Editorial: mudslinging a la America

Hillary Clinton ja Donald Trump

PHOTO: Reuters / Scanpix

The American presidential election is nearing the home stretch. Two rounds of debates are done and only one bout between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton still ahead in Las Vegas on October 19.

Recent skirmishes between the two candidates have been less than comprehensive, nor have they been as heated as many expected them to be. As reflected in the fact that a fly landing on Clinton in front of TV cameras was among the more prominent headlines concerning recent debates.

Once again there was plenty that was unpleasant. Dirtiness is what will take this campaign down in history as Clinton and Trump are two unpopular candidates who have clearly decided in favor of contributing to the negative rating of their opponent before Election Day on November 5. It is telling how the recent debate in St. Louis began with questions of role models but quickly and seamlessly switched to discussing Trump's scandalous recordings in which Clinton accused him of sexism and contempt for women, to which Trump replied: “Bill Clinton did a lot worse in his time.”

All this ugliness aside, it needs to be recognized that Trump was stronger in St. Louis than he was in the first debate on September 26 where Clinton was the clear winner that also contributed to her lead in front of Trump in post-debate polls. Trump managed to talk his way out of a bad place after the debate came to concentrate on his sexist and extremely unpleasant behavior and place his opponent between a rock and hard place by proposing the creation of the position of a national detective to get to the bottom of Clinton's email scandal.

Trump is a foreign policy layman, and Clinton's team has tried to use his naive and ignorant statements, especially as concerns Russia, against him. The Russia topic could theoretically be a bitter pill for Clinton herself as the chief architect of the Obama administration's now failed reset-policy. However, in the end, the US presidential election will be decided by domestic and not foreign policy matters as the latter are far more interesting for those on the outside than they are for the American people.

Despite everything, it is still difficult to say who gets to move to the White House at the beginning of next year. In the end, the decisive factor will be which candidate can rope in more voters who are currently still doubting their ability to serve as president.

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