In this, the most divisive political campaign in Gildshire magazine’s memory, we are tasked with finding common ground. We know that 40% of our readership is going to vote for Donald Trump. We know that 40% of our readership is going to vote for Hillary Clinton. We know the 45th President of the United States will be determined by the actions of the other 20%.
Is there light at the end of the tunnel for the losing 40%? Can those folks find anything to cast their hopes to beginning Inauguration Day?
Or is it a gigantic car race to the Canadian border?
Regardless of the election outcome, know the nation is strong and resilient. This is the nation that survived Franklin Pierce, Millard Fillmore, and Richard Nixon. (Those are the bottom three presidents as rated by Gallup.) This is the nation that still had problems under George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson (rated the best by Gallup).
The person who holds the Presidency is a very important person. But he/she isn’t the United States of America. And we would do well to remember that come November 9.
Or the backups at the Peace Arch in Blaine, Washington and at Niagara Falls will be enormous!
What can we find to name as pros for each candidate? What do their backers like about their party’s standard bearer?
First, for the Republicans:
Mr. Trump is proud to be speaking for those who are angry at the direction of the country. Why are they so mad?
• Trade: Mr. Trump grew up in the Great American Era. The United States called the shots. We were the only nuclear power and we never allowed other nations to forget that. “We used them once,” we didn’t have to say. “We might use them again.” The world is more of a global entity now. Borders are almost obsolete when it comes to global interdependence. He intends to reverse that trend. He says he can “win” trade deals. This appeals to his backers. They don’t know why we aren’t “winning.” They are only sure we are not.
• Did we say “Borders?”: Mr. Trump wants to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. He says thousands of illegal immigrants are pouring across our borders, bringing crime and taking American jobs. This message appeals to his backers. Unemployment is down, but so are wages. Mass deportations of entire families, he says, are the route to full employment for those who were born here. His backers, many of whom are unemployed or underemployed, like that kind of thinking.
• Toughness: Mr. Trump comes across as tough. Where Americans have changed the way they speak so as to not offend others, he decries the change as “political correctness.” His backers hearken back to the 40s and 50s when “men were men.” His backers like the man’s man who engages in manly locker room banter. Many of them will not admit it (except in the locker room), but they like his brashness and crassness. Members of the military, particularly the males, are only comfortable when we are flexing our might. Mr.Trump’s support among the military is strong as most Republican candidates have experienced.
• Industry: No better example can be seen of how the world has changed than to look at the manufacturing centers in the North. Detroit, Cleveland, Akron, and Pittsburgh were all once thriving. Now they aren’t. Manufacturing isn’t what it used to be, and we no longer have the market cornered on the best-made products. Simply put, other countries have caught up! Mr. Trump says he can force companies who are here to stay. He says he can force companies that have left to come back. His supporters like the sound of that. They don’t know why the companies left in the first place.
Now for the Democrats:
Mrs. Clinton is the proud standard-bearer as the first woman to be nominated for the Presidency by a major party. Her supporters like that. What else do they like?
• Women’s Equality: Women make 72 cents for every dollar made by men. Her platform includes language to repair the inequality. In a post-modern world, the roles of women have changed. Today’s woman looks to the world her mother and grandmother endured and says, “That’s not for me.” Today’s woman wants the right to control her own body and the right to be treated as an equal partner at home, work, and the battlefield.
• Gay Rights: The LGBTQ community has made great strides in the last decade. Marriage equality is the law of the land. Workplace and housing discrimination against gays are on the wane. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was a namby-pamby way of getting around the issue of gays in the military,” say Mrs. Clinton’s supporters. The gay rights community doesn’t want to return from whence they came.
• Affordable College Education: Gone are the days when a student could pay his way through school by washing dishes in the cafeteria. Student loan debt is through the roof! Mrs. Clinton, with urging from Sen. Bernie Sanders, runs on a platform that includes debt-free college and tuition-free college for families making $125,000 or less.
• President Obama: History reveals the success of a Presidency in the 30 years after he leaves office. President Obama’s policies will, mostly, stay in place under a Clinton Presidency. His popularity figures are at about 55% right now. Mrs. Clinton’s supporters are comforted by the knowledge that she won’t take a meat cleaver to the accomplishments of her predecessor.
So, if you are a strong supporter of one of the candidates, and don’t know from whence the other side is coming, this is what they like. Is there common ground to be found? One would hope so. Because come Friday, January 20, we will have one President.
May God have mercy on that person!