In polling throughout the election season, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have been routinely labeled the most unpopular presidential candidates in decades.
For Trump, a recently-released video of him bragging in 2005 about forcing himself sexually on women, saying “when you’re a star, they let you do it,” has capped a campaign marked by his controversial statements about everyone from Mexicans to the disabled. The video not only drew fire from Democrats, but also Republican leaders as several, such as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, have backed away from associating themselves with their party’s nominee.
Some politicians and Trump supporters have stood behind their candidate despite any rocky moments, and the Madera County Republican Party can be added to that list.
Jim Watkins, chair of the party’s central committee in the county, said the choice for Trump was a choice for the Constitution.
“I think the strongest reason to choose Trump is an adherence to the Constitution rather than changing policies based on a particular preference or whim, which has been the unfortunate case the last eight years,” Watkins said.
Watkins added Trump’s vow to protect the Constitution could be applied to create a more conservative government, such as through Supreme Court Justices, Trump’s belief in securing America’s borders and stronger enforcement of immigration laws, his support of the rights of gun owners through the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment, and the promise of lowered taxes.
Plus, Watkins said, “there’s been a pattern of corruption for the Clintons over the last 30 years.”
“It’s been a pattern of behavior for the Clintons, pay-for-play, pay for access, which in my mind represents corruption,” Watkins said. “That needs to change.”
On the Clinton side, such contentions are nothing new. Long considered by many as an untrustworthy political insider, Clinton has faced a barrage of criticism for everything from her allegedly criminal use of a private email server in the State Department to continued leaks on unsavory practices in securing her party’s nomination, as well as her suspicious ties to Wall Street.
But Charles Bednar, Secretary-Treasurer of the Oakhurst Democratic Club, said the choice for Clinton is clear.
“Hillary Clinton has been assailed by the Republican Party for her entire political life, and has admitted she developed defense mechanisms that may give a negative impression of her,” Bednar said. “In this era of nonstop media coverage, with every word, gesture, and facial expression dissected endlessly, it is not surprising that critics find fault with her demeanor. But voters who examine her entire record, not just the talking points trumpeted by her opponent, should be comfortable with her fitness to be president.
“Democrats believe the United States, while far from perfect, is still the greatest country on Earth. Donald Trump has built his campaign telling us otherwise, bloviating about issues he doesn’t understand, distorting or ignoring facts, endlessly repeating outright lies like the ‘birther’ nonsense, and pandering to an electorate for whom he has no regard or respect,” Bednar said. “Hillary Clinton has a record of public service going back to her college years. She understands government, and has a genuine passion for service. The Clinton presidency will raise the standard of living for middle-class Americans and assure our place in the international community.”
According to the Madera County Clerk’s office, in District 5 which contains most of Eastern Madera County, there are 16,197 registered voters, with 8,329 registered as Republicans and 4,069 as Democrats. Nearly 3,000 voters are independent or have no party status, and the remaining numbers are filled out by various groups such as the Libertarian or Peace and Freedom parties.