2 November 2017Opinion
For nearly a year-and-a-half before voting even began, the 2016 US Presidential Election dominated headlines. And arguably for good reason: there were more scandals and controversies than all 7000 episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful.
Walls, glass ceilings, emails, Larry David lookalikes, Muslims, the KKK, free tertiary education — it was like the media’s first all-you-can-eat buffet. The problem with all-you-can-eat buffets is their deceptive nature. You think you’re in heaven but five hours later, as you shift between consciousness and a food coma, you find yourself regretting having ever set eyes on those seductive buffalo wings.
Like an all-you-can-eat buffet virgin, the media does not know when to stop gorging on the 2016 Election even though every part of its body is telling it to. And now, Hillary Clinton has emerged once again with a new book detailing the “conspiracy” that lost her the election.
What Happened explains how the first female nominee for a major US political party was ganged up on by Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Russian Hackers (ie, Vladimir Putin in his bedroom with a laptop), Julian Assange, James Comey and the American people. All in all, it is a sob story about a supposed champion of women battling political conspiracies, mysogony and ingrained sexism only to fail to secure the United States presidency and blame everyone else but herself for losing the election.
I want to make it clear: I do not like Trump or his brand of politics. Personally, I regard him as a narcissistic, sexist, bigoted toad who had the good fortune to be born into wealth. Politically, I consider him borderline incompetent. But, what you see is what you get. His willingness to blurt out whatever he thinks — no matter how inane, offensive or nonsensical — suggests an honesty which has been lacking in US politics for years. He invigorated the right people by pushing a populist agenda using strong and often controversial language.
Hillary Clinton was offering more of the same with a slight twist: she is a woman. Her campaign was based largely on the continuation of the Obama administration’s policies and her gender. The fact that Trump was a serious candidate showed that the American people wanted change, or at least a change of face. They wanted Washington shook up, and unfortunately for Clinton she just didn’t cut it.
Someone who did stand a chance was Bernie Sanders, and we saw how the Democratic Party handled that: the Democratic National Committee (DNC) literally rigged the primaries in Hillary Clinton’s favour. This included trying to use Sanders’ religion against him. If we are going to throw around accusations of election meddling and attacks on democracy, I would say that’s pretty condemning.
Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. – Leaked DNC email
If anyone was conspired against in the election, it was Sanders, and there are plenty of emails to support that thanks to Wikileaks. The dodgy behaviour of the Democrats only fueled the trust issues surrounding Clinton, and therein lies the fundamental flaw of the Clinton campaign: she is a Washington insider who rarely shows her true self.
Clinton’s desperate attempt to appear progressive was cringeworthy and only made her look inconsistent. There are a great number of issues she has backflipped on, which begs the question: who is she, and what does she believe in?
I’m all for people’s views evolving, but the contrasts are simply too stark in this case. CNN’s Anderson Cooper raised this in the first Democratic debate:
Plenty of politicians evolve on issues, but even some Democrats believe you changed your positions based on political expediency. You were against same-sex marriage, now you’re for it. You defended President Obama’s immigration policies, now you say they’re too harsh. You supported his trade deal dozens of times; you even called it the “gold standard.” Now, suddenly last week, you’re against it. Will you say anything to get elected?
I’m not a member of the US or Russian intelligence community, so all I have are my conclusions based on analysing Russian and US foreign policy. I doubt the Kremlin ordered the hacking of the DNC or attempted to sway the election. Having said that, it is possible that after years of American attempts to undermine Russia’s sovereignty and regionally isolate it, President Putin decided to give them a taste of their own medicine. What about alleged US meddling in Russian elections, the support of the 2014 Ukrainian coup, the building up of NATO forces on Russian borders, or the propping up of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny?
As Russian President Vladimir Putin himself has said on many occasions, the Cold War is over. It is also worth noting that Putin has been praised by previous US leaders including George W Bush and Bill Clinton — that’s right, Hillary Clinton’s husband. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has always been publicly open to bettering US-Russia relations. As for Putin favouring Trump: of course he did, because Trump said he wanted to restore the countries’ relationship.
My aim is not to personally attack Hillary Clinton. She should be commended for the work she has done over her lifetime, and yes, being the first female presidential candidate of a major US political party is quite an achievement. But she is a sore loser. I oppose her glossing-over of history and parading around the world on a book tour calling herself a victim when she isn’t. Her actions are key in the erosion of US-Russia relations, which is one of the most important geopolitical relationships. Considering her former position as Secretary of State, she seems to be behaving irresponsibly. Having said that, she was “advised to resign” from that post which is a gentle way of being fired, so who knows?
I would love to see a female US President. For too long have 50% of the world’s population been under-respresented in politics. But it is my hope that the successful female candidate is elected based on merit and not gender. Someone who doesn’t need to rehearse their personality for the cameras and knows where they stand on issues. In my opinion, Elizabeth Warren fits the bill quite well. But I guess we’ll see in three years.