The undercard, while not always enlightening, was certainly entertaining.
It all began fifteen months ago, in March of 2015, when Senator Ted Cruz uttered these words: ‘I am running for president of the United States.’
He was soon followed by Jeb, Marco, Rand, a couple of Ricks, and what seemed like a few hundred other Republicans who looked in the mirror and saw the next commander-in-chief staring back at them.
And then there was Trump.
Where were you one year ago, on June 16th, when he made that announcement at his eponymous tower in Manhattan? In a preview of coming distractions, Donald Trump reminded the gathering, ‘I’m really rich.’
In the other corner, Hillary Clinton jumped into the ring last April.
She may have expected victory by proclamation, but then Bernie Sanders came and messed it all up. The supposedly pre-ordained victory, expected to be signed, sealed, and delivered in a few months, wound up taking more than a year.
And now, at last, the two pugilists are glaring at each other from across the ring with mutual loathing and disgust.
‘Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit,’ she insists, adding that he is an outright bigot. Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed counter-puncher accuses her of financial fraud and worse.
This is merely the beginning. Over the coming months the personal attacks will grow more intense. The media will shed crocodile tears decrying the invective, all the while reaping the financial benefits of high ratings and increased newspaper sales.
But forget for a moment the show business aspects of this brawl. We should always keep in mind that there are issues at stake that will determine America’s future.
Near the top of the list is illegal immigration. Secretary of State John Kerry recently applauded the idea of a ‘borderless world.’ Really? Mrs. Clinton, pushed far to the far left by Sanders, demands ‘a path to full and equal citizenship’ for most illegal immigrants in the USA.
Hillary Clinton, like Barack Obama, seems to have absolutely no problem with sanctuary cities that provide safe harbor to illegal immigrants, even those with criminal records.
Someone might want to ask the family of Kate Steinle about the wisdom of giving ‘sanctuary’ to felons.
Donald Trump, of course, endorses a massive wall and mass deportation. The deportation deal is not realistic, but nowhere is the contrast between the two candidates more stark. Either we have a country with borders and laws, or we do not.
Then there is terrorism and ISIS. There was another reminder of the savages’ inhumanity this week when a couple of Muslim terrorists opened fire at a crowded mall in Israel.
Hillary Clinton denounced the ‘heinous’ terrorist attack and affirmed that Israel has every right to defend itself against the barbarians. But Mrs. Clinton, like her former boss, generally refuses to utter the term ‘Islamic terrorism.’
Donald Trump is less reticent about identifying our enemies, although he seems to now realize that his notorious ban on Islamic immigrants is not going to happen. Nor should it.
By the way, in case you wonder what Israelis themselves think, twice as many believe Donald Trump would be better at leading the fight against terrorism.
Right now the news media are going absolutely wild over Donald Trump’s ill-conceived comments about a judge. It’s obvious that many in the press feel they have finally found the verbal straw that might break Trump’s proverbial back. So they can not and will not let it go, at least for a few more news cycles.
But this too shall pass.
Donald Trump will undoubtedly say more questionable stuff, Hillary Clinton will continue to bob and weave and duck accusations of chicanery and criminality.
Like most of us, these are two deeply flawed human beings. But unless something very bizarre happens, one of these far-less-than-perfect individuals will soon be leading our nation.
The time has come for all of us, including the media, to focus a little less on personal invective, and a lot more on the future of America. The stakes are truly enormous.