Nigel Austin 

author of The Robin Gibson series

​​​Posted 28th September 2016

What's your poison?

​​It’s hard to believe that Monday night’s first televised debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump attracted the largest ever audience for such events. It wasn’t popularity or an abundance of charisma that drew viewers or won the day for either candidate. According to the polls, both are extremely unpopular and regarded as untrustworthy to an unprecedented degree. Perhaps it’s a sense of the macabre that is so seductive. Barring ‘accidents’, one of these two candidates will be elected President. Awful though that choice may be - for some, akin to choosing between strychnine or cyanide - their arguments and posturing in combat were always going to make compulsive viewing.

Compared to her opponent, Clinton’s experience, skill and composure was in evidence from the outset. While dismissing the awkward challenges from Trump, she would have failed to convince all but her ardent supporters, for whom she can do no wrong or who will forgive her anything simply to get the anointed one into the White House. Nevertheless, she had come to the podium fully prepared and in control, maintaining that edge throughout.

The predictably unprepared Trump, on the other hand, was unable to control himself, with arguments and body language that were all over the place, characterised by childish interruptions that put him not far short of a temper tantrum. His serial denial of truths and avoidance of many of the questions posed were par for the course. Narcissist and misogynist, the man has a vocabulary described by one analyst as fourth grade and thinking to match. Not only is he not the sharpest knife in the drawer; in a canteen of cutlery, he would be the misplaced, blunt one made of plastic. Doubtless, his campaign team have tried to coach him but must by now realise that he belongs in the same intellectual class as Sarah Palin - only more dangerous. His facile view of the world and politics, coupled with a serious lack of self-discipline, are a recipe for disaster on an unimaginable scale. It is unthinkable that he should get anywhere near the Oval Office.

That the Democratic Party should have conspired to sideline Bernie Sanders, when he offered the nation its best hope for decades, was a wicked betrayal of the American people. Despite online petition efforts to persuade them to change course, even at this late stage, it’s not going to happen. That leaves Jill Stein and the Green Party. Unfortunately, the electorate are so wedded to the two party system that they are unable recognise salvation elsewhere. Dr. Stein may be a person of integrity and vision, with policies that should appeal to a majority of thinking voters, but she receives no positive exposure from a media owned by the big corporations and Wall Street who, in effect, already run the country.

As Friedrich Nietzsche famously said, “Sometimes, people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.”