Early Poll: Who’s The Most Unethical Democratic Presidential Candidate?

My inquiry has been slightly different of late: I’ve been trying to decide on the most loathsome Democrat candidate, which so far is a dead heat with multiple contenders. However, the degree to which some of these people make me want to retch is a distraction, and I will be periodically polling on the more relevant topic of this blog as we crawl to the August 2020 conventions, a year from now.

To head off the inevitable “whatabout” responses, let me stipulate that, of course, Donald Trump, our President, is unethical in many, many ways, based  on what we know about his character, what he says, and what he does.

That is not a verdict on whether he should be removed from office, or whether he is corrupt or “unfit to be President.” If unethical character or deeds alone were grounds for impeachment, we would have had about 30 of them by now. There has been no evidence that Trump is a corrupt President, which is what matters, just assumptions based on the general distrust by those who will never give him a chance.

Fitness for Presidency is self defining: elections determine whether a President is fit, because in a democracy that’s the people’s right to determine, not pundits, no ethicists, not other politicians. Once found to be fit to serve by an election, a President’s subsequent conduct determines whether the public was right. It doesn’t matter whether those who voted against him think he’s fit. Their standard did not prevail. At the point of election, all good citizens are obligated to wipe the slate clean and allow the elected President to proceed in the most difficult job in the land with the nation’s symbolic support. A large chunk of the Left has refused to do that this time, ever. That means they are unethical, and unfit to live in a democracy. It is the job of those who are fit to either convince them of their dangerous error, or to minimize the damage they are doing to the nation.

I was moved to pick today for the first poll after acquiring more damning intelligence about one of the strong contenders for “Most Unethical,” Senator Kamala Harris of California. You can read some earlier verdicts on Harris here. I would say that her stand-out unethical quality is incompetence, and that leads her into other bad places, because she has no evident leadership instincts or skills, and isn’t quick enough to fake it.

The new intelligence was Harris’s post debate “defense” of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s effective attack on Harris’s record as a prosecutor and her current rhetoric. There are valid defenses of the variance in her positions then and now, but Harris has been unable to articulate them, a bad sign. This attack on Gabbard, however, was unethical.

First, she had her press secretary, Ian Sams, tweeted (and retweeted) this smear:

“Reporters writing their stories with eyes on the modern-day assignment desk of Twitter, read this: ‘The Russian propaganda machine that tried to influence the 2016 election is now promoting the presidential aspirations of a controversial Hawaii Democrat.”

We know it comes from Harris because he wasn’t fired ten minutes after he tweeted it, so his boss owns it. In another tweet, Sams linked Gabbard to Syria’s Assad, and this we also know comes from Harris. Right after the debate, knowing that Gabbard’s attack would, as they say, “leave a mark,” Harris told reporters,

“This is going to sound immodest but I’m obviously a top-tier candidate. And so I did expect that I would be on the stage and take hits tonight. I think that this coming from someone who has been an apologist for an individual, Assad, who has murdered the people of his country like cockroaches, she who has embraced and been an apologist for him in a way that she refuses to call him a war criminal, I can only take what she says and her opinion so seriously. And so, you know, I’m prepared to move on.”

But what about what Gabbard said, Senator? How is she wrong? Senator?

For me, this kind of statement is the end of the inquiry.  She resorts to the per se disrespectful tactic (as in “she thinks we’re all idiots”) of using polls as the equivilent  of value. It is basically asserting the King’s Pass: “She can’t accuse me of wrongdoing,, I’m more important and popular than her!” The scary thing as that Harris might really think that’s a good argument. Then she stoops to  ad hominem in its purest, mots unethical, most dishonest form: “Ignore the messenger’s message, because of this completely unrelated matter.” And she never addressed the substance of Gabard’s criticism!

For now, I’m going to restrict the poll field to a group of candidates that have at least a faintly glimmering hope of actually being nominated (meaning, for example, that Gabbard isn’t an option), and while omitting some frighteningly unethical creeps who have no shot and might sweep the field in the no-ethics sweepstakes, like Mayor de Blasio and billionaire Trump-hater Tom Steyer. I will also leave out candidates who have, so far, not displayed  any strong unethical tendencies, like Amy Klobuchar. There will be opportunities to add and subtract from the group later.

Here’s your poll:

30 thoughts on “Early Poll: Who’s The Most Unethical Democratic Presidential Candidate?

  1. I voted for Elizabeth Warren. She promises things she can’t possibly deliver on, she fans divisiveness, she literally appropriated another culture for her gain and still refuses to acknowledge.

    But the key ingredient here is…she’s old enough to know better.

    • I, unfortunately, believe you are 100% correct. The worst part is that the nominee reflects the ethics of his/her supporters.

        • I suppose but there could be a bit of a difference.

          What gifts is Trump promising to the voters? I see a huge difference in telling blacks that you will support reparations, telling another demographic that you support open borders, free health care, and free college to get or should I say buy votes.

