I’m interested in hearing.

          • Kurt Lewis Helf
            Posted August 18, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

            For me the Johnson endorsement is strike four. Strike three was the interview with the execrable Dinesh D’Souza.

            • Posted August 19, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

              Good point. I forgot about that one. It’s not, as Jerry suggests above, that we write off Dave Rubin if we disagree with him about even one little thing. Most of us regulars here have demonstrated that we can disagree without becoming too disagreeable (read any free will thread). With Rubin, I think it is a pattern of behavior. Most of us gave him the benefit of the doubt, once, twice, three times. But at some point it becomes clear that it’s not just a few little things. Anyway, Dave Rubin seems like a very nice guy. I’m sure I’d like him as person and he’d be great fun to hang out with. I don’t, however, find his show to be worthwhile anymore.

  9. colnago80
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Yesterday’s shakeup by the Donald should put trepidation into everyone. The appointment of Bannon as the Donald’s new campaign manager is a signal that his campaign is going to go full smear. Bannon is a channeler of Josef Goebbels, author of the big lie theory. What we will now see from the Trump campaign is a series of big lies, repeated over and over again until at least some of them stick. It worked for Hitler in the early 1930s and anyone who thinks that the USA is immune is whistling Dixie. Be afraid, be very afraid.

    • darrelle
      Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      It won’t be much of a change. More like business as usual for the Republican machine. Karl Rove put “the big lie” on a pedestal and made it the primary tactic of the Republican machine back during the Bush Jr run. It worked so well that it has remained the primary tactic of the Republican machine since then.

      Sure, all politicians lie, but degrees really do matter. This is one of the major reasons I have come to despise the Republican party and have become very unsympathetic of people that support them.

      What does it say about a politician that they are either dumb enough to believe the big lies their party gives them to deliver or merely dishonest enough to do so? And what does it say about the Republican supporters? Especially the ones who understand what the big lies are at least to some degree and still support the Republican politicians and make excuses and rationalizations for why the lying and assholery thus revealed are not important for some reason?

      • BobTerrace
        Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        I agree with you but it didn’t start with Bush Jr, it started under Reagan with Voodoo economics, trickle-down and Star Wars defense.

    • Mike Cracraft
      Posted August 18, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know much about Bannon, but remember that Hitler never won an overall majority of votes until after 1933. He was appointed chancellor by Hindenburg with the approval of the other conservative and liberal ministers in the government. That sealed their fate.

  10. Jamie
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Discussing politics with friends who have time to hear one out can be very rewarding. Discussing politics on a web site where no one has the patience or attention to work through all the various issues, passions are often inflamed, and the post will be forgotten tomorrow or the next day, can be infuriating and polarizing, all to no valuable end.

    But, having said that, here’s why I do not support Johnson. The major problem we have as a nation is economic… it is growing wealth inequality. All our social problems are solvable, and other concerns, like global warming, are symptoms of our current economic arrangements. (If you reject that premise, then what follows will not make sense and the only productive discussion we could have would be on the merits of the premise itself.)

    I support fiscal conservatism for families, state and city governments. These entities need to be conservative because they have limited funds available and if they do not run balanced budgets they face sever consequences. The problem with Johnson is reflected by Rubin when he states the country is “broke”. This is what the economist Roger Mitchell calls “the big lie”. The federal government is not “broke”, and can never go “broke” unless congress wills it. As a monetary sovereign, the federal government can pay any bill of any size at any time. We pretend that this is not the case in order to constrain government spending when there is not enough time or desire to have the difficult political discussion over what we actually want to accomplish as a society and who gets to decide where our resources go. There are limited real resources… but money is not one of them if you are the federal government.

    Not recognizing this fact will lead Johnson to support the same austerity economics that keeps us in this semi-permanent recession… which will aggravate wealth inequality and exacerbate all our other social ills. So, although I am on board with Rubin as far as opening up the two party system and letting more voices be heard, and I would support inviting Johnson to the debates, it is Jill Stein who has my support. (Though as Jerry points out, support is not the same as vote… I have not yet decided who I will actually vote for.)

