An opinion on the United States 2016 presidential election, by someone who isn’t American.
I discuss my thoughts on the presidential election from an outside perspective, which is sure to please Americans.
I’d like to take a second to discuss the United States presidential election. I’ve been following it since it started more than 18 months ago and, in my opinion, it’s brought to the surface the most disgusting elements of political discourse I’ve seen in my lifetime.
With the American far-right gaining a resurgence in this century with the Tea Party sweep in 2010 which was both a rebuke of the “compassionate conservatism” George W. Bush preached and a racist opposition to President Obama, it allowed those who would normally only share their thoughts amongst themselves to instead deice to run for president. The movement questioned the first black president’s legitimacy and fanned the flames of hatred among the conservative base.
This movement’s lingering effect could be seen in the candidates who put themselves forward to be the Republican Party nominee, starting with Senator Ted Cruz in March 2015, a Tea Party baby. His views are largely a cookie-cutter of what the American right has morphed in to over the past few decades, including being completely anti-choice in regards to abortion; being against equal marriage; being in favour of the death penalty; rejecting the reality of climate change; rejecting any gun-safety measures; being completely against Obamacare or any form of single payer health care; and favours the wall proposal between the United States and Mexico.
Then like-minded candidates like neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Governor Rick Perry, Governor Scott Walker, Senator Rick Santorum, and Governor Mike Huckabee joined the band of the 17 candidates. Relative moderates (who are actually anything but) like Governors Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich also joined in. The battle soon became who could move the furthest to the right to win the lopsided primary votes where a small, like-minded electorate would vote for who will eventually be nominated.
Enter Donald Trump.
As the other candidates were largely indistinguishable beyond their names and level of prominence, Trump had to stand out to break through the political norm. He did so with his announcement speech where he labelled Mexicans as rapists and criminals; speculated Middle Eastern people were crossing the Mexican border; advocated building a wall between the United States and Mexico; and accused the bipartisan Bureau of Labor Statistics of falsifying the unemployment level.
This was only the beginning. Over the next 18 months he’d end up lying hundreds of times a week; moving further towards the right-wing fringe and eventually embracing the alt-right and Neo-Nazism to promote his campaign and message. His rallies would chant “lock her up” in reference to Hillary Clinton, as well as the odd chant of assassination and misogyny directed towards the first female presidential candidate for a major party. He would speculate about her health and hint he believed she was on the verge of dying. He would call President Bill Clinton a sexual abuser. He would refuse to release his tax returns. He would mock disabled reporters. He would campaign with those who advocated hatred against LGBTQIA+ Americans. He would have a tape leaked about him where he bragged about sexually assaulting, abusing, and raping women. He would lie and say President Obama screamed at a protestor. He would be found not having paid taxes for decades. He would be found having denied housing to African Americans. He would be found using money donated towards his Foundation for personal use. He advocated throwing Hillary Clinton in jail if he wins. He would end up being endorsed by the KKK.
And most recently and perhaps most astonish for a presidential candidate he has flat-out lied and said the presidential election will be rigged against him if he loses. He has asked his supporters to “observe” polling areas and look out for voter fraud (some of which bring weapons and have hinted at violence). He has said the Democrats and Hillary Clinton will steal the election away from him, and that, like President Obama, even if she wins he’ll make sure her presidency is stained with the perception of being an “illegitimate president”. However instead of using racism he’ll use the sexist image of painting women as liars and cheats who will do anything to screw over a good, honest man who is just doing his best.
Donald Trump has also managed to drag the Republican Party, which was already on the decline as the electorate becomes more diverse, closer to death (or a reimagining). The establishment has had every opportunity to disavow him, however at every turn they either say nothing, or say something and then get on board when no one is watching.
His toxicity has further destroyed one of the two main political parties in America. When he loses he will take the party down with it, and I believe the era of consecutive Democratic presidencies (which is usually the Republican Party’s role), will continue for some time. However, to stay in check a political party needs a viable opposition. With the dead Republican Party, the Democratic Party does not have one. And America will be worse off.
Donald Trump is quite simply the most disgusting, vile, racist, sexist, misogynist, serial liar, thin-skinned cry-baby, sexual abuser, bankrupt, and corrupt person to ever run for President of the United States in modern history (they have had slave holders and white supremacists hold that office before). This is without mentioning he is the most unqualified and unprepared candidate to ever seek the office. His constant presence in our lives is sickening. When he loses, he should be ignored by the public and the media until he crawls away and never dares show his face again.
I said at the start of this post this election has shown the most disgusting elements of political discourse I’ve seen in my lifetime. However, America and Americans can resolve this and instead deliver the biggest blow to pure evil running for political office in the history of the modern world by standing up, saying “No,” and electing Hillary Rodham Clinton as President of the United States of America on Tuesday the 8th of November.
