I was on my second double gin and tonic when I started thinking about the U.S. election. Finally after this long, divisive and acrimonious election cycle, we were only days away from the end of the most hyped U.S. presidential campaign in history.
It was only two weeks before Election Day when the media began writing off Donald Trump’s bid – mainly due to the continuous feed of sexually charged grenades being thrown at him by dozens of credible women and then, to top it all off, the ‘locker room talk’ tape. Immediately, Hillary started acting like she had won. She was getting ready to move back into the Whitehouse – it had been 16 long years since she had last lived there.
A little too soon Hillary, as suddenly late last week the FBI announced it was re-opening its email investigation into Hillary’s use of a private email server for government emails. What initiated the renewed FBI investigation? The serial sexter, former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner had slipped up again. Weiner was a US congressman who had to resign when multiple sexting scandals were made public. Recently it was revealed he’d been sexting a 15 year old girl. Weiner’s wife Huma Abedin was Hillary’s main campaign manager, up until recently when the FBI email story broke. The FBI is currently investigating whether Weiner’s sexting may be relevant to Hillary’s private email server case.
The news cycle moves quickly – Donald’s fortunes turned and today some polls have him leading by a few points. He could be in the Whitehouse next week. What an interesting presidency a Trump administration would make and it’s now looking like a distinct possibility, yet only days ago we were writing him off. If the stories are true, Donald Trump wins my award for the guy that, more than anyone, lives by the motto “Don’t you ever let a chance go by, oh Lord”. It seemed like his predatory sexual behaviour produced a new story every day and quickly the consensus became that his bid was lost.
So now we have a situation where the presidency is being decided based on the actions of people with, frankly, anti-social sexual tendencies. Nothing has emerged about Hillary’s sexuality, in comparison to Bill Clinton’s previous excesses, however all eyes are left to analyse the unbalanced sexual appetite of three old men, and all those associated with them. What, me – worry?
All that aside, there are a few key questions I want to ask of Donald and Hillary.
Where does each one stand on LGBTQIA rights issues?
The answer has surprised me. Both appear to be equally supportive of LGBTQIA rights. Hillary is on the record as saying “Gay rights are human rights” and has delivered speeches to international forums in support of her positive views. She has done much for LGBTQIA employees of the departments she ran as Secretary of State and for gay rights around the world. Hillary also represents the Democratic Party’s view of LGBTQIA issues, progressive and liberal.
Donald has said “I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens”. At the recent Republican National Convention he said “As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology, believe me”. What about the Queer & Intersex citizens, Donald? Donald’s stated views do not represent the general views of the Republican Party.
Both candidates are known to have had less progressive views in the past. Both did not support marriage equality until recently. In June of 2016, Trump told a meeting of Christian Conservatives that he “stood with them” on the matter of marriage equality and would appoint judges that would likely overturn equality legislation. Hillary is on the record as being a supporter of equality for 5 or 6 years, having gradually shifted her position since 2008, as many progressives have shifted.
Some say that Trump is only using the LGBTQ(IA?) issues as a means of supporting his other more extreme policies, previously stating that “Hillary Clinton can never claim to be a friend of the gay community as long as she continues to support immigration policies that bring Islamic extremists to our country, who suppress women, gays and anyone who doesn’t share their views”, an attempt to broaden support for his policy of banning all Muslims from entering the U.S.
What about the candidates other personal morals and ethics?
Hillary, being a Clinton, has been the subject of long running and intrusive investigations into all aspects of her personal affairs and, while there are always alternative opinions, she has always come up clean.
Donald as we all know too well, has been the subject of a wide range of allegations including mafia ties, several failed business dealings, tax minimisation, racial discrimination, rape and even marital rape.
What will they do to fix the economy?
Hillary has articulated many of her policies and appears to know what she’s talking about. She promises the same strength and stability of the Obama administration that brought America back from the brink of the GFC.
The problem is Hillary is viewed as recycling more of the same rhetoric, and a large proportion of the population is bored with that same old speech. They feel that nothing ever changes for them. Many believe that recovery of the U.S. economy has been too slow under a Democratic administration and are disillusioned by her failure to articulate how she will improve their lot.
Donald may be a great businessman but most experts and many casual observers would agree that he doesn’t know much about running the biggest and most powerful economy on earth. However, he does know that a large proportion of the American public is looking for less of the boring detail and want a more fervent and stirring hope. He pitches his slogan based economic policies around the theme of making America strong again, by cancelling free trade agreements, putting new tariffs on Chinese products, cutting immigration and foreign aid and charging countries like Japan and the Philippines for the privilege of having US forces based there.
Neither candidate has pushed either side of the climate change agenda as either an economic or moral issue.
In the wash-up, we all know that really, neither candidate will make much of a difference to the real economy. Like climate change, the U.S. economy is almost at the point of no return. Under the right conditions, the U.S. could easily be a bankrupt nation in a matter of a few years.
Neither candidate has spoken the truth about how most Americans are living beyond their means and how without some pain, there will be no long term gain for the U.S. Nobody would want to listen anyway.
Who will inherit the presidency? Who will run the almost bankrupt nation with the power to destroy the world? It’s a fascinating contest and I’m kind of glad I’m not an American who has to make a decision this election, but I also know that whatever the decision, it will have an immense impact on the whole world.
This is one election where, unlike Bill Clinton’s previous ‘words of wisdom’, it definitively is not only about “the economy, stupid”.
Written by Tony Bishop.