US Presidential Elections


The 2016 US Presidential elections have grabbed enough eyeballs already, thanks mostly to Donald Trump’s candidacy, but also to Bernie Sanders’s being a Democrat hopeful and suggesting some off-beat policies which struck a chord with most millenials, and lastly because of the possibility of Hillary Clinton becoming the first female president of the global superpower that is the United States of America. With Sanders knocked out of the race in the primaries, it’s now between former Secretary of State and First Lady, Hillary Clinton, and business mogul Donald Trump as the Democrat and Republican nominees respectively.

Despite Trump’s entire campaign featuring outrageously baseless remarks about all communities, from women to immigrants, and some entirely questionable policy suggestions (building a wall? I mean, come on), it was expected that the first Presidential debate would see productive, and frankly, grown-up, debating on crucial issues such as economic policy, international relations, racial tensions, and the like. While those issues were certainly brought up and became points of discussion, another major observation from the night was that despite the positions of power Hillary Clinton has already held and the position she’s vying for, there are certain experiences which aren’t all that different for her than they are for me, my friends, or any other woman around the world, really.

A tweet that accurately captured the entire issue.
A tweet that accurately captured the entire issue.

Trump has never enjoyed favourable opinions from women with what his constant sexist, misogynistic comments (far too many for me to even try to exemplify – try googling ‘Trump misogyny’). His attitude came out in full glory against Hillary Clinton as he interrupted her 51 times during the debate (she interrupted him 17 times), in fact, 22 times in the first 26 minutes, and a considerable number of those interruptions came when the Democrat nominee was on the clock, that is, speaking in the time given dedicatedly to her by the moderator to answer a particular question. Those interruptions ranged from blatant backtracking on stances he’s taken on issues before (global warming, supporting Putin) to just screaming ‘No’, and ‘Wrong’ into the microphone, which was more reminiscent of a petulant toddler than a Presidential hopeful. Clinton was often forced to stop mid-answer and smile as her opponent flouted etiquettes of debating and, really, being a decent human being. What’s more important to note is that she couldn’t have possibly reacted in any other way because of the double standards in terms of expectations the public holds Trump and Hillary, and generally, men and women to.  Had Clinton lashed out at Trump even for a completely justified reason, as Trump would have probably done if he had been on the receiving end of his own #manterrupting, it would have possibly been the death of her campaign. Had Clinton called out Trump for being ‘not nice’ for all the comments he made about her, as he called her out for videos her campaign has been posting to show his harmful attitude towards women, she’d have been branded ‘too emotional’ and not tough enough to be a President.  As Stephen Colbert of The Late Show summarised it, “… For Hillary to win, she had to be confident but not smug, knowledgeable without being a know-it-all, charming but not affected, commanding but not shrill. Also likeable, warm, authoritative, and not coughing. Meanwhile Donald Trump had to not commit murder – on camera.”

Hillary Clinton’s experience during the debate, and in her entire campaign, is nothing women all over the world don’t experience every day – men trying to explain basic concepts to specialists in their fields (#mansplaining), being interrupted and talked over in classrooms and workspaces, and the pressure to be better and more qualified than their male counterparts for the exact same position or role, almost like compensating for their being a woman and like it’s an implicit disadvantage. It’s something that nearly 100 million people saw during the live telecast of the debate, it was something that Hillary Clinton – a person who’s held various positions of power in her life – went through, and is also something I, a 20 year old Indian woman studying economics, discussed with my 18 year old American study-partner pursuing International Affairs at George Washington University. This experience transcends geography, cultures, age and circumstances, although it varies in degrees.

Clinton had to stand on the stage and keep her cool while talking intelligently about policies she’d support and introduce in her tenure if elected even as a man with no political experience (as opposed to nearly 30 years she’s spent in politics) lost his cool, spoke incoherently, and had the gall to say that he had better judgement than Clinton, a former Secretary of State, in terms of international policy that he had better temperament than her.

Clear double standards in the media
Clear double standards in the media

I have my fair share of issues with Hillary Clinton and her policies but I admire how she navigated everything thrown at her during the debate – from hypocritical standards to an unworthy, unprepared opponent. I also found myself relating to her when she spoke to Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York . She said, “Women are seen through a different lens… there will be men speaking before me, and they’ll be pounding the message, and screaming about how we need to win the election… But I’ve learned that I can’t be quite so passionate in my presentation. I love to wave my arms, but apparently that’s a little bit scary to people. And I can’t yell too much. It comes across as ‘too loud’ or ‘too shrill’ or ‘too this’ or ‘too that.’”

While the world is waiting to see who wins the Presidential race, it’s also important to realise what a tight, uncomfortable, and unfair spot we put the women of our world in where being ‘too much’ of anything can sound the death knell of their ambitions and where they learn to walk the tightrope between the too little and too much as second nature even before they learn to be comfortable with themselves.

Note: This article was written before the release of the tapes in which Donald Trump talks trivially about sexually harassing women, and hence doesn’t reference the issue which would have otherwise found space here.

Shubham Kaushik

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Donald Trump’s nomination for the President of USA might have trickled a few giggles in 2015 but ever since then he’s got not only the demographic but also the spectators spinning in circles. As of recently, the Republicans are giving Trump the raised eyebrow while he claims to never have been in better shape. Trump was almost successful in waving adios to Hillary until she took a bus of her own and has been in the widest lead yet, as reported by the Daily Mail.

A lot of people today have taken firm stances on the Trump Campaign but for all those who think of themselves as apprentices to Presidential Elections, let’s stretch some Trump opinions and policies.

To start off, Donald Trump has a stern outlook on abortions and is definitely against them. Posing as the father of the nation, Trump can only see eye to eye with abortion when the mother is close to death. Any other reason, for him, makes a person not pro-life. His eccentric ways will never permit him to realise this as an extremely personal decision that solely lies with the mother.

Secondly, Trump trashes the immigration system of the US, claiming it to be dysfunctional. Trump, while sipping on Margaritas, claims that the Mexicans are “bringing drugs, crimes and are rapists” as told to WJLA TV. During the course of his campaign, he has been known to flip more than an Olympics winning gymnast. He first mentioned he had no fundamental issues with Mexicans and then pounced on them with allegations from all directions. Trump’s manifesto is all about his kingdom and he proposes to build high walls and not let any immigrants permeate those boundaries.

Thirdly, the world watches as children in the US are so unhinged by arms that they venture out and use them for themselves. Donald Trump puts his foot down and says that everyone should have guns and fire back at these killers. Right to bear arms stays. He’s all for a fair battle.

He believes to have Shiva’s third eye when it comes to noting terror suspects and his latest feud with the Khan family, parents of Army Captain Humayun Khan who died serving in Iraq, has made people see red. Trump’s generalising habit has caused him to label nations and races with so little to support. As the Khan Family very rightly pointed out that if it were Trump’s reign, they would not have even been allowed inside the U.S, let alone serving the country. “Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery?” Khan asked Trump. “Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.” Trump backfired with absurd replies trying to instigate Khan’s mother to say something as an attempt to prove that women have no say if they are Muslims.

Donald Trump has blatantly made innumerous assumptions which have brought even his campaign managers to join hands in front of him. He has conveniently gone from liking Hillary to calling her the Devil, to having a relationship with President Putin to never even knowing him, to loving debt to having no debts to anybody. He’s definitely a man with a talent for the tale. His absurdity has made him viral and will continue to do so.

Image credits: splitsider.com

Baani Kashyap

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