In an already-historic presidential election year, the landmarks just keep coming: Bernie Sanders was the most successful Jewish presidential candidate to date, Hillary Clinton will be the first woman nominee of a major party (though others have run before), and it’s possible Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party will be the first third-party candidate in the presidential debates since Ross Perot nearly 25 years ago.
With the Republican convention wrapping up last week and the Democratic one taking place this week, our collective attention will soon turn to the race between Hillary and Donald Trump. That race is historic for its own reasons, and they’re not great. Our two main options in 2016 are the two most disliked presidential candidates we’ve had since pollsters began recording data on the subject, and by a fair margin (see FiveThirtyEight for more on that). Donald takes the prize for MOST disliked, with Hillary coming in second… or, er, second last.
Related to that potent dislike for both candidates, a poll conducted for Canada’s Global News found that nearly one fifth of Americans would strongly consider moving up north if Donald Trump wins on November 8; Hillary-inspired émigrés clocked in at 15 percent of the respondents. What is it about these candidates that inspires so much distaste, to the point that people are actually willing to leave the country they live in to avoid them?
First, let’s look at Hillary. Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have pointed to her long connections to the political establishment, forged by being married to a former president and being active in the Senate and President Obama’s administration. One of the major themes of this campaign season has been the public’s anger with establishment politicians on both sides of the aisle, so what might once have been a boon to Hillary is, this year, considered by many an impediment to her ability to improve the lives of regular people.
There’s the whole business about the private email server she used as Secretary of State, for which she was investigated by the FBI (they decided not to press charges). Many conservatives are still quite upset about the 2012 attack on the American embassy in Benghazi and hold Hillary responsible, as she was Secretary of State at the time and there were some security failures involved.
And of course we can’t forget that, in all likelihood, some people simply don’t like the prospect of a woman being president.
Onto Donald! He’s every bit the political outsider, never having held office once in his life and, in fact, having changed party allegiances. While that’s attracted many voters, many others see a lot to dislike in the brash businessman. A cornerstone of his campaign has been openly anti-immigrant rhetoric: He’s discussed building a wall between Mexico and the southern US and banning Muslims from coming to America.
There have been other racial incidents: Donald suggested he might cover the legal fees of his supporter who assaulted a black man who chanted “black lives matter” at one of his rallies, though he later said he wouldn’t. He often calls Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas,” a reference to her claim during her 2012 Senate race that she has Native American heritage.
Some traditional Republicans are put off by Donald’s many unorthodox statements on foreign interventions and free trade, both of which he seems to view with more skepticism than the GOP.
Chances are you’ve made up your mind about both candidates. For most Americans, it’s love or hate, and the vast majority of us have already decided which. But it might be a good idea to hold off on filling out your Canadian visa application… until the next president has held office for a few months, at least.
Are you so excited for this election to be over, or kinda loving it (we won’t judge)? Let us know on Twitter @BritandCo.
(Photos via Ethan Miller + Joe Raedle/ Getty)