Character Is Key Issue in Waning Days of US Election Campaign
In the final days of the campaign,White House hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are focused primarily on each other’s flaws.
“I love this song.”
The renewed FBI probe in Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state has pushed the issue of her trustworthiness front and center.And Trump wasted little time in seizing on it.
“This is the biggest political scandal since Watergate, and it’s everybody’s deepest hope that justice, at last, will be beautifully delivered.”
Clinton may be on the defensive.But she’s also lashing out at what she believes are Trump’s character flaws in the final days of the campaign.
“Donald Trump is out there stoking fear,disgracing our democracy and insulting one group of Americans after another.”
“Hillary is the one who broke the law over and over and over again.”
Presidential campaigns often center on issues like the economy, foreign policy and immigration.But this year is clearly different, says expert Matt Dallek.
“This race has primarily become about character and about personality.I think this issue of character is going to remain front and center.I don’t think it is going away and I think to an unusual degree,issues and policies are not really as central as they typically are.”
Polls show many voters question whether Clinton is trustworthy.But an even greater number fear that Trump lacks the temperament to be president.
The perceived flaws of the two candidates have dominated the campaign,says West Virginia University analyst Patrick Hickey.
“I think that this is a very odd American presidential election in that both candidates are viewed unfavorably by the majority of the American people. You know, usually that might happen to one candidate, but not both.”
The questions about character have been center-stage throughout the campaign. Trump went after Clinton over the email issue in the second presidential debate.“If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.”
In the third debate, it was Clinton who went on the offensive over Trump’s controversial comments about women.
“Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger.He goes after their dignity, their self-worth,and I don’t think there is a woman anywhere who doesn’t know what that feels like.”
With all the attacks on character, the election outcome likely will depend on which supporters are more motivated to vote, says Patrick Hickey.
“And this is definitely a kind of anti-election, as opposed to a pro-election,which I think means that on Election Day, turnout is really going to be what matters, which side can turn out voters to actually get to the polls.”
One of the longest and most divisive U.S. election campaigns will come to a close next Tuesday,and for many voters, the end can’t come soon enough.
Jim Malone, VOA news, Washington