          So I suppose we are back to degrees of wrongness. Trump’s lack of ethical behavior is more reflective on him and that his supporters will look the other way not to get something for themselves but because they think his national objectives are the right ones.

          I often ask myself what is more ethical to be transparently honest and do what many consider unethical to accomplish a mission or goal promised to others, or create the appearance of piety and decorum but whose private actions and motivations are riddled with deceit, hate and personal greed.

          Conversely, the list of candidates above all, to a person, promise expanded goodies for different groups. Those candidates exploit our own greed to get the power and influence they crave.

          Again, in fairness to a few, some are not nearly as willing to buy votes as others. Delaney was my Congressman and was elected when the 6th district was gerrymandered to prevent the Republican incumbent from getting relected. He did very little during his 4 years beyond showing up on the rubber chicken circuit. Talked a good game though.

        • Yes, I agree that the supporters rally to the promises and vision of the candidate.. I will boil down the basic message voters hear from each side, the core message, not the periphery or the interpretation by others, the message the voters hear. The voters flock to the promises and vision they identify with and most want.

          Trump: I will make the economy great again so you can have jobs, support your families, and have decent lives.

          Democratic Candidates: We will take money from rich people and give them to you because you deserve it more/ are owed it because .

          With these messages in mind, I wish Trump had 99+% support.

  2. I went with Gilibrand. Her comment that she, as a white woman, can explain white privilege to suburban woman.
    That statement is bigoted in multiple ways: it panders to blacks and women while simultaneously demeans whites and men.

    The problem with this poll is that at any given time everyone will lie through their teeth to mislead, obfuscate and screw over the electorate just to amass power.

    I know you stipulated as to Trumps ethics but I would be willing to wager that Trump’s motivations are far purer than most of these. For now, I’ll give Klobachar and Gabbard a pass on motivation. Steyer hates Trump only because Steyer had positioned himself corner the renewable energy market and Trump’s energy independance strategy puts a massive ding in Steyer’s plans.

    I see Harris and Booker as seeking the presidency for self aggrandizment and future riches. If either get elected I predict massive regulation and even more racial divide: for them power is the ability to tell you NO YOU CAN’T.

    Given that none have publically made comments attempting to shut down the claims of illegitimacy of the 2016 election, none are worthy of my vote.

    • You are right on Gillibrand. I don’t need anyone to victim-splain to me. I also resent Democrats telling me that I don’t know what’s in my own best interests.

      • I went with Gillibrand for another reason — bringing Mattress Girl to the SOTU, which Jack wrote very effectively about. From the standpoint of punching down and using her status to harm an individual citizen, for no other reason than political grandstanding, I can’t think of anything any of the others have done that matches this.

    • Gillibrand gets my vote for the least self-aware and the stupidest. Her statements, however, seem to be more abject incompetence as a human being than any conscious rejection of ethical behavior.

      Plus, even the bleeding-edge leftist Democrats see how totally unqualified she is for office. She could only win a Senate race in a large suburban Blue state.

  3. I admit to being a bit surprised at the poll trends. Warren is the obvious choice, and Harris close behind; I could make an argument for any of the 9. But I voted for Bernie. He’s a former Stalin admirer; he’s very likely a communist; his economic proposals are fraudulent and defy economics and math, and he is a pied piper for naive young anti-capitalists. He’s a stealth totalitarian, and corrupt to boot, Yechh.

    • He distinguishes himself from the rest of the pack by not hiding those things, however. No, he doesn’t cop out to his economic plan being a fraud and contrary to math and economics, but he puts them out there for everyone to see.

      Yechh, for sure, But not the same as some of the others, I voted “Warren” because she has been destroying ethics for a longer time, based on what has been exposed so far, but Harris is a close second and she still has a couple trunks yet to be unpacked.

    • Well, darn, I misunderstood you, I thought you picked Harris above. That’s what I get for posting before I’ve had my second cup of coffee.

      Bernie is certainly defensible, but his beliefs, as bad as they are, have been mostly consistent throughout his career. He is certainly (in my opinion) a communist and totalitarian, but at least he doesn’t deceive people about what he believes in. Both Warren and Harris do that consistently.

      He is corrupt, but it’s the corruption of a long career in Leftism, and he has always been up front about being a “socialist” (because “communist” is still uncool). Neither Harris nor Warren have that excuse. Bernie has been elected as exactly who he is — that’s as close to “getting it honestly” as you can come in politics, considering he’s served decades as a socialist in a country that is just beginning to consider socialism no longer a dirty word.

    • I disagree. Bernie just plain isn’t that smart. He’s not capable of basic arithmetic, let alone Economics 101. Bernie’s major accomplishment in life was securing a steady job in government, courtesy of a gaggle of other economically ignorant dreamers in the weirdo state of Vermont (where I lived for 13 years – when I got there, it was a thoroughly libertarian place, and by the time I left the hippies had found their ways into steady jobs in state government).

