Few people doubt that the face-off between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is the most bitterly fought presidential election in living memory. Trump’s campaign has been dogged by controversy from the very beginning. Trump has been accused of racism, sexism, misogyny and even of encouraging the gun lobby to assassinate Clinton. When it comes to Clinton voters simply do not trust her. Clinton’s email scandal simply won’t go away and of course she, or her team, lied to the American public about the state of her health after she had to leave the 9/11 memorial in Manhattan last month.
Across Europe, and around the world, people are wondering how the U.S. has managed to find itself in a position where Clinton and Trump managed to win their parties nominations. How can two candidates, so mired in controversy, find themselves just a short step from the White House?
Of course, world opinion means little in a U.S. election but according to USA Today both Clinton and Trump are viewed unfavorably by the electorate too. In fact, they claim that Trump and Clinton are the “two most unpopular presidential candidates” in more than a generation. At the end of August, 56 percent of voters viewed Clinton unfavorably. Trump fared even worse with almost two-thirds of voters disapproving of him.
Politifact reported that even former President Jimmy Carter commented on how unpopular both Trump and Clinton are.
“Everybody knows that I’m a Democrat and I’ll be voting Democratic. It’s been an exciting and unprecedented kind of campaign this year, and unfortunately, the way it’s turned out, both choices in the major parties are quite unpopular. I don’t have any doubt that one of the candidates is better qualified than the other.”
It could be argued that the Morning Consult has the most telling statistic of all. They claim that one-quarter of voters do not trust either candidate. That fact alone will ensure that, when either Trump or Clinton enters the White House, the majority of Americans will not support them. The reason they are so unpopular, they claim, is that voters think Trump is racist, and Clinton is untrustworthy. The distrust of Clinton and Trump extends to virtually every state in the union.
Despite their unpopularity, most commentators agree that Trump has imploded in recent weeks. According to the Independent, Trump has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women. A video leaked, in which Trump was heard to boast that he “does not wait for consent” when he comes on to a woman. Trump chose a presidential debate to boast of not paying federal taxes, and when he fared badly, he threatened to jail his opponent and claimed the system is rigged.
It had seemed that nothing would stick to Trump, but it now seems that his ratings have taken a beating, and Clinton has leaped to an 11-point lead in the polls. Even the right-wing media have recognized that Clinton is surging ahead of Trump. Fox News puts Clinton’s lead at seven-points and says “if the Republicans are not at rock-bottom, they can certainly see the bottom from where they are.”
For months it seemed that Trump was gaining ground on Clinton, but the revelations over the past few weeks have seen his chances all but evaporate in the “all important” swing states. The polling figures may well be to blame for Trump’s latest outbursts, with the BBC reporting that he has challenged Clinton to take a drug test. Trump claims that Mrs. Clinton had been “all pumped up” at the beginning of the last debate but could “barely reach her car” at the end.
According to AL News, Clinton leads Trump in 13 of 14 battleground states. They report that a survey indicates that, if the election were held today, Clinton would have an 87 percent chance of winning. It seems clear that whether Clinton or Trump wins the presidency, they will be the most unpopular and least trusted president for a very long time.
[Featured Image by Patrick Semansky/AP]