Trump v. Clinton: What Will It Be? Slinging Mud or Debating America’s Issues? | Blog#42

Accusations of sexism have been made against Donald J. Trump on more than one occasion over the past year’s worth of Trumpisms in this primary season. When Trump made his “blood coming out of her…” comment, everyone took it to mean a very specific thing. Now, according to the Los Angeles Times, Trump is accusing Hillary Clinton of being Bill Clinton’s enabler by mercilessly destroying the women he philandered with, while claiming that he meant ears and nose when he made the blood comment:

““He [Bill Clinton] was a disaster,” Trump said. “I mean, there’s never been anybody like this, and she was a total enabler. She would go after these women and destroy their lives.

“Have you ever read what Hillary Clinton did to the women that Bill Clinton had affairs with? And they’re going after me with women? Give me a break, folks.”

“She was an unbelievably nasty, mean enabler, and what she did to a lot of those women was disgraceful,”

The general election season is a month away and, we can rest assured that the tone and tenor will only get worse. Being that the Clintons and Trump have known each other socially for decades and mingle in the same social and business circles, one will probably be left wondering what embarrassing new things we will learn from Donald Trump about the Clintons before she either becomes the Democratic party’s nominee or the November election has come and gone.

What truly accurate, inaccurate, awful, and embarrassing things could Trump possibly say that may or may not completely hobble Clinton or put her in a position of continually having to defend actions and events that have more to do with character and social mores than the business of our nation?

In a nation in which slut-shaming and the artifice of puritanical morality are still the standard by which a majority of Americans hold their leaders to, will these two candidates’ personal flaws overshadow an election in which an economy in which the middle class is still being clobbered, we are in very delicate positions with respect to foreign and defense policy, and our planet’s very survival is at stake? There are those who, for the past year, have brought up a conspiracy theory according to which Trump’s candidacy is a carefully crafted hoax to ensure that Clinton gets elected.

While I don’t subscribe to conspiracy theories, distractions like these are great for any candidate who needs to steer the attention away from their weaknesses on the issues. That is the case for both Clinton and Trump. Clinton’s neoliberal positions on everything from the economy to foreign policy, to domestic policy and the role of the Federal government in intervening in crises of human and civil rights. When your voters want $15 and hour minimum wage and you really only support $12, only if Congress even gives it to you, then of course you’d rather talk about how sexist Trump is! When all that’s come out of your mouth has been pure nonsense, then of course you’d rather talk about how you and Megyn Kelly have made peace!

Meanwhile, the issues aren’t debated and vetted. Trump will meet with Paul Ryan and they’ll make some kind of pact that will keep things civil between them. You can bet that Ryan, in time, will support Trump, and the others will fall in line behind him. Meanwhile, the mainstream media will hyper-focus on the uncouth Republican candidate, as Hillary Clinton begins to solicit donations from Trump’s plutocrat rivals, and while Sanders carries on with his campaign, totally in the dark.

Will there be more debates ahead of the California primary? Will the corporate media give California voters the same policy focused attention on the three candidates that it gave voters in the states that already had their primaries? It seems unlikely the media will. What’s more, as I explained in my previous post on how some information just vanishes from the internet, voters who are counting on finding Democratic primary debates and town halls, online and in their entirety, will be disappointed if they intend on making use of YouTube to catch up on debates they may have missed. For example, MSNBC did not post the town hall it held a week ago. Only a few clips were posted and they seem to favor the presumptive nominee at that.  Media organizations and individuals who uploaded their own recordings of debates and town halls have seen Google remove them at the request of the owners of the content. I’ve had to keep locating recordings to replace the ones that have been removed. In some cases, I’ve not been able to replace them at all or have had to make do with a shorter clip, and less context.

This is supposed to be the people’s election. As it is, with as few debates as we had during what turned out the be the most important part of the Democratic primaries, in the Deep South, a lot of voters were feeling left out. Now, with the media having pronounced the Democratic primary all but over, voters in California and ten other states will be deprived of the vigorous, issues-centered debate they deserve. Instead, they will be treated to a spectacle about the proclivities of the candidates or their spouses. Anything but the issues has already been the tone set by the media. As I started writing all the way back in September last year and all throughout the months since, the public has been cheated it out of much of the information it needs in order to render thoughtful decisions on whose vote best matches their interest.

When the public hasn’t been misled or deprived of information, it has been shamed, brow-beaten for the excitement and passion it showed for its choice of candidate. Most of all, however, the media and Clinton campaign have waged a war against hope and change, desperate to convince voters that idealism is bad and working for change unrealistic.

With already dismal coverage of the candidates on the issues over the past year – for example, no one has bothered to do a comparative analysis of Clinton vs. Sanders on the issues – it makes it even harder for voters to do their due diligence, with the removal of content that voters need in order to be informed prior to deciding on their votes. Add to that what is turning out to be, not original content but, rather ‘advertorials,’ popping up in various places in the media. Last week, we learned on The Intercept, that Atlanta Mayor Kaceem Reed’s op-ed on CNN’s website was actually written by a former staffer, now lobbyist for Clinton associate, David Brock.  Hillary Clinton is now engaging in precisely the kind of manipulative behavior that she used to decry when talking about the vast right wing conspiracy against her that David Brock, her now ally, used to wage against her.

With progressive voters feeling left out as it is, in an election in which they feel was rigged to keep them at the margins of the party, In an interview with PBS, Sanders spoke about the DNC stacking the committees against his delegates:

While this may not be some sort of “vast liberal conspiracy,” it does point to the diminished state of our democracy and leaves voters to continue to fumble  in the dark in their quest to vote for the candidate who will bring about the change they want and, alternatively, convince those among the public who haven’t been engaged, that resisting the establishment candidate is their only hope.

In the PBS interview above, Senator Sanders also brought out the fact that the Clinton campaign has been reaching out to former Jeb Bush donors for contributions. It was already known that Clinton and Sanders, as the Democratic nominee, would be courting independent and moderate Republican voters. Whereas Sanders would surely court them through his ideas and political platform and nothing larger than the small donations he’s relied on until now; Clinton, who has not raised significant amounts of money from small donors, apparently, has no qualms about soliciting big GOP money now.

Progressive voter discontent has been rising and, by the end of the primary process, may culminate into full-fledged fury, particularly if Senator Bernie Sanders somehow fails to be given his chance to impact the party platform during the Democratic convention.

It is against this backdrop that we face the specter of a general election filled with the spectacle of scandal after scandal, cross-party fundraising, and a pivot back to the center-right comes at a time when voters had been moving left since at least 2012.  The derailment of an issues-based agenda and the descent into a Clinton-Trump mud-wrestling match may precipitate the formation of a third party, after what may turn out to be not insignificant numbers of Democratic and independent voters sitting out the general election, in part out of a deep disgust with the current state of affairs, and in part out of a wish to turn this election into the “reset button” in our electoral cycle.

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