Clinton and Trump Face Double Standards

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Sec. Hillary Clinton and Mr. Donald Trump square off at Hofstra University for the first general election debate in the 2016 presidential race.

Donald Trump is a walking scandal. Not a day goes by without him spouting some blatant falsehood or offensive comment, and he has no political experience to compensate for it. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is a dedicated politician. She has devoted her life to hard work and public service, and is perhaps one of the most qualified presidential candidates in American history. Despite this, Clinton often ends up demonized by the general public. The media turns her mild missteps into major scandals, and she is labeled untrustworthy and unprofessional. While she is unfairly attacked, Trump is permitted to get away with saying and doing outlandish things. This ridiculous double standard needs to end, and the American people must hold Donald Trump fully accountable for his actions.

One of the most popular accusations against Hillary Clinton is that she is a “liar.” A recent Quinnipiac poll found that 55% of likely voters consider her “not honest enough” to be president, and a February Gallup poll found the phrases most commonly associated with her to be “dishonest/liar/don’t trust her/poor character.” Although it is true that Clinton has not always told the truth, she is much more honest than any of these polls would imply. The fact-checking website Politifact found 50% of her statements to be either “True” or “Mostly True”, and only 13% to be “False” or “Pants on Fire.” In contrast, Politifact found a mere 15% of Donald Trump’s statements to be either “True” or “Mostly True,” and a whopping 53% to be “False” or “Pants on Fire.” As these horrendous ratings indicate, Donald Trump lies constantly.

He has claimed that he never supported the Iraq War (he did), that Ted Cruz’s father was connected to the Kennedy assassination (he was not), and that Hillary Clinton started the birther movement (she did not) — and the list doesn’t stop there. This begs the question: why is Clinton considered the dishonest candidate? Clearly, the general public holds her and Trump to very different standards. When Clinton tells one of her occasional lies, the media relentlessly vilifies her. When Trump tells one of his near-daily lies, the media turns the other way. Of course, this is not to say Clinton should not be held accountable when she lies – all politicians should! However, it needs to be recognized that Trump lies far more than Clinton, and the general public should treat them accordingly.

In addition to being held to a higher standard about honesty, Clinton is held to a much higher standard about her language on the campaign trail. At a fundraiser on September 9, Clinton remarked to the audience that half of Trump supporters belong in a “basket of deplorables” on account of their racist and sexist behaviors. This statement immediately received swift backlash from the media, and Clinton was forced to rescind her remarks. Meanwhile, Trump has called Mexicans “rapists,” insulted the immigrant family of a fallen war hero, and said that a judge could not preside over his court case because he is “Mexican” (despite him being born in Indiana). Unlike Clinton, Trump has never been made to apologize. He is not held accountable for his vulgar actions, and as a society we must hold him to the same standard that we hold Hillary Clinton. This system is unfair, and the media should not perpetuate it. This double standard is absolutely absurd. Instead of attacking Clinton for mild gaffes, the media needs to hold Trump accountable for each and every one of his repugnant remarks.

With only two months left in the election cycle, it is hard to imagine media coverage and general perception of Trump and Clinton drastically changing. Trump’s lies and offensive remarks will likely continue to go unchallenged, and Clinton’s gaffes will likely continue to be sensationalized. The toxic double standard that surrounds the two will accompany voters to the polls and could possibly decide the election. The media should be ashamed for their part in creating this double standard and for normalizing the horrific behavior of the racist, dishonest Trump.

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