America is making history today November 8, 2016, whichever way the pendulum swings. Either by putting the first ever woman (Hilary Clinton) in office as president of the United States. Or putting the most terrible presidential candidate ever (Donald Trump) in the history of US politics, in power.
If I were an American Voter, I will be very sad today. Regardless of who is declared winner of the polls later tonight, I don’t think there will be much to celebrate. Although people will still have reason to make merry because no matter how rough or small a victory may be, it deserves a bottle of champagne. But that is not a victory for the country. That may well be a victory for Hilary Clinton and her Democratic Party.
But it remains strange how his support base continues to grow, how his rally grounds get filled and most fundamentally, how he managed to come this far in the first place. I believe that is a subject that will continue to remain a key area of research for political scientists for a very long time to come.
All other things being equal, this election should have been over a long time ago. With all the scandals, both ‘action wise’ and ‘talk wise’ that have characterized Trump’s journey to the White House, Mrs. Clinton should probably have opened a ’10 point lead’ over him by now.
So that we will all go to sleep on election night, firm in our minds that we will not wake up to a surprise that will make the numerous polls predicting a victory for her false prophecies.
But not when you have someone with a ‘dark history’ like Hilary Clinton as a candidate on the other side. Her own track record especially outside politics, display of ‘terrible judgment’ in her work as Secretary of State, and the ‘business as usual posturing’ when it comes to policies for the future beyond 2016 have not helped matters.
Many analysts think Trump’s promise to ‘Americanise’ America is what has caught up with most citizens, and kept his campaign alive all these months. But I believe there is more to it than that.
If we were living in normal times, no one will vote a divisive figure like Trump – who preaches racism and bigotry – as president. No one will vote for a man who brags about sexually harassing women and calls them dogs and fat pigs. No one would vote for a candidate who plans to ban Muslims from entering America as president.
No one will vote a candidate who plans to deport all undocumented immigrants as president because that could well be your family and friends. No one will vote a candidate who encourages nuclear proliferation as president and is promising a ‘trade war’ with China by imposing infinite taxes on their goods.
And no one will vote for a candidate who plans to withdraw from major global trade deals and international protocols to deal with climate change. But unfortunately, these are not normal times. America is not that prosperous economy with opportunity for all that it used to be. And people sit around on tenterhooks everyday in fear that the next terrorist attack could well happen in their neighbourhood.
Sadly, when you read through Hilary Clinton’s vision for America as I have done over and over, you don’t find any fresh, clearly spelt out “specific plans” as Trump has laid out – no matter how crazy they are – aimed at dealing with the fragile economy, troubling unemployment statistics and national security challenges that prompted those ‘over the top’ promises by Trump. Maybe, apart from increasing the amount of tax paid by the wealthy. I may be wrong but for me, nothing else stands out.
Be it the immigration crisis or health care challenges or whatever, she is offering the same old strategies Barack Obama has implemented over the last 8 years that have not exactly fixed the problems. Only promising to ‘build on’ or reform or expand them.So, the people backing Trump are right when they say with Clinton in the Oval Office, the challenges may never go away. Why should they stick with her?
And her own ‘darkened past’ has not helped matters either. Her handling of the attack on the US Embassy in Libya and the crisis in Syria; and her use of private emails for official government business in this era where every smart wannabe hacker is targeting the American government to get hold of state secrets and publish, just to mention a few. And concerns of conflict of interest in how she, her husband and daughter have managed their Clinton Foundation. Not forgetting how she has responded over the years to allegations of her husband harassing women sexually. Now all these are coming back to haunt her.
Trump’s CV looks even more terrible. I don’t think I need to say much about his horrible track record in business with how he takes advantage of everyone and everything including his own country. These are too well known and documented facts.
But this is the point that I am driving at. In judging contestants for a leadership position, I believe three main criteria should be the guide; previous achievements in other leadership spaces, personal values and how you uphold them, and what your plans are for the future. I will score both candidates below the pass mark on all three criteria, and I am sure a lot of Americans agree with me.
I followed the 2008 and 2012 elections in America very keenly; the grueling battles between Barack Obama and John McCanin, and subsequently Mitt Romney. Those campaigns were filled with a lot of hope for tomorrow, exciting plans for the future, people of integrity with hard to question moral values, and candidates’ track records every American can be proud of.
Fast forward to 2016, the standards have fallen to unprecedented levels if you ask me. If I were an America voter, I will have voted for Hilary Clinton by the way. Not because I believe she is the best candidate in the race, but because as we commonly say; she is less of the ‘two evils.’ That is not a vote you can be proud of. That is not a vote you can look back to in future and proudly say ‘you nailed it fair and square.” That is the kind of vote that you cast and leave your head bowed down for the four years that follow.
So, we have had close to one year of campaigning that gave more attention to Trump’s loose talk and Clinton’s email scandal than the real bread and butter issues that affect America. We have come to the end of a grueling campaign that discussed Trump’s lifestyle and Clinton’s husband’s immoral behaviour more than the issues of children dying in Syria and Haiti. Thank God we have come to the end of a campaign that focused more on Trump’s insulting tweets and how much cooperate America paid Clinton for closed door speeches than the demands by activist groups on facebook for action on climate change. Now, the media can probably begin re-focusing on the real issues that matter after today.
If I were an American Voter, I will be very sad today. Regardless of who is declared winner of the polls later tonight, I don’t think there will be much to celebrate. Although people will still have reason to celebrate because of every victory, no matter how rough or small, deserves a bottle of champagne. But that is not a victory for the country. That may well be a victory for Hilary Clinton and her Democratic Party.
I’m still trying to figure out where America will go from here but for now, wishes of good tidings to Hilary Clinton, and may God bless the United States of America.
To read more from the author visit www.josephopokugakpo.wordpress.com