A couple weeks ago, Donald Trump’s daughter by the — let’s see, do the math, carry the 1 — first of his three wives (to date) took the stage in front of America and made the case that her father is “loyal.”
That ought to be an un-toppable chunk of chutzpah. But about a week later, former President Bill Clinton spent roughly an eternity standing in front of America to make the case that his wife Hillary is human, not a hunk of plastic and metal with a battery keeping her animated and lifelike.
The Republican National Convention under Trump was, to put things charitably, a mess. Chaos. There was a last-minute effort to ditch the nominee. The second place finisher got booed off the stage. The Texas delegation got into a food fight over Sen. Ted Cruz’s decision not to endorse Trump. Not to be outdone, the Democratic National Convention was an even bigger mess. They got Wikileaked and were revealed to be corrupt racists who mock gays and who fixed the primary to screw Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The Texas Democrat delegation also got into a food fight over something a Sanders supporter said. Both food fights happened despite the fact that — because Texas is reliably red — neither delegation actually mattered to the convention at all.
Both conventions were raging dumpster fires because both candidates leading their respective tickets are living (or lifelike) dumpster fires. What we have, in Donald J. Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton, is not just the worst pair of candidates for the presidency in our lifetimes. They’re that, for sure. But they’re so much more.
These two candidates were hardwired from birth to only be capable of defeating the candidates that they actually face — each other.
Trump has run for the presidency several times, only capturing a nomination because President Barack Obama paved his path via eight straight years of mendacity, dishonesty, verbal trickery, and deceit. Nothing means anything anymore, so it’s impossible to hold Trump to account for anything at all.
Hillary Clinton lost the nomination last time around to a smooth-talking rookie, despite her claim to be the Smartest Woman in the World. This time she struggled to put away an avowed Communist who possesses all the personal charm of a tapeworm.
Visually, both are terrible on TV. Trump has the worst hair ever. Hillary has the worst voice ever. He has permanent bed head. She sounds like a screech owl with hemorrhoids.
Trump is hated by most minorities and most women, atop a party that struggles with both. Hillary is hated by most men, atop a party that’s increasingly hostile to men, southerners, Christians, and people with souls.
Younger voters hate them both. No one trusts either of them.
Whichever one wins, a majority of the nation will despise them. And their voting base will be, at best, indifferent once the shine of victory wears off five minutes after inauguration.
Trump lets his mouth get so far ahead of his brain that he’s likely to troll his way into a war. Hillary Clinton beat him to that, though, with her insane intervention in Libya — an actual war that has created a terrorism Dante’s Inferno.
Trump is a serial philanderer who, until this current run for president, bragged about all the women he bedded while he was married. Hillary is the enabler of a serial philanderer and probable rapist who, when her cheating husband ran for and was president, ran operations on the taxpayer’s dime to destroy his mistresses and victims.
Trump is known for the “art of the deal,” an art that as often as not comes down to using bankruptcy laws to screw his partners and investors while he keeps getting paid. Hillary takes Mandarin opacity to glorious new extremes. From hiding subpoenaed law firm records to lying about why Americans died in Benghazi with their corpses behind her and their grieving families in front of her, she is a heartless ghoul and a cover-up artist without peer.
Trump gets himself into trouble by trolling the media and Hillary over her illegal email server and dangerous mishandling of classified information. But Hillary actually used the illegal server, with the obvious intent of skirting freedom of information laws so she could hide her doings and the operations of the Clinton criminal Foundation from the public — which might ask about all that — and the media, which we all know never, ever will.
Trump’s core argument for being president comes down to a string of absurdities. He’ll make Mexico pay for a wall to be built in the middle of a river, he’ll fix everything that’s bad (but don’t ask him for a plan!), and he’ll wipe out terrorists while being resolutely anti-war.
Hillary’s core argument comes down to “First Woman President Yay!” atop a party that now thinks gender is entirely fluid and not biological, and “competency!” which does not extend to how she actually performed in every job she has ever had, as she has always performed miserably. She was a lousy senator. She was a terrifying secretary of State. She would be a horrible president.
These are two awful people who could only beat each other. Their respective ascents are evidence that the nation has gone morally bankrupt. They are evidence that character does not matter.
But … could we do worse?
No. We could not.
Well, maybe if we pulled two convicts out of maximum security prison and nominated them. But convicted felons might have a contrition that lifelong scofflaws like Trump and Hillary will never know.
Otherwise, adjusting for the Kim Jong Un’s of the world … no, America. We could not do worse.
One of them will be president in a few months anyway.