Our American voter friends may be thousands of miles away, but you’d have to have a heart of stone not to feel sorry for them as they approach the imminent presidential election. In November the great American public will literally find themselves between a rock and very hard place. Hilary or Donald? Even the very mental image of the ballot paper is quite disturbing. So who’s it to be? A maverick dodgy businessman who has promised to build a wall to keep Mexicans out of the country or a woman who lied to the IRS about foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation? It begs the obvious question of course of ‘how did it all come to this?’
In the United States these days, running for President is mostly a game for the shameless, the self-obsessed and for those candidates that can command hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds, which of course will have to be returned in the shape of ‘favours?’ Many commentators have pointed the finger at the voter themselves, opining that the USA has become a country where science is mocked, climate change is denied and where millions still believe that the earth is six-thousand years old and man walked along with the dinosaurs.
There is also a view that, certainly during this election campaign, that news coverage in America is rarely quality or facts driven, but ratings driven. And whether you like or not, Trump makes for good TV. Yes of course he’s a train wreck, he’s the Hurricane destroying the coastal town. He truly is awful. But it’s the kind of awful that American viewers just cannot turn away from. He’s like a twenty-four hour rolling episode of the Jerry Springer Show. Married to this of course is the fact that election season in the states is incredibly long. I think I was only seven when this one started!
Issues are sort of discussed at the beginning, and then it just turns into mud-slinging insults and stays that way for months on end. In other countries however, particularly in Europe, election campaigns are very short. You hear the issues, decide which ones you agree with and vote accordingly. But the US election is compounded by the requirement of shed loads of money to run. Presidential candidates have to start gathering campaign funds earlier and earlier every election. This draws out the election season as well as the joke-fest that is the nomination process.
So with only three weeks to go until the US Voter makes up his mind. what do we really know about the two contestants in this year’s ugly pageant? According to a number of recent surveys, a majority of the country still maintain an unfavourable opinion of the former first lady with less than forty percent of respondents believing that Clinton is honest and trustworthy. I’m surprised it’s that good! Yet the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee continues to deny that millions of dollars given to her foundation by foreign interests conflicted with her State Department.
Similarly, one Washington Post/ABC News poll found that Donald Trump was also ‘unelectable.’ And concluding that the public thought Clinton was preferable to Trump. Fewer than 30 percent of voters said they thought the real estate heir was trustworthy, understood their problems, or had the experience or temperament to serve as president. To put this poll in perspective then, it appears to confirm that herpes has a better favourability rating than either of them, which brings us to the sorry conclusion that the American voter will be facing the mother of all lose-lose scenarios this coming November.
I’m not an American of course, but I just cannot begin to imagine either of these two terrible candidates becoming President. What an awful choice the American electorate has saddled themselves with. And if they thought that George Bush and Barack Obama were bad, then to quote that oft American saying, ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet.’ Perhaps the only hope is to invoke the electorate’s disapproval of each candidate with the ballot option of ‘None of the Above’. Sadly he’s no longer with us, but how the Americans could do with Montgomery Brewster right now?
26th October 2016