The battle for last: Clinton, Trump and the American people

In 13 days, Americans will have a doozy of a choice at the polls. The presidential election of 2016 pits two caricatures against one another. Both candidates are historically unpopular and have historically horrible records.

This column is not designed to rehash the trash being peddled by both sides, but rather to hold up the incontrovertible facts on each candidate, so we may reflect upon our state as a nation. As a democratic republic, our leaders are a reflection of “we the people.” Let us examine the record of each candidate and thereby gain a better picture of ourselves.

When Donald J. Trump exploded onto the political scene last year, he was known to be a bombastic businessman, playboy and entertainer extraordinaire. In recent months, we have been afforded an unparalleled opportunity to scrutinize “The Donald.”

What have we discovered? First and foremost, despite all his bluster and bravado, Trump has suffered a string of unmitigated financial faceplants ranging from a fraudulent real estate school to a titanic casino which sank abysmally.

Trump’s track record is placarded with extravagant promises and meager results. Yes, there is no doubt he is in fact quite wealthy, but it would be unwise to ignore his numerous bankruptcies.

Bankruptcy is an indictment not only of business prowess, but also of character; if Trump can’t keep his word to his investors, how will he keep his word to the American people? No one is perfect, but the fact that Trump boasts of how he played the system is evidence of a level of self-centered egotism the American public has never before suffered from a president.

This is but a taste of the personal decadence we have seen exhibited in Trump. Time would fail me to speak of his association with organized crime, his reckless flip-flopping and his personal unctuousness. In short, Trump is not worthy to bear the noble title, “President of the United States.” He is clearly unfit for such an esteemed position.

On the other hand, Secretary Clinton is not the picture of innocence herself. Clinton’s proponents tout her experience and expansive resume as positives. I look at both of these and am repulsed, not impressed by Clinton.

In an election cycle rife with sensational headlines, scandals which receive mere cursory coverage in 2016 would have riveted the coffin for presidential candidates in yesteryears. Take, for example the Democratic National Convention (DNC) email scandal back in July.

Leaked emails proved that the Clinton campaign worked hand-in-glove with the DNC to subvert the public will and leave Bernie Sanders out in the cold. With this in mind, is it implausible to suggest that the general election could also be manipulated? Clinton has proven she is completely capable of it.

I am disheartened by what I see in politics. It saddens me that the Democratic challenger has lied concerning her emails, betrayed the confidence of thousands of men and women in the line of duty and cavalierly mishandled sensitive data without a single charge being brought against her. It is a dark day indeed when the party of Lincoln and Reagan fronts a bully in a suit as their man of the hour.

In 13 days, we will vote in arguably the most important election of the past century. I cannot help but brood as I consider our choices. Nevertheless, America need not be defined by this election. If we desire better candidates, however, we must turn inward, not outward. We the people of the U.S. have the unprecedented privilege of selecting our own leaders. If the two candidates are reprehensible, therefore, it is because we have enabled and applauded their ascent.