The United States press criticized the second presidential debate on Oct. 9, describing it as the worst mud slinging – and the dirtiest fight – in presidential election history. It was difficult to find any of the advanced aspects of American democracy the country takes pride in, as each candidate’s attacks on the other ran rampant. It makes me worry that there will be more bad news by election day, which is less than a month away.
The Oct. 9 debate explicitly revealed the gaps in U.S. election culture. The two candidates, Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party, and Donald Trump of the Republican Party, engaged in a slugfest without even greeting each other. When the recent “locker-room talk recording” scandal was mentioned, Trump brought up Bill Clinton’s alleged sex offenses without hesitating. Trump even went on to call Clinton names, labeling her ”the devil." Talking about Clinton’s e-mail scandal, Trump even threatened to “lock her up.” On topics such as health care, accusations took priority over reasonable debate.
The main reason the U.S. election campaign has become a ‘mud fest’ can mostly be blamed on Trump. Trump, who has used rough talk and propaganda as his weapons so far has recently been forced into a corner by the recent revelation of a recording containing obscene remarks. However, he has yet to offer any sincere apology and even expressed a more aggressive attitude, suggesting he will do whatever he wants, without regard to the consequences it has for the U.S. election or for embarrassing the United States internationally. Apparently, there are voices even within the Republican Party calling to replace their presidential candidate. However, there is no practical method to switch candidates at this point unless Trump backs down on his own accord.
However, Trump’s poll numbers are still quite significant. Clinton is slowly gaining in approval, but support for Trump from the majority white middle class seems stable. Their support for Trump seems to be due to their antipathy toward existing mainstream politics and feelings that come with having a victim complex. This is demonstrated by the high disregard for Clinton, which seems significant even when compared to the disregard for Trump. Here is one of the main problems with U.S. politics: the voters have to choose the lesser of two evils, rather than making the better choice.
Trump is currently becoming a huge burden to U.S. democracy. United States citizens need to ask why the presidential election became what it is now and make knowledgeable decisions. Other nations must also learn from the faults inherent in the current presidential election.