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Can Anyone Make America Great Again?

Binyamin Rose

Donald Trump promises to make America great again. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, retorts those are merely code words for taking America backward.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Trump

Can Trump (here with vice-presidential running mate Mike Pence) convince voters that he can heal the racial devide?

Two political conventions, in two consecutive weeks, nominating two candidates who couldn’t possibly be farther apart in their worldviews, have turned into a sideshow in a world that is coming unhinged. Donald Trump promises to make America great again. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, retorts those are merely code words for taking America backward. 

America is hurtling backward, whether Hillary likes it or not, and Donald Trump will be just as hard pressed to reverse that trend if he should win in November. 

America, as it nears Election Day 2016, is beginning to resemble the America of the 1960s, when racial violence plagued inner cities and murders and violent crime spiked to levels not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. 

When police are gunned down in Dallas and Baton Rouge in consecutive weeks, statistics lose their meaning. It’s the perception that counts. For more than a decade, Gallup polls have found the majority of Americans believe crime is up, although actual crime rates are down significantly from the highs of the 1990s.

A police shooting in Baton Rough: is country coming unhinged?

Maintaining an orderly society is contingent upon people obeying the laws. Police and other law enforcement authorities bear the brunt of enforcing the law on the ground, but it’s the politicians who make those laws and provide the support that law enforcement needs to get the job done. Sometimes that support calls for enacting new and tougher laws, which won’t be easy in an era of political paralysis. Ensuring public safety becomes much harder in a political season when so many of the leading candidates thrive on an “us versus them” mentality.

“Yes, there is class warfare in America, but it’s not between the rich and poor,” wrote Mark Hendrickson, an adjunct professor of economics at Grove City College, in an op-ed piece he penned for Forbes. “It’s between the political class and the rest of the citizenry, who bear the brunt of political power and pay the price in lost liberty, property, and opportunity.” 

Bernie Sanders may have been one of the worst offenders in the way he resuscitated the class warfare debate of the 1960s. His mantra that corporate greed destroyed the middle class raised passions in an unhealthy way by appealing to voters’ baser instincts, including fear and suspicion. This was in contrast to a candidate such as Marco Rubio, who never gained traction, but consistently spoke about the need to upgrade and tailor education and job creation to the opportunities of the 21st century. 

Like Sanders, Hillary Clinton also seeks to stir up the voters’ grievances. On the campaign trail, she vows that “Wall Street should never be allowed to once again threaten Main Street” — pitting one side against the other. Yet in the four years since leaving her post as secretary of state, the Wall Street Journal reports that Clinton has earned nearly $22 million in speaking fees, $4.1 million of which came from the same big banks and brokerage firms she bashes on Main Street. Further, according to US News and World Report, almost $16 million of the $22 million has come from groups that have lobbied Congress or the federal government during that same period. 

Last but not least, Donald Trump bears his fair share of blame for aggravating the situation. He has used mockery to beat down his opponents and tapped into voter anger and disenfranchisement in much the way that Bernie Sanders has. Trump wouldn’t be where he is today without having played the role of an agitator to the hilt. The broader electorate will be the final arbiters on whether they can overlook Trump’s personality flaws and if they deem his proposals to make America great again attractive. 

But no matter who becomes the next president of the United States, that person will most likely be incapable of healing the sore and open wounds that plague America.

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