Many find Donald Trump too mean-spirited and nasty for rural Utah, where we are courteous and polite even to people with whom we disagree.
We know that we will be living next door, sending our children to the same schools, shopping at the same grocery stores, etc. for years to come. Donald’s experience of living a life of privilege atop Trump Tower in New York, or at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, has not prepared him to get along. Sadly, his business experience seems to have taught him that bullying and taking advantage of people who are less powerful than him are the American way of life. For a self-proclaimed champion of the little guy to brag about paying no taxes as he did at the debate may strike Utahns who believe in doing their share as prideful and selfish. His attacks on Hillary Clinton for her husband’s affairs stand in sharp contrast to his own history of affairs and divorces.
The race has gone from a substantial lead for Hillary Clinton to a tight race and now seems heading back toward a lead for Mrs. Clinton. It seems like a contest between an establishment liberal and a candidate who is a symbol: a poke in the eye of government.
Hillary Clinton has devoted her professional life to public and government service. She has been in the public spotlight for over 25 years. To most, she seems like a moderate liberal. At every turn in her career, there have been accusations hurled at her by the conservative establishment. House and Senate committees, special prosecutors and the FBI have investigated each charge, some multiple times. None of the accusations have been substantiated or led to prosecution. I have to wonder if the attacks are more the result of her gender: America’s glass ceiling, which seems not to allow women beyond the Cabinet level. Unlike the English, the Israelis, the French, etc., Americans appear unready for a female head of state. I wonder if we Utahns are a bit different. After all, Utah was among the first states to grant women the vote.
Hillary Clinton is the first woman ever nominated to be president by a major political party. Donald Trump is the first nominee with absolutely no prior experience in elected office, the military or government.
Of the 44 presidents of the United States, only three – Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight Eisenhower – have taken office without political experience, and they all had high-level military experience to make up for it.
Let’s compare Clinton and Trump’s experience:
Elected Office: Clinton – U.S. Senate; Trump – None
Cabinet Office: Clinton – Secretary of State; Trump – None
Military: Clinton – None. Not eligible to serve/ gender; Trump – Not eligible to serve/ heel spurs
Other: Clinton – First Lady to Governor of Arkansas and the President of the U.S.; Trump – Built tall buildings
Both candidates have levels of voter disapproval rarely seen before in a presidential candidate. Thirty-three percent of Americans have a highly unfavorable view of Hillary and even more, 42 percent, have a highly unfavorable view of Trump. Wow!
Donald Trump, who seems to be coming off the rails as I write this, has devoted his professional life to real estate development, licensing his “brand,” a popular reality TV show, numerous (failed) entrepreneurial endeavors and making as much money as possible. He has been a shameless and effective self-promoter who handily dispatched the 11 other aspirants for the Republican nomination. While Hillary Clinton’s every misstep both real and imagined is investigated, he has largely skated on his history of housing discrimination, bankruptcies, an attempt to subvert the Cuba embargo, his use of foundation funds to pay off personal bills, his thin skin and his petty, mean and vindictive reaction to criticism.
Hillary Clinton has come through investigation after investigation, including 11 hours of testimony before the House Benghazi Committee with her sense of humor, poise and reputation intact. Donald Trump appears to be collapsing under the pressure of his first one-on-one debate and the public disclosure that he lost almost a billion dollars in one year, and probably has not paid any income taxes in 20 years. Trump’s unprecedented refusal to release his federal tax forms leaves many wondering whether his claim to be a generous philanthropist is also smoke and mirrors.
It is hard to believe that Utahns think the federal government has become so evil and that having a woman president is so onerous that we are willing to elect an unqualified, temperamental demagogue to the highest office in the land. On November 8, I believe that Utahns will show their good sense and turn out to vote for Hillary Clinton, who in spite of her shortcomings is the most experienced presidential candidate we have seen in a long time. It is time to shatter that glass ceiling!
Bob Greenberg is a former member of the Grand County Council. He currently chairs the Grand County Democratic Party.