The debates are over, the punches delivered and the cards on the table before the American people. With just over two weeks to go, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are headed for a presidential election like no other. November may see the first female president of the United States or the first racist, misogynist, conspiracy theorist enter the White House.
The Republicans have endorsed or have been forced to endorse a man who embodies the racism and sexism that has disenfranchised minorities and women for decades in the US. Not only has his endorsement exposed the utter bankruptcy of the GOP; he is the creation of an eight-year-long Republican campaign of feeding the most extremist socio-economic views to voters in the red states as a counter to Obama’s liberal politics.
In 2012, Mitt Romney was too clean a candidate to attract such a voter base but Trump has become its poster boy. Trump has lied, abused and dared American institutions with minor political consequences. He continues to remain a contender. Such behaviour is no longer a deal breaker in American politics. Trump supporters have made it evident that they live in a fact-free bubble.
Imagine a US presidential candidate who attracts thousands of supporters with a list of greatest hits like: he will kill the children of terrorists with drones; throw out 12 million Mexicans; ban Muslims; give nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia; run a scam university; cheat veterans of charity money; not pay taxes; pick Putin as his favourite leader; abuse the handicapped; say climate change is a hoax created by China; make lewd remarks about women; brag about sexual assault; and be accused of sexual assault by over 10 women.
Hillary Clinton faced attacks for calling Trump supporters ‘deplorable’. But what other word can one use for someone who supports a candidate who believes and spouts such venom?
Ever since the ‘Hot Mic’ incident, support for Trump has dipped in many Republican states – namely Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Florida, which have turned from ‘Red’ to ‘Battleground’ or ‘Democrat-leaning’ states. The polls show that Clinton is set to clinch 307 of 438 Electoral College votes with Trump trailing at 170. Yet, it’s interesting to see that in 21st century America, ‘sexism’ was the breaking point that turned the tide against Trump. Up until then the racism and hatred was just fine and continued to place him in a dead heat against Hillary. Nonetheless, Trump supporters continue to rally around him, cheer when he says that the system is rigged, and that his loss in the polls will be proof of that.
Hillary may not be the ideal candidate for Democratic supporters after Obama, yet voting for her in November is not only the right thing, it is the adult thing to do. The Republican voter base has reared its angry head as a divisive political force in the US and the GOP leadership has to mull whether in the future a slicker version of Trump may anchor their party in the wrong direction and disenfranchise it from pan-America.
Charles II once said that, “Democracy is the power of equal votes for unequal minds”. The views of voters are not gospel, they can be misinformed. Just look at the Brexit vote, where the victorious ‘exit’ camp launched a misleading campaign about the benefits of leaving the European Union, and now the value of the pound continues to fall.
The world sees that the US presidential election is no longer a battle of ideologies, but a battle of reality vs alternate reality, a baffling state of American politics in the era of information explosion and liberation. Trump’s ascendency has raised the stakes of the elections, where the battle is for the soul of the most powerful democracy in the world. The US cannot afford to empower a leader who has developed his political strength through division, denigration and by advocating violence.
Come November, the power is with the American voters and they must teach a lesson to Trump and his supporters and show them the consequences of trying to poison the American spirit.
The writer is senior news editor at