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Trump/Clinton: Chaos vs. Competence

Two flawed candidates approach an electoral day of reckoning that only one of them will survive.

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So you want to be president, do you? Consider this: The two most popular presidents of the previous century were probably Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Republican Ronald Reagan. Each possessed a fan base in the American electorate that was positively adoring, and both are still regarded as iconic leaders now, long after their service.

Yet for every day of their public lives as president, each was publicly vilified in the crudest and most disrespectful way. This is something worth remembering in these last days of the presidential race between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, a campaign that has been contentious to the point of sordidness.

The fact is that, even given the customary no-holds-barred nature of a presidential race, this one has been unprecedentedly nasty, with charges raining back and forth: Trump promising to prosecute Clinton; Clinton proclaiming Trump unfit; and both forsaking even the traditional perfunctory handshake following their final debate encounters.

With only days left in the contest, most public attention has been fixed on the controversial decision by FBI Director James Comey to reopen the bureau's previously closed investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server during her service as secretary of state. The two candidates and their parties have each revised their former positions on the general propriety (or impropriety) of Comey's actions.

Clinton has acknowledged that her use of the private server was a mistake — though the unfortunate possibility that emails relating to her service as secretary ended up on a computer jointly used by Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her disreputable, sext-happy husband, former Congressman Anthony Weiner, should not be allowed to color our attitudes overmuch.

Surprise! Clinton is not without flaws. She can be secretive, calculating, occasionally devious, and she has been, as her Democratic primary opponent Bernie Sanders insisted, too cozy with Wall Street and big money in general. On the plus side, her election would finally smash the "glass ceiling" that has hitherto denied women the office of president. She is sincerely devoted to the issues of diversity and equal opportunity, and her positions on economic justice and tax fairness are definitely to be preferred to the xenophobic fulminations and trickle-down platitudes of Trump.

It is far harder to find redeeming qualities in the Republican nominee — who has been repudiated by an astonishing number of respected members of his own party. His personal background is one of Hefner-esque misogyny, and even his supposed business success is largely a matter of illusion, built upon double-dealing and welshing on his obligations. 

Trump has looked the other way from Russian intervention in our political affairs and that nation's internet hacking on his behalf. Worst of all, he is willfully ignorant on issues of domestic relevance and cavalier regarding our relations with other nations. About all that can be said for Trump is that he has tapped into a vein of public unrest and desire for change.

The Flyer traditionally does not endorse at election time, leaving such personal decisions to our readers. We would be remiss not to point out the essential nature of the choice at hand, which boils down to a long record of competence and experience versus a legacy of unrelenting narcissism and its resultant chaos.

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