by Dylan Bole
The presidential election in November has been described as “the lesser of two evils” with each candidate being perceived by U.S. citizens as lacking the qualities needed to be president. A Gallup poll from Sept. 14-18, 2016, found that only 25 percent of U.S. citizens think that Donald Trump would be a “great” president and only 33 percent think Hillary Clinton would be a “great” president.
U.S. citizens are more likely to view either of these candidates negatively and doing a poor or terrible job if they become president. For instance, 51 percent of U.S. citizens think that Trump will be a poor president and 39 percent of U.S. citizens think that Clinton will be a poor president.
These statistics reveal that U.S. citizens do not have confidence in the candidates in the presidential election and feel there is not a viable presidential candidate in the election. However, both of these candidates have been picked by their respected political party and received the votes needed to become a presidential candidate through presidential primaries.
Are We To Blame?
This point raises the question are the presidential candidates or U.S. citizens to blame for the choice between two “terrible” candidates?
Currently, the United States is a politically polarized society where a person must pick a side Republican or Democrat and remain committed to that side. Once people pick a side, they watch the TV shows and read the articles that support their opinions. This environment means that there is no room for people that support portions of each ideology.
As a result, great animosity arises between the groups allowing derogatory rhetoric toward the other candidate and his or her party to fill the news. For instance, Hillary Clinton called half of Trump’s supporters “a basket of deplorables,” at a Democratic fundraiser in New York in September. These comments attract many viewers since members of each political party view the other party negatively.
Unfavorable Opinions Of The "Others"
In a 2014 Pew Research Center political survey, both political parties have doubled their unfavorable opinion of the other party. This contention creates a breeding ground for candidates that use their personality and charisma to gain attention and a following.
Donald Trump is a presidential candidate that has based his campaign on his charisma and statements that challenge the status quo. He has made fun of a disabled reporter, and he has called the entire Mexican-American population rapists and drug dealers. These statements and the attention they bring allows the audience to focus on the entertainment value of the speaker instead of his policies to improve the country. The integrity of Trump’s messages are pushed to the side in favor of his wide range of facial expressions and controversial statements.
U.S. citizens have been given the opportunity to challenge his behavior and comments, yet he is now one of the final candidates in the presidential election. This apprehension by U.S. citizens signifies that U.S. citizens have lost hope in their politicians and are seeking any candidate that can present a picture where the complex problems in the United States are easily fixed.
This hope to be saved by a presidential candidate that can quickly fix the country’s problems makes it easy for U.S. citizens to play the role of the damsel-in-distress in need of a savior.
However, this mentality allows truth and the relevant details of a presidential candidate’s policy for the country to slip through the cracks. This reflection demonstrates that U.S. citizens have contributed to the present-day polarized and dishonest political landscape by not setting high standards for their politicians and placing emphasis on entertainment and conflict.
The ability to easily label the presidential candidates as “terrible” allows U.S. citizens to place themselves outside of the country’s current political situation when they have been significant contributors to the creation of the country’s existing political values.