Mrs. Hillary Clinton may yet win the US presidency, though as the week wore on it was looking less and less easy as it had seemed. Indeed, the Trumpists were beginning to measure the draping and Donald J. Trump himself was naming members of his would-be cabinet.
This is undoubtedly the ugliest US presidential election in memory, made more so by the emergence of a racist who sold himself for a white nationalist and candidate for change. Donald Trump is probably the first presidential candidate that came closest to fooling Americans as to who he really is. And up to the polling day, millions of white Americans informed partly by prejudice if not bigotry still viewed him as a well-meaning change agent concerned for the blue collar worker and the glory of the United States. |Trump says he wants to make America great again.
But the real Trump is utterly different. That he is a professional tax dodger and probably never paid any Federal income taxes for nearly 20 years is documented, and he did not quite deny it. In nearly 50 years of presidential campaigns, Donald Trump is the only candidate that refused to show the American voter his tax returns. In more gentle times, that alone should be a deal breaker. His three marriages should tell a lot about him as they did against former aspirants Speaker Newt Gingrich and former New York Mayor Rudy Guilliani, (these men have been his most reliable surrogates, a case of birds of a feather flocking together). But after the sex tape where he boasted how he “grabbed” women on their most intimate parts, whether or not the women approved, Trump ought to have dropped out of the race.
He seems to see it as a badge of honour that he is a xenophobe. He has no shame trying to exclude Mexicans, Muslims and others from the United States. He sees it as part of his appeal. He flaunts his business “success” as his greatest testimonial which entitles him to get into the Oval Office. But as Mrs. Clinton once taunted, his business books always ended on Chapter Eleven, which is America’s synonym for bankruptcy. He declared his business bankrupt not once, not twice, but four times. His business malpractices are copiously documented and ranged from cheated, unpaid workers and contractors, to racism in the work place for which the Federal government had to take him to court for racial discrimination. For Mr. Trump, charity does not begin at home. For a man who wants to make America great again, somehow, all his brands, from ties to suits to shoes are made in China, Turkey, and such other places. His foundation is a scam. He has given nothing to his charity for a dozen years and uses his charity for his own material benefits.
All this pales into insignificance when compared to his unpreparedness in terms of temperament and gaps in knowledge, which is why the whole world is nervous, every country except perhaps Russia. His friendship with white supremacists, his admiration for David Duke, his use of KKK web sites confirmed his racism if it ever needed confirming. His admiration for Vladimir Putin, his demagoguery, his attitude to power, his policy on trade and immigration put him firmly in the fascists’ box.
“Change has come to America,” declared Senator Barack Obama in his victory speech on election night in 2008 as tears flowed freely from African Americans leaders from John Lewis to Jesse Jackson – victims and veterans of the titanic civil rights struggle. He spoke too soon.
Those were days of casual talk about post-racial America. It was roughly 40 years after the March on Washington and the “I have a Dream” speech of Dr. King. It was like the calm before the storm. The eerie silence following Obama’s victory was similar to the brief interlude following the surrender of the Confederate Army at the end of the American Civil War. It didn’t last.
Three months after President Obama was sworn in, a nationally synchronized ‘revolt’ by the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party, the extremist wing of the Republican Party, descended on Washington threatening insurrection and saying “We want to take our country back.” It filled the streets with placards demonizing President Obama and depicting him in caricatures of an African witch doctor. It was as if an army of occupation had suddenly seized the country and the nation needed liberating. But those coded words meant nothing but an attempt to de-legitimize President Obama. That’s how Donald Trump emerged to lead the charge of a racist group which eventually became known as the “birthers” because their primary argument was that President Obama was a kind of Manchurian candidate foisted on the country by some evil and unknown forces. To argue that Americans did not know the origins of a man who campaigned for and won a state senate seat in Illinois, and a US senate seat, sat in the US Senate for years, and ran for president for two years, campaigning all over the 50 states of the union, can only come from the same kind of ideology which refuses to accept black people as human.
Donald Trump had no other qualification to run for president than that he kept pounding on the blatant falsehood that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Nothing else commends Donald Trump to lead the Republican Party. He doesn’t believe in the Republican Party. He doesn’t have Republican credentials. The entire intelligentsia of the Republican Party has deserted the party, not wanting to be identified with Trump. They are paying the price for their silence when he was garnering support based on the falsehood that Obama was not an American. The emergency of Trump looks like divine retribution against the Republican Party for the hell they made Obama go through just because he is black.
Trump boasts to be a billionaire. But his peers think his fortune is grossly overstated. And the power of racism is such that he had ardent adherents who agreed with him, who today constitute his hard-core supporters. They follow him because he had gall enough to demonize Obama. The Republicans who stood against him in the primaries he destroyed through phony populism. They cannot now believe their eyes and ears. Having said nothing while he demonized Obama, the country watched them stew in their own juice.
Mrs. Clinton is the exact opposite. She has been in public service for over 35 years, an advocate for the poor and the needy, pushing for the improvement of life for women and children, she is clearly the most qualified candidate to be president as Obama has said, “better than me, better than Bill (Ex-President Clinton, her husband.)” If elected, she would be the only secretary of state to become president since 1865 and the 7th in American history. In the early 1990s, he offered to work on the healthcare system when she was America’s First Lady. But she came under withering criticism by what she then described as “the vast right-wing conspiracy.” Ever since the rightwing has hounded her on all policy issues from the right of women to a safe abortion, to her liberal disposition and equality of marriage and her advocacy that women’s rights are human rights, which she propounded during the World Conference on Women in China.
On leaving the White House as First Lady she ran for the position of US Senator for New York where she distinguished herself in defence and security matters. New Yorkers will never forget her role in getting Federal aid to rebuild the city and provide healthcare for the first responders who were sickened by the environmental fall-out of the attack on the Twin Towers on 11th September 2001. Her campaign has been dogged by the so-called “e-mail” issue because she had used her private e-mail to work on official documents as secretary of state and the right-wing believe she must have compromised the security of government secret documents. She was investigated for more than two years and the Federal Bureau of Investigations ruled that she had not committed any crime. But precisely 11 days to the election, the FBI director, James Comey, threw the bombshell that more e-mails had been discovered in her assistant’s computer which might raise the prospects of further investigations. That was the October surprise on which the Trump campaign had hinged its hope to recover the initiative after months in which it was generally agreed that Trump had lost the campaign.
The right-wing want her defeated in order to obliterate Obama’s legacy, a prospect which Trump has affirmed at every campaign stop including a promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s single most important achievement, which has enabled more than 20 million Americans to have access to healthcare. Americans, sometimes, make queer political decisions but electing Donald Trump would be beyond human understanding.