With the results now in and a victory for Republican nominee Donald Trump, the 58th U.S. presidential election showed a race people were only half-heartedly cheering for, with no surprise if their horse ended up at the glue factory, except for maybe your radical extreme left-wing or right-wing voters in the spectrum.
They say politics is a dirty game, and as 2016 has shown us, this race where eventually Trump became the 45th president of the United States, was indeed deep in the pig pen in terms of ample mud slinging, a race that no doubt has a huge impact to their neighbours up here in the Great White North.
Dig into the past of either candidate and there was ample material to aid the negative campaigns on both sides, be it Trump involving sexual assault allegations, mafia ties, the legitimacy of Trump University, bankruptcies, antitrust violations, refusing to pay contractors etc., taxes, disrespect for veterans, and the way he treats and talks about women. Then there is Hillary Clinton with her private e-mail server, state department e-mails, Benghazi, conflicts of interest in Foggy Bottom, high-paid speeches, The Clinton Foundation, and the laughable assertion she can relate to the common person, giving that comment while sporting a $600 haircut and multi-thousand-dollar clothing.
But therein lies the problem; in a campaign that focused on both sides of how evil the other person was rather than speaking on the good they could give to the voters of the United States.
Mudslinging is easy because that is how you can get the most people on board, while also alienating as few people as possible. If Clinton did something highly illegal with her highly-sensitive e-mails, how can someone vote for her? If that is really what Trump thinks about women, who would vote for him other than knuckle-dragging Neanderthals?
But what has got lost in this year’s presidential campaign, and has been a common trend among many elections in Canada as well, is what are the stances of candidates on things that are actually needed to run a country/province/municipality.
But that is the beauty of mudslinging politics, they don’t have to take a stance. Because stances have a way of dividing your potential voters and can be checked on if they are being followed. Televised debates between Trump and Clinton spent more minutes on defending one’s past rather than what they offered for the future.
Giving opinions on one’s stance on stimulating the economy, foreign relations, reproductive rights, education, health care, gun control, the military, fighting poverty etc. means there are people on the other side of that stance with the possibility of losing votes.
Finding a common thread of something to hate other than finding something to love and nurture to try and make for a better tomorrow is the low-hanging fruit of political campaigns nowadays.
Trump winning the presidency for the next four years should not be something he should be proud of in how he accomplished it.
An uninspiring campaign on both sides, where it was literally seen as the ‘lesser of two evils’ by the majority of the electorate should be no one’s crowning achievement.
It will be hard to track if the 45th president of the United States is keeping their campaign promises, because hardly any were made beyond the odd sound bite among the screaming that one was only slightly less slimy than their opposition.
If this is what we can expect more and more of in our elections of tomorrow in politics in North America, we as an electorate have to become more educated on the issues for real change, and demand our politicians look toward the future with concrete policies and perhaps have better strength of character, where dirty laundry cannot be so easily found.