On the eve of the last presidential debate, some observations on this unique election are in order. In the forty years I have been following US presidential elections, I have never seen a more crass, a more vulgar and for most citizens a more embarrassing election campaign. Bimbos to the left of them, bimbos to the right of them, onward charged the two candidates — with apologies to Lord Tennyson.
A tape is leaked in which Donald Trump is heard boasting of his new womanizing modus operandi now that he is a reality TV star. It amounts to sexual assault. In response, Trump shows up at the second presidential debate with a bevy of Bill Clinton exes and holds a TV news conference just prior to the debate.
There is no response to fact, so Hillary has no answer to the onslaught. She claims the high ground. In view of the sleazy tactics to defeat Bernie Sanders, now public knowledge through Wikileaks, and the campaign against Trump the irony is self-evident.
A few days after the debate, a collection of women accuse Trump of doing to them exactly what he said on the tape. Lawsuits are filed. Trump denies everything.
Perhaps after 16 years of domestic decency in the White House, the public is interested in soap opera again. Perhaps the selection process in the major parties is seriously flawed. Whatever the reason, we have the worst scandal-ridden major party candidates in living memory.
There are certain facts that cannot be denied. Bill Clinton is a disbarred lawyer. For most lawyers, it would be the ultimate disgrace and the end of a professional career. For Bill, of course, it matters little. It is also true that he paid $850,000 to one of the women to settle an assault case, much in the manner of Dominic Strauss-Kahn and the New York hotel maid. It ended the latter’s presidential hopes. Never so with a forgiving US electorate.
Hillary Clinton’s serious ethics problems (some call them criminal) are ignored by a compliant, even amnesiac, mainstream media. Starting with her turning $1000 into $100,000 within a year trading cattle futures — for a novice small trader a virtual impossibility given market efficiency (the author himself has explored one aspect). It also begs the question, why stop when you have such talent. Of course, given two accounts with a cooperative broker making two repeated complementary trades, crediting one account with the profitable ones and the other with the losses the process becomes simple. At the time Bill Clinton’s income was about $32,000 so the money was substantial and equivalent to over $60 million for their present income. There was a lot more in the Whitewater scandal eclipsed at the time by the salacious Bill Clinton revelations.
Then there are the vanished emails, where we are supposed to accept the word of someone far removed from a paragon of truth or virtue. And then the hacked emails revealing a Janus-faced Hillary exuding separate public and private personae, now, in her own words, far removed from her middle-class upbringing, toadying up to bankers, who (she told them) were in the best position to regulate themselves.
And there we have it — militarily the world’s most powerful nation is going to be led from next January by either a libertine with zero political or public experience demanding faith in him in lieu of policy, or a mendacious politico offering a flood of agitprop — a choice between the corrupting or the corrupt, the morally reprehensible and the amoral. Come to think of it, how much does it matter when Congress despises both and is unlikely to cooperate with either?
Dr Arshad M Khan (http://ofthisandthat.org/index.html) is a former Professor. A frequent contributor to the print and electronic media, his work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in the Congressional Record.