A quest for continuous knowledge plus a liking for politics explains why the 2016 presidential elections in the USA are so interesting and intriguing. The excesses of political campaigns, outright lies and bombast are not unique to America. Still, the growing incidence of salacious language and deliberate distortions that serve only personal agendas has taken many by surprise. Indeed, it would not be incorrect to refer to certain campaign statements as downright insulting to the intelligence.
An extreme absurdity that many outsiders will find hard to understand is the tremendous cost of a presidential election campaign. An interesting aspect to these elections is that money does not guarantee the American people a superior, more able President. The truth is money can be used to distort facts and instead guarantee an inferior candidate with poor judgment and lacking intellect makes it to the White House. The public has been led to believe that high morals and sound ethical conduct are essential ingredients for peace and progress in a candidate for US President.
On the contrary recent memory points to the Watergate scandal (President Nixon had to resign office) and then there was President Bill Clinton whose cigar got him into trouble with a young intern for which he was impeached. He got away by the skin of his teeth. Some people never learn that the most important thing in the world which they must learn to control is themselves.
Today, the strident tone of the candidate for the Republican Party in the 2016 elections – Donald Trump – and the threatening messages he continues to send give pause for alarm. For example, what exactly did candidate Mr. Trump mean when he suggested that Hillary Clinton, his rival in this year’s presidential elections should ask her bodyguards to stop carrying guns and see what happens? Did he mean to imply that she would be open to attack from armed persons and there would be no guns to defend her? What was Trump saying if not promoting the use of guns in his usually crude and unsophisticated verbiage?
The better question is this: Why is it Americans own more guns per head of population than any other country in the world? Is this love affair with guns about love of hunting and the outdoors, or is it driven by fear – fear of African Americans, native Americans and Hispanics. What about Trump’s own body guards? If he were to disarm them would he be attacked with armed renegades demanding money? Such low and demeaning rhetoric from a candidate (for what some Americans call the highest political office in the world) is unbecoming. It is therefore to be regretted. Such loose talk would be frowned upon in the more sophisticated developing countries of the world.
Hillary Clinton from all appearances lacks competency in the art of political campaigning. More often than not she seems a poor and hesitant competitor. Recently, I shared this view with a Lucian/American friend and the response was that American culture expects a certain type of behaviour from women in politics and public life. Men on the other hand, especially those who are worth millions are given a free ride to do virtually as they please. It is this hypocritical double standard that Donald Trump has so flagrantly exploited and abused in his campaign.
I remain doubtful that Hillary Clinton’s campaigning has anything to do with American conservatism. My reading is that Hillary lacks an aggressive character. She may have been a brilliant law student but she lacks an A-type personality. Bill Clinton exploited that weakness; so did the Republican Senate when they grilled her over Benghazi. But if she is pushed too far she seems to acquire the backbone to stand firm. She stood up to the Senate Republicans because there was simply too much at stake. She saw a looming jail term if she had allowed these partisan senators to run roughshod over her. She became transformed into a more resolute person and it is this transformation which now allows her to stand up to Trump and his barrage of lies and insults.
Still, she is not sufficiently aggressive for my liking. She should be taking the fight to Trump and hitting him harder before he strikes. Perhaps we shall see that side of her in the debates. But don’t hold your breath! Trump will throw everything at her including blatant lies and misinformation, daring her to call him out. With less than fifty more days left for the elections, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party should by now have been able to pressure Trump to disclose his taxes or find some means to get the people of America to demand to see Trump’s taxes.
Why is Trump so determined to keep his tax records from the public? Clearly his taxes are his Achilles heel and that’s where Hillary should be aiming – recalling her Greek mythology.
In the meantime Trump continues to create his own false ‘reality’ politics, by avoiding truth, and using lies to attack his opponents. The man still has the highest disapproval rating of any candidate in recent US political history.
Some Republicans still fear that Trump will not pass the vetting process of the up-coming public debates. He recently used the opening of another of ‘his’ hotels in Washington DC to say that: ‘President Obama is an American.’ The following day he did not tweet a single word about this. The first President Bush recently announced that he will vote for Hillary Clinton in the fall. Don’t be surprised if before the November election America begins to use the phrase ‘Hillary Republicans.’