The happenstance that Hillary Clinton is a woman will only solidify and intensify the rebuke of Donald Trump. Taking with it, or at least decimating it, the sexism, racism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism he has come to popularise and bring to the surface over the past 18 months. His supporters will be left foaming at the mouth and infuriated that a woman, a woman, beat them and Donald Trump — and they will never, ever get over it.
For every person who has heard of Hillary Clinton, there is an equal number of opinions about her. The Democratic and liberal base of the party is not particularly enthralled with her and this has given credence to the opinion that Clinton is the “lesser of two evils.” This nurtures misanthropy in liberals and Democrats, and moderate Independents, in voting for her. It creates the false view that Clinton and Trump are simply two equals, and when placed on a scale they both equal the same.
I reject this “lesser of two evils” view because I don’t see Clinton as evil, nor do I see her being the lesser of anything — especially not the lesser of those running for president. As with President Obama, Clinton’s mere existence infuriates those who believe they have something to lose from their presidency. Once again this sect is, for the most part, white men. She triggers something inside these people and causes instant dislike through no fault of her own.
Clinton has been underestimated for the entirety of her political life, especially by Republicans. Immediately from her first term as First Lady, she has attracted investigations and probes, mainly for political purposes. This stretches from Whitewater to her private email server. Never has she been found guilty of any crimes, but never have Republicans given up on trying to destroy the political career of this incredibly capable person.
Clinton’s liberal bona fides have been been questioned over this election, as they should be. She can often be too centrist and hawkish, especially when it comes to her conservative-esque attitude towards war and the Middle East. I can truly see why Muslims would equally be as wary of Clinton as they would be of Trump, and as a white man it would be arrogant of me to suggest your views are ridiculous and your vote should be cast for Clinton. That is not my place and I don’t aim to convince you of otherwise.
I personally believe Hillary Clinton has the true potential to be a great liberal president, as we have seen from the Democratic Party’s platform (which Senator Bernie Sander’s candidacy moved further to the left) Clinton has been able to adapt to the will of the liberal base to capture a wider swath of the electorate.
This is not to say she has no stances of her own, it simply shows she can understand the needs of more than just her own world view. Clinton’s presidency would only be able to survive if she is able to regain the trust of liberals by being a liberal president, including those who walked away from President Obama’s Democratic party following some of his more centrist and ring-wing actions as president (for example expanding the surveillance state and bombing the Middle East in undeclared wars). This would ensure she stayed on this liberal path.
Clinton has shown her liberal side during her earlier years and her constant support for children and women’s rights. She has proven herself as a capable politician (which, like it or not, is what we need in a president) with her time as Senator and as Secretary of State.
Her win tomorrow is not for certain, her large lead in the polls and election forecast models was disrupted by the Director of the FBI’s letter to Congress (who has since said the outcome of the original email server investigation has not changed) and some swing states are either breaking for or are leaning more towards Trump than they had been. Trump has a viable chance of being elected and his candidacy should be written off. Writing him off is how he ended up being the Republican Party nominee for president.
Clinton is still the favourite to win, and early voting has showed an explosion in the Hispanic presence compared to previous years. With a strong, diverse base in swing and firewall states, Clinton has a good chance of winning on a similar scale to President Obama’s 2012 win, if not a little less. Combined with college educated white people breaking for Clinton, the support of African Americans (albeit less than President Obama had), and the majority of women, it is hard to see how Clinton can lose.
However, while she has small leads in swing states such as Florida, North Carolina, and Nevada (and larger leads in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire), the affect of Republican-driven voter suppression following the axing of a key part of the Voting Rights Act, could drive down the turnout for key parts of the electorate for Clinton. This included a reduction in polling places, the increasing requirement of Voter ID, cutting or axing early voting, cutting early voting on Sundays (a key voting day for African Americans), and moving polling sites away from Democratic strongholds such as college campuses. This has been done under the falsity of “voter fraud” which does not exist, only voter suppression does.
Also as important, white (male) fragility should not be underestimated. It has been backed in to a corner by a progressive and liberal opposition headed by a strong woman and they are scared and, as we have seen, are lashing out. This is after eight years of a black president. Trump has a lead with non-college educated white people, and fierce support of the racists and sexists across the country (the “alt-right”). This group could possibly outvote the remainder of the country.
This isn’t helped by the fact far-left white liberals are abstaining voting for Clinton because she does not tick all of their boxes (I should know as I am a far-left liberal), and are using their inherent privilege to drown out the voices of Hispanics, African Americans, and LGBTQIA+ Americans whose way of life as they know it could be destroyed if Clinton does not win.
President Trump may not be the end of your world, but it could be end of someone else’s.