Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump: What’s the Difference?

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Though I have voted in every presidential election since Carter/Ford in ’76, I have often felt that the difference between the two candidates ranged from not much to slightly more than that. Once they get to Washington and get whopped over the head by the checks and balances, not to mention the lobbyists and the PACs, it’s more or less business as usual. The pro-life Bushes did not manage to recriminalize abortion, and Obama couldn’t stop the war. American politics blah blah blah, life goes on. 

One thing you can say for the election of 2016 is it ain’t like that at all.

While Hillary Clinton is in most respects a standard-issue politician who will fit right into the cogs and wheels of the machine, she is, of course, a woman. Not just a woman, but a post-menopausal woman – a type of person that is not just historically disempowered but practically invisible. A person who has given birth and worn pantyhose…in the highest office in the land! You know how they say if men gave birth, abortion would be a sacrament? Well, when women are president, access to affordable child care will be a fundamental human right and the rivers will flow with Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay. I, for one, am ready.

Donald Trump, of course, is equally unlike anyone who has ever run for a major public office. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Franken, and Jesse Ventura were stately eminence grises compared to this guy. I understand that people are angry, and I understand that they blame foreigners, minorities, liberals, and most of all Al Gore for the bad things that have happened to them in the last decade or so. But I still don’t get how they think we are going to listen to, much less look at, Donald Trump for very much longer. To me, he is an appalling lump of pink and yellow Play-Doh who has been programmed to say about 100 words in various offensive combinations.

Play Doh Trump via Donald Trump for President Claymation Animation.
Play Doh Trump via Donald Trump for President Claymation Animation.

Here are some differences between the candidates that could affect us in the four years ahead.

  1. Though Hillary Clinton says she wants to be everyone’s president and will try to bring us back from the brink of violent revolution if she wins, Donald Trump does not feel this way. Once he’s in power, those of us who are not his people are shit out of luck. He’s building a wall, shutting down immigration, sending the foreign-born back to their countries of origin, and I don’t know what he plans for people like me – bleeding-heart liberals past the peak of our sexual attractiveness — but it can’t be good. Even if we want to leave, there’s a problem.
  2. We will not be able to show our faces in other countries. I was in Europe during Bush II, and that was bad enough. “I didn’t vote for him” is just not going to cut it this time. We Americans are famous for our poor taste, our supersize beverages, and our ugly sweatsuits but this is going to take it to a whole new level. Furious foreigners will be either screaming at us or ostracizing us wherever we go. It’s just not going to be worth it.
  3. Wait – since Hillary is a woman, won’t we save a lot of money if she is president? I can’t imagine they’re planning to pay her the same as a man.
  4. I have to say I like the idea of Bill Clinton as First Husband. I know there are some issues with the guy keeping it in his pants, but I have seen him in person, and I am ready to objectify him! Let him work on some traditional male projects like mowing the White House lawn, grilling the White House meats, and coaching T-ball. Let him pick up Hillary’s socks and make the bed after she leaves for work. Maybe he could start an initiative for American men to remember birthdays and drive carpools.
  5. Mandatory prison sentences for email deletion? I don’t know about you, but I have deleted A LOT of emails in my day, specifically because they contained sensitive information I was trying to hide. Some of these emails could be classified as sexts, though not with Anthony Weiner. On the plus side, maybe the jails will be nicer.
  6. Possible destruction of our national landmarks. I mean, face it, Donald Trump is never going to be able to live with the restrained WASPy elegance of the White House architecture and décor. Picture a 16-story mirrored gold tower soaring through the dome with high-dollar rentals in the penthouse, blackjack tables and tanning booths in the lobby, and his name emblazoned across it… and where’s the golf course? If you think that District of Columbia zoning restrictions are going to stop him, talk to people in Atlantic City.

In short, this election, which could be our last since one of the candidates does not believe in the democratic process, matters. Vote white wine while you still can.

Visit marionwinik.com to sign up for a monthly email with links to new installments of this column, other essays and book reviews.

Marion Winik

Marion Winik

University of Baltimore Professor Marion Winik writes Bohemian Rhapsody on the first Wednesday of the month. She is the author of "First Comes Love," and, forthcoming in fall 2018, "The Baltimore Book of the Dead." She is the host of The Weekly Reader on WYPR. Sign up for her monthly email at marionwinik.com.
Marion Winik


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20 COMMENTS

  1. I voted for Jill Stein. Trump is a fascist and a buffoon, but Hillary is a hawk warmonger in the mold of so many others in our government too numerous to name. No way would I cast a vote for her.

    • Actually, you voted for Trump — you know that, right? I’m afraid this isn’t an election to “vote your conscious” … too much at stake.