      Warren, on the other hand, is no dummy. She has to know that her economic proposals make no sense at all. She has proven time and again that she’ll say anything that advances her own agenda, and she’ll gladly bite the hand that feeds her if she thinks another hand holds a tastier morsel.

      She reminds me very much of Hillary, with two significant differences: her position isn’t tied to the success of another politician, and she isn’t as screechy. Otherwise, I think they’re cut from exactly the same bolt of cloth.

      Of all the announced candidates, only Williamson and Yang strike be as being comparatively ethics-uncompromised. And they’re both pretty much nuts.

      • But representing yourself as knowing what you’re talking about when you in fact do not is 1) dishonest and 2) incompetent. Relative intellectual weakness doesn’t make someone more ethical. Presuming to be fit for leadership when one is not is like (to use an anlogy I used often in 2016) claiming you can fly a jumbo jet when you have never flown a plane.

          • Exactly.

            If Bernie KNOWS that his positions are impossible to achieve but sincerely believes in them, that places him in a different ethical category than some of his opponents, who are clearly pandering. From my perspective, the pandering is clearly unethical – it’s promising something that cannot be delivered in exchange for votes. I suppose an argument could be made that Bernie is unethical given all the time he’s had to learn a few things, but again – I personally think he’s too dumb to figure it out. Incompetent? Absolutely. Still not convinced on the unethical part, especially in that the task was to choose the MOST unethical, not engage in a discussion of Rationalizations 1, 2 or 22.

  4. My reflexive response, before reading your analysis: Senator Elizabeth Warren. Her demagoguery knows no bounds, hypocrisy is a concept with which she doesn’t even have a nodding relationship, and shame is for the deplorables as far as she is concerned. Her self-awareness is only slightly above that of an amoeba.

    [added after I read Jack’s analysis]

    The standout unethical quality of Warren is demagoguery along with a heaping helping of unabashed indifference to the truth of her statements. She is a profound liar, although she does so in a way that allows her defenders to claim it is opinion. But her statements aren’t just lies, they are calls to unethical, totalitarian, and unconstitutional action.

    Her unethical quote of the month, just awarded the other day, is res ipsa loquitur. No other candidate has quite reached her level of ethical turpitude, although a shocking number have come within shouting distance.

    A large chunk of the Left has refused to do that this time, ever.

    Well, this is a solid understatement, Jack. A significant portion, admittedly not as many as now but still substantial, refused to acknowledge Bush 43 as a legitimate president even after his re-election.

    So it isn’t just this time. It is, however, vastly more profound now than at any previous time. But this has been an evolution, not a revolution, on the left.

    As to your choice of Senator Kamala Harris, I can’t disagree with anything you wrote. I just find, from my personal standpoint, the ethics of Warren even worse.

  5. I think Harris has skated by on her looks for a very long time. I just don’t think there’s enough brain power there to continue to pull off her act. Not that the Washington Post and NY Times will not continue to provide her all the air cover they possibly can. She’s a person of color and a woman.

    Bernie’s a Commie. He hates Russia because it’s no longer the Soviet Union. In what era of the Soviet Union were Jewish intellectuals allowed free rein? He honeymooned in the Soviet Union. What a romantic!

    • Well, in fairness, I don’t think Tulsi Gabbard is especially unethical (and should have noted that previously). Nor is she nuts. She’s just WAY too far left for my liking.

  6. Here is more about Kamala Harris.

    Three years ago, President Barack Obama said this:

    According to various studies — not just one, but a wide range of studies that have been carried out over a number of years — African Americans are 30 percent more likely than whites to be pulled over. After being pulled over, African Americans and Hispanics are three times more likely to be searched. Last year, African Americans were shot by police at more than twice the rate of whites. African Americans are arrested at twice the rate of whites. African American defendants are 75 percent more likely to be charged with offenses carrying mandatory minimums. They receive sentences that are almost 10 percent longer than comparable whites arrested for the same crime.

    And yet, Kamala Harris said this.


    “Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine
    who can carry a concealed weapon,” said Kamala Harris, who was then the
    California Attorney General.

    I wish someone asked her even one of these questions about her statement.

    – If the reason that “[l]ocal law enforcement must be able to use their
    discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon” is because they
    are just Klansmen with badges, why shouldn’t the Stormfront White
    Nationalist Community also get to decide who can carry a concealed weapon?

    – If the reason that “[l]ocal law enforcement must be able to use their
    discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon” is because they
    habitually gun down unarmed black men, why shouldn’t the Crips also get to
    decide who can carry a concealed weapon?

    – Is more black men dead or in prison a worthy price to pay to make lawful
    gun ownership more difficult?

    – Is making lawful gun ownership more difficult a worthy price to pay to put
    more black men in prison?

    – Does some magical guardian fairy turn these Klansmen with badges into
    freedom riders whenever they exercise their “discretion to determine who can
    carry a concealed weapon”?

    Harris’s quote above is signature significance.

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