Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump

Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump

Round 1
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Following the first debate of the general election season, the divide is clear when it comes to who won. Right leaning media and Trump supporters’ say that Donald Trump won in a landslide. Left leaning media and Clinton supporters say that Hillary Clinton won in a landslide. Then, of course, there are the independents that are not fond of either candidate and think that America lost overall. But when talking about this debate specifically, I think that Hillary Clinton won, however, the victory was not huge in my opinion. But let me break it down.

Many people were really looking forward to this debate some even comparing it to a UFC fight. The conservatives were united behind their authoritarian leader (as always) and the Hillary camp was really backing her. Donald Trump, in my estimation, slightly won the first half of the debate while Hillary Clinton dominated the second half. Donald Trump’s biggest accolade when it comes to debating Hillary Clinton is to point out the terrible “mistakes” she has made in the past and he always does that very well. However, when it comes to policy positions (which is the most important part of the debate and really what it should be focused on rather than the he said/she said bickering between Democrats and Republicans) he is very, very vague in his solutions. He has these big ideas (like building a wall to keep Mexican immigrants out or banning all Muslims from the country) but his plan is never there. That’s not to say that his ideas are good (they’re quite honestly, ludicrous) but he at the very least needs to have a plan and state it. At one point of the debate he bragged about not paying his taxes and even made fun of Hillary for being too prepared. He’s like that greaser punk who thinks he’s too cool for school and part of me is petrified that he is even taken seriously.

Meanwhile, when he goes after Hillary’s corruption and the “mistakes” she has made in the past, Donald Trump looks like a strong candidate. During the debate he went after Hillary and Bill over NAFTA and TPP. He went after her saying that “You called it the gold standard of trade deals but then heard me saying how bad it is. Then you said, ‘Well, I can’t win that debate’ and just changed your position.” Hillary Clinton followed that up with “that is just not accurate”. The thing is, it was accurate and Donald Trump schooled you, Ms. Clinton. That embarrasses me and it sure as hell better embarrass you. But let’s look at the facts. Donald Trump started this exchange talking about special interest. He explained that giant corporations are practically in bed with the politicians (Democrats and Republicans) and when they move out of the country, they want trade deals. Hillary Clinton supported NAFTA and referred to TPP as the gold standard. These are facts. Then she went on to say that she was against the Columbia deal, which was true…until she received money from Columbia business and then magically voted in favor of it. This fits right into Trump’s narrative and confirms his “crooked Hillary Clinton” theory.

In the end, Hillary Clinton won the debate. While she is anything but perfect on the issues (she’s more of a moderate Republican masquerading as a liberal) but she is better than Donald Trump in the sense that she knows what hell she’s talking about. When it comes to the issues and policies themselves, Donald Trump is pretty clueless and that is apparent in the second half of the debate. But where Donald Trump excels is attacking Hillary Clinton on her record. With these two candidates, it seems that the only argument either one of them have is “yeah, well I’m not as bad as (fill in the blank Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton)”.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.univision.com/noticias/elecciones-2016/hillary-clinton-aplasta-a-donald-trump-con-el-tuit-mas-exitoso-de-su-campana

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Ilhan Omar Is at Best Foolhardy and at Worst, Yes, Anti-Semitic

Her latest statements seem to lack substance, motivation, or direction.

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I find the case of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to be a curious one.

Specifically, I am referring to the recent controversy over select comments of hers that have generated accusations of anti-Semitism. In all honesty, prior to doing research for this article, I was prepared to come to her defense.

When her comments consisted primarily of "Israeli hypnosis" and monied interest, I thought her wording poor, though not too egregiously deviated from that of most politicians in the current climate of bad behavior. After all, Israeli PACs surely do have a monied interest in the orientation of United States policy in the Middle East. Besides, if President Trump can hypothesize about killing someone in broad daylight and receive no official sanction, I don't see the need for the House of Representatives to hand down reprimand to Rep. Omar for simply saying that Israel may have dealt wrongly, regardless of the veracity of that position.

And yet, seemingly discontent that she had not drawn enough ire, Omar continued firing. She questioned the purported dual loyalty of those Americans who support the state of Israel, while also making claim that the beloved former President Obama is actually not all that different from the reviled current President Trump.