    The libertarian view is reflected well by the staging in Rubin’s video. Financial success (as symbolized by the wine bottles and hourglass on the desk behind him) is, for libertarians, purely a matter of personal character and effort. The ideal libertarian society is a meritocracy in which people are rewarded according to their abilities and efforts. There is little recognition of the social forces that disadvantage or advantage people from birth. It is a fine idea to get government out of people’s lives when the government is a mean, petty bureaucracy, and every encounter with government agents falls on a scale from annoying to infuriating. But the idea that people are better off left to their own devices is simply wrong. We institute government in order to provide for our collective welfare, and an ideology of the individual that does not recognize that, will only aggravate the problem of wealth inequality.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      I’m glad someone wrote this. The failure of many to understand the difference between personal and government economics is one of the biggest problems in the US. The idea of the Balanced Budget Amendment comes from this and is both stupid and dangerous. A government NEEDS the tool of being able to run a deficit at certain times in order to properly manage the economy.

      At the moment, when financially sound governments (like the US) can borrow money at zero or even negative interest rates, the economy needs demand to be increased, and infrastructure is in a bad way, it would be extreme incompetence for them not to borrow money for infrastructure projects.

      Johnson supports trickle-down economics, which we now know doesn’t work except in very limited circumstances (which do not apply in the US and haven’t for years), and also the selfishness of self-reliance which ignores the plight of those born into, or thrust into, difficulty that they have no way of getting out of themselves. It assumes those who don’t do well are lazy, or just need to work harder, or are otherwise in trouble because it’s their own fault. That attitude sickens me.

      • Historian
        Posted August 18, 2016 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        Heather, you’re quite right. I would never vote for Gary Johnson (and I’m saying this as emphatically as I can) even though I probably agree with most of his social views. The libertarian economic philosophy (essentially laissez-faire) would make today’s income inequality look like nothing. Without federal regulation, you would see an even more plutocratic America emerge. The economic conservatism of the libertarians is not something most Americans want, despite what Rubin says. Rubin naively thinks that the libertarian economic policy means freedom. Actually, quite to the contrary, if that philosophy were ever to be implemented, what you would see is economic slavery for most of the populace. There is a reason libertarians have always been more aligned with Republicans than Democrats. So, yes, I’m voting for Hillary because despite her flaws she is many times more preferable than Trump, Johnson, or Stein.

        • Posted August 19, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          What I don’t understand about Libertarians (maybe you can answer this for me) is why they think eliminating government regulation of business will work out better this time around than it has in the past? Dickensian England? Guilded Age/Robber Baron America? Do they not know that this has been tried before and failed miserably? That the regulations are there because the people demanded it? That it wasn’t a Randian paradise? Do they not know the history (seems unlikely, some of them are very intelligent and well educated), or do they think even then the government was too meddling? I don’t get it.

          • Historian
            Posted August 19, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

            For libertarians personal freedom from government regulation is a fetish. They believe nothing else is more important. The consequences of such freedom are immaterial to them.

    • Posted August 18, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Yes, extremely well said about Johnson and about libertarianism in general.

  11. Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    The Johnson campaign claims they got their 15% so we might see a third podium on stage. Trump will probably whine and complain since he already said he won’t debate a third party (if he’ll even debate at all) and I suspect he’ll either strong arm the networks into denying Johnson the debate or just take his ball and go home.

    • loren russell
      Posted August 18, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Johnson may claim that he is qualifying, but he has not come close to this magic number in the national polls that the debates commission will use.

  12. Curt Nelson
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand these people who won’t vote for the lesser of two evils, when the magnitude of the two evils is actually very imbalanced (they seem to claim it is not).

    Recently on Real Time with Bill Maher, Cornell West said the HC vs DT choice was like David Duke vs D Trump… What? Why invent a scenario in which there is literally no difference to describe one in which the difference is big and obvious?

    Now I hear on the David Feldman podcast that Howie Klein, who I thought I liked, wouldn’t vote for HC to break a tie. JHC!

  13. Posted August 18, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    It makes sense that we need to support a third (and fourth, fifth, sixth, etc.) party to combat the irrational dogma of both the democrats and G.O.P. Johnson and Weld, specifically, have the experience (both were popular, re-elected governors in blue states) and offer the best chance of rationally and effectively dealing with both parties to reach compromises to actually solve problems.

