How many of you are exhausted now that we’re down to the last weekend before the election? I know I am. I’ve been watching this debacle since the primary season began and the only solace that I can take is at least it’s not my country that’s beating itself up – again.
A few things that have happened recently….
This week, Donald Trump either twisted the truth or blatantly lied in his stump speeches about the following: the likelihood of an investigation into Hillary Clinton leading to charges, the number of emails under investigation, the destruction of emails, the Clinton Foundation, the issues on the southern US border, Hillary Clinton’s open borders, violent criminal aliens, murder rates in the US, tax increases, the supposed depleted condition of the US military and the reasons why, workers’ hours and wages being cut, Obamacare premium rises, Obamacare deductibles, ISIS, and social media burying stories.
This week, Hillary Clinton somewhat misrepresented Trump’s positions in her stump speeches about the following: nuclear weapons, Japan and North Korea, 9/11 (a little, maybe), Tiananmen Square (again, just maybe), his ability to fix everything, equal pay, voter suppression and the Muslim ban.
If you actually read those links, you’ll see that I’m not mis-characterising my descriptions when I say outright lies for one and misrepresentations for the other.
The FBI has been exposed as a body in conflict with itself, within which there is a group of partisan operatives that may be pressuring their Director, but at the very least are leaking information with a view to swinging the election towards one particular candidate.
That fact alone should make an honest citizen’s blood freeze.
Rudy Giuliani has exposed himself as being in touch with this group, knowing well beforehand that leaks were going to happen and that the Comey letter was going to come out. Giuliani is a top surrogate for Trump.
Militia groups in Georgia are training, just in case Hillary Clinton becomes President.
One arrest was made for voter fraud. It was a woman voting twice for Donald Trump in Iowa.
Several instances of voter suppression have been reported, especially in North Carolina, where the number of early voting sites was initially well down on 2012. That number has since been raised.
Voters were added back to the rolls in North Carolina thanks to the judiciary after being removed following private campaigns by right-affiliated voter watch groups
Melania Trump gave a speech where she said her focus as First Lady would be to try and put a stop to bullying, especially on social media. I can’t fault the nobility of her cause, but seriously….
Hillary Clinton kept saying “When they go low, we go high.” Then she’d go low. As with Melania, I can’t fault her reasoning. Just stop saying the slogan and be honest. Hillary is a crap candidate who got too cocky 10 days ago and has seen the momentum go to Trump because of it. She should have kept her foot on his neck back then.
John Podesta was accused of participating in a Satanic ritual involving menstrual blood, semen and breast milk. I had to laugh hearing Alex Jones say that out loud. The alt-right – which you can’t really dismiss as a bunch of crazies right now given that one of its doyens is the CEO of a candidate’s campaign – ran with this story as being a serious thing that actually happened. It did not.
Wikileaks, which was the sworn enemy of conservatives a few years ago when it showed video of US military helicopters killing unarmed civilians in Iraq, is now the conservative’s darling.
It was announced yesterday that the US added 161,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate is down to 4.9%. It was 10% in October 2009. Wages growth is at 2.8%.
The US was divided back in 2008 when it came to the issue of electing a black man as President for the first time. But even that was nothing like what we’re seeing in 2016.
Sadly, tragically, I think there may be some people killed next Tuesday at voting places in America. I think that could actually happen. I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen, but tensions are so high right now that it’s a possibility.
The Republican Party has a despicable nominee. He’s had 3am Twitter fights with beauty pageant contestants. He’s proposed a ludicrous scheme to build a wall (have you seen the sums on that) and deport 11.3 million people (which, aside from being immoral, will come at a cost of $400 billion and a loss of $1 Trillion to the US GDP). His own words on how he’s treated women condemn him as a perpetrator of serial sexual assault and ritual misogyny. He’s threatened to stifle press freedom through litigation and he’s also threatened to jail his political opponent. Both of those proposals are usually the preserve of iron-fisted dictators in tin-pot countries.
Donald Trump has consistently lied throughout this campaign. This is not a point for discussion. It’s just a fact. Politifact rate 70% of his statements as either “Mostly False”, “False” or “Pants On Fire”. He has used his personality to persuade people that untruths are true and he’s played on people’s fears to whip them into a state of frenzy. He’s a political PT Barnum of the highest order and sadly, there are plenty of wounded people willing to line up behind him.
Sadly, the left doesn’t have much to offer, either. While I believe Hillary Clinton to be a fundamentally decent person, a tireless worker and someone with the temperament and experience to actually do the job of being president, there’s no doubt she’s a flawed and compromised candidate.
Her candidacy is shrouded in smoke and whether you believe there’s fire there or not, her Presidency will be a torrid affair. Members of congress have vowed to block her Supreme Court nominations and others are already preparing investigations that they say will last for years.
While I feel like I know a reasonable amount about US politics for an outsider, I don’t yet know all the pitfalls and bumps. But it seems to me that there’s something fundamentally broken with the US political system.
This whole thing of 18-month political campaigns with billions of dollars being spent to elect someone to the highest office in the land, with the responsibility for both security and prosperity – and it all coming down to what’s basically a popularity contest with no experience necessary – that’s a broken system.
A system where the elected representatives can stall legislation just by standing up for crazy periods of time and talking about anything is a broken system.
A system that allows lawmakers and lobbyists to hijack the mandate given by the people is a broken system.
And right now, that broken system is breaking your country.
I can see why Trump appeals to some people. I can see the need to have someone come in and shake up the establishment in Washington. I can wholly understand why some people are crying out for it.
But Donald Trump is not the man for the job.
Yes, you’ll get another 4 years of potential gridlock with Hillary Clinton but at least you’ll have another 4 years of representative democracy where the country won’t be in much danger of crumbling around your feet. She will annoy some people and she will implement some things that various interest groups won’t like (even if a majority of people, over all, do like them – like closing the gun show loophole).
With Trump, it’s a total crap shoot. The markets are already saying there’ll be a 3% to 5% fall in index values. Immediately. If he does press ahead with his plan for massive tax cuts along with his deportation force, the wall, military spending (so un-needed when you already spend more than twice as much as the #2 military spender) and other infrastructure spending, then your deficit is going to blow out … bigly. His protectionist trade talk isn’t going to bring jobs back to the rust belt and his plan to double-down on coal is both an epic denial of accepted climate science and cheating the country out of new technology jobs.
And that’s saying nothing about what happens if an international leader keeps him up tweeting to all hours of the night.
America is divided. Sadly, neither of these candidates is likely to heal that rupture. That will have to wait until both parties – or a third party (Imagine that!) – can serve up candidates that can both inspire change and carry it through.
Until then, I hope you elect the candidate that will keep the country functioning.
Hillary Clinton is going to win on Tuesday. She’s not going to win by as much as I had hoped, but she’s going to win.
I hope she can do the job that will be entrusted to her. The first female Presidency should be a cause for celebration, but it won’t be. Like everything else at the moment, it’ll be a scrap. A fight with few winners and plenty of losers.
The one positive that might come from it is that it’ll make life easier for the next female US President.
I hope that on November 9 people can start treating each other with some kindness again.
Maybe the one thing that saddens me most is that the US I see on the news at the moment isn’t the US that I’ve visited a number of times. When I visit the States, I spend time with some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, having interesting conversations and doing some great things.
It’s sometimes said that America is the home to best and the worst of everything. That’s not actually true, but it’s close.
I hope the country’s better angels get some oxygen again soon.