Thursday, October 20, 2016
The last Trump-Clinton Debate—the most bitter campaign since 1972
By SJ Otto
Not since the Richard Nixon-George McGovern campaign, of 1972, have we seen such a bitter and nasty campaign for president of the US. Last night’s debate brought all of that out. By the end of the night many of the “talking heads” (pundits) surrounding that debate said that Hillary Clinton won and unless something unusual happens in the next 19 days she will be elected as our next president.
So for the absolute Trump haters out there and I do know a few, we don’t have to worry that he will actually win—at least not right now. There was a substantial debate over a few issues such as abortion and the war against ISIS (Islamic State). There was also horror by both Clinton and several news personalities over Trump’s refusal to say he would accept the outcome of the election. All along he has been saying that the election is rigged. I don’t know why anyone would take that seriously. Trump is a showman. That is what he has been in the past. He knows how to keep people’s interest up. He has used that gimmick throughout the election. At one point in the debate Clinton said that ‘he claimed the Emmy awards were rigged.’ Trump responded almost joking “Should have gotten it.” For me it was hard to take him seriously.
This is not unlike the Nixon-McGovern race. The main issue in 1972 was the Vietnam War and McGovern made that his main theme. Much of the rest of the Democratic Party had denounced McGovern, some even going so far as to run commercials against him—“Democrats for Nixon.” All of this was over the military and their war in Vietnam. As with this year’s campaign the candidates called each other names.
During that election there was speculation that McGovern was not going to congratulate Nixon if he won the election. In fact The Washington Post ran the following after the election results came in and McGovern had lost by a record landslide vote:
“The South Dakota senator, though buried in an electoral defeat of historic dimensions, refused to concede that his platform of immediate peace in Vietnam and populist reform at home had been repudiated along with his candidacy.
Referring to the Nixon stands he had condemned in his long struggle for the presidency, McGovern said from Sioux Falls: "We do not rally to the support of policies we deplore. We love this country and we will continue to beckon it to a higher standard."
Of course there were some major differences. McGovern was considered far to the left of the main stream. Trump is considered farther to the right than Clinton. And on some foreign policies he is slightly farther to the left. And it seems this race is a lot closer. And in the end McGovern did congratulate Nixon on his win. I’m betting that Trump will do the same if and when he loses.
This has been a lively campaign. Trump may not be the man for the job, but he has made this campaign stand out in history. One thing this campaign is not—is boring.
Campaigns are full of surprises, as in the George W. Bush-Al Gore campaign, of 2000 where the votes were so close there was a recount that took until December 12 before a winner was declared. This year’s campaign has had its share of surprises also, especially with Trump having to answer to all the allegations he harassed several women.
Regardless of what the polls say we still need Democrats to get out and vote. A lot of people are saying they don’t want to vote for Hillary and they don’t need to since she is ahead in the polls. Such an attitude leads to delegating your choice to others and with it your own personal responsibility. So do vote.
Hillary Clinton shook hands with the moderator, Chris Wallace, on Wednesday after the debate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a gesture that she did not repeat with Donald J. Trump.