American voters are not very fond of the choice they will face this November. That’s obvious, even to those of us not named Luntz or Rasmussen or Gallup.
Hillary Clinton is widely viewed as deceitful, a perception that gets worse every time she talks about her emails, Benghazi, sniper fire, or being ‘dead broke.’ Secretary Clinton has the terrible problem of becoming less popular whenever she becomes more visible. It’s not a great attribute for a politician.
Donald Trump, meanwhile, is seen as a loose cannon (a firearm not protected by the Second Amendment.) Remember the ‘New Coke,’ a 1980s debacle that set a new world record in disastrous marketing? Well, how many times have we been introduced to the ‘New Trump,’ a formulation that always seems to lose its fizz very quickly?
On a week when Donald Trump could have focused on moribund economic growth and new questions about his opponent’s veracity, he blurted out an inane ‘joke’ that soaked up all the attention. Sure, the media are looking to hang Trump, but does he really have to give a fresh supply of rope every day?
What’s truly bizarre is that these two nominees, who make one blunder after another on the campaign trail, are extremely smart and accomplished individuals.
C’mon, you Hillary-haters, fess up. If your daughter was elected to the United States Senate and became the Democratic nominee for president, you’d be very proud mamas and papas. Sure, she married into power, but also relied on her own ambition and smarts.
And, hey, you Donald-despisers. You’d be busting your buttons if your son created a real estate empire and was a success at just about everything he tried. Of course he got seed money from his dad, but Donald Trump’s buildings are steel and concrete tributes to his competence and grit.
So let’s look at the bright side and consider just one major positive that each candidate offers. We’re not talking about policies like education or military spending or immigration or energy, this is about the culture that dominates Washington.
First, Donald Trump. There is no one who would shake things up more. Lots of candidates describe themselves as ‘outsiders,’ but Trump is the real deal when it comes to being the anti-DC guy. Perhaps that’s part of the reason so many powerful people in Washington, including many Republicans, fear his presidency. President Trump would put the old-boy-and-girl network out of business. And business has been very, very good for a long, long time.
Then there is Hillary Clinton, the consummate insider. She represents the status quo, but at least the national media would hold President Clinton accountable. For nearly eight years, many in the White House press corps have looked up at Barack Obama with puppy dog eyes, begging for a table scrap from a man they admire. There are exceptions, of course, Fox News correspondents chief among them, but we have witnessed an unseemly love fest between the president and the media. It’s just not supposed to work that way.
Hillary Clinton would be a different story. Sure, right now the media are rooting hard for her to beat Donald Trump. They would be doing the same even if the GOP nominee were Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio or Chris Christie. If Jesus himself showed up and had an ‘R’ beside his name, the media would mock his propensity to show off by walking on water and healing the infirm.
But while they are now in her corner, many pundits and reporters don’t much like Hillary Clinton. They hate her refusal to hold press conferences and they resent the fact that, like her husband, Secretary Clinton can be averse to the truth. The adjective ‘Clintonian’ was invented for a reason.
So, American voters, we have one candidate who will turn Washington inside-out and upside-down, another who will inspire the media to return to their actual job of holding the powerful accountable.
If you’re among the tens of millions who dislike both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, that may not seem like much. But it’s something, which is usually better than nothing. Feeling better yet?