U.S.: Misery of democracy

A La Jornada Editorial

The second debate between U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton (Democrat) and Donald Trump (Republican) Sunday night in St. Louis was more than a display of two contrasting personalities. It was the chilling demonstration of insubstantiality, frivolity and even vulgarity that characterizes the political system of the neighboring country. But for a number of predictable slogans, there were few references to government proposals. Instead, both candidates for the White House twined into a personal duel of insults, gossip and even threats of prosecution (Trump to Clinton), and offered a spectacle even more abysmal than their first meeting, held in New York on September 26.

It became clear, once again, that the former Secretary of State has an interventionist and warmongering mentality, and an ability to minimize her own mistakes and wanderings, but also has a well-structured political mind and vast experience in the exercise of power and what are called “boards”. The magnate, meanwhile, made an umpteenth display of intolerance, a lack of dialectical skill, phobic extremism, ignorance and demagoguery, that constitutes in him the most dangerous personality who has been submitted in decades, or perhaps in all of American history, to a presidential contest.

But beyond the persons, this second debate leaves behind an obvious question: How could the country which deems itself a global example of democracy reach such ideological desolation? It is shocking, to say the least, that the U.S. presidency, a political post that carries such overwhelming responsibilities — the decision on the nuclear button, for starters — and that is so relevant to the rest of the world, is put into play by both contenders not on their contrasting international and national, political, economic and social programs, but by an exchange of accusations, which included misogynistic expressions (really disgusting) and the use (totally improper) of a mail server, or the suspicions of financial mismanagement and prosecutions.

The excessive desire for profit of the corporations that own the media, especially television, has played a major role in the extreme trivialization of politics seen Sunday evening. It is a phenomenon that while not unique to the United States, has acquired a tragic dimension there. A repeated and ad nauseam concern has to do exclusively with the Republican presidential candidate: a few weeks before the election, it is still amazing that a person like Donald Trump has gotten this far with such an unpresentable plan.

We must conclude then that his rudimentary, phobic and violent speech is satisfying, rewarding and encouraging for a greater number than one would think possible of U.S. citizens. It is undeniable, also, that despite the last minute abandonment of his campaign by dozens of Republican Party leaders, lawmakers and prominent figures, Republicans were unable to stop the unexpected rise of the New York entrepreneur, because from the start his racism, misogyny, his rudeness and ignorance – traits of his that have been known for quite some time —  were not incompatible with the Party’s platform and its partisan ideology.

The most chilling fact, in short, is that although the chances of winning in November are reduced daily for the Republican, Trump is considered a valid candidate for the political system and is a desirable benchmark for an important sector of the U.S. electorate.

(From the Mexican newspaper La Jornada.)

Translated by Progreso Weekly.

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