    • @Michael Klein. I’m voting for Gary Johnson and i hear the same argument from my GOP colleagues – a vote for Johnson is a vote for HRC. I respectfully disagree with your reasoning because my vote is for who I vote for as Lisa’s vote is for Stein. In the absence of Gary Johnson, I would likely not vote for President. And any vote that gives a third party – Libertarian, Green, or whatever – some visibility is always good by bringing competing ideas into the currently sclerotic mainstream for consideration.

  2. Our whole family voted for Hillary, except for our 16-year-old son who isn’t old enough to vote. Wish that he had be able to, it sounds like Hillary can use all the help she can get.

    • I’m glad you got to see it! Patti B said no politics on our class FB page so had to take it down from there…

  3. Marion, I couldn’t agree with you more. Love your take on this whole ridiculous election. Lisa, it’s people who think like you who will ensure Trump gets into the White House. We all better take heed to what Marion is saying before we are all in a world of trouble.

  4. @Michael Klein. I’m voting for Gary Johnson and i hear the same argument from my GOP colleagues – a vote for Johnson is a vote for HRC. I respectfully disagree with your reasoning because my vote is for who I vote for as Lisa’s vote is for Stein. In the absence of Gary Johnson, I would likely not vote for President. And any vote that gives a third party – Libertarian, Green, or whatever – some visibility is always good by bringing competing ideas into the currently sclerotic mainstream for consideration.

  5. Since many of you apparently are too young to remember the 2000 election…all the “we’re going to change the world” first time voters voted for Ralph Nader thus ensuring Bush II’s election. Pretty sure the Green Party is where all the green voters reside. Sometimes adults just have to be sensible.

  6. I’m still hoping Trump and Prince’s death are hoaxes. Trump is a b.s.artist who will do NOTHING to help Democrats, Republicans,Greens or Independents. Note to Republican party: stop offering up a clown car full of candidates who support racist, sexist, xenophobic Fox News puppet/cowardly behavior. Drop them on North Avenue to see how quickly they’ll shut their racist rants. Thank you Marion for the great chuckles, especially comments 3 & 4. Let’s hope the last laugh is on The Donald.

  7. Why do we have to continually read and hear such ugly negativity? Why are so many in the media afraid to face the real problems in America? Americans are inundated by biased media types who attempt to sway voters with clever jokes and emotional ranting about the candidates for president. Enough please. This type of writing insults the hard working people who want nothing more than to have a job, raise their kids, and enjoy a hobby or two in life. These Americans don’t need nasty biased media outbursts. They need logical, rational, unbiased information. And, a leader who will create jobs, protect American interests here and overseas, and continue to address (realistically) the serious domestic financial issues of our government. Drain the swamp.

    • I’ve never thought of myself as a “media type” before. I feel more like one of those ordinary joes you reference, trying to make a living, raise my kids and enjoy my hobbies. One of my hobbies is trying to find the lighter side in various gloomy situations. Sorry you were not amused.

    • It is this (your, apparently) candidate that’s dominated this electoral stretch with venomous, vile character assassination based in fiction and not fact. It’s so horrifying to many that all that’s left is trying to find a little bit of humor in it to make it through to November 8th, while doing our best to make sure we don’t get mired in the murky, stinky swamp that would result from a Trump administration (I shudder as I put those two words together).

      To that, 1) and 2) are simply fact. The rest is good, clean coping-mechanism fun.

      Finally, your statement is absolutely correct: that we need “a leader who will create jobs, protect American interests here and overseas, and continue to address (realistically) the serious domestic financial issues of our government.” There is only one candidate of the two major parties that fits that description, and it’s not the bombastic, offensive, marginalizing, uninformed, and utterly-inexperienced DJT.

  8. Even though we live in a supposedly blue state, you have written a brave post. Bravo! Although Clinton was not my first choice, a vote for anyone else is a vote for Trump.

  9. Very hard for me to believe that educated people don’t see through the Clintons. Their wealth came to them not be selling a prodct or service but the only thing available to them, government access. She deleted her emails after receiving a subpoena from congress. She set up a private server so she could do exactly that. She had and has a lot to hide and it’s all coming out. Now that her “staff” member Huma, as Hillary called her in a recent rally, but previously said she was like a daughter to her, has been caught in a lie to congress, and many FBI agents are fuming over Comey’s dismissal of her charges, the is getting ready to break open big time. If she’s elected or not she will be indicted and if elected she’ll be bogged down with all her legal issues. Further, if you vote for her you’re voting for hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, that can’t be vetted into our country, leaving the southern border open to keep the flow of illegals and drugs, continuing government health care that’s falling apart as we speak, continues mess in the middle east as that entire mess has Hillary’s finger prints all over it, continued poor relations with Russia, not forgetting about her idiotic Russian reset button. Her disdain for so many is so very obvious, yet you don’t see it? Is that really possible?

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