This election has either changed the idea of how to construct a presidential campaign or has set an example of how NOT to run for president. Either way, this election is unlike anything the American people have ever seen before. The amount of disrespect between the two candidates has created an election state where it is acceptable to drop the professionalism in favor of malicious comments. With the election coming to a close (FINALLY), it will be interesting to see if America can bounce back from this sort of he-said, she-said election whiplash. While the race will be over and America will have a new president, I fear that this election may have placed America in uncharted territory that will be difficult to return from.
A Polarized Nation
No matter who wins this election, our new president will be hated by a very large number of people. Of course, there has been hatred for candidates in the past, but this election has completely divided the nation. Many people hate one opponent so much that they feel they would not be able to support them should they win. In history, there have obviously been people who dislike the president selected, yet the love of America has allowed for support of its leader regardless of personal opinion. In fact, a large number of people dislike our current president, Barack Obama, but to not support the president of one’s own country is dangerous for the nation as a whole. America has historically understood that there is a difference between being critical of the president and hating/not supporting the president. Some won’t be happy no matter who wins this election. Who knows? Maybe America will unite and support whoever is chosen, but this may be too far fetched to believe. With such strong, opposing opinions, a future with a unified America is hard to imagine. In a nation such as this, there is danger in lack of unity. Without this unity, who knows what will become of us.
The Notion that Anyone Can Be President
When Donald Trump first announced he was running for president, many people laughed at the notion of a reality star running this nation. The possibility of his presidency is no longer a joking matter and is a real possibility. Kanye West already proclaimed that he will be running in 2020 and many found this notion to be equally as hilarious as Trump’s announcement. Well, it’s funny until it’s not. Is no one off limits? If someone like Donald Trump can make it this far in the election process, just imagine all of the other possibilities. Just think about it for a second. What if every celebrity realized they could use their celebrity status to gain control of this nation. Imagine if people like Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, or Lil Wayne decided to run for president? You laugh, but this is completely possible. Imagine Miley Cyrus coming into the Oval Office like a wrecking ball. If Trump can make it this far, what is stopping Beyonce from literally running the world? The positive side of this notion is that we’ll have some pretty fantastic campaign slogans.
Kanye: “Man, I'm the number-one living and breathing rock star. I am Axel Rose; I am Jim Morrison; I am Jimi Hendrix.”
Beyonce: “My persuasion can build a nation. Endless power, with our love we can devour. You’ll do anything for me.”
Lady Gaga: “Rah rah ah-ah-ah! Ro mah ro-mah-mah!”
While this would definitely be interesting to watch, maybe we should stay away from celebrities as presidential candidates. Perhaps we should stop saying that “anyone” can be president.
More Consideration for Third-Party Candidates
Jill Stein and Gary Johnson are also in the running for this election, for those who don’t know since they are barely represented, but their poll numbers are significantly lower than Trump and Hilary’s. After this election, people may take note that if the traditional two-party options don’t suffice, the American people can elect a third-party. This two-party ideal might be crushed after the situation we are currently in plays out. In an election where a large number of people dislike both candidates, a third-party candidate is always an option, yet no one is taking advantage of this. If future third-party candidates gain more exposure, this is definitely a possibility. Hopefully, if a situation like this occurs again in the future, the American people will do more to learn about and select third-party candidates.
Social Media as the Major Electioneering Platform
Why put a sign for the candidate you’re supporting in your front yard, when you can just like them on Facebook? Campaigning in the physical world is slowly dying out. Candidates can now post information about their campaign whenever they want. In the future, new candidates will utilize Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, etc. This is brilliant in terms of reaching as many people as possible, but this type of campaigning removes the more personable aspect of the election process. There will be little real time human interaction. Instead, candidates will use umbrella statements to reach as many people as possible. Since social media will play such a massive roll in future elections, this plays right into the hands of celebrity power. Celebrity candidates will already have an advantage by not having to build up a following if they already have one to begin with (i.e. Kanye West).
The Use of Personal Attack Ads over Promotional Ads.
Clinton says Trump is a sexist, sexual predator. Trump says Clinton is crooked and can’t be trusted. Ok, but enough with insulting one another and show the public why YOU should be president. Gone are the days of winning through having the highest qualifications and the most integrity. Elections are now becoming a battle to be the lesser of two evils, meaning would you rather elect the predator or the corrupt official? Neither party has used their recent ads to promote themselves in ways that don’t involve personal attacks on the other candidate. While slamming an opponent is not a new concept, this is the most prominent use of this tactic in election history. Is this style becoming more effective for newer generations or is this an exception made only for this election? Hopefully, the latter.
Overall, the 2016 election has set a new standard for the future of presidential elections. It will be interesting to see if America can bounce back from this election or if elections like these are the new norm. The future presidential elections will either learn from this election’s mistakes, for lack of a better word, or they will continue a pattern of personal attacks and social media promotion. Either way, this election will go down in history for changing how American’s view presidential debates, campaigns, and the qualifications necessary to be a presidential candidate.