Feelings, not facts
The first U.S presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will take place on September 26th in New York where both candidates will go up against each other, face to face, one on one. It will be quite a show watching Trump try to answer some specific questions with the almost no command that he has over important subjects/issues such as foreign policy and nuclear security (he does not know what nuclear triad means) not to mention his nonsensical and outlandish ideas/solutions on immigration, crime, health and education.
However recent statements from the misogynistic birther suggest he might just skip the debates altogether. His excuse; the dates of the debates are rigged as there are two NFL (National Football League) games on the same nights. The debate dates are not a mystery in fact they are more or less the same every time so the insinuation that the debates have been deliberately scheduled on the same days as the NFL games to ‘keep voters excluded’ is absurd, ludicrous and childish, something that has become a staple characteristic of Trump’s outbursts.
We will have to wait and see what prevails before the first debate, Trump’s cowardice or his oversized ego. The last two weeks however have offered enough of his familiar rhetoric through which he actively achieves new lows before people have had barely enough time to comprehend his previous distasteful remarks on a sensitive issue he does not fully understand.
The Republican national convention (RNC) was the personification of all that is Trump and his strategy. Fear was the theme of the four-day event where there was paltry representation from Republican big wigs and notable celebrities. None of the previous Republican Party presidents bothered to attend and the most notable celebrity who spoke was Scott Baio (‘that guy’ from Happy Days). His wife’s speech was quite obviously plagiarised from Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic national convention speech.
That was day one, and the incident was quickly overshadowed by the combined efforts of all and sundry to paint a very bleak picture of America that according to them is riddled with a variety of yet unsolvable problems, it is rotting from the inside out and is on the brink of collapse. The only redeeming factor from one of the darkest RNC’s in recent times was that there was no violence.
All this fear mongering was neatly tied into a bow of how only Donald Trump could “fix it” because he alone knows the system. No facts, no agenda, no specifics; just feelings. The voters, the right-wing media pundits and a handful of Republican leaders like Newt Gingrich and others, most of whom had no choice but to endorse him, ‘feel’ that America is not safe or great anymore and ‘feel’ that only Trump can and will “fix it”.
The Democratic national convention in comparison painted a more optimistic picture of America. The focus remained on the validity of the American dream that was still very much achievable considering the fact that the first black president in the history of the country could potentially be succeeded by it’s first female president. The prevalent theme was diversification with politicians and celebrities from a variety of ethnicities and religions making speeches and shunning Trump.
Michelle Obama’s speech, in which she said that she had been living in a house for the last eight years that had been built by slaves, was received with emotional applause. Obama’s speech highlighting Hillary’s qualifications and her competence as his secretary of state and someone who never gives up was a reiteration of his stance since the campaign started. Hilary’s speech insisted on the American dream and building a future for the youth while emphasising on her own humble upbringing and how her family were benefactors of the opportunities America provided.
But it was Khizr Khan’s speech that was the most significant and thought provoking highlight of the convention. The Pakistani-origin American Muslim father of a U.S. solider who died fighting in Iraq asked Trump if he had even read the American constitution after which he swiftly produced a copy of the constitution out of his inner jacket pocket followed by a question asking what sacrifices he had made for the country.
Who knew that an introductory video package, before Khizr’s speech, with Hilary calling Capt. Humayun Khan (Khizr Khan’s son) the ‘best of America’ followed by an impassioned speech would prove to be the push that was needed to expose the reality that is Trump. As John Oliver aptly put it: he is a ‘damaged, sociopathic narcissist’.
Trump was unable to understand the effect his views on the speech by Khizr Khan would have when in an interview he questioned Khizr’s wife’ silence during his speech stating that she was probably not allowed to speak. The reality however was that the picture of her dead son made her too upset to speak. Instead of answering the question about any sacrifices he had made, Trump started listing his glorified successes as a businessman, effectively equating sacrifice with success.
Downplaying and insulting the true sacrifice of a fallen American soldier has proven to be something even Trump – who has otherwise been able to get away with saying almost anything to anyone – could not spin. Since then he has refused to endorse Paul Ryan for re-election as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Even Mike Pence, his homophobic running mate, has gone against him by endorsing Ryan.
Two prominent Republicans, Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman and Richard Hanna have decided to vote for Hilary instead of Trump. During a recent rally Trump insultingly asked a mother to take her crying baby out of the venue while he was speaking. His campaign manager and advisors are panicking because they too are unable to control him.
Some insiders are claiming that some of Trump’s campaign staff has become suicidal. He also reportedly asked his foreign policy advisor (yes he has one) during a briefing, three times, why America can’t use its nukes. “If we have them, why can’t we use them,” he asked in a dangerously ignorant and nonchalant fashion.
These events and statements have come about all in a matter of two weeks resulting in a 15-point drop for Trump in the polls giving Hilary plenty of room to solidify her lead. The bubble full of pumpkin juice, if you will, has hopefully burst. As expected, Trump has conveniently blamed the drop on a ‘rigged system’. He is making these claims, as he puts it, based on ‘things he has heard and felt’ rather than any proof to support his claim.
It is becoming increasingly likely that Democrats will get at least four more years in the White house if not eight. Trump’s strategy of demagoguery and self-aggrandisement has run its course. Voters have caught on to his biggest con yet. Ironically enough, an American Muslim has undone trump with a simple question asking what he himself has sacrificed for the country he wishes to preside over.