As if the last few months were not enough, now that the two representatives of the Republican and Democratic Parties in the U.S. have officially been selected, our neighbours to the south are in full-blown election mode.
So brace yourself for a nasty three-month fight where newscasts both in the U.S. and in this country—as well many other places around the word—will be full of stories about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump verbally bashing each other as they aim to claim the hearts and minds of U.S. voters.
In fairness, it’s likely going to be Trump doing the majority of the name-calling, as he has proven to be possibly the thinnest-skinned politician ever to run for political office in any country.
As Clinton said in her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention last week, it’s hard to imagine a man who can be so easily baited on Twitter handling the codes required to start a nuclear war.
Watching from afar, this year’s U.S. presidential election campaign has been a fascinating affair. That’s because of Trump—and its not a good type of fascinating.
Clinton is a seasoned politician, and yes, she comes with plenty of political and personal baggage. How could she not? First, as arguably the most politically powerful First Lady in U.S. history for eight years, then as a U.S. senator, then as a presidential candidate who ran a very close second to current White House incumbent Barack Obama in 2008 and finally as his Secretary of State for four years, Clinton has not only built an impressive resume, she is, in Obama’s words, more qualified to be president than he was when he took office eight years ago or her husband Bill was when he was first elected in 1992.
And then there’s Trump.
Time and time again he has proven himself to be an offensive, petty little man who thinks statesmanship is achieved by insulting people, delivering no substance to go with what supporters would consider his “style,” and believing that being a success at shady business practices not only makes you millions but also makes you qualified to lead what is arguably the most powerful country in the world. And if you don’t agree with him, well, go live on the other side of his wall.
The man’s “style” makes George Bush Junior look like a statesman.
What makes Trumps rise to Republican nominee so fascinating is that any one of the numerous offensive remarks he has made—about women, about Mexicans, about people with disabilities, about Latinos, about Muslims and on and on—would have sunk stronger presidential campaigns in the past. But for some reason, millions of Republic voters in the primaries refused to tell Trump he was fired as a candidate.
They seem to revel in his urging them to punch out those who oppose his views, his rants about others, his name calling and his assertions that he will do things that legally and politically he can’t do as president but says he will do anyway, with nothing to back up his words.
Because of the position he now finds himself, every ridiculous utterance that spews from his pursed lips is reported, and taken by many as fact. Case in point, earlier this week he said he thinks the election is going to be rigged against him. Offering no proof or anything to base that contention on, it was widely reported. So now his loyal band of Trumpeteers think the election is rigged against him. Based on what?
Even those in his own party have denounced some of things he has said—calling them racist, wrong or just plain mean. His latest low point is attacking the parents of a deceased U.S. soldier who died in Iraq. Their crime, publicly calling Trump out for wanting to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.
But Trump doesn’t seem to care. We, however, should.
While we in Canada have no say in the U.S. election, we, like so many around the world, will be impacted by whoever wins the U.S. presidency in November. That’s because the U.S. wields so much power and influence in the world. If you need a reminder think back to the world-wide recession in 2008. It started with a U.S. housing mortgage crisis. Before that, we had the U.S.-led wars in the Middle East—wars that claimed the lives of Canadian men and women.
If Trump gets in and continues to act like he has up to now, American politicians won’t end their speeches with the usual “God Bless the United States of America,” Instead it will be “God help the United States of America.”
Alistair Waters is the assistant editor of the Capital News.