Just in case it might have slipped by you, we are indeed living in historic times. For the first time in this nation’s history, a major political party has nominated a woman for the office of President. While not everyone will agree just yet, i.e. Bernie Sanders, it is a done deal. Hopefully for the Democrats, Senator Sanders and his ardent supporters will close ranks behind Hillary Rodham Clinton as November nears. For most Americans, that would be enough history for any Presidential election. But it is not and you know what is coming.
Yes, it is none other than The Donald, arguably the richest and most entertaining albeit the most erratic and narcissistic major party nominee ever. Instead of a resume boasting elected offices and legislative accomplishments, Mr. Trump’s reads like a list of real estate holdings and businesses ranging from casinos to steaks to universities. (Well, really just one university that isn’t a university at all, but more on that later). The last time a non politician was nominated for President was General Eisenhower who made his reputation by vanquishing Nazi Germany in World War II. As you recall, he was elected to two terms starting in 1952 and the country did pretty well. Among other things, Ike gave us the Interstate Highway System. If only we could do as well now days, but I digress.
That should be enough groundbreaking news for any election cycle, but fortunately or unfortunately, we are just getting started. Never have both major party nominees had such high unfavorable ratings. Each has his or her dedicated followers, but when it comes to negatives each polls at historical rates.
For The Donald, one need only listen to his stream of consciousness rants against Hispanics, Muslims, women, POWs et al. to understand the animus. And then there are the individual attacks on all the other candidates and former candidates -- Lyin’ Ted, Little Marko, Crooked Hillary, Low Energy Jeb, etc. Anyone who takes Trump to task for any reason is a target. The most representative is Senator Elizabeth Warren aka Pocahontas for her claim to be Native American. All journalists are targets as well when they ask hard questions. “Sleazy is the most used term to label journalists who are just doing their jobs. But it is the attack on federal judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing the civil suit against Trump University that speaks volumes of harsh, bigoted rhetoric. According to The Donald, the judge is a Mexican, despite being born in Indiana. Because of his heritage, that makes him incapable of ruling fairly when it comes to the Trump University litigation Seems like Trump’s lawyers would file a motion of recusal while politely insisting on their client keeping his thoughts to himself. But, apparently not. As with all things, Trump knows best. Can anybody say judgment, temperament or how about Res Ipsa Loquitur?
And as far as policy pronouncements, The Donald makes it up as he goes along. He is not shy about what he believes which is in some ways a plus and a big part of his appeal. The problem is that what he says is good for about a day at best before he says the opposite while denying he ever made the first statement at all. Maybe that works in the world of high profile real estate, but with domestic and foreign policy, not so much. Realism comes up a bit short as well. Deporting 11 million people might appeal to some but it is about as realistic as rounding up all the Japanese Americans during World War II … oops. Bad example! But even though there is questionable precedent for something like this which wasn’t FDR’s finest hour after Pearl Harbor, the numbers of an undocumented immigrant round up wouldn’t be close to eleven million people the job would require. Besides the sheer expense, it also ignores the breakup of families it would entail, and the fact that it is 2016. Should immigration be reformed? Absolutely, but not like this.
Oh yeah, and speaking of policy, torture is okay too as is the killing of all families of terrorists as is banning all Muslims from the United States. You get the point. Can anybody say U.S. Constitution?
So it is pretty easy to understand why The Donald would scare a lot of people away. And we haven’t even mentioned the nuclear codes. Just imagine if Donald got insulted by any leader with a nuclear weapons arsenal That alone is enough to make me want to vote for anybody but The Donald, which brings us to Hillary aka Her.
While Trump is as subtle as an eighth grade, showoff, bully, Hillary Clinton is a much tougher person to figure out. In fact, it has been said that she is the person with the greatest name recognition that nobody really knows. What we do know is that she has more baggage than a Samsonite factory outlet store. It starts with the Big Dog aka aspiring First Gentleman, Bill Clinton. Most Democrats love him, Republicans not so much. His exploits with women were nearly his undoing, but he survived them, just barely. Fair or not, Hillary shares some of the downside of that negative reputation. She is seen by many as an enabler and by others as a victim and every possible combination in between. She is also a synonym for “Whitewater,” “Benghazi” and her private email server. And of course there are the six figure private speeches to Wall Street. Some of this is fair, some of it is not. But everybody seems to be aware of it all in varying degrees.
Beyond all the negative baggage there is the word “Ambition.” To her fans, that is a good thing. To her detractors, it is clearly not. So the inquiry returns to her unfavorable ratings. Who is the real Hillary Rodham Clinton? Does anybody really know? Like Trump, her supporters are clear in their devotion, but there are millions of registered voters who just have no idea. I’m afraid I can’t be of much help, except to say that she doesn’t scare me like The Donald does.
So there it is, Trump running on a platform of ME, ME, ME and Clinton running as a non descript Her. Who will win? That is easy for me. I’m voting for Hillary even though I am an old white man from the Deep South albeit a scared to death voter who would be waiting out a Trump Twitter fit in the White House Situation Room.When the crisis arises, and it surely will if he is elected, you can find me in the nearest Fallout Shelter assuming one could be found.
And then there is the unforeseen. By the time you read this, who knows what may happen. If the past is any indicator, we aren’t finished with surprises anytime soon. In the meantime, stake out the nearest fallout shelter close to your home and at the very least, be entertained until November while keeping your fingers crossed. For exactly what I can’t really say, but at least it hasn’t been a dull summer.