Sunday, August 14, 2016

Clinton vs. Trump: Wicked Stepmother vs. Drunken Uncle

I get it. I understand how many voters are frustrated by both major party candidates in this presidential election. Let's take a look at both sides of this difficult bargain. Trump is a total non-starter, totally unacceptable even in a nightmare to be the leader of the free world. Can you imagine the havoc he would wreak. Every day he'd shoot his mouth off insulting a world leader, breaking a treaty, being "sarcastic" and we'd be on the perpetual brink of World War III. It's reached the point now where even members of his own party are disowning him. He doesn't even understand basic grammar or concepts of rhetoric. This past week, his "off-the-cuff" controversial statements on "Second Amendment people" and Obama "founding" ISIS caused violent reactions among the media and in the halls of power, and were purposefully ambiguous. He could have clarified them, but he wanted the explosions to detonate. It's his way of having fun. (He often says during his rallies after inciting violence and mocking his enemies, "Isn't this fun?")

After making the claim the President and Mrs. Clinton were co-founders and MVPs for ISIS, he doubled down when directly asked if he meant it literally. Conservative radio talk show Hugh Hewitt (who resembles Dennis the Menace's father) offered him an out by saying "I know what you mean. By withdrawing from Iraq, Obama created the vacuum which allowed ISIS to thrive. You mean he lost the peace." Trump could have said, "Yeah, that's what I meant" but instead he goes, "No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton."

Did Hewitt have to explain to Trump the difference between figurative and literal like I do in English class when I substitute teach? By saying "No" to Hewitt's question, Trump was basically saying in 2004 Obama got on a plane from Washington, flew to Iraq, got together with dissident radical Sunnis and said "Let's start a terrorist organization which will give me all kinds of trouble when I'm president in four years." Trump later claimed he was being sarcastic, but not that much. Sidenote: an ISIS bigwig was just killed by a drone, but Trump fails to mention that because it would interfere with his crazy narrative that ISIS "honors" Obama.

Looking at the other side, I am all for Hillary Clinton, but I do realize she is far from a perfect candidate. There is no proof there is anything illegal about the way she handled her emails while serving as secretary of state or in her association with the Clinton Foundation. But like every other "scandal" associated with her, she has answered questions evasively and appears to be hiding something fishy. Such behavior makes it a challenge to defend or support her 100 percent. But perhaps drag star RuPaul explained it best: she is a badass bitch who will get things done as opposed to a loudmouthed jerk who will at best accomplish nothing and at worst blow up the world.

The worrying thing is Trump could bounce back. He can cite the constantly leaking embarassing and yet unfound or deleted Hillary and DNC emails. (BTW, Julian Assange of Wikileaks wants Trump to win so he can get a pardon and finally leave the Ecuadorean embassy in London.)  The economy is doing better, but not fantastic. Trump's appeal is somewhat understandable since he seems to speak for a large chunk of the electorate which see itself as ignored. But now he's become the drunken uncle ruining the family picnic as he swills beer, starts arguments, and falls into the potato salad. This contingent see Hillary as the mean old stepmother reminding everyone to eat their vegetables, or worse to take away everyone's dessert. She doesn't offer easy answers and her strongest card right now is she's not Trump.

The Donald is now realizing he's probably not going to win, but I don't think he wanted to in the first place. The idea of actually governing terrifies him. If there were to be a Trump administration, Mike Pence would be doing all the heavy lifting while Trump would just make speeches and Tweet all day. He's planting seeds of disruption by claiming Hillary will cheat in Pennsylvania--He didn't even know they have no photo ID law (Repubs there tried to get one passed, but it's been held up in court.)

The end game is pretty frightening. John Cassidy has a fascinated piece in the New Yorker laying out a theory that Trump's loyal following can morph into a dangerous political movement. When he loses, he will claim the system is rigged and his disaffected supporters may turn into a permanent, angry nationalist organization like the Brexit voters and Jean-Marie Le Pen's anti-immigrant contingent in France. In the wake of Roger Ailes' scandalous departure from Fox News scandal, it's not inconceivable to imagine a Trump News Network with the defeated candidate spewing his hatred, disconnected sentences and vile rhetoric 24/7, plus hourly news shows for each of his kids and a shopping/beauty/gossip segment with Melania. The RNC Convention was just a preview of such a communications empire. Remember that giant screen with the words TRUMP in enormous letters? Trump could get money from the Russians--since no one in the US trusts his credit--and start a whole empire, hiring Fox stars whose sympathies lay with Ailes and whose contracts are up. The only bright side to that vision is it would split the Republican party and diminish Fox's dominance.

I am hopeful that the American public is beginning to see Trump for what he really is, an out-of-control, attention-craving schoolboy who likes to make noise at the back of the class rather than offering constructive solutions. You don't make such a person hall monitor, much less the head of the school board.

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