Henderson: More To Story Than Obama’s Endorsement

It’s a Tale Of Two Candidates And It’s Not Over Yet


There were a lot of headlines this week when President Barack Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton. In other news, it gets hot in Florida this time of year and often it rains. We cut now to a live report …

But seriously, did not everyone on the planet understand the president was completely behind Hillary and will do anything he can to help her win, including not-so-gently nudging Bernie Sanders to the sideline? The endorsement was staged for maximum roll out, though, and in that sense it had the desired effect.
Even Sanders’ sort-of conciliatory tone toward Clinton suggests a party prepared to unite behind one candidate. She made sure to praise his campaign during a victory speech Tuesday when she officially became the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Compare and contrast that to Republicans.

Even House Speaker Paul Ryan’s mealy-mouthed “endorsement” of Trump did nothing to quell the notion that the GOP has a nominee it wishes desperately would go away. What bugs Republicans even more is that Trump, for now, holds all the cards.

He received about 13.5 million votes during the primaries, more than any Republican in history. It has been noted that he also had more Republicans vote against him than any GOP candidate ever, but that’s a little misleading because the party’s field once had 16 people and that splits the votes in a lot of ways.

Let’s not quibble, though.

Millions of Americans have already decided they are going to vote for Trump in November. Demographics and electoral math says that probably won’t be enough for him to win, but he has gotten this far by playing loose with the truth and dishing out personal insults and racially tinged attacks by the truck load.

Why does anyone think he would change now?

For all its success, Trump’s campaign has exposed an ugly underside of American attitudes toward race, sex and good ol’ fashioned justice for all.
It’s not so much that Trump is making all these racist statements, and, good Lord, you should know them well enough that I don’t have to repeat them here. The bigger story is how millions of Americans, by voting for Trump, are giving either tacit or full-throated approval to his campaign of bigotry and recklessness.

There was a lot of chatter when Clinton broke through the so-called glass ceiling to become the first woman ever to top a major party’s presidential ticket.

But I wonder if Clinton’s ascension is a bigger deal than Republicans choosing someone many are calling reckless and racist to lead their charge to the White House. To me, it’s a closer call than you might think.
When was the last time someone with a realistic chance to be president said, as Trump told the New York Times, it would be OK with him if Saudi Arabia and South Korea had nukes.

But he also has said that dismantling the Iran nuclear treaty will be his top priority. So Saudi Arabia with the bomb is good (didn’t the 9/11 plot originate there?) but … oh, never mind.

Maybe Clinton is, as Trump asserts, “crooked.” If so, is that better than being racist and maybe a little (or a lot) crazy?

That’s a much bigger story going forward than whether the president endorses the nominee of his own party. And it’s about to get real.

After nearly 42 years as both a sports and news columnist, along with a variety of other roles, at the Tampa Tribune, Joe Henderson brings his slant on politics and sports to NewsTalkFlorida.com and SportsTalkFlorida.com. Originally from the small town of Lebanon, Ohio, Joe resides outside of Tampa with Elaine, his wife of more than 35 years. Their two grown sons stop by when there is time, and their faithful Watch Cat, Sassy is always on guard.