By Dylan R.N. Crabb
Donald Trump slid to victory in the electoral vote count last week while Hillary Clinton received the popular vote. Regardless of the undemocratic electoral college, voter purging, excessive voter identification laws, national media outlets that are failing the American public in their duty to provide intelligent discourses, and a blackout of alternative political parties by the two most established parties thereby limiting the range of ideas discussed on such failing national media outlets, Donald Trump is going to be our next president. Did the American people even have a choice?
The presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had devolved into a contest of character assassination when Trump’s behind-the-scenes Access Hollywood video was released. From that point on, Clinton supporters could not stop talking about the real estate mogul’s apparent misogyny. And, Trump supporters couldn’t stop talking Clinton’s e-mails. I didn’t heard any reporter or pundit bring up the subject of corporate imperialism guiding American foreign policy, plans to transition American infrastructure to renewable energy sources, creating a more friendly entrepreneurial environment for start-up businesses, placing more pressure on established businesses to give back to their communities, etc. National news media seemed focused on highlighting Trump’s apparent bigotry and lack of qualifications and nothing else. Despite corporate media’s obvious bias towards Clinton, it ironically enabled a Trump victory with all of the free advertising Trump received. If only there was a candidate just as populace as Donald Trump, energizing a huge base of voters and turning out huge crowds in public spaces. Actually, there was a candidate like that on the liberal side; his name is Bernie Sanders!
The political establishment had lined up behind Hillary Clinton so much that they proved the point that Senator Sanders and Mr. Trump had been saying all along: that Washington D.C. is removed from the average American – our leaders do not represent us anymore. Trump won the election because working Americans are tired of “politics as usual.”
Hillary Clinton is a career politician who knows exactly what to say at every press conference. Donald Trump is a bigoted loudmouth who says what he thinks (no matter the accuracy of his words). One thing is for sure: both political parties chose who might be the worst candidates to run for president of the United States; the Democrats could have chosen a more populace candidate and the Republicans could have chosen a more intelligent candidate. Voters who lean toward the Democratic Party pointed to Clinton’s experience in public life as a significant qualification for the office of the US presidency while voters who lean toward the Republican Party said exactly the opposite – that Clinton’s long history in politics means that she is too entrenched in the established corruption of American politics to make any improvements to American lives.
Critical thinking Americans are not so convinced by either side of this simplistic punditry. The strongest criticisms of Clinton are her hawkish stances on foreign policy and her lucrative business relationships with several authoritarian nations in the Middle East (governments that also donated money to the Clinton Foundation prior to Clinton becoming US Secretary of State). The strongest criticisms of Trump have to do with his seemingly bloated record as an entrepreneur and the university that bore the Trump brand for which the now President-elect is facing a criminal charge of fraud. Decide for yourselves which are the worse offences.
I think Americans are right to view Hillary Clinton as a Machiavellian power broker because Clinton has flip flopped throughout her entire career on issues according to what would be most beneficial for her career – she started out in politics as a Republican, “Goldwater Girl” in college talking about being “tough on crime” in the aftermath of the American Civil Rights movement. One could argue that the current Democratic Party is basically what the Republican Party was forty years ago. Donald Trump’s most significant strength seems to be his knowledge of media maneuvering, online navigation, and emotional manipulation; he knows how to market himself for a particular audience.
A redeeming quality about Donald Trump’s presidential administration (perhaps the only redeeming quality) might be that so many Americans are against him; so many media outlets are against him. If Hillary Clinton had won the presidency, it would have been likely to see much of American news media kiss her ass in praise. Under President Trump, Americans might see news media actually do some journalism in their adversarial stance against him. The press should be adversarial toward people in power. Another positive thing we’re likely to see from the next administration: the Trans Pacific Partnership is not likely to pass into law.
The president-elect will be forming his cabinet in the next few weeks. Watch closely.