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Notes From A Polite New Yorker: Two Presidential Campaigns, One City
New York loves a big media circus, but America can do better.
Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have their presidential campaigns based in New York City. If both get their respective party nominations, we will have an all-New York presidential campaign. New York loves a big media circus, but America can do better.
Hillary Clinton moved to New York so she could someday run for President. She wasn't the first person to do so. It was fitting that she held the seat Robert F. Kennedy once held, she was following his example. New York is now her political home. New Yorkers don't resent her for this. Ours is the city of opportunity, and even our current and most recent former mayor are originally from Boston. If she hadn't quit her seat to run for President, New York voters would have returned her to the Senate even if she was found in bed with a dead girl or live boy.
Now Hillary Clinton is running for President again, and her campaign headquarters is in fashionable Brooklyn. Democratic voters are desperate for someone else. She has unexpectedly fierce opposition from Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who originally hails from the Brooklyn that was. There are so many strikes against Sanders by the dictates of conventional wisdom, that his rise as a viable candidate is somewhat astounding. There are a few other candidates in the running for the Democratic nomination: former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, and former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee.
Donald Trump has been a New York City fixture since he was born. His father, Fredrick Trump, was actually a self-made man who started his construction business at age 15, and built things that weren't tacky pieces of crap. Some of his earlier buildings have historic recognition in Queens. Donald Trump gets credit for investing and revitalizing parts of Manhattan and Atlantic City, but his business acumen is highly suspect, and he's been a famous bloviating loudmouth for decades.
Like Democratic voters who are drawn to Bernie Sanders, Trump supporters are desperate for anyone who is not an empty suit corporate mouthpiece. Trump has taken populist positions that run counter to what corporate donors want to hear. If he's not willing to spend a lot of his own money on his campaign, he will likely not win, since his campaign will run out of money without the support of large wealthy donors.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump share some important things in common: both coasted to their notoriety through family connections, both will take whatever position will earn them the most votes, and both would rather enjoy the trappings of power without having to talk to real people.
Clinton at least comes across as knowing what the job actually entails and having the capacity to do it, but she would be the same kind of vacillating, self-interested establishment politician the public despises. It's no mystery that many Democratic voters are sick of her, and rightly so. Donald Trump may not realize that being President would seriously restrict his accustomed lifestyle, and what works in closing real estate deals in Atlantic City isn't going to work when negotiating nuclear arms deals. The cabinet is not a game show.
Trump has at least pushed the Republican Party to the right on immigration. His plan for mass deportations is poorly thought out, but at least he's saying a resounding “no” to what was considered standard conventional wisdom.
New York City would benefit from the media circus a Trump-Clinton matchup would bring, but we already are a 24-hour media circus. And New York and the country can do a lot better than a Clinton or Trump residency. A Trump nomination, or another Clinton or Bush nomination, will demonstrate that our republic has slipped past the point of no return down the slope of oblivion.