  14. Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    “the fact that they are the best we can do in the U.S. bespeaks a deeply flawed electoral system”

    Well, I think it’s a fine electoral system. Imperfect to be sure; but I don’t know about deeply flawed. Doesn’t seem that way to me. I’m not seeing others elsewhere with consistently better results.

    I think it speaks more to:
    The current pool of candidates
    The obtuseness of much of the electorate
    Our very low voting rates
    The even lower voting rates in the primaries/caucuses

    Now I will listen to Rubin.

  15. Ann German
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I have a Gary Johnson bumper sticker on my car, even though I will probably write in Bernie Sanders on election day. My purpose is to encourage at least ONE Trump-supporter wannabe to jump ship and vote Libertarian. A Clinton or Sanders bumper sticker in Montana is worthless . . . any Dems already know what to do, and this is a red state. And, since anywhere here is MILES from anywhere else, there will be exposure as I cruise the state.

    • Posted August 19, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      In Montana your vote might actually make a difference. By writing in Bernie, it seems to me that you are saying, “I’d like to make a point with my vote, and in the contest of ‘I vote for Clinton’ vs ‘Trump becomes president,’ Trump becoming president is the lesser of those two evils.” Do you really think that voting for Clinton is worse a thing than Trump becoming president?

  16. Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I certainly agree with his analysis of our society.

    “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

    I have a totally pragmatic approach in this election: Who do I think will act more closely to my desires between the two candidates who have a realistic chance of being president on 21-Jan-2017. And, to me, as a political liberal, the choice is obvious: Hillary Clinton.

    I think Rubin should look more closely into Trump’s history if he wants to plumb the depth of Trump’s dishonesty. More or less Trump’s entire life appears to have been a con job. Every statement I’ve seen quoted from him has been empty where it has not been ignorant and/or offensive (or all of the above).

    I wish Rubin would have addressed Johnson’s specific plans. Looking on his website, I see a lot of goals; but no plans.

    His first two hitters are cut spending and taxes. Provide specifics on what you plan to cut and why. (The last 35 years have proved that “trickle down” or “supply side” only works for the wealthy.)

    He touts the importance of the environment. Are you going to cut the EPA?

    He touts the importance of people being free to enjoy life. It’s hard to enjoy life if you can’t pay for health care. (Any one of us could be severely injured in an accident today.) Does he plan to do away with the AFA? If so, replace it with what?

    Would he cut the FDA? Where and why?

  17. merilee
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink


  18. Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I like a lot of Rubin’s work, but I think this monologue is deeply misguided.

    There is a real tendency for some liberals to passively equate Clinton with Trump, in that one is as bad as the other (Rubin does this repeatedly, even opening his monologue with wordplay to this effect). I acknowledge and respect the fact that many liberals dislike Clinton, even dislike her deeply, but it is ludicrous to equate her at all to Trump. Her “insider” status, her ties to Wall Street, the quagmire of half-truths surrounding Libya and Iraq – all favourite talking points of Clinton detractors – are on a totally different plane than demonizing an entire ethnicity, saying women should be punished for getting abortions, suggesting pro-gun people should think about assassinating the competition, etc. The nits you can pick with Clinton are political in nature; Trump’s are about basic human decency.

    As for supporting a third-party candidate, I have many issues with that, but I’ll stick to addressing Rubin’s main reason for supporting Johnson, that if we can get enough popular support, then his inclusion in the presidential debates could be a catalyst for real change in the US governmental system. I am extremely critical about the US governmental system, more than most I would imagine, and I’m extremely pessimistic about changing it. But I respect, and like, the idea that it could be changed. However, I think his suggestion is an incredibly naive one.

    First of all, it’s already been done. What kind of change did ’92 Perot affect on the two-party stranglehold? None that I can see. Why would now be any different, especially when US culture is even more deeply polarized than in the 90’s? Secondly, trying to change the two-party system by getting a third-party candidate for president into the mix is, to use a timely analogy, like trying to sprint for gold in the Olympics without first competing in local competition. If the US governmental system is ever going to substantially change, reform has to come from Congress, not from the Executive. To legitimatize a third-party, you first need to build a third-party presence in government. The only way that can happen is at the local level. Supporting a third-party candidate for presidency does none of this. Why is this third-party envy never thrown about during Congressional races? Every presidential race I hear this third-party argument being thrown about, but it disappears in virtually every other election. The US governmental system has been robustly constructed to favour a two-party system. It’s a problem that has to be chipped away at now. And the same goes for the general public’s willingness to cast a vote for a third-party candidate, even if their views align more closely with one.

