In the Clinton vs. Trump duel, it is not a matter of content but instead of the soul of the USA. Half of the platform of the billionaire violates the values in the Constitution.
Party election conventions in America are primarily theater. There, their platforms are decided and speeches are held that interest no one — and at the end, glitter confetti flies through the air. There was all that this year in Cleveland with the Republicans and in Philadelphia with the Democrats, too. Yet, when one removes all the hype, when one reduces both parties and their presidential candidates to the core, then an insight remains: In this election, it is not a matter of tax rates or health care, homeland security or immigration. It is not at all about politics in the strict sense, not a matter of who will build better streets or better schools. It is a matter of character, the soul of America — about what and how this country wants to be in the years ahead.
Seldom has a candidate painted such a black picture of America and the world in an election campaign as Donald Trump. That is in part tactical. Because how else should one convince a country that has twice elected the spirited optimist Barack Obama to replace him with Donald Trump, the bleak prophet of downfall? America has a host of problems, and one could even look at many of them in the rotting suburbs of Cleveland. Yet, nothing in reality — not the economic situation, nor the crime rate, nor the number of illegal immigrants — justifies the paranoia and radicalism that Trump propagates. Donald Trump can only win the election if he instills in Americans as much fear as possible of the evil world out there and their own fellow citizens —blacks, Latinos, Muslims.
And he is successful at that. The ugly truth is, if the presidential election in America were this Monday, Trump would presumably win. Fear — the more swirling the better — always beats the facts in an election.
Hillary Clinton Embodies America Much More than Donald Trump
It is even more bewildering and terrifying how far Republicans, always a party of reason and claiming to be the better patriots, have distanced themselves from those values that are considered America’s values. Republicans like to wag the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, yet they ignore established principles, those which are supposed to represent America. Equality, civil rights, freedom and justice for all, a unified nation — Trump tramples on all of this. Half of his platform, if one wants to call it that, violates the justice that he allegedly wants to protect. That is neither Republican nor conservative.
Yet, the party applauds. The picture that Democrats paint of America is brighter; it is a bit reminiscent of a commercial for alpine milk — happy cows in green meadows. That too has to do with tactics because, after all, a Democrat has governed the country for the past eight years, and the current presidential candidate sat in his cabinet.
One doesn’t have to accept all of the wonderful talk being propagated by Democrats in Philadelphia about tolerance and diversity. Republicans have a deformed picture of America; Democrats have a sugarcoated one. The anger and frustration that are now forging ahead among Trump supporters have also grown in the years that Democrats were in power. Anyone who has seen a dying steel town in Ohio can well understand why people feel betrayed by the Democrats and want to elect Trump in their despair, even if he will not bring any help.
Clinton Is Certainly No Ideal Candidate
But if there is a party today that still represents that America — by far, not always, but yet, often enough — admired by the world as the land of freedom, candor, chances, then it is the Democrats. Hillary Clinton is certainly no ideal candidate. But it speaks for her party that they are taking this actually historic step of nominating a woman for the office of president for the first time. That is more American than all of the dark demagoguery of a Donald Trump.
A cynic would say: It doesn’t matter what parties and candidates promise. But that is wrong. It naturally has meaning for a country whether the political leadership instills fear in the people or comforts them and gives hope; whether they make agitation against minorities acceptable or seek solidarity; whether they preach nationalism or accept responsibility in the world. Europe has had its experience with such leaders. At least then, America knew better.