General Election 2016: Difficult Days Ahead

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“We’ve got some difficult days ahead." ~The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, Rev. Dr. King said those fateful words in his final public speech in Memphis, Tennessee on the evening of April 3rd, 1968. He would be assassinated the very next morning. Dr. King’s words seem especially prophetic right now – nearly 5 decades later – as America braces for what promises to be the nastiest, most scorched earth general election in recent memory. Seemingly, all bets are off. This will be a World Wrestling Entertainment-styled non-disqualification match. Ready or not, the royal rumble is underway.
 
In this corner, we have Donald J. Trump – the presumptive Republican nominee: billionaire real estate mogul, reality television star, best-selling author, and ruthless businessman. Trump is destined to be the greatest president in the history of the world. If you don’t believe that, just ask him. He wants to “make America great again” – but in order for his campaign motto to be true, that requires assuming that America isn’t already great. And if America is no longer great, when did it cease to be great? Who is responsible for the United States of America no longer being great? Don’t ask Trump because he’s long on braggadocio, and short on details. He’ll tell you all day about this great wall he plans on building on the U.S./Mexico border, but when you ask about how he’s going to accomplish this mythical feat, he suddenly becomes as quiet as a nun at a convent. Then again, it must be tough to be on both sides of every issue a la the Teflon Don.
 
In this corner, we have Hillary Rodham Clinton – the presumptive Democratic nominee: although Bernie Sanders would vehemently disagree with that assertion. I’ll get to Sanders shortly. Clinton is a former Senator of the great state of New York, former U.S. Secretary of State, former First Lady of the United States. She’s also a best-selling author and an attorney by trade. Clinton’s campaign slogan is “Ready for Hillary,” but at times, I’ve wondered aloud if Hillary herself is ready for Hillary. Her proclivity for doing things her own way in spite of the consequences has come back to haunt her before. Unlike Trump, Clinton has extensive knowledge of foreign policy and plenty of experience dealing directly with heads of state in countries all over the world. But like Trump, Clinton tends to have difficulty explaining her position at times, even when (especially when) she’s right. When it comes to Benghazi – which the GOP apparently intends to litigate until our yellow sun turns blue – there’s no there there. Several previous Senate subcommittees and hearings have failed to implicate Clinton. However, Clinton’s email quagmire is, and was, entirely self-inflicted. She should never have set up that personal email server to process emails during her tenure as Secretary of State; especially if she ever thought she might want to run for president.
 
And in this corner, we have Bernard “Bernie” Sanders – the presumptive Democratic nominee in his own mind. Bernie Sanders is someone I respect. He not only has served with distinction as both U.S. Representative and Senator from Vermont for decades, he also spent the 1960s and 1970s working in the Civil Rights movement. He was there in Washington, D.C. in 1963 when Dr. King gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. I thought that Elizabeth Warren was the only potential Democratic presidential candidate who could and would serve as a legitimate threat to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, but Sanders proved me wrong. As William Shakespeare would say, “Therein lies the rub.” Mathematically, Sanders cannot win the nomination. The true symmetry of a race well-run is knowing when to bow out. Sanders’s campaign tagline of “Feel the Bern” now appears to have morphed to “Bern It All Down” especially after what happened in Las Vegas a week ago. It would take a column to convey the sheer foolishness that transpired there, but my previously expressed doubts about Sanders’s ability to convince his supporters to support Clinton once he steps aside were solidified in ways I never imagined. And if Sanders’s people decide “never Hillary,” Trump has more than just a puncher’s chance.
 
Not one political expert/prognosticator/pundit can tell you what’s happening. The polls mean everything. The polls mean nothing. It's a dumpster fire. Or rather, it’s a trumpster fire.
 
A perfect segue to my original point. We have difficult days ahead when the presumptive Republican nominee, Trump, is a Democrat pretending to be a Republican; a liberal masquerading as a conservative.
 
We have difficult days ahead when the would-be Democratic nominee, Sanders, is an Independent who happens to be running as a Democrat. If Sanders makes good on his threat(s), the 2016 Democratic National Convention this July might end up being the Battle of Philadelphia. Chaos could ensue. And to prove his political point, Sanders seems fully capable of costing Clinton the election.
 
We have difficult days ahead when the presumptive Democratic nominee, Clinton, has unfavorability numbers which are just as high as Trump’s.
 
Clinton, Sanders, and Trump. All three are competing for the national spotlight. All three will apparently say anything to win the Oval Office. All three have apparently forgotten about average Americans. Who do you trust? Who can you trust?
 
Since Americans don't take kindly to settling for the lesser of two evils in our lives generally speaking, we certainly shouldn't have to keep settling in our choices for general elections every 4 years. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are responsible for this. Can you imagine the Trump-Clinton debates coming this fall? Must-see slimee! Yes, Virginia: difficult days are ahead.
 
And this time around, the revolution will indeed be televised.

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