    • Posted August 18, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      The only successful (risen from obscurity to consistent contender nationally) third party in US history was the Republicans. And that took the most rending event in US history: The ending of slavery (and it was all about slavery, make no mistake).

      Nothing even in the same universe presents today. It’s not conceivable. Maybe climate change will provide the motivation some day.

    • Posted August 18, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink


  19. Posted August 18, 2016 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Rubin seems like one of the few sane and balanced media personalities left. I dont agree w him politicially but admire his open-mindedness to hear other peoples POVs.

  20. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I am still amazed by the national anti-Clinton sentiment. By statistics she was the most truthful candidate, she can’t have any skeleton left in such a searched through closet, she has tons of experience and she will make a great president.

    Maybe it is the realpolitik and/or experience that gnaws at idealists? Because that is the only reason I can see for what looks like a long time unsubstantiated campaign based on dislike. (But what do I know, I am not a US citizen. It looks decidedly odd from the outside though.)

    My take: You are unlikely to like any given politician. What you want is their good results.

    • Posted August 18, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, Trump tells more lies faster than virtually anyone I’ve ever heard. Look into his business dealings. Totally dishonest con man.

      It’s laughable when he calls Cruz “Lying Ted” or HRC “Crooked Hillary”.

      I just wish a reporter would follow up with, “Project much Mr. Trump?”

  21. revelator60
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    A lot of Trump mockery is indeed overkill, but some satirists are doing good work. The English comedian Peter Serafinowicz has been releasing a stream of “Sassy Trump” videos, where he dubs Trump’s speeches, giving him a new voice (putting Trump’s macho tough-talk in an entireky new light) but keeping every single one of Trump’s original words. The effect is truly surreal because some of Trump’s public comments have been crazy even by his standards:
    All words verbatim!

  22. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I do not really have a problem with anything that Rubin said but really, is he saying anything that most do not already know or should know. However, I do not see that he is providing any cures to our big problem, which is, that our political system and government is in the toilet. Had he wanted my serious attention, he needs to get to that.

    He also has the same problem that seems to be pretty standard in everyone. This false belief that this one elected position (president) is the answer or not, to all of our difficulties and that just does not make it. The previous 8 years with Obama should tell you that if it tells us anything. He has been able to do almost nothing the past 4 years and very little before that due to the Congress we have. We could have the best damn President in the world and it would mean almost nothing if the Congress is not also changed.

    Read the constitution first and then understand who has the power to do what. Since the beginning it has been the congress who holds the purse strings and who makes most of the laws. The massive problem with our form of government at this point cannot be fixed without a great change in who our elected officials are throughout the government. And this cannot be fixed until we eliminate the money. All this other stuff is just wind.

  23. Richard Bond
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I thought that quite a lot of Rubin’s rant made sense, but I was really annoyed by his assertion, commonly heard from professional Americans, that the rest of the world envies the USA. Many of us do not.

    • Posted August 18, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      I used to work with a guy who said (often), “All those people in Europe, they just want to emigrant to the US.”

      I said to him, “I have many friends and relatives in Europe. Not a single one has expressed any interest in moving to the US.”

      “No, they all want to come to the US.” (A very Drumpfian response …)

      If he’s still alive, I’m sure he’s voting for Drumpf.

  24. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    If y’all didn’t have such long election periods, we’d all forget about Trump. You should do it like in Canada where we select party leaders over a weekend then have a few weeks of campaigns. We complain if the campaigns last months and think it a great injustice.

    • Posted August 18, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. This process in the U.S. goes on much, much too long.

  25. Posted August 18, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I’d never vote US-style libertarian, but I do think that having more options will net-improve things long term.

  26. Posted August 18, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    As an Australian viewing the US election from afar Trump’s motivation is not immediately apparent – his every speech/media appearance seems to further ensure his eventual electoral defeat. A friend suggested that the creation of the ‘Trump Identity’ may in reality be a masterful tactic by Democratic Party to exploit weaknesses in the Republican Party’s support base and candidate selection process.

    This sounds more reasonable than the image of a lunatic billionaire demagogue?


