By Medicine Hat News Opinon on October 17, 2016.
In my previous piece, I suggested Hillary Clinton will win the Presidency because most Americans are not ready to believe Trump’s claim that America is becoming a Third World country. They’re not ready to give up on the quest for equality and democracy that is essence of the American soul. Clinton is far from a perfect candidate, but she more accurately represents how most Americans want to see themselves.
I submitted that piece before the now infamous Access Hollywood story broke. Before the second debate, when Trump bragged that past comments about assaulting women was “locker room talk.” Before Tuesday, when Trump declared he was finally “unshackled” and began to attack Republicans who dropped their support for his campaign. Republicans are dropping their support because they want to get re-elected, or because they agree with Glenn Beck: “It is not acceptable to ask a moral, dignified man to cast his vote to help elect an immoral man who is absent decency or dignity.” Republicans dropping support possess both practicality and conscience.
Trump’s insistence on party loyalty is, perhaps, his most frightening trait because America values dissent, sometimes only theoretically, but still. After his unprecedented implosion, the Presidential election seems decided. As I write this, Fivethirtyeight.com pegs Trump with a 14 per cent of winning (and dropping). As we prepare to watch The Final Meltdowns of Donald Trump, the most intriguing aspects of this election will be how the Grand Old Party recovers. Voter turnout: the Clinton campaign recently became concerned Trump’s race to the gutter will kill voter turnout, which could result in a surprising final twist. Finally, there is also the spectre of Trump’s willingness to encourage and incite violence that may become another American tragedy on election day.
This election resembles a nasty divorce. Fivethirtyeight.com ran two election maps in “Women are defeating Donald Trump.” The first map shows that if only women voted, Clinton would win 458-80. If only men voted, Trump would win the Electoral College 350-188. The gulf between American men and women has become the most important dimension of this election. Women have become the most important voter demographic, and it is unclear how the GOP will attract women and satisfy their shrinking base. I’m not sure it can be done.
When I first started writing these pieces, my wife asked me, “What is it you really want to say?” I told her, “I want to help people understand the beast that is American politics.” She saw right through me. On a drive back from Calgary, I rediscovered my genius for self-deception. Bruce Springsteen’s My Hometown came on the radio, and I started crying:
Now Main Street’s whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain’t nobody wants to come down here no more
They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain’t coming back to your hometown.
Even though I am proud to be Canadian (and I am very proud), I’m like a child who can’t understand why his parents are breaking up. Like the character in Springsteen’s ballad, I watched my hometown die as the manufacturing jobs left Michigan; I watched my single-parent mother, a hard-working American, brought to financial ruin by cancer because there was no Obamacare at the time; I’ve commiserated with several friends about our anguish of carrying student loans into our 40s. I’ve lived near two Superfund sites, and I’ve read too many headlines of Americans being senselessly killed as the result of uncontrolled gun violence.
I know she’s not perfect. She never was, but I will always love her past and her promise. I miss her and want to see her again. But irreconcilable differences have left me and many Americans wondering, where’s our place in this divided house? How do we go on in this broken family?
Jason Openo is an American/Canadian who studied political science at the Ford School for Leadership in Public Policy. He is pursuing his doctorate of education. He works at Medicine Hat College and will periodically weigh in with columns pertaining to the U.S. election.
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