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2016 Election: Genuine Motives or a Pursuit for Fame?

Updated on February 2, 2017

2016 Election: Genuine Motives or a Pursuit for Fame?

Election season of 2016 has been like no other; from the popular candidate, “Deez nuts,” (Kaplan) to the allegations of sexual assault made against another candidate (Hillin), America has seen many bizarre and farcical incidents. Another difference from many elections of the past is that voters will have to decide between a candidate who possesses incredibly traditional republican views and one whose views have changed a multitude of times but are becoming more liberal democratic. This has created a considerable amount of tension between the two candidates and their supporters, which has driven debates to contain frequent bickering and lack of discussion of policy and beliefs. This banter raises the question, do the candidates really have the best interests of the American people at heart? Through analysis of their speeches and interactions during debates as well as further analysis of their rhetoric and actions in public, it is evident that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are not operating with the interests of the American people at the forefronts of their campaigns.

When inspecting the policies and proposals of Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton, one can see clearly that their stances are far too extreme and inconsistent. Trump stands firm on policies that include strengthened immigration laws and border control, pro-life legislature, and weakened gun control (News, BBC). Although these beliefs seem outrageous, even scary to many voters, some find that it is a bit comforting to know that he can stand up and state his policies with confidence. A voter expects this firmness from a candidate, yet Clinton has not shown the same. She shifts from stance to complete opposite stance in a matter of years, and this inconsistency can be more frightening than Trump’s belief in, “empowered citizens with guns.” (Gorman) For example, in 2004, Clinton stated that she believed marriage is “...a sacred bond between a man and a woman.” (Sherman) She supported her husband’s signing of the Defense of Marriage act, which allows states to refuse same-sex marriages. However, her policies as of 2013 state she will, “...fight to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans have full equality under the law.” (Sherman) Although there is a considerable amount of time between these statements, the LGBT community has been fighting for equal rights since around 1924, approximately eighty years before the first aforementioned statement was made. The modification of Clinton’s policy could not have been attributed to the fact that LGBT rights had become a pressing issue in the years between 2004 and 2013. It is quite doubtful that Hillary Clinton woke up one day with the revelation that everyone has the right to marriage. However, the timing of her second statement aligns with the legislature of the first eight states to allow for same-sex marriages, acting as evidence that her shift was a tactic to conform to popular belief. A shift is also shown in her views on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which she supported in 2012 as Secretary of State. Yet now, with many upset over the agreement, she no longer does. (Carroll) Other shifts are displayed in her views on the Cuban embargo and No Child Left Behind, which she both supported until 2015, when teachers unions and cuban embargo lift supporters began to contradict those views. (Imgur) Due to these shifts, one could ask if Clinton really believes in what she endorses. Is she deceiving voters and pandering to win the election? One answer could be that her recent lean toward the left is an attempt to acquire the supporters that Bernie Sanders left behind when he dropped out of the race for president of the United States. When Sanders backed out of the race, many democratic voters were left wondering who, if any, was the candidate that shared their liberal democratic views. (Ollstein) Such acts as evidence that Hillary Clinton may have ulterior motives.

Trump has given voters a multitude of reasons to question his motives as well. He has been associated with many egregious incidents, showing his obsession with his own image and lack of respect for others. From proposing to build a wall to keep borders secure to using charity money to purchase paintings of himself, (Fahrenthold) Trump has a reputation for being unpredictable. His actions and policies display his lack of regard for others. For example, his views on immigration are very short-sighted; on illegal immigrants, he stated, “They’re bring drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists,” (Hee Lee) making a very generalized statement about an entire population that is mostly untrue. This shows that he has very negative and unsubstantiated beliefs, and he refuses to consider alternative ideas. This indicates that he does not respect others’ views that are different from his own, which encompasses more than half of the American population. Another example of his disregard for the public is his attitude towards women. Trump has made countless amounts of demeaning statements about the physical attractiveness of women in his life. This even includes his daughter, as he stated that, “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her,” (Wagner). If the sickening amount of sexual assault allegations were not enough to establish Trump as misogynistic (Hillin), Clinton supporters hoped that undecided voters would come across quotes by Donald, some going as far as to claim the physical attractiveness of a woman was that of a “pig.” (Cohen) The american population is made of up about 125.9 million adult women alone. Trump essentially insults half the population of America, expecting to gain support from those very people. These examples prove that Donald Trump’s ego takes priority over the ideals of the American people.

We can see in debates and articles that the presidential race has been one of many bizarre events, but the most interesting thing about this race is the aspect of fame. Are the candidates more focused on this rising fame? Through analysis of Trump and Clinton’s rhetoric during the debates and through representation of the media, the evidence supports the assertion that neither candidate has the interests of the American people at the forefronts of their campaigns or at heart.


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