Crimes and misdemeanours
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