What The US Has Lost In The Presidential Election Process – OpEd


Among the people around the world, even the pledged admirers of United States, have been disappointed about the extremely low standard of the presidential election campaign presently going on in the USA.

Should we blame the presidential candidates in USA for their inability to raise te standards of debate to a higher level or should we blame the media in USA which is playing an increasingly suspect role , which appears to be motivated reporting? Or, should we blame those who claim to be intelligentsia from various walks of life or should we blame the common citizens in USA who do not seem to be protesting about the humiliation being heaped on USA due to the tone and tenor of the election campaign?

Sexual misbehavior is the be all and end all of the campaign now

It appears that the focus of the campaign of Hillary Clinton has now deteriorated to such low level that her campaign managers are constantly bringing out new stories about the” sexual episodes” of Donald Trump. Suddenly, stories are appearing about number of women who claim that Trump has abused them several years back. The question inevitably arises as to why they say now and have not said it earlier. Trump, on his part, says that such complaints from women are false and motivated.

However, Trump has not conducted himself better, as he too has been talking about the sexual exploits of Bill Clinton and his campaign managers have publicized the claims of several women against Bill Clinton. Trump has further said that Hillary Clinton did not mind such abuse of women by her husband.

Are the citizens of USA condemned to such level that they have no choice other than electing one of the “sex perverts” as President of USA?

Accusation of corruption and tax evasion and denials

Hillary Clinton lost no opportunity to say that Trump has been a tax evader and has been making false claims to escape from paying tax. But, Trump claims that he has been a smart business man and only acted as per the law. The question is whether one can exploit the loopholes in the law to refrain from paying tax and should such a person be the President of USA?

While Trump is facing such charges and his explanation seems to be unconvincing, he lost no time in accusing Hillary Clinton of misusing her position as Secretary of State to get donations for her Foundation from overseas sources. Further, she is accused of destroying large number of emails that were exchanged during her tenure. Hillary Clinton did not deny some of the charges but has only regretted and termed it as mistake.  Trump remarked that it was not a mistake, but a deliberate act.

Are the citizens of USA condemned to such level that they have no choice other than electing one of the “dishonest persons” as President of USA?

Role of media

While the Presidential candidates have been exchanging abuses, the media in USA has not conducted itself better.

Any healthy media is supposed to be impartial and objective and should refrain from aiding one candidate or the other. Several leading newspapers in USA including New York Times have openly campaigned against Donald Trump and section of media has even said that electing Trump as President would be the sure way of disaster for USA.

Trump has rightly said that there is a strong media campaign against him , which is obvious.

When media take sides in presidential election campaign in such partisan way, the one pillar of democracy inevitably gets weakened.

It appears that media in USA , after the present election campaign ,will take a very long time and require great efforts to regain it’s credibility back.

Where is the debate on relevant issues?

In the heated campaign largely focusing on sex and corruption, many vital issues facing USA such as frequent violence in public places, increasing gun culture, relationship with foreign countries and many other important matters have been discussed only in a cursory way and have not been given the due importance at all.

As the presidential campaign is now nearing closing stage, the issues highlighted to the voters by the candidates largely relate to the personal short comings of the candidates rather than issues of great importance to the future of USA.

What the USA has lost?

In this Presidential election, the image of USA as a forward looking and progressive democratic society has been considerably eroded.

USA has certainly lost the moral authority to advice any other nation about value based politics.

Many people seem to agree that USA has humiliated itself, due to the highly derogatory style of Presidential election campaign.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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