With less than two weeks to go in the 2016 presidential election, it seems like a forgone conclusion. The experienced liar will most likely defeat the unqualified con man with the bigoted throng. Well, that’s one way to look at it. The other is to say history will be made as the country elects its first female president. She has served as First Lady, as Senator from New York, and Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. She is imminently qualified. The other is her exact opposite. He’s a boastful pitchman that has never held a public office. He’s a ruthless businessman with a huge ego and a fragile psyche. He has no real qualifications for the position . . . but he has captured the imagination of almost half the country, outpacing more qualified, established competition to grab his party’s nomination. He fashions himself to be the “law and order” candidate that will build a wall on the Mexican border, and protect 2nd Amendment rights and other Conservative ideals. So how did we end up with two candidates with such high “unfavorability” ratings?
Donald Trump’s rise to political prominence was aided by a perfect storm of Middle Class angst, economic uncertainty, and individual insecurity. He ran a campaign that tapped into the anger and frustration many Americans feel about the direction of the country. He fanned the flames of fear on topics like gun bans, terrorist threat, unchecked immigration and the effect that would have on American workers competing for jobs. He skillfully used simple, three-word slogans, and pointed verbal barbs that were easy for his passionate supporters to repeat; and they chanted them like mantras, following him almost like a cult leader, ignoring his many flaws, while believing his boasts. He publicly said he could shoot someone on 5th Ave and not lose voters. I believe him. Because he shot himself in the foot many times, and it didn’t dampen his support. Donald Trump still garners about 40 percent of the American vote.
Hillary Clinton cannot shake the reputation that she’s untrustworthy . . . probably because she’s untrustworthy. Clinton is the very definition of career politician. As such, her opinion adjusts itself to her audience. She is not afraid of the shameless pander, and she can play both sides of an issue if there’s something to gain or protect by doing so. That doesn’t sit well with a public who has grown tired of governmental gridlock. Also, unlike her opponent, she has a record you can actually critique – that’s not always a good thing, especially if there are questionable decisions or outright failures needing justification. And if you have a skilled opponent, or one with a team of information Pit bulls trying to dig up any shortcomings, they can make mountains out of mole hills decreasing voter confidence. In this case, experience can be a negative. But after losing her party’s nomination to Barack Obama in 2008, she paid her political dues and bided her time. The establishment Democrats didn’t even throw their hats in the ring in 2016, leaving only an acknowledged Socialist as her lone competition.
Now we’re stuck with two “undesirables.” And we will hold our collective noses and vote for the one we think will do the least amount of damage. The smart money says that will be Hillary Clinton. And if she wins, she and her administration will have to do a better job (than that of her predecesor) of reaching across the aisle. Hopefully she will be met with less than the unprecedented obstruction that President Obama faced. Trump on the other hand has used this election to build his brand. And he will no doubt capitalize on his fame by continuing to push his anti-immigrant, pseudo-patriotic, gun loving agenda. I think we’ll learn Trump never really wanted the presidential gig. But he will use this platform to springboard himself into another cash cow, like maybe his own staunchly conservative news network, as has been rumored. The good news, we only have until 2020 to see how this debacle pans out. The bad news . . . everything about this year’s process.
Agenda Bloggers: Written by Kevin Foster for “Social Almanac” | Want to comment? Login/Register here.