New Media, New America, New Election



Let’s play a game, what do these statements have in common?

Politician calls for all Muslims to be barred from entering America. Politician gets caught using personal laptop for top secret emails. Politician alludes to the assassination of another politician. Politician argues with other politician on social media.

Ding, Ding, Ding! If you guessed that these blunders were real actions of the 2016 presidential candidates, then you were right! A year ago, no one ever thought that the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees would be Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Essentially, we have a reality television star up against a…well…an actual politician. Don’t get me wrong, if Ronald Raegan can do it, then Trump can too right? Perhaps, but this entire fiasco of an election parallels the technology boom of the 21st century, shortened attention spans, and a disregard for simple facts.


The New A.D.D

What’s a 2016 election without a couple of Twitter feuds? Much like the phenomenon of television in the 60’s and the famous Kennedy v. Nixon debates, social media’s new technological plane completely changed the playing field.

Social media was used to attack other politicians, spread news (even if fake) to a steady-growing number of consumers, and proliferates’ propaganda to people who otherwise would not bother to pick up a newspaper.

However, no one had been quite as successful as Trump at manipulating this new form of media. His wordplay tactics, whether frowned upon or not, constantly created a media buzz for his campaign. For example, earlier in the election year, Trump tweeted out a not so flattering picture of Ted Cruz’s wife next to a picture of Melania Trump. While not a future-president action, it garnered attention and appealed to some voters.

His social media antics provided an authenticity to a select group of voters. “He isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind,” some may contend, but others don’t see it that way.

On the other hand, Hillary tried to establish her presence on social media, but had yet to be successful. Her attention from voters mostly garnered from the attacks of Trump.

It also doesn’t help that many people stay informed through platforms like Facebook. The other day, when scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a meme that one of my friends had reposted of a quote by Hillary Clinton. It read, “I will get the NRA shut down if I become president. If we can ban handguns we will do it.”

The only problem was that this was entirely made up. With fake articles and information going around the internet, it was far too easy to mislead a voter.

Thankfully for Trump, this puts him at an advantage. This election was one of no fact-checks and blatant lies that were told repeatedly. Trump’s strategy and the emergence of social media as a political tool appeared favorable to him. But, has he gone too far?

The Slippery Slope

Trump said he was going to build a big wall to keep Mexican immigrants out of America and he was going to make Mexico pay for it. Trump was going to renegotiate the Geneva accords. Trump was going to make America Great again. But in the meantime, let us take a short look at some of his more controversial statements:

  • Trump calls for Russia to hack into Hillary’s emails (Isn’t that sort of treason?)
  • Trump calls out federal judge because of his ‘Mexican Heritage’
  • Trump alludes to menstrual cycle because of a disagreement in a Megyn Kelly interview
  • Trump makes harsh remarks of Carly Fiorina’s appearance
  • Trump implies that gun advocates could lose their Second Amendment rights should Hillary be elected.

There was a systematic problem when top members of Trump’s own party do not endorse him. Top Republicans such as George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham and Michael Bloomberg, to name a few, have not shown their support. Even worse, the current Republican speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, had previously denounced him.  He only recently came forward to endorse him.

Another fun fact: No living president has come out in support of Donald Trump and the current president has made statements saying that he was unfit to be the President of the United States. I understand that Trump’s ‘grit’ attracts voters, but when was enough, enough?

His constant bombardment of racist, misogynistic, and otherwise distasteful comments do not represent America and most definitely do not represent America as a whole. When the media attention fades, his policies will have to face the foreground of the race.

Setting the Record Straight

Benghazi. We’ve heard about it constantly from the Republican Party. They say Hillary let Ambassador Stevens die in the Benghazi attack. Another circumstance of fact-checking, Clinton was not found guilty of negligence in his death (by a Republican prosecutor) for a reason.

The Republican house majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, stated, on record, that the committee formed to prosecute Clinton was used as a ploy to lower her poll numbers. Either way, it was the host’s country’s job to provide security for the Embassy. It was the Republican majority congress that turned down a bill proposed by Obama to increase embassy defense funding.

In comparison, during Bush’s presidency over 91 diplomatic personnel were killed at embassies. Neither Bush nor the Secretary of State at the time, Colin Powell, were tried for those deaths. So yes, Hillary was wrong for sending confidential emails on her personal laptop, but let the Benghazi scandal go.

Though Donald Trump had his many flaws, Hillary Clinton was not perfect either. Labeled as ‘crooked’ Hillary by her contenders, she had been met with much opposition and scandal as well. But her rap sheet was not all that bad.

After all, Hillary enjoyed approval ratings of 72%-74% as Senator of New York and approval ratings of 69% as Secretary of State. It’s simple, she had been around politics for over 20 years and her numbers stand by this fact. She may not be the most likeable candidate to ever run, but her political knowledge of areas such as foreign policy are unmatched in this election.

Your vote should not be based on how much you do not like the other candidate. If you want to vote for Trump or vice versa than that is completely fine, but do your job and be an informed citizen. This is not a popularity contest of who can sling the most insults or who makes the best speeches.

View their policies, see which candidate’s agenda fits you better. Partisanship is not meant to limit your vote, it’s to encourage the opposite party to progress with an ever-changing world.

The presidential election is less than two months away, but just remember that Jill Stein and Gary Johnson were also on the ballot if you need a bit more variety. An informed choice is better than an emotional response that benefits no one.

This election is about the future of the United States and the impact of our immediate future. The vote to make “America Great Again” should be a vote to benefit the America that we all know as a diverse and equal opportunistic society.

-Happy Voting