Eric Elezuo and Adeoluwa Atayero
For the first time in the history of the United States of America Presidential Elections, two important items are included in the menu of the Presidential race, and those are the emergence of political first timer, Donald Trump from the Republican Party and first female contender, and wife of a former President, Mrs. Hillary Clinton.
For many political observers and followers of world events, Donald Trump has actually done it again, and it seems as though there is no end of the outspoken Republican’s portal of controversy. From the very first day of the Democratic National Convention, Trump and his campaign team have been unrelenting in trying to divert the spotlight to themselves. It was a tactic that the Clinton campaign team did not adopt and one that had backfired on Trump’s campaign team time and time again. He had earlier on made a “sarcastic” comment at a press conference suggesting that Russian espionage should hack Senator Clinton’s email to uncover her deleted emails. Instead of learning a lesson from the comment, which was received with much backlash, Trump went on to outdo himself.
Basking in the euphoria of his known extrovert nature, Trump has gone on and on making comments and taking actions that seems to portray him as a hardliner. These comments have been known to attack the Muslim community, immigrants and so many others.
Trump had implied that Ghanza Khan, the mother of a U.S. Muslim soldier, Capt Humayun Khan, was told not to speak at Democratic National Convention when she stood next to her husband, Khizr Khan, as he made a speech on the stage. It should be noted also that the speech that Khizr Khan gave at the democratic convention was clearly critical of Trump and his campaign against Muslims. This must have been why Mr. Trump felt the urge to call out the couple who was still grieving the death of their 27 year old son.
As expected, Trump’s uncouth comments back lashed, leaving his campaign team scurrying over to various media outlets for yet another round of damage control exercise. His inability to control his tongue and filter himself continues to be Trump’s prime and recurring problem. He had so far failed to understand that as a presidential nominee of a key political party, you cannot simply make sarcastic comments or freely infer latent meanings from actions or inactions of people. This lack of discipline has caused Trump to become unpopular, not only with those from the opposing party, but also from those within his own party. Trump has succeeded in, amongst a number of things, creating a notably vivid line, splitting down the Republican Party.
For many Americans and other citizens all over the world, it still feels like a dream that the 10 month politician actually won the presidential candidacy of a party that has produced prominent presidents like Ronald Reagan, George Bush senior and junior among others – the Republican Party.
When Donald Trump initially made it known that he would be contesting for the prestigious office of the President of the United States of America, many dismissed it as simply another shenanigan of the popularly outspoken mogul turned reality television star. What seemed to be just another publicity stunt gradually, but rapidly, became a serious political move when the Republican Party allowed Mr. Trump to run for the office under its umbrella. Months after, Mr. Trump who said “All my life I’ve been in different competitions—in sports, or in business, or now, for 10 months, in politics”, is now a very real and official presidential candidate. As one would expect, there are many implications for having a presidential candidate who refers to the presidential election as simply a “different competition” and has admittedly only been in the sphere of politics for 10 months. Amongst a plethora of implications, the most relevant, and perhaps the most gruelling, is the inevitable division of The Republican Party.
This should come not come as a surprise, given the sheer fact that Trump, a man known the world over for his disregard for traditional moral values, is representing a party whose principles are proudly rooted in strong traditional moral values. Although he commands startlingly consistent numbers in opinion polls, Mr. Trump’s sturdy inclination to declare whatever usually offensive thoughts roam through his minds without a filter has sparked a sharp divide in the conservative Republican party and threatens to escalate into an uncanny civil war, whether or not Mr. Trump emerges victorious in the elections come November.
The Republican Party National Convention, which kicked off on Monday, July 18 2016, was off to a controversial start as the guidelines for the four day congress became a subject of much heated debate between pro-Trump delegates and anti-Trump delegates. So many key Republican power blocks were absent from the first night of the convention, including the Republican governor of the state which the conference is being held, Governor John Kasich. Joining John Kasich in sitting out the convention are : The remaining former Republican presidents, the party’s past two Republican nominees, former 2016 Republican presidential candidates, more than 20 senators and several House members, along with a half-dozen Republican governors, were also conveniently missing from the event. They all have convenient, technical and official excuses for not being present at the convention.
It should be noted that while Trump is still the party’s presumptive nominee, he is moments from being the man on the party’s presidential ticket. With all the latent inner tension that the party is experiencing, one can only wonder what lies ahead for the party. Repeated attempts to groom and “coach” Trump into becoming the leader that the party craves and America needs by notable figures in the party, including Arthur Laffer, prominent Republican economist known for advising President Ronald Reagan to adopt supply-side economic policies, can be called many things but a success is not one of them.
Can Trump change? Will Trump change? These are questions whose answers will determine whether or not we are witnessing the end of the Republican Party as we know it. But a Foreign Affairs analysts, Christian Egejuru, has said that the verbosity of Trump could as well be his case, adding that no one believes that the business mogul will get to where he is now.
“The presidential election is still very much open, and nobody should rule off the possibility of Trump triumphing because it was no by fluke that he got to where he is today. He has so far used the strategies that made him a billionaire, and they have worked out very well for him. Whether you like him or hate him, one thing is obvious; don’t underestimate him; he is capable of springing surprises,” Egejuru said.
Mrs. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is not a green horn on the political platform. Apart from the fact that she learnt the ropes from her husband, Mr. Bill Clinton, when they occupied the white house for eight consecutive years, she had been a senator, former presidential aspirant as well as all powerful Secretary of States in the outgoing administration of Barrack Obama.
Clinton is revered for standing by her husband during a period in their marital life, when the slim rope binding their love could have easily snapped as a result of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Though detractors had expected Hillary to behave like the typical woman, and packed out of her matrimonial home, the ‘iron woman’ stood her ground, supported her husband’s ‘innocent but responsible’ stand.
With overwhelming support from both the democrats and the republicans, Hillary’s chances could as well be described as fairytale or forgone alternative. Everybody believes she will win.
However, even as the ovation for Hillary was growing, the Trump camp came up with the famous e-mail scandal where the democratic presidential aspirant was accused of handling classified security matters using her personal e-mail account, a situation the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) described as ‘careless’.
It will be recalled that on the night of the Democrats Convention, the American First Lady, Michelle Obama, gave a heartwarming speech that seems to have given her the White House seat.
Recall that in May before the conclusion of primaries, Trump had led Clinton in popularity test in the run-off to the presidential debacle. Trump had garnered 45 percent support, while Clinton, trails with 42, putting her just within the poll’s margin of error.
The presumptive GOP nominee was buoyed by his support among whites, leading Clinton 55 to 31 percent. That margin grows among whites without a college degree, 61 percent of whom favor Trump, while just 24 percent back Clinton.
But the real estate mogul still struggles with women voters, half of whom back Clinton, and just 36 percent support Trump.
The former Secretary of State also holds commanding leads over Trump among blacks, 90 to 7 percent, and Hispanics, 62 to 23 percent.
However, in a recent Bloomberg Poll on August 10, Clinton returned to winning ways with a six points-gap over Trump.
Whichever it is, America has learnt never to underestimate any candidate, irrespective of which party he represents, and so, November 8 remains the determining factor: Is it Clinton or Trump?