Never in modern American political history has a more issue-oriented, serious candidate for president faced off against a more dishonest, platform-less, self-absorbed celebrity who is cashing in on ill-gotten wealth and fame despite serious concerns about mental and physical health.
The man all about issues, of course, is real estate developer Donald Trump. From the day he announced for the presidency, Mr. Trump has set the agenda.
In the primary, establishment Republicans would have been perfectly happy to just talk about proper politician temperament and nibbling around the edges of arcane education policy. Who has the best hair and most diverse looking families. Whose name sound the most Hispanic.
Mr. Trump crashed that party and declared that the primary would not be just another beauty pageant. It would be about securing the border to stop illegal immigration, tracking down and killing terrorists before they get into the United States and jump-starting the domestic economy.
Woven through his concrete policy positions was a new mantra of “America first,” both in terms of foreign policy and economic trade. This would mean an end to bipartisan military entanglements that do not directly strengthen the USA and the abandonment of trade deals that do not directly benefit America.
Literally billions and billions of dollars are at stake here, which is why establishment politicians in both parties are so terrified of Mr. Trump.
Corporations need cheap illegal labor, importers need cheap goods from China and the military industrial complex needs to keep America’s wars rolling. Every one of these entities has armies of high-paid lobbyists to make sure that the establishment stays put no matter what the voters want.
Hillary Clinton? Her entire campaign is built on celebrity, pay-for-play wealth and establishment politics against a backdrop of gender wars.
Ask five people you know who are supporting Hillary Clinton for president and they will either give you five different answers or cough up some sexist hairball like, “She wants to shatter the glass ceiling.” Whatever.
The irrefutable proof that Mr. Trump is the candidate of issues is watching Mrs. Clinton commit Grand Theft Platform on trade. The very handmaiden of globalism and unbalanced trade has suddenly found deep inner opposition to the latest globalist trade policies that she has supported forever.
Her only hope is to trade on her global celebrity she “earned” by marrying a future president. And it doesn’t hurt to be propped up by the vast wealth she and her husband leveraged out of those eight long, lascivious years they were in the White House.
So it was no surprise to see he show up on late night comedy television this week to score laugh lines about her health.
“With every breath I take, it’s like a new lease on life,” she joked to canned audience laughter. She offered her wrist for her pulse to be taken. She opened a jar of pickles that may or may not have already been loosened. But it doesn’t matter because it was all just a big joke — the perfect platform for her candidacy.
Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter via @charleshurt.