Today it is August 1, the political primary season is over, and the race to the finish has finally begun. Where do we stand and what are the prospects?
First of all we need to step back and assess all the strange twists and turns we have already seen but before we do that we need to decompress from what is a primary season like no other.
When this began a little over a year ago who would have guessed the outcome?
The GOP, with a wealth of seemingly qualified candidates, winds up with a sole survivor who has never served in any elective office from dogcatcher on up. Apparently, Barack Obama has broken the glass ceiling of running for office without experience.
In the Democratic corner, the entire Democratic Party apparatus, built to insure Hillary Clinton would be heir apparent to Obama in order to protect his legacy, pre-selected her as the candidate. Yet it took millions of dollars for her just to beat an upstart socialist called Bernie Sanders who refused to be a Democrat until he ran for office, then immediately gave up his registration when he lost.
During the campaign, Trump rode the wave of discontent plaguing the nation for decades and forgot he was just the messenger for the disgruntled masses, and not the Messiah. Consistently he was his own worst enemy letting his rather enormous ego dominate good judgment.
Hillary tried to make it a case of Trump being evil when the public believed the entire political establishment was evil, both Democrats and Republicans.
Meanwhile, the rest of the establishment had no clue they were the target along with the politicians. Big business, big government, the news media, Wall Street, the special interest industry, health care manipulators, and unions opposed to teacher accountability, all were part of the same smorgasbord of card-carrying defenders of the status quo, or the dreaded establishment.
Look at what they missed. While the favorable rating of politicians and congress was reaching new lows, the news media was far worse. None of the traditional establishment has favorable ratings today because none has earned the respect of the public.
Polarization was certainly encouraged, if not advocated, by the Obama Administration and it led to a president handcuffed for eight long years. As a result, most of his major campaign promises failed and once again, the politicians had lied to the public.
Voter mistrust and discontent have dominated and will continue to dominate the election. At the same time, the strategies of the campaigns and the actions of the news media have exasperated the polarization.
The highest unfavorable ratings ever recorded plague both major party candidates. Where does that leave
with just 98 days left before we choose a new leader.
At the same time a wary world audience watches in astonishment, wonder, puzzlement, and amazement as the Republic of America plods through a painful and soul searching campaign to pick the next leader of the free world.
Here are the facts as near as they can be determined at this point.
Well over 50% of the public do not trust either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Both have done nothing to dispel this feeling of mistrust, but actually have helped fuel it. At the same time the news media bias has been so pronounced that virtually no one can be trusted to tell the truth.
The result is each candidate has about 40% of the vote, more or less a dead heat at this time. Approximately half of each candidate's support comes from traditional Democrats or Republicans who toe the party line. The other half come from people who hate or are terrified of the other candidate.
That is the tragedy of polarization.
The deciding vote for our next president will most likely be cast based on a "lesser of two evils," or "who is hated less" philosophy having nothing to do with party platforms, leadership ability, or who wants to serve all the people.
Though it is far too early to prognosticate, I want to project what might happen if we can see through the fog bank to the conclusion of this most disturbing election campaign.
First, I do not believe the winner will come close to 50% of the vote. Since almost half of the eligible voters are so disgusted with the system they will not even register to vote, that is not a good sign.
Voter turnout, however, is only measured by those who are registered to vote, thus ignoring the protest of half the voters. This demonstrates that we live by a limited democracy at best, and indicates majority rule is not part of the American political process.
Of the registered voters, I believe the winner will win with 43-45% of the popular vote. This is not as bad as you may think because Bill Clinton won election in 1992 with just 43% of the vote, while third party candidate Ross Perot received nearly 19%.
I expect a similar outcome for president.
As for the winner, so far Trump has not earned the respect of the public nor demonstrated characteristics of a calm and stabilizing force we need in a president. Nor has he shown he has the ideas to fix the problems he has identified.
It seems as if he cannot accept the fact he is the messenger for the discontent of the people and not the messiah leading them. The discontent has been growing for decades while Trump is new to the world of politics. With his ego driven desire to comment on every reference to the name Trump in the media, he has shown no ability to govern with humility nor desire to help all the people with their problems/
Hillary shares a tendency to believe her own press at times projecting a feeling of entitlement to the position of president because of that is what the people owe her for a lifetime of public service. However, her lifetime of service contains a lot of missteps, mistakes, and bad decisions.
I often wonder if she might be far ahead if she got off the woman's platform, abortion advocacy, and progressive sellout and just said I made mistakes but you know me, and we know nothing about what Donald would do as president.
For those of you too young or with a reality block on history, her husband Bill received 43% of the vote in 1992. Then realized his only chance of being re-elected in 1996 was to run on the Republican principles and move to the center, which he did, winning with 49% of the vote in spite of many morality issues.
As of today, just one to three percent of the undecided voters will most likely select the winner. They are about the only segment of the electorate more concerned with the good of the nation than punishing someone they have grown to hate.
It is a sad state of affairs when objective voters represent so few Americans. Just ask yourself why you are really supporting the candidate of your choice.
If Hillary can just ignore her campaign advisors who keep trying to program her and lie low Trump will most likely defeat himself. It will be far too close for comfort, but in the end, those who want change will not place it in the hands of someone they do not trust, and Trump has done little to earn the trust of the disenfranchised majority.
So I expect Hillary to win a nail biter Do not be surprised, if the people do elect Hillary, that out of caution and prudence they also elect a Republican congress to make certain she has the same success with her progressive agenda as Barack Obama. It is a check and balance the public has used often to keep the politicians in check.