October 9, 2016 
by Alexandra Ares

Trump won the second debate, although Clinton did her best; will it be enough for him to win though?

Oh, the comedy! A supposedly populist townhall, in which Anderson Cooper, a trust fund baby of the super rich Vanderbilt family, who makes 11 million a year from CNN, clumsily questioned Trump, a billionaire, and Clinton, owner of a billionaire foundation, about their plans to respond to the economic worries of the average Joe and Jane. Do they really remember them?  

Trump did win the second debate in a do or die night. It was a surprising come back after a week from hell with the recording of his sexual bravado, (while newly married with gorgeous Melania in 2005) that gave everyone pause. He was composed, sober, lethally on point, no longer mangled his sentences, displayed some humor, and he even looked presidential: His hair had a new sheen of distinguished silver. Will it be enough for him to win? With all the media piled up against him it, like wild beasts cornering a gladiator, and his own words coming back to bite him, it would be nothing short of a miracle.

Hillary Clinton was very good, at her best, but there is something about the way she talks that prevents one from being engaged: Is it her lawyerly avoidance of straight, binding words? Her competent sounding platitudes and generic promises conveying exactly nothing? Because of all of this, it is hard to remember most of the things she says.

The Townhall was supposed to be a “what can you do for us, brother” job interview for each candidate. This is what voters want to find out. We don’t care if you are a womanizer with a potty mouth and an equal opportunity basher, or a cold woman with many secrets and conflicts of interest in your bleached private servers, lost laptops, or hammered iPhones, we don't even care if both of you have used the same loophole to write off your real or imaginary loses from taxes, we don't care if, at least, you can get us something we need. How can you make healthcare and education cheaper, what special interests are you going to cut exactly, how are you going to create jobs, how are you going to make saving profitable again? And finally do you want us to continue financing various regime change coups and wars in the Middle East against all non compliant presidents, and use our federal taxes to silently and covertly continue of American Project for the 21st Century? If yes, what's in it for us, or for who?

Instead, courtesy of the moderators Copper and Raddatz, the townhall turned into yet another combined effort to magnify Trump’s sins, and gloss over Clinton’s; in other words, another effort to magnify non substantive issues and gloss over real problems that affect our quality of life. For instance, I believe the tactics of how to wage the war/conflict in Syria should be left to generals and kept secret. What should be discussed/asked instead is the general direction: Do you both (Trump/Clinton) want to continue the post War War II politics of arming rebels and changing regimes to expand the power of American empire abroad? Or do you want to focus those resources on building up the inland to catch up with the progress in Europe and Asia? Or are you going to cut the obscene, artificial profits in healthcare or are you going to continue to subsidize its excesses with tax payer money? If yes, how exactly? 

Oh, the comedy! When they entered the race last year, Trump said that he was for the Public Option because it worked well in Canada; Clinton was against the Public Option, hotly wanted by Sanders. At the second debate, Trump borrowed his moronic party talking points that Public Option is bad because Canadians come to the US for all the special surgeries, and Clinton borrowed Sander’s humanitarian position on the public option. Neither was genuine. So now we have a closeted Democrat, Trump, who tries to appeal to his Republican base, and a closeted Republican, Hillary, who is trying to lure the progressives, just to get their votes, and then what?

If I had any certainty that Hillary will push for a Public Option, I would vote for her on this alone, but I don’t. Experience has shown that greedy Hillary is always pushing for the biggest donor and then she will dress up the favor as something good for all of us. (As a New York, Senator Hillary brought Tata Industries, the biggest outsourcer in India, at the time a client of McKinsey Consulting, which employed Chelsea; the move was presented as somehow good for creating jobs (for who, for Indians?), while Upstate New York became a no-jobs- no-factories-ghost-land.)    

If I had any certainty that Trump will push a public option and relieve people of a mandatory and predatory private insurance, I would vote for him on this position alone, but again, I don’t, because he needs his party support, and his party is against it.   

Actually both parties are against the Public Option and the elimination of a morally and financially bankrupt for-profit model in medicine. Any real reform in healthcare means that certain actors will make less money, the stocks will drop, and with everyone owing these stocks, the healthcare "mafia" is too big to fail; just another Ponzi scheme, like Wall Street, and almost everything else at this point. More than that, the “medical and drug complex” are the biggest advertiser for the media, and a top donor in all the Congressional races.

If I had any certainty that Hillary will indeed push for the end of Citizen’s United, I will vote for her, but so far she has benefited from Super Pac money more than Trump. Once elected she’ll need those funds to get re-elected, because in her case only money can buy  love.  

With forces so great against real change, we are all led to vote based on fear, not hope.

Alexandra Ares is a journalist and novelist, most recently the author of Brand New Americans