2016, a presidential campaign for the ages
MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, MD., January 12, 2017 – The 2016 election was one of the most interesting in at least 50 years. Both candidates had a poor rating and most people appeared to dislike them, at least as reported by the various polls.
More importantly, during their campaigns, both eventual candidates were accused of crimes or openly made controversial statements.
At various times the Trump campaign accused Hillary of:
- Pay for play. That is to provide preferential treatment to persons that contributed to the Clinton Foundation;
- Being reckless with confidential information by using a home server;
- Deleting emails that could have incriminated her;
- Being responsible for the deaths of Americans in Benghazi;
- Being surprised and not being able to react to ISIS;
- Undermining respect for the US in the world.
In addition, at various times false news were forwarded or shared by Trump’s campaign or sympathizers that claimed that:
- Hillary and John Podesta ran a child slave ring from a restaurant in Washington, DC;
- Bill Clinton frequented the estate of a friend that ran a child porn site;
- Hillary had given away 20% of US Uranium reserves to Russia in exchange for contributions to the Clinton Foundation;
- George Soros colluded with the “Black Lives Matter” campaign to create chaos so that Obama could declare Martial Law and remain in the presidency;
- George Soros ran the US.
All accusations made by the Trump campaign were either investigated and dismissed or not found to be sufficient for an indictment.
As for the false “news,” as ridiculous as they sound, they were repeated millions of times and in at least one time acted upon. A man from North Carolina visited a restaurant in Washington, DC to investigate the child slave ring. He happened to have a fire arm with him that he discharged during his investigations.
Hillary also made a statement indicating that some of Trump supporters were a “…basket of deplorables.”
On the other hand, at various times Trump: (this is not an exhaustive list)
- Mocked a handicapped reporter by imitating his spastic movements;
- Labeled Mexican immigrants as rapist and criminals;
- Viciously attacked a female reporter that had asked him a question he did not like by referring to her menstrual cycle;
- Described thousands of Muslim-Americans celebrating after the 9-11 terrorist attack;
- Proposed the registry of all Muslims in the US;
- Proposed stopping immigration of Muslims to the US;
- Proposed building a wall at the US-Mexico boundary and to have Mexico pay for it;
- Promised to put Hillary in jail for all her crimes;
- Claimed that explicit comments he made about and in detriment of women were just “locker room talk” after a video surfaced showing him doing just that;
- Urged his supporters at rallies to use violence against demonstrators and offering to pay legal fees if they did;
- Suggested that in response to acts by ISIS we should indiscriminately carpet bomb;
- Stated that he knew more than the generals about warfare;
- Stated that he knew more than the intelligence community and doubted that the Russians had hacked the DNC and influenced the election;
- Made insulting remarks against a former beauty queen about her weight. This was in response to being accused of having made fat and ethnic jokes about her in the past;
- Reluctantly accepted that President Obama had been born outside the US after claiming for years the opposite.
It seemed that every time Trump made an outrageous statement that would have been the demise of any other candidate, his message resonated more and more with his followers.
Many Trump supporters indicated that they believed their candidate was genuine. That he spoke from his gut without any filters or trying for political correctness. This contrasted greatly with the other candidates, both during the primaries and the general campaign, that were perceived as secretive and hypocritical.
So, a critical factor in Trump gaining the presidency could be simplified to one of two possibilities. Either Trump was elected because many people shared his beliefs as stated in his comments during the campaign or some statements resonated enough with some groups that were willing to ignore other of his pronouncements.
To believe the former would indicate that there are many ignorant, scared, intolerant, and maybe xenophobic people in the US.
There is also sufficient evidence that Hillary was more unpopular than the polls claimed. Some editorials have even suggested that the American public was tired of the same families running for president and wanted someone new.
For whatever reason, Trump is the president-elect and he will have a very profound influence on our futures.
Let’s hope that his shallow statements and lack of specificity about his intentions mean that he will let his advisers lead him and us into a reasonably rational and productive future.
Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist, is eternally optimistic, even in the face of significant odds. He is in Twitter (@chibcharus), Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook (Mario Salazar).