The presidential elections of 2008 and 2012 now seem like a century ago in terms of where the country is now headed. In 2008 and 2012, President Obama campaigned on hope and change which resonated with voters. In 2016, we see an extreme form of racism, xenophobia and misogynist campaigning by Donald Trump appealing to many voters. And with a little of over a month until the election, there appears to be a growing trend leaning now towards Donald Trump. In November, we could be calling Donald Trump our next president.
In the eight years of President Obama’s two terms, I came to realize that racism is alive and well in the U.S. In fact, it never really went anywhere. While many persons speak of patriotism towards the U.S. and against protests during the playing of the national anthem, there was often little patriotism shown towards our Commander in Chief with many persons, including Republican members of Congress and the GOP Senate disrespecting President Obama throughout his term in unprecedented ways. Donald Trump capitalized on that disrespect with his Birther movement theories. He has now broadened his attacks.
Now Donald Trump’s comments take on attacking women, Muslims, Hispanics, Blacks, LGBT and anyone else that appears to attack him or be a perceived threat against him. Present polls, at least those this week, show the Presidential race is in a statistical dead heat.
Some missteps by Hillary Clinton, including how she handled her pneumonia, only added to the surge by Donald Trump. After the Democratic convention, Hillary Clinton should have been easily able to coast to November and an easy victory. Her attitude of inevitability is what caused her the Presidential primary in 2008. This year, Clinton’s attitude of avoiding primary debates along with no press conferences for over 275 days, while Trump commands the airwaves like he owns all of the networks, is working to an extreme disadvantage for her.
We are currently on a 24/7 news cycle. While Clinton and her team may believe that she is better off avoiding press conferences, it is inconsistent with her taunts to Trump to release his tax records. She avoids transparency albeit in a different way—the result is the same. The American voter is left without a transparent picture of Clinton or Trump.
All is at stake in the November election for Millennials, women, Hispanics, African Americans, Muslims, working families, single parents, LGBT community, unions and even the working and poor white folks who believe their country must be taken back. Trump regularly spreads vicious stereotypes about communities of color.
Trump thinks all black people live in ghettoes with nothing to lose by voting for him. Trump’s appeal to African Americans includes describing Blacks as having no jobs and living in poverty. His pitch was: “You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed.” “What the hell do you have to lose?” Trump has threatened to change the U.S. Constitution to get rid of birthright citizenship which grants citizenship to all persons born in the U.S. Birthright citizenship in the 14th amendment is what made all African Americans born into slavery U.S. citizens. And he still thinks President Obama is not an American citizen—although his campaign representatives differ. So what do African Americans have to lose with Trump? Everything for starters.
And remember Trump kicked off his campaign by calling those of Mexican heritage criminals and rapists. He stated a Muslim judge was not capable of handling a lawsuit against him—due to the judge’s religion. And the centerpiece of his campaign is building a wall on our southern border and making Mexico pay for it. He proposes to ban Muslims along with Mexicans. Trump has suggested appointing judges to turn back LGBT same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights and supports legislation discriminating against transgender people.
Polls show Trump and Clinton are not trustworthy in the eyes of voters. The choice between an untrustworthy and aloof Hillary Clinton and a downright racist, ignorant Donald Trump is not a good choice for me. But it is the only choice I have. Yes, I have discounted out the third party candidates, Jill Stein and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
After eight years of President Obama, it’s difficult to realize that our only choices boil down to these two candidates. I recall Hillary Clinton saying to her supporters who might have wanted to stay home and not vote back in 2008, “No Way, No How, No McCain” in supporting then Senator Barack Obama. And now we’ve got to say to those voters who might want to stay home in November, 2016, Dump Trump, Ditch Trump and Drop Trump and support Hillary Clinton. There is no other way.
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines, trial lawyer, legal/political commentator and former prosecutor often appears on Al Jazeera, BET, CBS, Fox 5 DC, PBS, MSNBC, NPR among others. She also writes opinion pieces for the Huffington Post, Baltimore Sun and Washington Post.