The Upcoming Election for The 45th President of the United States: How We Got Here

-Valentino Stradford-

On Wednesday October 19th the final, non-Twitter based, presidential debate will take place between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. While there have already been two debates, they have been rather unnecessary as I’m almost certain everyone who plans to vote settled on their candidate some time ago. The only thing that these debates have done is provide entertainment and sound bites for each campaign to use in ads against their opponent. So, I believe it is more important to try and patch together what happened in order for us to be left with this…while attempting to remain as objective as possible. 

The Candidate Representing The Democratic Party

Hillary Clinton, Credit to CNN

Hillary Clinton, Credit to CNN

Hillary Rodham Clinton, henceforth written as HRC, was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1947. HRC first “got into” Washington politics in 1974 during the infamous Watergate scandal. She was involved with the House committee that was heading the possible impeachment of President Richard Nixon, which would mean that HRC has been involved in politics for some 42 years, much to Donald Trump’s chagrin I’m sure, since he’s been using “she’s been there for 30 years” as a jab for some time. HRC’s first real exposure to the national spotlight, of course, was as the potential First Lady to Bill Clinton, a role which now seems to be as much a curse as it was a blessing.

After the Clinton presidency though were other positions that speak more to her experience as a public official. HRC was a U.S senator for New York from 2001 to early 2009, at which point she accepted the nomination to be Secretary of State, which she held for President Barack Obama’s entire first term. However, just prior to the Secretary appointment was her campaign to become the democratic nominee in 2008, which she lost to Obama by only 333 delegates.

Given the closeness of the ‘08 competition it isn’t really all that shocking that HRC won the DNC’s nomination this time around against the lesser known Governors Lincoln Chafee and Martin O’Malley, and Senators Jim Webb and, of course, Bernie Sanders. HRC was the easy front-runner going into this election, so why did the people backing her feel the need to cheat? Much like the president that she would have seen impeached in 1974, she won by a landslide. However, there are two major differences between Watergate and the Democratic National Convention unethically pushing for Hillary; one is that the latter was not an illegal act, and two is that Watergate was discovered after Nixon had been re-elected, and he was then forced to resign or be impeached. All of HRC’s piling scandals have already occurred, before the final vote has even happened. But somehow I don’t see her ever resigning, or “suspending” her campaign, much like many people wish her main opponent would.

The Candidate Representing The Republican Party Name

Credit to CNN

Donald Trump, Credit to CNN

Donald John Trump, to be written as DT from here on, was born in Queens, New York in 1946. Unlike HRC, DT does not have a few decades of political activity behind him. In fact, besides a few in-person and telephone interviews for various news networks asking for his opinion on political matters, and a brief flirtation with a presidential campaign in 2011, DT has no political history or experience at all.

What he does have is a several billion dollar organization built by a long running television show, real estate, real estate development, and high profile construction and renovation jobs. One such job includes the Wollman ice skating Rink in Central Park, which is detailed in his 1987 book The Art of The Deal.  One way he has managed to sustain a decent amount of his wealth is with the Trump name itself, licensing it that is. Because DT has become such a well-known figure, he has been able to make lucrative deals in which he is paid not for making anything, but solely for other businesses using his name on their buildings. He has also created several businesses and casinos over the years, some of which subsequently went bankrupt–though he himself has never gone bankrupt, contrary to popular belief. DT is fond of stating that these bankruptcies were simply ways of “[using] the law four times” to his advantage…other’s say that they were simply him failing at business four times.

Many people believe that DT is, and has been, a good businessman and thus he has credibility as a leader, especially in regards to the economy and the $20 trillion debt under which the U.S is currently operating. Many others, including HRC and several former Republican rivals, believe that DT has no credibility as a leader and maybe not even as a businessman. Regardless of what everyone’s individual opinion is, he is worth at least $3.7 billion, as of this writing, according to Forbes. And in this country with the general public that counts for something, regardless of which methods were used to make it.

On June 16th, 2015, an event took place which would eventually and unexpectedly see to the fall of 14 Republican presidential candidates. June 16th was the day DT announced that he would officially be running for president on the Republican ticket. For most people his candidacy was something of a joke, and one that would not last very long, given his choice words during his announcement speech. The Trump campaign was tagged early for the candidate’s inflammatory remarks about illegal Mexican immigrants: “when Mexico sends its people they’re not sending their best…they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.”

He did go on to say that some are probably good people, so there’s that. Despite these incendiary remarks the “Trump train” went full steam ahead with a lot of supporters on-board, largely because the media was giving him the majority of the air-time they spent on the election.

Going back to the 14 other Republican candidates, several of them dropped very early in the race because they were not getting enough support. Some received such little backing in fact that they were not even included in the main primary debates, and a few dropped before the first primary voting event was even held.

The men who were originally seen as the main contenders to run against HRC were former Governor Jeb Bush, and Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Of these three, Bush was the first to drop out, despite having the most money in his campaign’s coffers and the support of the Republican establishment. After losing his home state of Florida to DT, Senator Rubio also dropped leaving Texan Ted Cruz the last man standing against the business magnate. By the time the Republican National Convention was held in Denver, Colorado, DT had nearly 1,000 more delegates than Cruz. Likewise HRC had nearly 1,000 more delegates than Senator Bernie Sanders by the time of the Democratic National Convention.

Where We Stand Now

When discussing any election in the past one might have heard the phrase “the lesser of two evils.” Well that seems to be the main theme this time around. The two candidates that this nation has chosen to compete for the most powerful and most watched position in the world, besides The Pope, are the most disliked candidates in the history of the country. This was reflected in real time when at the 2nd presidential debate the crowd cheered when DT said to HRC “because you’d be in jail,” after she made a quip that it was a good thing that a man like him wasn’t in charge of laws in the U.S.. When in the past has any group of people cheered at the notion of an officially nominated United States presidential candidate going to jail before they were in office? Never.

Not since the election of 1860 has there been such a divisive choice of candidates, the result of which could have similarly disastrous effects. If you think I’m overstating things, think again.

On the one hand we have the often short-tempered DT who would see us return to a “me state,” in which the U.S is in the game for itself and would shut out neighbors and re-negotiate trade deals that have been standing for decades, while ignoring the wishes and thoughts of the other side of the aisle and is openly disliked by half of the country. On the other hand, there is HRC who has a troubling and questionable history in politics, plans to raise taxes and continue the “status quo”, has caused the ire of Russian President Vladimir Putin–the most powerful (according to Forbes) and aggressive leader in the world, and is also openly disliked by half of the country.

Is the coming November 8th election a regrettable one, yes. Mistakes were made. But, it is one in which each of us must participate, regardless of who each of us votes for, because its repercussions will be noticeable and affect everyone across the board.

As you may have noticed, despite my “best” efforts, I have not remained completely un-biased. However, my failure is far less significant than the very intentionally biased coverage of this election cycle by each of the big news networks. Most people are aware that FOX is the conservative network that seems to be pro-Trump, or at least pro-Republican. Practically every other network appears to be far more liberal minded, and seems to be pro-Hillary. The newspaper split is almost equally unequal.

Yet, there are still people who will only read one paper or only watch one network, and not the others. Do not be one of these people. Take information from both sides of “the aisle” to find the real truth. Likewise, do not simply take the “facts” on either candidate’s website at face value. Stay informed, stay smart.