Today’s polling says that 68% of American people consider Hillary Clinton dishonest and untrustworthy. And in a world in which headlines ‘trump’ both the fine print and, for many people, any digging deeper into the implications of those tweets.
Trump’s unfavourable numbers are in the fifties, not quite as high as the 68%.
Yet there is a qualitative difference in the in public perceptions by the America electorate of these two candidates. Hillary is still wearing baggage for names like White Water, Vince Foster, Chris Stevens, and even, to some extent someone called Lewinsky. Most of those narratives have been litigated in the media, or even in the investigative process of the government without fulling being able to exonerate this woman from the clouds that continue to follow her wherever she goes.
The issue of whether or not she can turn the depth of suspicion around in the next 100 days in time to rescue the electoral victory from the jaws of defeat remains open, and the longer it hangs open the more damage it does to her chances of becoming the first woman president. Wikileaks, through the release of 20,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee demonstrating what Bernie Sanders was saying throughout the campaign that the DNC was putting its hands on the scale in favour of Ms Clinton. When asked about the situation by Scott Pelley on CBS’ 60 Minutes, she dismissed the issue by saying that she knew nothing about what those people who do not work for her were saying or doing. To say her comments were disingenuous is an understatement. There is no American, nor Canadian, nor any person from anywhere else who would not be tilting toward such a judgement; Ms Clinton has been prominent in the Democratic Party for decades and she knows every person who works there. Also Tim Kaine’s assertion that all officials at the DNC have an opinion about the candidates, without actually working to ‘tip the scale’ in favour of one candidate is no less disingenuous. We all know, and can see rather clearly, that Bernie Sanders who has not been a member of the Democratic Party, but as an Independent has merely caucused with them over the years he has been in the Senate We also know that in his campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency, he took on not only the Wall political campaigns following the Citizens United Supreme Court decision; he also took on the ‘establishment’ of the Democratic Party, and as chair, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz both in that capacity, and also as a strong feminist, was obviously favouring Clinton. The Chair’s announcement of her resignation, immediately following the party convention on Thursday this week, is merely a sacrificial act to help preserve party unity.
If the public perception of Ms Clinton is to put it mildly, “too clever by half” as may well be the case, that is a political stumbling block she will have to work to overcome. Can she do it? There is every reason to doubt it, especially with the hourly drumbeat of Trump’s twitters calling her ‘crooked Hillary’…..without either being called on it or offering any details. He merely paints by number, using the same paint brush the public has been deploying for decades. Not so incidentally, too, is the rising tide of anti-intellectualism, anti-science ideology, as well as anti-prep and anti-Ivy League sentiment attached to all of the others. *
On the Trump side, however, there is a far different kind of ignominy. There is a man whose own biographer calls a sociopath, while others who also know the private details of his life up that to a ‘sick sociopath’….and from an outsider’s perspective, we all know that he has never been forced to release his tax returns, nor to come clean on his despicable denigration of the judge with Latino heritage who is sitting on the Trump university class action case, nor to specifically cost his proposals, nor even to lay out his proposals to actually govern, should he win the election. Paul Krugman, a noted liberal economist and columnist for the New York Times, has written that we should all be taking seriously the potential links between Trump and the Russian oligarchs who hold considerable influence in Putin’s Russia. Trump’s conditional support of Article Five of the NATO Charter, dependent on whether or not member states has ‘paid their dues’ and his cheerleading of Putin as a great leader, according to Krugman, are not to be taken lightly. In fact, there are significant reasons for the American investigative journalists to dig very deeply into this potential story. For example, is Wikileaks in some obscure way being aided and abetted by forces and support that can be traced back to the Kremlin? Who knows? Nevertheless, the question is certainly not mute. And Trump’s flagrant denial of any connection between the leaks and Russia does nothing if not raise the bar of suspicion. After all, without releasing his tax returns, how would anyone know what connections Trump has to Russian plutocrats?
Name calling, racism, isolationism, narcissism, and the reduction of all calculations to dollars, renders the whole world just another poker table for Trump to dominate, given his own reductionist version of reality: the whole world is dangerous and I alone can save the United States from every danger!
So, whether the American people trust the first woman to be their president (and a large dose of misogyny cannot be denied in any analysis of the political situation in the U.S., just as a large dose of blatant racism underpins the Republican obstruction of Obama for the last six years) or are willing to turn the keys over to a man whose grasp on reality is suspect seems to be one of the core questions facing the electorate. Trump’s whole life demonstrates what some call a certifiable narcissism, whose public utterances are an embarrassment to his party, to his country and to the human race, and whose attention span, according to those who have worked with him, reaches to the extant of a gnat’s, perhaps a nanosecond.
From this desk, this choice is a no brainer, simply because whatever Hillary’s flaws (and like the rest of us, she has her own share), they pale in comparison to the fundamental danger posed by the simply candidacy of Trump, never mind the extreme threat posed by a Trump presidency. Bernie Sanders calls him a pathological liar; and that was while still running against Hillary Clinton. And while there are serious issues of favouritism disclosing deep cracks in the party establishment, to which Bernie has frequently referred, and now been vindicated, nothing compares here with the complete abandonment of the party establishment from the Trump campaign.
Even Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York city has agreed to endorse Hillary Clinton, and also to speak at the Democratic Convention this week. As a respected voice representing the city of New York, in which Trump has “operated” for decades, Bloomberg lends a serious, thoughtful and authentic voice to the Clinton-Kaine campaign.
And while his voice will not be the last to endorse, and there will likely be more glitches in her campaign, nevertheless, Trump’s sheer pathology disqualifies him for the office.