  27. Posted August 18, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    I’ve got so many places to start that I’m overwhelmed. So short and sweet.
    1. People who vote for Hillary are in a Trump panic. It’s completely unwarranted.
    2. I agree with Dave in theory that ending the 2 party system is the path to a viable future.
    3. I can’t get my head around Libertarian think. I can align myself with some aspects of less intrusive govt, but their “fiscal conservatism” amounts to unfettered capitalism and that is a bad, bad, very bad thing. Plus I would like someone to give me an example of a functioning “Libertarian” govt. Just one. Any one will do.
    4. I fail to understand why engaging the 40% of the electorate who is staying home couldn’t make up to 15% for BOTH the Libertarians and the Greens. Those who identify with the Independents are already a larger demographic than either GOP or DEM.


    a leftist loon.

  28. JJH
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Two quick statements and then my analysis of the video.

    1. I had never come across Mr. Rubin before and I think it’s great that his video was put up on this site (let’s face it, the comments here do lean – I mean really lean – left).

    2. To my conservative friends that are thinking of voting Trump, I think you should absolutely follow Mr. Rubin’s advice and vote for Gov. Johnson (you also should probably stop reading this comment now).


    In his intro he sets up a false equivalency between the two candidates and continues it throughout the monologue. Both are “uninspiring”, well Jefferson, Lincoln, and Eisenhower could all be called “uninspiring” candidates but all three were successful presidents. But, judging by the polls, yes there are people that aren’t thrilled by Clinton, but there are many more who are just appalled by Trump. He then equivocates mistakes (he believes) that Clinton made in office with Trump’s total lack of understanding (again he believes) of how the constitutional republic operates. These two things are not equivalent! The first only requires corrections, the second should be an immediate dis-qualifier. Later he states that the nation broken (he doesn’t clarify what he means by that) and going broke. Both of these statements are false. The U.S. ranks near the top of the most stable states to live in (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Fragile_States_Index)i.e. the nation is not broken. Additionally, comparing debt to a percentage of GDP, the US is doing better than Japan, UK, France, Germany, and Italy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debt-to-GDP_ratio), so no we are not broke either.

    Other ups and downs (all time stamps are only approximate):

    3:10 – I absolutely agree with him about low information voters. I wish had a cure but I don’t, however I don’t think a third party is going to cure it.

    6:32 He blames the Democratic party (her team) for not fixing all of the nation’s problems when they “were in power” for the last 8 years. Well, this statement totally disregards the system of checks and balances laid out in the Constitution. A president can only do so much when he has a congress whose main goal is to see him fail.

    7:30 He makes an excellent point about that we as nation are finding harder and harder to have a civil disagreement. I also agree with him that social media plays a large part of that, but that’s just hunch.

    10:30 Sharia Law is NOT a threat in the U.S. We have this Constitution which includes Article VI, the First and the Fourteenth amendments.

    12:30 – 14:00 He blames both parties for not giving “us” a better system, better candidates, etc. To me, this is putting the cart before the horse. I believe the parties are both doing what their constituencies want. I’m sorry if that is not what he wants, but so be it.

    In the end, I would consider the video a typical third party appeal (although much more eloquent than the others I have read) to the idea that “the other two parties equally suck, so vote for my guy” without really giving me any good reasons to vote for his guy.

  29. Henry Fitzgerald
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    Can I once again express my amazement that Americans don’t have single transferrable vote, as Australians do? It’s such an obvious reform, and it would prevent the kind of agonising paralysis voters experience when encountering two leading candidates they dislike.

    And Americans invented this voting system in the first place!

    • Posted August 19, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      I suspect that the reason they don’t (and us Canadians don’t) is we’re still very traditionalist. The current Canadian government is trying to do some public consultations on electoral reform, and even doing *that* requires them to walk on eggshells.

  30. Alpha Neil
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    The county I live in is split 50/50 Dem./Rep. There are Trump signs everywhere but I have yet to see a single Hillary sign. I know yard signs don’t vote but there seems to be an enthusiasm gap, at least locally. I would love to have a third party option but for this election I’ll remain a Democrat by default.

  31. ScientificApe
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    ” Ten to one it won’t be Trump!”

    Look at this twitter feed and all you find is hillary/liberal media bashing.
    I will be betting he would vote trump 10-1

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