Some parents won’t let their children watch coverage of the American Presidential election. I’m not surprised. On a personal level the revelations concerning Republican candidate Donald Trump’s encounters with a host of women make him unfit to hold the high office to which he aspires. On an international level the thought of this erratic man getting anywhere near the nuclear trigger doesn’t bear thinking about.
Trump is the least suitable Republican candidate since Barry Goldwater in 1964. He was trounced by Lyndon Johnson after declaring “extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice.” That sort of sentiment has run through much of Trump’s rhetoric. Talk of Mexicans being rapists, of building a wall to keep them out and banning Muslims from entering America are the modern day expressions of the ugly Goldwater campaign all those years ago.
So where is the landslide for the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton? It may come, but with a few days to go to the election some people are still talking about a Trump victory. Why isn’t America set to embrace its first woman President with the same enthusiasm that accompanied the election of its first black President in 2008?
After all, the choice is stark if one is judging the candidates on qualification for office. Hillary Clinton is a former First Lady, senator and Secretary of State. Trump has never held political office.
The answer is that with thirty years in public service, Clinton has attracted “baggage”. She is regarded as arrogant and did herself no favours by describing Trump supporters as “deplorables”. For many in the Democratic Party she is not radical enough. That is why Vermont senator Bernie Sanders put up such a strong showing against her. The biggest problem though has concerned her use of a private server for classified emails. What she did was not criminal and there is no evidence of a security breach. However it has allowed Trump to call her a crook. She had appeared to have put the problem behind her until the issue was reopened last week.
There are so many issues that this campaign should have been about; the American economy, gun control, climate change, foreign policy, policing of the African American community and health care. Instead most of the time has been taken up with Trump’s sleazy behaviour and Clinton’s emails. You can imagine dictators and theocratic tyrants around the world being reinforced in their contempt for democracy. That is why America has been demeaned by this contest.
Clinton will probably win, Trump is behind in too many of the swing states like Colorado and Ohio. Florida is in the balance and The Donald is ahead in Iowa and Ohio. However perhaps this year of surprises has one last twist. How many people have concealed their support for such a disreputable candidate as Trump?
A Clinton victory will be good for the world. A stable presence in the White House is essential. Her winning will encourage other women and girls to break the glass ceiling and she will attempt to implement a programme of social justice and international resolve
The question next Wednesday will be whether Trump accepts defeat. And how the millions of Americans bewildered by the modern economy and displaced from their jobs in coal and steel who the Trump campaign has tapped into, will react.