I remember hearing a basketball coach one time talk about recruiting. He said something like, “make your mistakes with talent not character.” This election season will find many American voters holding their noses at the polls in an attempt to decipher which candidate’s character has a fouler air.
But the real question remains, what does character mean to the American voter after the election?
If Clinton wins.
At best, we have four more years of an Obama-style presidency highlighted by relentless republican obstruction leading to serious congressional constipation. The policy-minded Clinton will pass nothing, contribute nothing or challenge nothing. “Stronger Together” will be more like House Divided (and Senate too). Forget about appointing several Supreme Court Justices—Clinton will be lucky to appoint a justice to the one vacancy we already have now.
At worst, Clinton will begin her presidency beneath the lingering shadows of a criminal investigation and possible indictment surrounding her private email server, and like her husband, she will be impeached, but unlike him she will also be convicted. All amidst her opponent’s cries that the election was rigged, which will ultimately delegitimize the election process and undermine the entire American democracy.
If Trump wins.
At best, the next four years are a learn as you go presidency where democrats scramble to reestablish their base while republicans (particularly those who failed to support Trump) are forced to swallow a heaping pile of sweet crow-tato pie. Trump however is blocked by these same politicians from achieving any of his more outlandish proposals because, well … they’re outlandish. He does manage to appoint several Supreme Court Justices, which changes the dogma of the Court for the next 30 years. The Second Amendment and the NRA become functionally “concrete” while the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment become constitutionally “flexible”.
At worst, Trump views the win as his own personal coronation as King of America. All his visions become realities in the new Trump-branded America. For the first time since the Cold War, the United States is vulnerable to Russian influence and manipulation, as Trump soon realizes that his BFF Putin doesn’t give two post-election shits for him. Human rights, civil rights, gender rights, and LBGT rights are all devalued, reconsidered, and eventually re-adjudicated. During the 8-year Trump presidency, he becomes an international embarrassment who slowly but steadily erodes the standards, values, and common decencies once important to Americans.
So, American voter, I know what you’re thinking. Who do I vote for, Trump or Clinton? In all the excitement I am confused myself. But being as this is the United States of America, the most powerful country in the world—make your head spin clean off. You have to ask yourself, do you feel lucky? Do you, American Voter?