Sat, Oct 22, 2016 - Page 8 News List

US election degenerates into slander competition

By James Wang 王景弘

Former US president Harry Truman said: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” After witnessing the battle between Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, perhaps a new rule should be added to US politics: “If you can’t stand the stench, get out of the race.”

Trump and Clinton have turned the US election into a veritable stink bomb and the two share the same characteristic: They know that they themselves are haunted by a host of embarrassing scandals, but they are not the least bit afraid of washing their dirty linen in public. They have both got what it takes to stand the stench of politics.

Trump, an infamous playboy, has been married three times. He is very fond of talking nonsense and he is far from being a gentleman. As a self-proclaimed super-wealthy man, he is socially active and claims to be a generous political donor. He has also taken advantage of tax loopholes by claiming losses of almost US$1 billion to shelter his income, which allowed him to avoid paying taxes for up to 18 years. His scandals cover everything from finance to sexual assault allegations.

Judging Trump’s character, no one was optimistic about his bid, but because some upright men in the Republican Party did not want to offend him, they planned to watch him self-destruct. However, he unexpectedly ended up winning the primary, as he managed to push everyone else out of the race.

Clinton is being described as greedy, secretive and ambitious, but the biggest stain on her is her husband, former US president Bill Clinton’s reputation as a ladies’ man. During the second US presidential debate, Trump’s camp invited three women who had allegedly had sexual relations with Bill Clinton to the debate, trying to embarrass the former president.

Bill Clinton had an extramarital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Since the evidence was clear and definite, he was impeached, but in the end he was acquitted of the charges.

As Bill Clinton tries to return to the White House again as the spouse of the new president, there are a lot of old scores that need to be settled.

The Clintons seem to have a large supply of deodorant to eliminate strong smells. In 1988, then-US senator Gary Hart, one of the Democratic Party’s presidential hopefuls that year, dropped out of the race after an extra-marital affair was exposed during the primaries. After three of Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs were revealed four years later, his wife steeled herself and defend him, saying that it was their private business, and Bill Clinton was, surprisingly, nominated by the Democratic Party and elected president in 1992.

Trump comes from the business world and he is not afraid of the stench. Following the leak of a video in which he joked about groping women without their consent, more than half a dozen women accused him of harassing them by touching or kissing them. Still, they did not look angry, embarrassed or irritated, so it is perhaps hard to tell whether their claims were true or false.

However, the US presidential election has turned into a competition of who can come up with the most foul-smelling accusations.

James Wang is a media commentator.

Translated by Eddy Chang

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