I am just a little bit shell-shocked that we are now on the verge of the American public choosing the two most unpopular politicians in America to be the standard bearers for the two major parties. This is uncharted territory. We have never been in a situation like this. Donald Trump is a unique candidacy without giving you the description I just gave you about the two nominees.Without Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton would have set the record for worst negative rating of the history of a presumptive major party nominee, but Donald Trump is there with an even worse favorable rating. What I can’t get my arms around — and I think is worth a discussion throughout the night — is: Are we really going to be here for six straight months, six straight months of the two most unpopular people running for president, probably going down a low road, led by Trump — Clinton probably feeling, doing the same thing, and it’s sort of this race to the bottom? There’s going to be a vacuum here. How does it get filled? There’s a whole group of Americans that don’t want either of these two candidates. What does that mean? Yes, we’ll have hold-your-nose voters, but if there were time, I guarantee you a third-party candidate would get in the race. But there isn’t time. The logistics are very hard. But I just can’t imagine we’re going to sit here for six months and just accept this reality of the two most polarizing figures running, the two most unpopular figures running, as being our only choice.
Yes: There are plenty of Americans who don’t favor Hillary Clinton and who don’t favor Donald Trump — if this protracted primary season has done nothing else, it has exposed a divided country.
And no: Hillary Clinton does not travel the same highway system as Donald Trump. Let’s look at that portion of Todd’s comments again:
Are we really going to be here for six straight months, six straight months of the two most unpopular people running for president, probably going down a low road, led by Trump — Clinton probably feeling, doing the same thing, and it’s sort of this race to the bottom?
In deference to Todd, there is some precedent for Trump dragging others down to his level. Look up Marco Rubio and hand size, for instance. Yet really: Here Todd was, drawing a low-road comparison between Trump and Clinton on the very day that the former appeared on “Fox & Friends” and cited a risible National Enquirer story linking Rafael Cruz, the father of his rival, to the JFK assassination. Nor was that an aberration, considering Trump’s comments about Megyn Kelly’s menstrual cycle, Carly Fiorina’s face, “little Marco,” “Lyin’ Ted,” protesters at rallies and much, much more.
People can take exception to Clinton and the things that she represents. They’re entitled to call her untrustworthy; to be concerned with her penchant for secrecy; and to hold the email thing against her. But Trump travels a low road of his own plowing. No one else — not Clinton, not Cruz, not John Kasich, not Chris Christie, not even Rubio — has plied it.
Stretching back to her heated 2008 primary clash with Barack Obama, Clinton has stood accused of “dirty tricks” and bare-knuckled maneuvering. And just last month, she pushed away the leaves and bramble in the gutter to issue this base attack against Bernie Sanders: “I think he hadn’t done his homework and he’d been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hadn’t really studied or understood, and that does raise a lot of questions.”