Alexandra Tselios

The “Weak” in U.S. Politics: September 19th 2016

The “Weak” in U.S. Politics: reviewing Clinton and Trump’s health, both candidates respond to New York bombing, a look at their celebrity endorsements, and appearances on Jimmy Fallon.


The “Weak” in Politics as seen by Alexandra Tselios

Have you ever been in a job interview where the prospective employer asked what your weaknesses were and you replied, “I work too hard?” How embarrassing. But that is essentially the job-seeking equivalent of releasing a medical report while running for POTUS that deems your health “astonishingly excellent.” Not only did very few people fall for that, but it brought around unwanted attention for the doctor responsible, Harold Bornstein. Bornstein said in 2015 that, “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,” causing an onslaught of minimally funny memes. This week, however, Bornstein came back to release another account of Trump’s health, this time saying that he is “overweight but otherwise is in excellent physical health.” This could of course be an attempt by Trump to appear more likable and while Dr. Bornstein has said that Trump’s stamina and physical strength is extraordinary (Trump said this about himself too), there is very little data backing up the health reports.

After Clinton’s recent pneumonia diagnosis, Trump uncharacteristically was quite respectful, laid low, and said he hoped she recovered soon. While some commentators are saying that Clinton’s pneumonia only adds to the damage to her campaign, not long after more damning emails were released as well as further controversy around the Clinton Foundation. Yet a recent Reuters poll has found Clinton is leading the way, with 42% of voters against Trump’s 38%. Other commentators are saying that part of the damage has to do with Trump’s recent change to his campaign approach, being noticeably more palatable and less volatile of late.

However, it is premature to truly determine how the voting public will go especially since no debates have occurred yet, but look at the recent reaction by both candidates to the weekend bombing in New York. Trump openly said at a rally in Colorado “Just before I got off the plane, a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows exactly what’s going on, but we are living in a time…we got to get really really tough folks…we are going to get tough and smart and vigilant.” Some have felt this was an alarmist reaction prompting fear; especially juxtaposed with Clinton’s, “I think it’s also wiser to wait until you have information before making conclusions because we are just in the beginning stages of trying to determine what happened.” Although, in a time filled with fear and fueled with knee-jerk reactions, Trump’s response likely resonated more with Americans than Clinton’s reasoned approach. This again reiterates the “he says how I feel” mentality that many Americans have openly admitted to.

John Kasich came back into the headlines this week to say that while he would not be voting for Clinton, he is also no closer to voting for Trump. Kasich joins a line of stealth Republicans, such as Jeb Bush, who refuse to back the GOP nominee, again highlighting the fragmented parties current climate. Political and celebrity endorsements do impact an election more than we would like to believe and Martha Stewart came out this week in support of Hillary Clinton, adding to an already impressive list of influential backers such as Beyoncé, Meryl Streep, and, of course, Obama. Trump in the past has said that the celebrities who endorse Clinton are “not very hot anymore” … but consider this, celebrity endorsements of Trump include Tila Tequila and Dennis Rodman. If I still had my 1996 Nintendo Game Boy, it would probably support Trump too.

Trump also appeared on Jimmy Fallon where he admitted he hates saying he is wrong, but will when he is. Trump and Fallon went on to have a bit of light banter including a faux job interview and a ruffling of his hair prompting awkward laughs from the audience. Many commentators are outraged by the way Fallon handled the Trump interview, with an op-ed in The Guardian even stating, “Messing up the candidate’s hair might seem like friendly fun. But it humanizes a man whose hateful rhetoric has dehumanized millions of Americans.” I wonder though, how the public would have reacted to Fallon taking a serious turn and using the time on his show to profess his political position rather than to treat him like very other political figure who has said light, vapid things on what is, frankly, a light, vapid show. I am not entirely sure Fallon wants to be in the Maher or Colbert school of television personalities, and is unlikely to be cerebral enough to pull it off even if he wanted to.

Speaking of light and vapid, but fun: Jeb Bush appeared at last night’s Emmy Awards doing a fun sketch with Jimmy Kimmel as an Uber driver, considering he is “between jobs right now.” I always had a soft spot for Jeb, and seeing him say “and shave that wig off you godless, Hollywood hippy—Jeb exclamation point!” beats all.


The “Weak” in Politics as seen by Roger Pugh

Heard at Republican Party HQ
“Why do you believe a Presidential handover from Obama to Hillary would be so seamless?”
“Because it would be one lame-duck President handing over to another.”

Heard in Congress
“Which is the biggest faction in Donald’s ‘deplorables’: xenophobes or homophobes?”
“Actually, it’s Hillaryphobes.

Heard in a New York Pub
“Hillary dehydrated at the 9/11 memorial event.”
“She obviously didn’t take the usual collection of drips with her.”

Heard at Hillary’s Campaign HQ
“Trump’s doctor says he has the constitution of a 40-year-old.”
“That’s a worry for someone with the brain of a 5-year-old.”

Heard at Fox News
“Will the first Presidential debate be suitable viewing for children?”
“Well, there may be violence, but at least there won’t be any sex scenes.”

Heard at Democratic Party HQ
“What on earth is wrong with Hillary?”
“She’s obviously caught a nasty virus through her private email system.”




Alexandra Tselios

Founder and CEO of The Big Smoke, Alexandra oversees the leading opinion site in both Australia and the USA. As a social commentator, she is interviewed most days of the week on radio across the country in Australia as well as working with NFP think-tank, Plus61J, which explores the political and social ties between Australia and Israel.

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