In short, the initial (mostly) innocuous statements about the United States' relation with Israel have been supplanted by increasingly bizarre (and unnecessary) postulations.

Those latest two controversies I find most egregious. Questioning the loyalty of an American citizen for espousing support for a heavily persecuted world religion and in defense of a refuge for practitioners of that self-same religion that has existed as an independent state since 1948, seems, in really no uncertain terms, anti-Semitic.

After all, is it not her own party that so adamantly supports persecuted Palestinians in the very same region? Is it not she and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) (who is not without her own streak of anti-Semitic controversy) that have rejected challenges to their own loyalty in being ethnically Somali and Palestinian respectively? Is her claim not akin to the "racist" demands that Obama produce proof of his birth in the United States, and the more concrete racism that asserted he truly was not? And (if you care to reach back so far) can her statement not be equated to suggestions that President John F. Kennedy would be beholden to the Vatican as the first (and to date only) Catholic to hold the presidency?

From what I can discern amongst her commentary, in Omar's mind, the rules that apply to her framework on race, ethnicity, religion, and culture as sacred idols above reproach do not extend to her Jewish contemporaries.

Oh, and may I remind you that over 70% of Jewish Americans voted for Hilary Clinton in 2016.

And yet, beyond even this hypocrisy, is the strange disdain Omar suddenly seems to hold for Barack Obama. Even as a non-Democrat, while I can find reason for this, it is still largely perplexing.

To begin with, I recognize that Ilhan Omar is not your prototypical Democrat. She would scoff at being termed a moderate, and likely would do the same to being labeled a traditional liberal. While she doesn't identify as an outright democratic socialist, one would have to be totally clueless to avoid putting her in the company of those who do, such as Tlaib or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

As such, she's bound to have some critical evaluations of President Obama, despite the lionizing that the Democratic establishment has and continues to engage in. Two points still stick out to me as obvious incongruities in her statement, however.

First, Obama and Trump are nothing alike. Again, this coming from someone who does not regularly support either, I can at least attempt to claim objectivity. While Obama might not have been faithful to all the demands of the far-left during his presidency, his position on the political spectrum was far from the extreme bent that Trump has ventured into.

Secondly, there is the style of the two men to consider. While Obama had his share of goofs and gaffes (I still think it somewhat juvenile that he often refused to say "radical Islamic terrorism" when referring to Islamist extremists) he pales in comparison to Trump. Every week Trump has his foot caught in a new bear trap. Obama is enormously tame in comparison.

And in addition to all of that, one must beg the question of Omar's timing. With Republicans emboldened by her controversies and House Democratic leadership attempting to soothe the masses, why would Omar strike out at what's largely a popular figure for those that support her most? There seemed no motivation for the commentary and no salient reasoning to back it up, save that Omar wanted to speak her mind.

Such tactlessness is something that'll get you politically killed.

I do not believe Barack Obama was a great president, but that's not entirely important. I don't live in Ilhan Omar's district; her constituents believe Obama was a great president, and that should at least factor into her considerations. Or maybe she did weigh the negative value of such backlash and decided it wouldn't matter? 2019 isn't an election year, after all. Yet, even if that's the case, what's to gain by pissing off your superiors when they're already pissed off at you?

You need to pick your battles wisely in order to win the war, and I'm highly doubtful Omar will win any wars by pitching scorched-earth tactics over such minute concerns.

Her attitude reminds me not only of that of some of her colleagues engaging obtusely and unwisely over subjects that could best be shrugged off (see the AOC media controversies), but also some of my own acquaintances. They believe not only in the myth of their own infallibility, but the opposition bogeyman conjured by their status in a minority or marginalized group. As the logic goes, "I'm a member of x group, and being so gives me the right to decimate anyone who has any inclination to stand against me in any capacity, tit for tat." So much for civility.

I initially came here to defend Rep. Ilhan Omar, and I still do hold to that in certain cases. The opposition to some of her positions is unwarranted. She is allotted the freedom of speech, as are all Americans.

And yet, in certain other cases she has conducted herself brashly, and, one could argue, anti-Semitically.

All I can say is that I am content living adjacent to Minneapolis, not in it. You'd be hard-pressed to find me advocating for leadership that makes manifest in such impolitic fashion.

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