Thoughts on the journey to the White House

One has to wonder what goes through the minds of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton when they wake up these mornings. Both conventions are done. They’re both now officially the presidential nominees for their respective parties. So what’s left?

A few months of what will no doubt be a nasty, blistering and flat-out war between the two leaders as they finally square off against each other, trying to eke out enough support to oust the other.

These days, Clinton is enjoying a bit of a bump in support post-convention. But what is distressing the talking heads on CNN and other news shows is just how close these two ultimately are in the polls. It’s indeed a bizarre time in American politics, and adding to that sense of the surreal is that it’s constantly pointed out how these two people also have high unlikability and unfavourability factors. Yet here are the two who Americans will have to support this November.

That said, there is little now that is likely to change the outcome of this election. It’s really anybody’s guess who will win. Supporters on both sides are solidly behind their leader, and it seems that nothing much will change that. The public at large doesn’t seem to be getting too excited about Clinton’s email fiasco, for one thing. And it also doesn’t seem to matter what Trump says or does, no matter how apparently outrageous it is. It only makes his supporters ‘support’ him that much more.

The key event coming up will be when these two square off for debates – that’s when the gloves will really come off – and where the questions will hopefully revolve around policy and not deviate into a bunch of other meaningless issues and arguments. Both must be forcefully tested on questions of foreign policy, for example, and that’s likely where Clinton can’t wait to get her proverbial hands on Trump.

Many say that she will likely ‘mop the floor’ with him in that particular topic, as he won’t have folks around him to turn to at that given moment. Admittedly, Clinton has far more experience in this area.

At the end of the day, one wonders really what either of these people will really bring to the average American. It’s easy to see why Trump has garnered the support that he has, when you think about millions of Americans who say the system is broken and just isn’t working for them anymore. Many are at the same place they were 20 years ago, it’s been reported, and people are demanding some sort of change. Along comes Trump who is so black and white and is decidedly not politically correct, and for many that’s a refreshing and irresistible change of pace.

To them, Clinton represents the same old, same old. An entrenched bureaucrat who has simply been around the halls of power for too long and likely won’t change a whole lot.

But it’s hard to remember a time when two people – so very different from each other – with a multitude of flaws and baggage and unlikability – are trying be the next leader of the United States of America.

Another interesting observation is that for Americans, likability seems to be a huge factor in selecting a leader. In Canada, we’re not sure that’s totally the case. We tend to vote, it seems, for the leader as a whole – not just whether we like him or not. We’re not looking for a cozy friendship, we are looking for someone with the smarts and experience to run a country.

Also, in Canada we don’t seem to be as mesmerized by celebrity and money as our American counterparts are. How else can one really explain Arnold Schwarzenegger ending up as governor of California? Not to say he was a total flop, but it’s amazing that an actor could end up in that position.

Really, we may have our issues in Canada and complain about our politicians, but we can be thankful we aren’t facing such an uncertain November as our American neighbours are. The world could look very different the morning of Nov. 9th.

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