Paranoia has consumed Donald Trump. Since the beginning of his campaign he has spread widely denounced conspiracy theories. From saying at the last debate that Obama and Clinton colluded to ship paid violent protesters into Trump’s rallies to questioning the democratic process we have in our country. He has now openly said in debates and in rallies that our election is rigged. This is despite the overwhelming evidence that says of one billion votes cast between 2000 and 2014, 31 were proved to be fraudulent.
Wednesday night’s finaldebate proved that Trump is on his last leg. Sinking in the polls, more women coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment and assault, embarrassing conspiracy theories and now the rejection of our voting process. Sure, voting is not fair in every state. But that’s only due to Republican congressman, senators and governors passing some of the most repressive voter registration laws, including voter ID laws and limiting when people can vote. This is the real disenfranchisement that is going on.
After the debate, David Axelrod, who led President Obama’s 2008 campaign, said Trump’s Wednesday night performance was a disaster. Jake Tapper of CNN concurred as did most of the panel that broke down the debate. Some panelists, pro-Trump supporters, pretended that Trump’s allegations of widespread voter fraud and rigged elections is comparable to Al Gore waiting to accept the validity of the 2000 election where the race was extremely close, Gore having won the popular vote and the electoral count coming down to Florida. Gore did concede after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of George Bush. This is not the same. Trump is throwing out wild conspiracies and has no evidence but what he reads from the darkest corners of right wing conspiracy media.
What further disturbed me was what remained ignored by these presidential debates. Ranging from climate change to poverty, there was no mention of these very important topics. Aside from what the mainstream media might want you to think, and politicians will scream to you about, climate change is far more important than terrorism. That is a factual statement. One hundred years from now, terrorism may or not may not have been dealt with, but climate change will not stop because the fossil fuels we have been pumping into our atmosphere will still have effects regardless. Terrorism is a human threat. It is controllable. Climate change is not. It is happening. Just how bad it will hurt us is the question right now.
The other is poverty. From the 1940s to the 1970s the poverty level in the United States slowly but surely lowered over those three decades. According to the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan, the poverty rate in the 1950s was roughly 22 percent. By the 1970s that number had cut in half to about 11 percent. But then something happened. In 1980, a new president was elected along with weak Democrats who would rebrand themselves as New Democrats easily giving into the wishes of Reagan and Bush and their policy of trickle-down economics. Clinton was elected and further cut entitlements, doubling extreme poverty. This poverty rate began to rise quickly until it tapered off after the financial crash. Today it remains at 15 percent.
You would think a topic that involves millions of Americans and was the cornerstone of Bernie Sanders’ campaign would be at least mentioned. The problem of income inequality, which hasn’t been this bad since the Gilded Age, would be mentioned. But it wasn’t a central or even tangential focus. The top one percent have seen their incomes rise 275 percent since Reagan got into office. As for the poorest in this country, their income did not raise more than 20 percent.
This is what we missed out on this election cycle. A real discussion between candidates. Trump’s antics and psychosis became too demonstrable and terrible not to focus on and Clinton’s emails, worthy of analysis, became grounds for either complete conspiracy or ignorance. There was not a single day in which I didn’t hear some ridiculous pronouncement by Trump or another leak about the corruption of Clinton. To say it simply, I was disappointed and so were the American people. That said, Clinton must be elected to office. Everything before this debate and after it has shown that she is the most qualified candidate available to lead this nation. Trump is a disaster, but he will be around for a while. Vote this Nov. 8 and I urge you to vote for Clinton.