Our R-Rated Presidential Campaign

I don’t want my young granddaughters watching the television coverage of presidential campaign because so much is simply unsuitable for children. 

What should be a unique learning experience about American democracy in action has become an R-rated assault on the senses.

I've never seen one like this. Not Nixon's dirty tricks, not LBJ's daisy petals, not George H.W. Bush's Willy Horton (if you don't remember, Google them).

"Although political campaigns are inherently combative, no Presidential campaign in American history has ever approached this level of debasement…[with] the ”disgusting, shameful and tawdry behavior" of  GOP contenders Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, said Ralph Nurnberger, who taught American history and politics at Georgetown University for over 35 years.

Who ever would have expected a leading presidential candidate to boast of his penis size and publish nude pictures of his latest trophy wife?  Or to tweet unflattering pictures of his rival's wife while a pro-Trump scandal sheet accuses the senator of having five mistresses?

You can be sure it will only get sleazier if Trump is the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate.

Josh Marshall, editor of TalkingPointsMemo, called Trump "an unreconstructed, unabashed and angry male chauvinist against a women of great power and accomplishment who can more than hold her own against him." 

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found "there isn't a single women's group" in which Trump beats Clinton.  In 2012 women were 53% of the presidential electorate.

Trump is the poster boy for everything parents want their children to avoid. 

He is the playground bully and a braggart who relishes starting fights and then blaming everyone else for the violence.

Where parents want to teach their children about tolerance, he preaches racism, bigotry, immigrant-bashing and lying.

The meaner and more threatening Trump's tweets become, the more his followers seem inspired to lash out at his targets. Many of these have taken a decidedly anti-Semitic tone when those critics are Jewish.  One NBC report said "the harassment has often reference the Holocaust gas chambers." 

At a rally in Kansas City, two Trumpsters gave  Nazi-style salutes and one yelled at the cameras "go to Auschwitz! Go to f***ing Auschwitz!"   Trump asked supporters to raise their right arms and promise to vote for him, but when it looked to many like Nazi salutes at a Hitler rally, he stopped asking them to take the "pledge."

GOP pollster Frank Luntz said the responses he's been getting just from Republicans to the Trump-Cruz exchanges include statements like  “sophomoric,” “embarrassment,” “disappointing,” “shameful,” “despicable,” “angering” and “schoolyard brawl,” reported the Washington Post.

Trump's specializes in insults that get under the skin of rivals, starting with demeaning nicknames.  He also uses personal attacks to deflect from dealing with serious issues, as when he couldn't intelligently discuss the recent terror attacks in Europe so he threatened to "spill the beans" on Cruz's wife.

Presidential campaigns are historic events that should educate and inspire young citizens.  This year it is becoming quite the opposite.

Trump talks about making America great, but what he's doing is making America hate. 

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.