If you haven’t noticed, I am a bit of political addict; I find the electoral process facilitating, especially when we are electing the person who will occupy the most powerful position in the world. For at least the last year and three months I have watched and read with deep interest as much as possible about the entire Presidential election process.
I consider myself a progressive, but not someone on the far left. I guess you could say I am left of center – further to the left on social issues, not quite as far from center on monetary issues. I have been a Hillary Clinton supporter from the beginning. I also supported Hillary in 2008 before she dropped out of the race and then I became a huge Barack Obama fan. Given my political views I found none of the prospective Republican nominees remotely appealing, though some were less distasteful than others.
When I learned that a little known independent Senator from Maine named Bernie Sanders, an ultra progressive, was challenging Clinton for the nomination, I wasn’t worried. However, Bernie gave a much better account for himself than I ever thought possible. Once he realized he could win – I think at first that he entered the race primarily to pull Hillary to the left – his attacks exposed weaknesses in Clinton’s persona that I thought might be exploited by the right Republican candidate in the general election. I was surprised by the size of Bernie’s support and very surprised by the enthusiasm of his supporters, though I probably should not have been. I have always known that the further to the left or to the right people are, the more intense they are about their politics. I was also exposed to another political truth; victory goes not to the candidate with the most enthusiastic supporters, but to the candidate with the most supporters, provided they are willing to go out and vote.
On the Republican side it was more difficult for me to pick a favorite. On one hand, given the possibility that the Republican nominee might win the general election, I would normally have preferred that it would have been someone more centralist, more reasonable. On the other hand I believed that the more centralist and reasonable the Republicans nominee, the better his chances of beating Hillary. Ultimately I decided that it would be better if Republican voters blew up their primary and nominated the most irrational, most far out candidate. So ultimately Cruz and Trump became my favorites. Grass roots Republicans, in full rebellion, lived up to my low expectations and whittled down the field to Cruz and Trump. Out of the two I preferred Trump, the less disciplined candidate who I believed, and still believe, would be the easier of the two to beat. However, given the chaos and embarrassment that Trump has visited on this country since the Republican Convention, had I known then what I know now, I think I would have preferred Cruz.
However, throughout the primaries and into the general election season I was a happy camper. After the Republican National Convention reminded me a journey through a dank and dreary cave, the Democratic National Convention hit a high note Then Trump took the bait dangled in front of him like a bass devouring a big, juicy shad and starting attacking the Kahns, a Gold Star family. Reprehensible as that was, it pealed away the layers and revealed to American voters the real Donald Trump, and that is not a pretty site.
Then until the first debate it became a monotonous litany of Trump’s attacks, lies (lots of lies), rants, whining, and numerous reminders from The Donald about of how great he is. If ever there has been a man with a clearer case of egotistical, narcissistic disorder it had to be someone we have never heard of who wasted away in an insane asylum. Yet he managed to not only hold onto his most deplorable supporters, he picked up enough support from normally sane Republicans to largely close the gap in the polls which had developed after the conventions.
Then to my relief Hillary Clinton did what 16 seasoned Republican candidates could not do. She took advantage of Trumps ego, played him for a egotistical fool that he is and destroyed him in the first debate. Fortunately for the country, but unfortunately for those of us who have had to endure it, and to his campaign handlers’ dismay Trump decided do what he does best and be himself. This is what happens when you give a combative, egotistical, thin skinned little man a super megaphone and a national platform to stand on. I used to be able to say that there was no one I could think of that I really hated, but I learned to hate Donald J. Trump.
I don’t know about the rest of the country, but around my house the never ending appearances of Trump on TV got old real fast. After watching the first debate with me, my wife said she was done paying attention to the election until November 8th. However, in casual conversation I noticed that she was getting her election information from somewhere, probably the internet, because she was always up on the latest Trump “OMG did you hear about that” moments. I was surprised when she sat down with me to watch the second debate. However, about two thirds of the way through it she announced firmly that she was going to bed and never wanted to see or hear anything about Donald Trump ever again. Ever since then if I dare to bring up the latest election news she gets a little irritated and I drop the subject quickly.
I haven’t got that option. I am a political addict. If the drug is available, I crave it, even when I know it is no longer good for me. I watch CNN a lot and they are still dutifully showing parts of Trump’s rallies. Every time I see the man I am filled with . . . . I guess weariness and disgust is the best description. If I never see or hear the name Donald Trump again after the election I will consider myself fortunate. I can not imagine what it would be like to have to put up with that man being President of this country for the next 4 years. I am sincerely concerned, not for those Republicans who might close their eyes, hold their noses and vote for him, but for those who flock to his rallies. What kind of human beings would they have to be to idolize Donald Trump?
Today about did me in. CNN was showing the end of one of Trump’s rallies in Florida. When he concluded his remarks Trump spread his arms wide magnanimously accepting the adulation of the crowd. He then gave the two thumbs up gesture and started to walk off of the stage. He then stopped in front of an American flag fastened to a flag pol and hugged it. He caressed it like a woman who is totally unable to repel his unwanted advances. My stomach turned. I felt that my country’s flag, for which I have deep respect, had been desecrated beyond belief by this creature My immediate thought was that flag should be provided an honorable disposal as directed by the US Flag Code – it should be ceremoniously burned.
God it’s going to be a long 15 days.