And Then There Were Two*

Donald Trump v. Hillary Clinton, a no holds barred cage match to the death**.

This should be fun. Clinton is very much “the devil you know.” She’s the closest thing the Democrats have to Bob Dole in the sense that her candidacy feels as though it’s a result of it being her turn as much as anything. I like Bernie Sanders, but I’d wager that a stronger Democratic candidate would have put him away a long time ago. She’s been in the public eye for decades, but it’s hard to remember any time she’s every received much positive press. It’s hard to point to much in the way of achievements. She’s rightly perceived as elitist and she’s much more comfortable discussing the minutiae of policy than she is delivering a rousing stump speech.

On a broader scale, she gives every indication of being the next in an unbroken line of Reagan-ish presidents. She’s hawkish on defense, fiscally conservative, pro-Wall Street, but generally liberal on social issues. A Clinton presidency would likely look a great deal like a Reagan, Bush, Obama, or, um, Clinton presidency. Probably more like her husband’s terms than any other, not because she isn’t her own person, but because there would be an endless sideshow of fake scandals in the press***. If you like the way things are going now, and have gone for the last 35 years, then a Hillary Clinton presidency looks appealing.

Donald Trump offers a much greater opportunity for amusement. Like Clinton, one gets the impression that a strong opponent would have swept the floor with him. Instead, he squared up against Ted Cruz, whose “I’m Just Like Donald Trump But Not Donald Trump” marketing plan didn’t have any more appeal than the “I’m Ted Cruz” plan.

Trump’s campaign strategy of “saying whatever he thinks people want to hear” has been stunningly effective. There’s no compelling reason to believe that he actually believes anything he’s saying. Remember the jab against Cruz, suggesting that Cruz’ father was linked to Lee Harvey Oswald? Trump flat-out admitted that he didn’t actually believe it; he was just saying it because he thought it would be effective. Some people call that a clever use of “rhetoric,” but c’mon, he’s just lying. That’s what he does.

It’s hard to imagine what a Trump presidency would look like because he has no track record, he dishonest about his beliefs, and there’s little indication either party would work with him. It might just be a ridiculous side show, or it might be a complete train wreck. Sure, Hillary Clinton has been party to war crimes but at least she has the good grace to evade questions about them. Trump has stated that he admires war crimes and wants to commit more. His supporters have suggested that he’s only saying this to get votes, but even if that’s true, that’s hardly a reason to vote for him.

As for the campaign, it’s going to be really weird. Clinton is relatively easy to attack and, while you’d think someone like Trump would be, the fact is that it’s very hard to pin someone down when they’re not constrained by facts. Clinton can attack his terrible record as a businessman and he’ll just say something like “Hillary’s just a loser. I’m the richest, most handsome, most successful businessman in the history of the United states and she knows it.” It’s crap, but it’s really, really hard to deal with in a debate setting, especially when the moderators have been cowed into non-participation in the name of “neutrality.”

We just haven’t seen a candidate like Donald Trump before. Even Ross Perot had beliefs and scruples (not to mention the fact that he was a genuinely successful businessman). My gut feeling is that Trump’s negatives are so enormous, even greater than Clintons, that even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would get 40% of the vote against him. That’s a tough starting point. Maybe he can expand his support, maybe he can attack Clinton effectively enough to drag her down with him. There’s not precedent for this so anyone who claims to know how it’s going to play out has a better crystal ball than I do.

I’ll tell you this though: It’s going to be very, very amusing to watch.

* Barring a miraculous comeback by Bernie Sanders. I’m not holding my breath.

** Of one’s or the other’s political career, I expect.

*** While the real scandals are swept under the rug.

5 thoughts on “And Then There Were Two*

  1. In regards to Bernie, he disappointed me when he decided to run as a Democrat. That signaled, to me, that while more progressive then Hillary, in the grander scheme, he isn’t much different than anyone else. I couldn’t vote for him in my state because I’m an independent and we have closed primaries. I refuse to register Democrat to vote in the primary. Yes, I know, I could instantly switch back to independent but I don’t believe in the Democrat platform anymore than I believe in the Republican platform.

    Which is the bigger problem in my opinion. People don’t vote any longer because we all see it is nothing more than kabuki theater. We are given the illusion to vote for A or B, the choice over evil or lesser-evil, and I know I for one am just sick of it all. Hillary is a Republican. Not the new-fangled bat-shit crazy religious fundie type, but a Republican none-the-less. She is not socially progressive unless it is political suicide to be otherwise (she ‘evolved’ on LGBT issues, for example). As a progressive, a long time liberal, I feel like there is little representation for me. As a country we are generally left of center but our representatives and the loudest voices are either right or far, far right.

    Until they realize there is a large progressive movement ready and willing to vote for true progressives, not just those that pay it lip service when necessary, the low voter turn out will continue and more likely plummet further. They like to point fingers and say we are low-information voters but, perhaps, the reality is that those that don’t bother are too well informed to the farce that is our ‘democracy’ and figure ‘why bother.’ That’s the point I’ve reached after all this crap.

    As for Trump. Yeah, I’ll never, ever vote for him and if I could, I certainly would leave this country if he becomes president. Unfortunately, I can’t leave so I’m stuck and I’ll be fucked left, right, front and back by any Republican in the white house. I’ll only be slightly less fucked by a Democrat in the white house. Honestly, it isn’t enough to get me to vote for Hillary and I’m so fed up that I’m almost hoping a Trump wins so this country can burn. Perhaps from the ashes something better will finally arise.

    I lost my job back in ’08 and have not been able to find full-time work since. I have a Masters degree that is nothing more than expensive toilet paper at this point and I’m still paying the damn student loans for it. I am in my late forties and for the first time in my life have credit card debt because it is the only way to pay for the health insurance deductibles which are plenty due to various health issues, least of which is drug-resistant clinical depression that leaves me even more cynical than usual. I can barely pay my rent and, if I were religious, even prayer couldn’t help me. All of my issues will not change no matter who is in the white house because I’m just one of those people that doesn’t matter. Which is to say I’ve reached the point of full cynicism — zero fucks left to give.

    1. That is some preaching. I can’t add anything other than you’re right. I even agree about Sanders: He can’t try to take the reins of the machine without becoming beholden to it ( I’ve been lucky. Except for a brief period, I’ve been fully employed for most of my life, but I know how much of that has to do with fortune and how tenuous my lifeline is.

      I wish I could rebut, but…I got nothin’.

      1. Yeah, sorry, didn’t mean to preach but, you know, sometimes the need to rant a little overpowers 😉 You are definitely right about Bernie and while I do believe he’d create more change then Hillary, in the end, not much.

        Which is why in the end I wonder how different things really will be with Trump in the white house vs. Clinton or any other Democrat. Basically they all serve the same moneyed interests in the end. I think I need to run for office. I’ll never have to worry about money again! Ha!

  2. P.S.: Thanks for the link to Margaret Killjoy. Never read the blog before and I’m enjoying several articles already!

Leave a Reply to Lily Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s