Personality Wars

The First Day of the General Election Campaign

The political saga continues for the American public. Controversy stalks the nominees for President of the United States of the two major parties. Most recently, Donald Trump made comments about District Judge Gonzalo Curiel. Judge Curiel is the presiding judge in the class action lawsuit against Donald Trump in the Trump University litigation. Trump accused Judge Curiel of being biased and indicated that his Mexican heritage may have something to do with it. Traditionally, Federal judges are held in the highest esteem. We Americans take great pride in our independent judiciary. Citizens know that judges have personal biases, but they do not want politicians to personally criticize them. There is, of course, ideological basis in judges at all levels. It is only normal. Their family, their religion, their childhood environment, their ethnicity, and their education, impact the process of their intellectual judicial determinations. However, all judges must conduct themselves in a manner above reproach. That is why federal judges do not endorse political candidates. They must appear non-partisan. Donald Trump could have been more sensitive to this tradition of respect for the Federal Bench. Judge Curiel does, in fact, appear to have many credits as an honorable judge.

A person has a right to question the intent of a jurist. To some degree, Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominees pursue this very line of questioning. However, ethnicity and gender should never be considered as part of the criteria for qualifications. Also, neither should they be the substance of criticism for a sitting judge. Don Trump has issued a statement that the intent and purpose of his criticism of Judge Curiel was not about his ethnic descent. The public will decide.

Secretary Hillary Clinton has been running for President since 1993. In that year her husband, then President Bill Clinton, appointed her to be in charge of restructuring health care in America, an industry responsible for 20% of the U.S. economy. It was an unusual position of authority for a First Lady. She proposed health care legislation that became known as “Hillary Care.”  That health care program was a single-payer system. As a result of cost shifting under her program, small and family owned businesses were to bear an unfair proportional cost of the health care reform. The legacy costs of large corporations were to be transferred to the general public, and in particular, small business owners and their employees. The higher mandated costs per employee would have closed thousands of small businesses. When informed by a Fortune 500 CEO at the Business Round Table in Chicago of this financial injustice imposed on family businesses, Hillary Clinton was caught on an open mic responding with the infamous words that she could not be held accountable for every under-capitalized small business in America.

Let’s review how critical this comment was. Fifty-percent of the non-farm labor force works for a business of 25 employees or less. Small and family-owned businesses create annually 80% of the new jobs. Family-owned businesses are 60% of all small businesses. Many business board decisions are made around the dinner table. Small business is the backbone of America. Hindering family businesses would cripple our country’s economy.

There was no question what she meant by her words. She was heartless when it came to her concerns about the survivability of small businesses. In this 2016 election season, Secretary Clinton has indicated that she has had a change of heart. The public will decide.

Yesterday morning on CBS, Bob Schieffer was discussing with the program hosts Trump’s latest comments about Judge Curiel. He predicted that this would be Trump’s final straw. In his opinion, it was an indiscretion so insensitive that it challenges the moral decency and instincts of all Americans. The implication was that this latest transgression was different; it would at last sever all ties with the American citizens’ ability to trust Donald Trump’s decision-making process. Each time Donald Trump has challenged a politically correct axiom, the press has come to the unprecedented editorial conclusion that he has breached the barriers of tolerance. In doing so, they always forget that the public has the same lack of trust in the national news media that they have in the two parties’ nominees. The national news media has a different catechism for Hillary Clinton than they do in the interview protocol for Donald Trump. Mr. Schieffer may be correct; he may not be. The public will decide.

Racism has no place in society at any time, for any reason, for any cause, or for any purpose. It is absolutely unacceptable. Left unchecked, it will result in the ultimate division of our country. All people must feel included in the government’s application of policy. No one should, under any circumstances, perceive or feel that they are marginalized or excluded. This affirmation also applies to a family’s right to support themselves through free enterprise and small business endeavors.

In their acceptance speeches last night following major primary victories, both candidates spent a substantial portion of their time directing attacks at each other, and the attacks were personal. On the eve of the first day of the general election campaign, the speeches were devoid of policy debate. Hillary Rodham Clinton achieved a historical precedent by becoming the first woman presidential nominee for a major party in the United States. Yet instead of encouraging the country as to the merits of this achievement and what her policies could mean for each and every American, most of her remarks were centered on vicious attacks about Donald Trump.

Donald Trump, in his victory speech last night, promised in a sense to be more presidential, that he wouldn’t let the party down. Then he announced that he would deliver a formal speech next Wednesday on the history of the Clintons.

Hillary Clinton will have a hard time changing her heart. Donald Trump will struggle with changing his attitude. Whether controversy stalks the nominees or the candidates reflect it, the people will decide.

Both candidates appear to have come to the conclusion that their best chance of winning is to take advantage of the other person’s negatives. The public is left to their own sagacious analysis to determine what either candidate’s presidency means to them personally.

Let there be no delusion that in the personality wars, there is no interest in developing comity with the American citizens. There is only amplified personal acrimony.

It is not enough that we throw up our hands and let the electoral theater dictate our country’s direction. It is imperative that we decide for ourselves the principles upon which we demand society, government services, and morality be based. It is our obligation to demand from our presidential candidates a righteous vision. It is our inheritance that our Commander-in-Chief, in clear and cogent terms, present the policy and solutions that he or she will embrace to provide for a society and future in which we can place our hope.

Principled leadership is the people’s right.

My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.

What do you believe?