I'm writing this on the morning of the most frightening election of my lifetime. The contest between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump to be the most powerful human on the planet has been utterly terrifying. Contrast this to 2008 when we had the most charismatic and inspiring candidate audaciously come from being a complete outsider to being victorious on a message of optimism and hope.
Trump has defied the established rules on how to run a campaign, instead of mitigating controversy he has sought it recklessly. He is unfiltered, crass in the extreme and pays no heed to our common humanity even of those whose votes he seeks. His relentless attack on the Hispanic community and his open sexism should be political poison, but it hasn't killed him yet. The recordings of him sexualising his own daughter, boasting of sexual assualt, accusing migrants of criminality and making open racial slurs are as widely reported as they are ignored or cheered by his support.
I still feel if he loses, his alienating of voters that he needed to win will be what lost him the campaign.
There have been lazy comparisons to the rise of National Socialism in Germany and with Trump to Hitler, this has not been lost on the racist right in the United States who have thrown their support behind Trump with an openness that would appall european sensibilities. I think where this holds up is his marrying left-wing critiques of free trade to conservative arguements on tax and welfare. This combined with the racism does not make him a traditional facist, but it does update some of its tenents for the 21st century. That the comparison lasts longer than traditional godwinism is why he terrifies me. As a potential president Trump is monsterous. Worse than that a defeat for Trump would not be the end of this.
This contrasts sharply with how I feel about Hilary Clinton. If she wins and becomes the most powerful person on the planet it would be a triumphant moment for humanity. That has been lost as the campaign has become bogged down. Clinton has faced attacks on her that not even John Kerry had to rebuke. Trump has relentlessly attacked her integrity accusing her of naked criminality and corruption. The shear hypocracy of his attack on her as a "Nasty Women" in the debates was almost funnny. The leaking of her private communications by the now partisan Wikileaks project and it's founder Julian Assange has been disgraceful. It has also been interesting that it has revealed little about Hilary that we didn't already know. It certainly hasn't changed opinions and as this post shows, reading the leaks only re-enforced existing prejudices on both sides.
The last minute intervention of the FBI was hugely suspect. I think it was likely that it was politically motivated, the leaks that poured out of the agency have only re-enforeced that view. If Trump wins because of it then the ramifications are difficult to contemplate.
It's evening now and I'm off to the pub to watch the results come in. This feels like an election that has been devoid of hope. That is a message from an earlier time. But I still hope. America for good or for ill represents the worlds most powerful democracy, electing it's first Women as it's chief would be a great leap forward.
States to watch (shamelessly stolen from the New Statesman Podcast)
Clinton needs: Michigan Trump needs: North Carolina, Georgia Both need: Florida