A Strange Campaign
The current presidential campaign in the United States differs from previous campaigns, such as the 2008 campaign. In 2008, issues were discussed, which has not been the case in this campaign. Mrs Clinton is a veteran politician, so voters know, to a large extent, what they will be dealing with, if she is elected to the presidency. But Mr Trump is not a politician and is not familiar with the numerous issues. He therefore avoids discussing issues.
I have written about his “trumpisms,” which is a dismissive discourse. My best example of a “trumpism” is the failed discussion on gun control. It ended when Mr Trump said “take her [Mrs Clinton’s] guards away from her and watch,” or something to that effect. Mr Trump managed not to address gun control by straying not only from the general to the particular, which could be relevant, but from the general to the personal, quite a gap. The personal is not irrelevant in choosing a president, but in a debate, it is seldom mentioned.
Well, a day or so ago, Mr Trump was threatening to sue the women who confirmed he was a sexual predator. That is another “trumpism.” While Mr Trump threatens these women loudly, real issues are not being discussed, which tells the story of Mr Trump’s campaign. However, should Mr Trump be elected to the presidency and sue the women he assaulted, their testimonial could damn him. He could be impeached. It would be in Mr Trump’s best interest not to carry this discussion an inch further.
He won’t. But issues are not on his mind. Having threatened to sue the women who confirmed he was a sexual predator, Mr Trump is now attacking his Party, the GOP or Republican Party.
As a result, Mrs Clinton is inviting endorsements from Republicans. The colleagues who nominated Mr Trump are distancing themselves. For example, Colin Powell has said he would vote for Mrs Clinton.
Mrs Clinton is familiar with every dossier the President of the United States will have to deal with, and she can tell right from wrong. Mr Powell “spoke about his [Mr Trump’s] inexperience, he spoke about the messages that he’s sending out every day to his supporters, which really paints our country in a negative light across the globe with all our allies.” (The New York Times)
As I was meditating on this drôle de campagne, this strange campaign, a campaign during which few issues have been addressed, I was reminded of French encyclopédiste Denis Diderot‘s (1713 – 1784) Paradoxe sur le comédien, The Paradox of the Actor. In Le Paradoxe sur le comédien, written between 1773 and 1777, Denis Diderot suggests that a good actor does not feel the emotions he displays. He is in full possession of himself, which allows him to play the same role convincingly day after day. (See The Paradox of the Actor, Wikipedia.)
Nominees do play a role. In fact, we all play roles and even “dress” the part: the office, lunch with a dear friend, an evening at the opera, relaxing, etc. As for nominees to the role of President of the United States, their role is to tell the people—it’s all about the people—what they intend to do for them. They are in fact negotiating a social contract: taxation, employment, education, immigration, the Middle East, gun control, the environment, health care and other social programmes, etc. Good leaders build the future and, as the saying goes, the road to the future is always under construction.
If Mr Trump intends to slash into the Affordable Health Care Act, now is the time, or the campaign was the time, to discuss it. Health care must be affordable.
The polls surprised me. I didn’t think Mr Trump would be able to gather as much support among the United States’ electorate as he did. He was a newcomer to Washington and therefore a mostly unknown quantity whose education had not prepared for the position of President of the United States. But he had supporters. Mr Seid, quoted below (italics), may have the answer “populist… .” Could the medium be the message? (See The Medium is the message, Wikipedia.) Truth be told, if the polls now place Mrs Clinton ahead of Mr Trump, it has not been, until now, because of a sneaky conspiracy or ruinous revelations from the best of hackers. So far, Mr Trump is the one who has built himself and undone himself, and he may not be able to walk back a bad performance.
I should note that the Wall Street Journal‘s Gerald F. Seib also used the term “Trumpism” in an article published on 8 August 2016 entitled “Separating Donald Trump From Trumpism.” No, I did not borrow the term “trumpism” from Mr Seib. I borrowed it from my mother tongue, French. “Se tromper” means to make a mistake, to be mistaken, and “tromper” means to deceive, to be unfaithful to, to fool. Moreover, an elephant has a trompe.
I have given “trumpism” a meaning that is not consistent, or not entirely consistent, with Mr Seib’s who writes that there is Mr Trump and
[t]hen there is Trumpism—the mixture of attitudes and positions that catapulted its namesake to the Republican nomination in the first place. Trumpism is a populist mix of anger at the status quo, skepticism about the virtues of free trade and immigration, doubts about the need for U.S. intervention abroad, fondness for law and order and a dose of nationalism. “Americanization, not globalization, will be our new credo,” Mr. Trump put it in a speech in Detroit on Monday.
“Separating Donald Trump From Trumpism.”
We are days away from the American election. Everything could change. But I doubt it will.
Love to everyone. ♥
Andrew Wyeth “I paint my life”
music: “Cavatina” by Pat Halling
© Micheline Walker
27 October 2016