It seems week after week journalists and commentators are writing about the U.S. election.
Truth is, it’s an easy topic to riff on. Everybody’s got an opinion.
The presidential election has been two years in the running, but really, the Republican Party began campaigning the day after they lost to Obama in 2012.
Now, less than 100 days away, the Americans are faced with two difficult choices.
And yes, it is difficult, because both candidates — Hillary Clinton for the Democrats, and Donald Trump for the Republicans — carry significant baggage.
The option of voting for two unpalatable candidates in an American election is nothing new, but this cycle has been an aberration from years past.
Clinton has lived a life in the public eye both as the First Lady to former President Bill Clinton, and has also served in public office in the Senate, and as Secretary of State. Over her tenure in politics, controversies — as they usually do in the life of almost every politician — flare up, notably using a personal email account on a private server while Secretary of State, her connections to Wall Street and conflicts of interests with the Clinton Foundation during her time as a government official.
However, the media coverage of the election has been dominated by Trump, who was able to capture the GOP nomination and become the Republican presidential candidate.
It was a bizarre primary process that started on the very first day he announced his intention to run, when he unveiled his plan to build a wall along the southern border, referring to Mexican immigrants as ‘rapists.’
In any other election cycle, with any other candidate, those comments, which at the time sounded off-the-cuff spontaneous, would’ve immediately sunk the campaign.
Since those remarks, Trump has invited controversy seemingly almost every time he speaks, whether it’s his call on a ban for Muslims entering the U.S., his assertion that he could shoot someone publicly and still have voters support him, and — just recently — verbally disparaging the parents of a Muslim U.S. Army soldier who died in Iraq.
And yet, despite all the ways in which he’s put his foot in his mouth, he still ended up garnering the majority of votes during the Republican primary process that concluded with the GOP convention in July.
Who would vote for someone who seemingly shoots from the hip without any kind of tact, poise and prudence?
The GOP convention was a fascinating study of mob behaviour and demagoguery, with the crowd getting riled up chanting ‘lock her up’ in reference to Clinton’s email scandal, followed by Trump himself giving his keynote address detailing America’s problems and declaring ‘I alone can fix it’.
Where is that streak of anger and fear coming from in the American psyche? Is Trump a product of the electorate, or is the electorate a product of Trump?
It’s a disturbing question in the context of how it resonates with voters. Does the Republican base shrug off his bigoted remarks because he’s a reality TV-show candidate? Are voters simply numb to whatever he says, like when a politically zealous relative rants at a Thanksgiving dinnertable?
Or maybe Trump’s support comes from the fact that he’s positioned himself as a Washington outsider determined to disrupt the system, something he’s succeeded at marvellously thus far during this election.
One of the phrases that repeatedly comes up during a campaign for the White House is that a candidate must be presidential.
Say what you will about Hillary Clinton and the policies of the Democratic Party, but Trump is not a presidential figure and a poor representative of American values on the world stage.
When the rest of the world hangs on every word spoken by the president, there isn’t a place for any kind of rash and reckless declarations. Neither is there a place for someone who petulantly lashes out at every slight, especially when he or she has access to nuclear weapons.
However, the tide of support for Trump is slowly started to ebb; Clinton has opened up a 10-point lead as of press time on Monday, according to CNN.
And in less than few months, the circus will be over.
Just in time for a new one to begin.