Michael Gorman: This election should be a fun one
I wrote several weeks ago about the upcoming presidential campaign, arguing that the matchup between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is exactly the matchup we deserve.
The American people for many years now have put more time and attention into pressing public matters such as whether Drew Brees will work out an acceptable contract extension with the New Orleans Saints than we have to learning about those who are vying to lead the free world.
Your average Saints fan (just for instance; this problem goes far beyond south Louisiana) can tell you more about the salary cap issues faced by the Black and Gold than they can about the presidential contenders.
People across the U.S. can speak at length about the latest plot twists in “Game of Thrones,” but they have trouble putting into words the reasons they have for supporting either political candidate.
And it is no real surprise this year.
No one wants to say, “I support him because I hate her,” or “I support her because I hate him.”
Still, those are the prevailing opinions. Or they should be.
After all, who could wholeheartedly support either of these candidates.
Trump is a virulent racist, sexist and xenophobe. He has done his best to alienate women, minorities, Muslims and everyone else. He has shown himself through his long public history to be an unrepentant sleaze.
Don’t worry, though. He has plenty of competition for most wretched in the race from the other side of the aisle.
Hillary Clinton has a loathsome history herself.
From leading the public relations charge against the women who have long claimed that Bill Clinton sexually abused them to the latest revelations of her wrongdoing as secretary of state, Clinton has a shameful career of political opportunism and unsavory behavior.
The email scandal that has languished for months and has flared up once again would be the undoing of a lesser politician.
Clinton, though, has the shamelessness required to stay in the race and ignore her own past.
Her supporters, too, seem willing to look the other way and overlook her shortcomings.
Some of that has to do with a deeply held belief that Hillary is the Democrats’ best chance to win the White House.
Much of it, though, is due to the moral bankruptcy of her opponent.
This is a strange election year indeed.
Either party, it seems, could have put up just about anyone else and easily won the presidency.
Imagine any of the viable Republican wannabes running against Hillary, with her endless trail of trouble.
Likewise, imagine the runaway win any viable Democrat could score against Trump. (I don’t include Bernie Sanders, though, what with all that socialist nonsense.)
The fact is that we have two bad candidates. Each one will run a campaign aimed primarily at discrediting the opponent. Who can blame them? They both have so much ammunition for negative advertising.
Really, the best thing going for each one is the weakness of the competition — that, and many Americans’ mindlessly partisan voting habits.
We have become an increasingly partisan nation. And if you don’t believe me, just take a look at social media.
Otherwise kind, understanding people are whipped into rage by any dissent.
These are people who love to share photos of their spouses and kids, kind memes about how we should treat our neighbors and endless videos that show mouth-watering. And they love to scream past one another about politics, neither giving an inch.
Occasionally, people who are friends or acquaintances in real life unfriend each other on Facebook because of these petty partisan tiffs — acting as though there is a penny’s worth of difference between the two major candidates.
Me? Unwilling to associate myself with either of the parties at the nation’s political trough, I’m just planning to sit back and enjoy the fun between now and election day.
It might not be good, but it’s going to be good fun.
— Courier and Daily Comet (Houma and Thibodaux, La.) Editorial Page Editor Michael Gorman can be reached at 448-7612 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.