This November, when Hawaii Democrats go to the polls, they can go back to the future and revitalize their revolutionary roots.

The presidential candidates of the two major parties are both appalling and unpopular. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that, “fewer than one-third of registered voters think Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would make a good or great president, and are more likely to see either as being ‘terrible’ in the Oval Office.”

These “terrible” candidates discredit American democracy.

As presidential choices, Republican nominee Trump and Democratic nominee Clinton leave many voters skeptical that either would make a good leader.
As presidential choices, Republican nominee Trump and Democratic nominee Clinton leave many voters skeptical that either would make a good leader. Flickr: La Real noticia

The bombastic Donald J. Trump is ignorant and bigoted, a reality-show huckster who’s bluffed and lied his way to the top of the Republican national ticket.

Clinton is shifty and untrustworthy. Her email tribulations, potential national-security hazards, are the outgrowth of a colossal sense of personal entitlement. The buck-raking Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation continues to pose conflict-of-interest questions.

Matthew Yglesias, writing in the Los Angeles Times back in 2007, asked, “because it’s presumed that big-dollar donors to the Clinton Foundation are gaining access to and some measure of influence with the foundation’s top dog, is it such a stretch to think that might extend to his White House-seeking wife, as well?”

By contrast, Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers seem like a quaint practice from yesteryear.

Trump and Clinton offer us a Hobson’s choice. That is, a choice that is no choice. Why should American voters have to choose between the lesser of two evils?

In their March presidential caucuses, Hawaii Democrats gave U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders a landslide victory over Clinton. The outcome showed that establishment Democratic figures such as former governors George Ariyoshi, Ben Cayetano and John Waihee, U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono and former Sen. Daniel Akaka are out of touch with the party’s rank and file and with independents who became Sanders Democrats.

A singularly “unterrible” candidate, Stein would bring sanity and hope to the national debate stage. She offers a way out of our Hobson’s choice.

Hawaii Democrats have a unique history. In 1954, Hawaii Democrats — the Bernie Sanders supporters of their day — launched a political revolution. Led by John A. Burns, a former policeman originally from Montana, local voters overthrew the entrenched haole Republican oligarchy.

Americans of Japanese ancestry supported Burns because he understood loyalty, and they knew they could trust him. He stood by them when they came under suspicion following Japan’s Dec. 7, 1941, sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.

Loyalty and trust are in short supply today. Can a supporter of Sanders trust any of the Democratic Party’s grandees, national or local?

Ben Cayetano has been a bumptious opponent of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. HART, a much needed and long-overdue component of our transportation infrastructure, got off to a disastrous start in a referendum that asked: “Shall the powers, duties, and functions of the city, through its director of transportation services, include establishment of a steel wheel on steel rail transit system?”

The deviously crafted question provided a Hobson’s choice between a rail transit system with steel wheels or no rail system at all.

Let’s keep HART in mind when we vote in November.

We need a new president, but must we choose a lemon? Can’t we have limeade instead?

It’s time to consider Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party’s estimable presidential candidate. A singularly “unterrible” candidate, she would bring sanity and hope to the national debate stage.

Stein has given us a way out of our Hobson’s choice. In her nomination speech, she said, “We are saying no to the lesser evil and yes to the greater good, because we are not only deciding what kind of a world we will have; in this election, we are deciding whether we will have a world or not, going forward into the future.”

A Hawaii victory for Jill Stein and the Green Party would be a far more eloquent message to Hilary Clinton and the DNC than Chelsea Lyons Kent’s raised middle finger.

Is Tim Vandeveer, the new chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, still at heart a Sanders Democrat? Can he steer the party, now bigger and stronger with the addition of Sanders supporters, toward a Green presidential candidate while providing effective candidate support to down-ballot Democrats?

A Green Democratic hybrid, energized by young members, can provide a model for the rest of the country.

Ben Cayetano and Walter Heen, a former chair of the state Democratic Party, have created a hybrid of their own.

“I’m here, as a democrat,” Heen slyly proclaims on the Charles Djou for Mayor website, using a small “d,” “because this is a non-partisan race and the issues that Honolulu faces are not partisan, and so we come to support the best man for the job. In my view, and in the view of Ben Cayetano, another solid democrat, Charles Djou is the best man for the job. “ (Editor’s note: This quote was originally published with the word “Democrat” capitalized, but revised at the author’s request to match the presentation of Heen’s quote on the Djou website.)

In the same way, no doubt, that Stein, as solid a small-d democrat as either Cayetano or Heen, is the best woman for the job she’s seeking.

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