In July, the Caine Prize for African Writing was awarded to Lidudumalingani Mgombothi. The 10,000 pounds sterling award recognizes African writers for short stories written in English. His story, “Memories We Lost,” is graced with beautifully expressed sentences, and one in particular is apt for the role often played by governments: “Secrets stay buried for so long, but one day they rise to open like seeds breaking free from the earth.”
History’s judgment never ends, sometimes overtaking itself into the present. Donald Trump has already defined this administration and Hillary Clinton’s role as wreaking “death and destruction” from Libya to Syria and Iraq, and being instrumental through misguided policy in the formation of ISIS. The seeds are breaking free already.
A lightning two-hour visit to Mexico had Mr. Trump helicoptering in to the Presidential palace for an hour meeting with President Pena Nieto– who has his own problems including the latest, accusing him of plagiarizing a third of his law degree thesis. The meeting was followed by a conciliatory speech, only to return home to breathe fire into his Arizona supporters later the same evening.
Whatever he is doing seems to be working. The latest poll conducted by Fox News shows him trailing Hillary Clinton 39 to 41 percent, within the poll’s 3 percent margin of error. In other words a statistical tie. Quite a recovery given his sinking poll numbers after his contretemps with Ghazala Khan the Gold Star Mother. And all the more remarkable when his ad blitz planned for the Fall has not commenced.
Yes, he is struggling in the battleground states but the ‘crooked Hillary’ epithet keeps rolling along gathering more moss. A Washington Post/ABC News poll taken at the end of August shows a record number of Americans now dislike her. Only 41 percent of Americans view her favorably while 56 percent have an unfavorable impression. It is her poorest showing in a quarter century of public life.
In the meantime, the noisome, conflict-of-interest challenged Clinton Foundation is in the news again (together with Hillary although she did nothing wrong in this incident) for a series of emails by Abigail Disney to Mrs. Clinton when she was Secretary of State. Ms. Disney, who was a large donor (between $100,000 and $250,000) sought to push her women’s rights agenda at the Foundation. These emails were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, and a federal judge has now ordered a review and release by September 13 of another 14,900 emails, withheld by Mrs. Clinton and extracted from her server by the FBI who delivered it to the State Department. More fireworks to come?
The question now is can Trump win? Here is a man who ran against 16 establishment candidates in the primaries scaling the Republican fortress as an outsider, while being mocked by the press and given a zero chance by the punditry. Here is a man also caricatured as a buffoon and a bigot when in reality, like many who have built a large business, he is likely to be neither. While one may not agree with his views, he is most probably, sane, levelheaded and having the intelligence expected of a Wharton alumnus.
He has also been smart enough to identify and exploit a void on the political scene ignored by the rest. Now as a further boost to his campaign, 88 retired generals and admirals have signed an open letter of endorsement.
The presidential debates will soon be upon us. There will be cold logic from Clinton, a mastery of the facts, versus the emotional appeal of Trump and a recitation of Clinton foibles — reinforcing by then his ad campaign.
Where would you put your money?