Those delving into Donald Trump’s business affairs will find themselves falling into a black hole of bankruptcies, exploitation, lawsuits and dodgy deals, and his fledgling political career didn’t get off to a great start, either.
Calling Mexicans rapists, spreading malicious rumours about Muslims, scoffing at disabled reporters, explaining a female journalist’s behaviour by referring to her menstrual cycle – Trump has done it all.
It should be easy to campaign against a pathological liar such as Trump. However, it’s the end of September and polls are showing Hillary Clinton is just a few percentage points ahead of Trump, a fact commonly attributed to sexism. Because whereas a man’s behaviour would be called ‘firm’, Clinton is often said to be ‘bossy’ or ‘shrill’.
Yet, I feel this is only a partial explanation for Clinton’s disappointing lead over a completely insane opponent. Die-hard sexists will vote Trump, anyway. No, what this is all about is the fact that one of the most progressive sections of the American population, the so-called millennials, is still not joining the Clinton camp.
This generation – born in the 1980s and 1990s – more or less grew up on the Internet, which is also its main source of news and entertainment. When mainstream journalists murmur nice things about Clinton’s progressive agenda, millennials only need a quick Google search to find that she mainly lobbied for disastrous trade treaties and polluting industries, and that she was very late to support gay marriage. And while commentators may cite Clinton’s international experience as proof that she is suited to being President, millennials will know that she supported the catastrophic invasion of Iraq, has a circle of friends which includes former dictators and was involved in a coup against a democratically elected president.
The pro-Clinton media’s response to this scepticism says it all. Millennials and critical journalists are spoiled and unrealistic, they say. And if Trump should win, it will all be their fault. Reactions such as these only strengthen millennials’ impression that Clinton feels she has an inalienable right to the presidency.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange provided a fitting description of the race for the presidency, calling the battle between Trump and Clinton a choice between gonorrhoea and cholera. We will find out in a less than a month how the American democracy will be diagnosed.
Giorgio Touburg is a PhD student at the Rotterdam School of Management.