Crimes and mis­de­meanours

Esquire (Malaysia) - - NEWS -

This month sees The Us go­ing to the polls for what should be a one-sided pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. I say this with lit­tle love for Hil­lary (in­deed, I have Amer­i­can friends, life­long Democrats, who feel un­able to sup­port her). But this should be a one-sided event not be­cause Hil­lary is so tainted but rather be­cause of just how toxic Trump is.

Rid­ing on a sup­posed pop­ulist card, he is, in his mind’s eye, the knight in shin­ing ar­mour, there to rep­re­sent the down­trod­den against the Es­tab­lish­ment. You can­not deny that he sniffed the air and recog­nised the hunger for change, a move away from the pol­i­tics-asusual that has seen the fastest re­dis­tri­bu­tion of wealth from the poor and mid­dle classes to the rich. In short, an end to ne­olib­er­al­ism. Yet his brand of pol­i­tics, if you can call it such, uses the same weapons that ne­olib­er­al­ism does: es­sen­tially, blame any­one for the prob­lems of the sys­tem rather than blame the sys­tem it­self.

Let’s re­mind our­selves of Trump’s long (and length­en­ing) list of mis­de­meanours. When the cam­paign first started and he was run­ning to se­cure the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion, he was ruth­less in his at­tacks on his run­ning mates. This is just pol­i­tics, you might think, and all is fair. But to at­tack an op­po­nent be­cause of his wife, and then sug­gest that the same per­son’s father was con­nected to the assig­na­tion of John F Kennedy, is be­yond the pale.

But Trump was just get­ting warmed up. He has in­sulted the dis­abled. He has la­belled Mex­i­cans rapists and drug deal­ers. He has con­tin­u­ally equated Mus­lims with ter­ror­ism, thereby stok­ing Is­lama­pho­bia. This reached its nadir when he, again, be­lit­tled the mother of an Amer­i­can ser­vice­man killed in ac­tion. But she, like her hus­band and dead son, are Mus­lim and there­fore, in Trump’s world, fair game.

He has re­peat­edly tar­geted women, sug­gest­ing that Fox News pre­sen­ter Megyn Kelly asked him dif­fi­cult ques­tions be­cause she had blood com­ing out of her “what­ever”. He con­tin­ued his bul­ly­ing tac­tics with a for­mer Miss Uni­verse, a per­son who says she suf­fered a decade of eat­ing dis­or­ders as a re­sult of Trump’s ear­lier bul­ly­ing. He asked his sup­port­ers to go on­line and find her sex tape. There wasn’t one. He has also, on two oc­ca­sions, ap­peared to sug­gest that Hil­lary Clin­ton be as­sas­si­nated.

And then there was the leaked video, in which he boasted that he could treat women how he wants be­cause of his fame. He could kiss them with­out their con­sent, or grab their gen­i­talia. You know, the sort of thing that most peo­ple, in­clud­ing law­mak­ers, con­sider to be sex­ual as­sault. But in Trump’s world, those were just words, locker room ban­ter. It is hard to see how much lower he can go.

To counter this, he has of­fered noth­ing in the way of pol­icy. The only hint at how he might do things is his usual boast­ful “we’re gonna do this so good” or “my guys can do it bet­ter”.

So, Amer­ica has a choice (of four can­di­dates, though you would be for­given for think­ing there are only two horses in the race). We can but hope they don’t choose Trump. Amer­ica de­serves bet­ter.

Si­mon Burgess Editor-in-chief

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