When Bill Clinton was running for re-election, I was literally standing by a water cooler when I asked one of our employees what they thought about the election.
“Don’t really care,” was the nonchalant reply. “I’m voting for Clinton.”
And how do you know this so assuredly? I asked.
“Simple,” said the young woman. “My life’s better than it was before Clinton. I’m making more money, saving more money. Bought a new car and have a nice apartment.”
Until this year’s presidential campaign, the economy always seemed to be at the forefront of election discussions. But it’s been mostly absent – at least until the third and final presidential debate, when moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News asked the candidates about their plans for the economy.
Both Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump answered vaguely, referencing jobs and wages. Trump is going to bring back manufacturing from overseas. Good luck with that one.
But at least the voting public got to spend a few minutes focusing on something other than mindless insults, missing emails and the past sexual misbehavior of Trump and/or Hillary’s husband, ex-president Bill Clinton.
Despite some good questions from Wallace to these adults running for president while acting like children, the media continued to dumb down its slanted coverage and focused primarily on what it saw as a Trump blunder.
He refused to say one way or the other if he would accept the election results if he loses. That waffling and evasiveness was all the media could talk about, even though there were substantive discussions on important topics by both candidates.
I’ve spent a lifetime defending – and I guess apologizing for – a liberal bias in the media, but I have to admit the treatment of Donald Trump by major media has been disgraceful.
The reporters and editors at outlets such as The New York Times and Washington Post have wasted their time trying to defeat Trump. He’s shown that he can easily tank his candidacy all by himself.
He is childish, pouty, and superficial. Hillary lies and is condescending and snarky but she will trounce Trump because he is a lousy candidate and many Americans will vote not for her but against him.
So what is going to happen to our still sputtering economy once the election is over?
Some folks are thinking about it but I guess they are the new silent majority.
Prior to the Oct. 19 debate, I asked a woman who owns a small business if she was going to watch. Sure, she said, she couldn’t wait for the theater of it all.
“But what I really want to know,” she said, “is what’s going to happen to the economy if – when – Hillary is elected? Will it be 2008 all over again? I lost half of my net worth and it has not come back.”
She was equating the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression with the 2008 election of Democrat Barack Obama and worried that the same would happen with Hillary as president.
But the financial meltdown that crashed the economy in late ’08 started during the presidency of Republican George W. Bush and rolled through the start of Obama’s first term. Because the economy hit rock bottom around the time Obama was elected and never fully recovered during his time in office, she believes Obama caused the recession.
It’s interesting to wonder how many other voters correlate economic failure with the Democratic president and his policies.
We’ll know on Nov. 8.
Most of us just want all this to end. After watching what I thought was an overall pathetic performance by both candidates I had to ask myself: How many of today’s young people aspire to be president of the United States after watching men and women with egos out of control make fools out of themselves for more than a year?
Why would anyone want to do it?
This has been a shameful election. And the snarling rhetoric and character assassination that has defined both the primaries and now the general election may reignite if Trump believes he was “cheated” out of the White House.
But if does, then he should challenge the results and the system. I see no reason for the media making this the big issue of the day.
Candidate Al Gore challenged the vote in Florida when Bush won. Why can’t Trump question this year’s results?
There is hatred on the campaign trail, bias in the media, and an America that is tired of all of it.
Richard Connor is president and publisher of the Fort Worth Business Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org