The first debate between the two presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is over. I am not going to go through the debate step by step and analyze a freak show second to none. In any other country, those two would not have a chance in a presidential run. Even in the United States, they are facing the only person they could possibly beat. I am going to reflect on something that has been mentioned numerous times during their campaigns. Character and temper. From an outside perspective, I am not an American, it seems that those two aspects are more important than anything else.
The dirt campaign is on!
This is not solely an American problem. As a political scientist I observe this trend for a number of years now. In any election race, the opponents seem to focus on the dirt their respective camp finds out about the opposition. As a result, people are less interested in elections because of the madness that takes place before their very eyes. Yes, candidates have different positions on different topics and it is the goal of any election race to highlight them in order for the general population to make a decision. But somewhere down the road that goal has gotten lost and the negative campaigning seems to get the better part of any election race.
The two candidates that run for President of the United States of America offer a lot in that regard. There is the eMail-affaire of Hillary Clinton and just about every dumb tweet of Donald Trump who clearly has a problem with women. And his standard answer for just about any so called offense against him is: „I am going to sue you!“ In fact, he left a trail of lawsuits as a business man and pay women less money than men in his companies.
Stamina is missing! Really?
lOne major criticism that Donald Trump brings forward against Hillary Clinton is that she would lack of stamina. Reflecting on her career, you could say a lot about Hillary Clinton, but the lack of stamina is not one of them. For the second time she is running for President when she could choose to just retire and enjoy her life with her grand child. Both, Clinton and Trump, reached an age and a status that does not require them to do anything. Yet, they decided to run and they are prepared for a cruel race that would reveal their negative aspects.
One thing that could be missing with both candidates is a much more important aspect: Honesty. Yes, I know what you are going to say: Honesty and politics do not go hand in hand. And while that might be true, this is the only value that people are interested in. And judging honesty is a much easier task with Donald Trump. Just read his tweets and how inconsistent he is on pretty much every topic. Dishonesty, thy name is Trump!
Honestly, I am not qualified to evaluate political candidates this far from home. Obviously, there are more aspects one needs to consider than are visible to the naked eye. Living in Europe, we have a load of problems and do not seem to reach an agreement on anything. I am strictly reflecting on the balance of power worldwide. This is a tricky thing and we have come a long way. Every international crisis seems to reveal a conflict between Russia and his allies and the United States and their allies in the United Nations Security Council. And then comes Donald Trump with his crazy temper and his cowboy diplomacy. The only contribution to international diplomacy was the plan of building a wall. Is that someone I would trust with red buttons. Clearly not. But I do not have a say.
Our democratic responsibility!
Scientifically speaking (political science), the general public underestimates its political power. At the end of the day, we are the ones who vote in any given country. It is not the candidate who seizes power, it is us who delegate the power. There is a difference and that is the reason why elections are so important. Bearing the history of democracy in mind, we have a moral duty to vote, and we have to do it to the best of our knowledge. That means that we have to research about the political options, confront ourselves with political issues that we want our candidate to solve and we have to do it at least during the election race. In essence, the election race gives us enough time to make sound judgements. This is were I call on our responsibility as citizens. Sometimes it is hard to see the forrest through the trees of a dirt campaign, but this is the only time (every four, five or six years) when we are compelled to do it …