For weeks, major American media has been chomping at the bit for a Donald Trump–Hillary Clinton general election campaign to officially begin. With Clinton declared the Democratic Party nominee earlier this week (even though the superdelegates needed to put her over the delegate threshold do not vote until the Democratic National Convention at the end of July), and President Obama formally endorsing her Thursday, that general election matchup seems to have begun in earnest. How did it kick off? Bold insights about the state of the country? Hopeful policy proposals? Nope, this:
Obama just endorsed Crooked Hillary. He wants four more years of Obama—but nobody else does!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2016
Which got this memed response:
Delete your account. https://t.co/Oa92sncRQY
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 9, 2016
And then the mainstream news media erupted:
We are in the midst of (at least) two major crises: rampant economic inequality and man-made climate change. Each of them is a runaway, destructive force that requires immediate action and wise strategy. Instead, the only political issue receiving attention is the childish Twitter squabble between the two major candidates for president. Is this what the next five months has in store?
If either candidate has stated consistent, thought-out positions on economic inequality or climate change, you’d be hard-pressed to summarize what they are.
Clinton’s campaign has been dominated by the possibility that she would be the first woman to become President of the United States. That would absolutely be a historical achievement (for the US). But what happens the moment after she achieves that? I’m the first woman who’s President of the United States is not a platform–especially one that addresses the real needs of the country. #ImwithHer sounds more like the glorification of an individual than a movement for the benefit of the masses.
Trump has been so wildly all over the place demeaning and scapegoating different groups of people that it’s hard to interpret his Make America Great Again slogan as anything other than Make America Comfortable for Tribalistic White People Again. His recognizable policy proposals are about obstructing immigrants. Most of the time he’s shooting from the hip about the latest person or people that he can’t stand and how they’re losers or criminals.
You’re smart and so you already know this. You see Trump’s absurdity and demagoguery. You see the shallowness of Clinton running on simplistic identity politics and merely not being Donald Trump.
It’s a whole bunch of divisive fluff at a time when we need foresight, substance, and inclusiveness.
We need real policy that addresses the major crises we face. We need to move toward an election process that’s better than choosing the lesser of two (very objectionable) evils. We need news media that care more about spotlighting difficult truths than sensationalizing triviality. We need to demand better.