DHAKA: Have you seen the famous HBO TV series ‘Game of Thrones’? Well, if you haven’t seen it because its fiction, then there is a better alternative for you. It is very real. It is the 2016 US presidential election.
‘The Game of Thrones’ story involves raw human nature including sexuality and fierce war just like this election, but at the end of this drama the one true question that remains is - who will conquer the seven kingdoms and sit on the Iron throne? It is indeed a race of the throne.
Yes, in that respect the real question is - after November 8, who will sit in the Oval Office of United States? Can Hilary beat Trump and make history?
In many ways, the 2016 US presidential election is nothing that the Americans or even the world has ever seen. It is an historic election, because the final two candidates running for office, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump from the two major Parties (Republican and Democrat), are the two most polarized presidential candidates in US history. By looking back at the primary elections and the arousal of businessman Donald Trump and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, it is fare to say, this has not been a normal race.
In a sense it was a race of Washington outsiders, especially, when outsider Republican candidate Trump shocked the world with his extremism like wide open racist behavior, misogyny, hatred on Muslim-Mexicans-Refugees, white supremacy, sexist behavior, fascism, shamelessness but still kept on winning. He came as a shock to the world and became very popular among Republican voters. He normalized abnormal things in a way that people never thought would possible.
After defeating 16 candidates of the Republican Party, he became the nominee which is even hard to believe for some of the leaders at his own party. He is unstable, fearless, and bold. Party leaders don’t like it even though he saying the exact same things that they have been saying but in a distinct way. He has been labeled as a dangerous demagogue who has no policy and no depth of knowledge about anything by the left wing people. When this business tycoon announced his presidential run in last year, most people took it as a joke, especially the media.
Now, weeks before the general election, that joke turned into a nightmare for many conscious American. Some say, he set the Republican Party in a destructive course. He made it an ugly-racist-bigoted-fearful party. Others say he did not do anything to the Party; rather he arose from the long term practice of negativity and politics of fear, racism and bigotry of the party. Although most would agree that, he gained popularity by hooking up into the anger and frustration of general Republican voters who are sick of the Washington status-quo.
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders’ popularity proved similar point. This self-declared social-democratic was always opposing the Washington establishment. He created an anti-establishment revolution with young supporters, gained popularity despite lack of any previous name recognition. He is extremely popular among young people for his ‘money out of politics, universal healthcare, higher minimum wage and fighting for the middle class’ policies. That is why he was also considered as a threat to the establishment.
But compared to him, Hilary is extremely popular, safe and stable. She was a first lady and later became secretary of the states in the Obama administration. She has involved in US politics for decades. She is the first woman to be nominated as a major party candidate. Moreover, if elected, she will be the first woman president in the country’s history.
So, the situation was more in favor for her than Sanders. And finally it did come down to Hilary Clinton. She became the nominee of the Democratic Party and president Obama sided with her too. But the funny thing is that, despite all the popularity, she is also the un-likeable candidate among voters, especially with young ones. People have a lot of trust to the issues with her.
A common complain about her is that, she is not perceived natural to voters. She had been criticized over many issues including her emails and policies. She was even indicted by the FBI and was under investigation for the allegation of inappropriately handling classified emails through a private server and later deleting them.
But what about Donald Trump? Long before he was a presidential candidate, Trump was America's the most famous and colorful billionaire. He lived a playboy life. He is a perfect showman. Since he started running for president, he also put on a great show for people. Ignored at the beginning, but later the media covered him 24 hours. It came as an advantage to Trump. Even a month ago, exit polls showed him head to head with Hilary in many states and leading in some states.
It has been said that Trump can say whatever he wants and still get away with it. He can say the most offensive things about others and still that won’t affect him. He set the standard record low for a presidential candidate in history. Despite all of that, everything was going too good to be true for Trump. But, suddenly in a bombshell leak of a Hollywood Access audio tape he was caught in a microphone bragging about sexual assaults against women in a private conversation that changes the whole game. His poll number went down by 10 point nationally against Hilary. Even though Trump said about his remarks of the leaked tape that, it was a ‘loocker room talk’. But, it plunges the whole Trump campaign.
Does that mean the race is over? The tension is too high. Clinton could still lose the general elections, because other than Trump’s audio leak, a new email scandal of Hilary has emerged very recently. FBI hinted that they will reopen the previously closed email investigation. So, as it seems, she is just as wounded as Trump as the race gets closer to the finish line. She is losing trust again.
This is particularly important because in the public mind, the contrast is starker between the same old Clinton and the restless aggressive Trump. She won the Democratic nomination by mastering the rules of the game; he won the Republican nomination by refusing to play by the traditional rules of the game.
To win the elections, Clinton needs to regain the trust. She needs to show more of how Trump’s politics of fear is cowardly and un-American. Especially, the fear of Mexicans, Muslims, illegal immigrants; fear of declining America; and fear of a world that threatens, disrespects and takes advantage of America.
She needs to embrace the more optimistic aspects of the Obama legacy and incorporates many of the proposals advanced by Bernie Sanders, both domestically and internationally.
She needs to show how fairness, inclusion and diplomacy can be the trump-card for Trump’s politics of hatred and exclusion, and why building bridges with the world is better than building wall around America.
Finally, she must show real empathy towards working people and struggling youth as they search for their rightful place in America’s future. In other words, Clinton must heed the voices of those who gave Sanders their support in Ohio and other battleground states if she wants to make history by becoming the first woman president of the United States of America.
BDST: 1846 HRS, OCT 30, 2016