In less than a week it will finally be over. No more ads, no more speeches, no more debates. In just five days the most vitriolic election in modern American history will finally come to a close — and I can’t wait.
Four years ago, MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough said something quite fascinating. Remarking on the first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, Scarborough stated how lucky we were to be Americans. This country was so lucky to have two smart, qualified, dedicated individuals vying for the highest office in the land. Though surely Romney and Obama disagreed on most major policy positions, both men conducted the campaign with respect and civility. And when Romney failed to get to 270, he conceded the race with grace and dignity.
Today, America is not so lucky. We are not graced with the presence of two intelligent, thoughtful, respectful candidates. Instead, we are forced to choose between two of the most corrupt, untruthful, vicious candidates in the history of contemporary American politics.
Let’s start with Hillary Clinton. For me, Mrs. Clinton represents the height of self-serving hypocrisy. She declares that women’s rights are human rights, yet she accepts money from foreign governments that stone women who want education and beat women who dare to challenge their husbands. She claims to represent all Americans, yet her ties to Wall Street and big corporations are some of the strongest of any candidate in presidential history. She touts her selfless sacrifice to needy causes, yet she charged a Boys and Girls Club a $200,000 speaking fee — a price tag that is nearly three times the average annual income of an American citizen.
Yet it is not her hypocrisy that strikes me as the worst part of her candidacy. Instead, it is the constant scandals that seem to plague the Clintons. We have heard the email story over and over again, but these emails are just one part of a massive collage of scandals. From Whitewater, to Troopergate, to Paul Jones, to Monica Lewinsky, to Juanita Broaderick, to Travelgate, to the Clinton Foundation’s questionable relationships with foreign governments, to Benghazi, it is hard to come up with a complete and exhaustive list of the Clinton’s many, many scandals. Is this the best we can find for the White House?
And then, of course, there is Donald Trump. I could go on a lengthy explanation of why Mr. Trump should never come within a 200 mile radius of the White House, but instead I will let a long list of reasons do the talking for me: he is a failed businessman (Trump the Game, Trump University, a mortgage company, Trump Steaks, and various casinos are just a small number of Trump’s “businesses” that have gone bottom-up), he constantly lies, he does not understand policy (see his attempt to explain the Nuclear Triad during a Republican primary debate), he makes blatantly racist remarks, he attacks women verbally, he attacks women physically, he has no record of accomplishment in public life, he is vulgar, he has cheered on Putin, he has failed to take any concrete policy positions (except for his ridiculously unrealistic plan to build an unnecessary and foolish wall on the Mexican border) and he has the temperament of a four-year-old child that just woke up from a nap.
With this in mind, I quite frankly have no idea how I’ll vote. I have never voted for a Democrat in my life –– but I certainly cannot cast a vote for the deranged, lunatic candidacy of Donald Trump.
Yes, this is certainly depressing. But what is perhaps most depressing is that there is a long list of qualified, intelligent, hard-working, honorable candidates available. Democrats have Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Secretary of State John Kerry. Republicans have Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio), Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.), Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-Nev.). Furthermore, Independents could have pulled together to bring former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg in the race — who is one of the most qualified and respected Independents in the nation.
I firmly believe that whoever wins this race will be a one-term president. Hillary Clinton, the icon of Wall Street and the Democratic establishment, seeks to be president in an era of great change. The country is not looking for a status-quo president — instead, the rise of Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Mr. Trump has shown us that Americans want quite the opposite. At the same time, Donald Trump’s xenophobic, authoritarian view of the nation seems very out-of-step with America’s current political climate. For a nation that continues to become more diverse, it is hard to imagine the man who represents the epitome of closed-mindedness serving two terms in the Oval Office.
Michael Glanzel is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected]. Cornell Shrugged appears alternate Thursdays this semester.