Why is this presidential race even close?

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The under-statement of the year is that this election season has been a difficult one. Many people look at the two presidential candidates and see a choice between two evils. However, despite all the shenanigans of this process, whether we would like to admit it or not, these two people received the most votes from the American people, and therefore are a reflection of our present values (or lack thereof).

Hillary Clinton was the inevitable and experienced choice of the Democrat Party, and Donald Trump was the pragmatic fighter who would, “Make America Great Again.”

Lest we forget, about a year ago, Donald Trump had all the credentials of an uber-liberal living in the heart of Manhattan for most of his life. He was a top-rated NBC reality television star for nearly a decade, an A-lister in the Democrat political circuit since the 1980s, and a very public billionaire with the eccentric lifestyle to prove it.

During this entire time, the terms racist, sexist, and bigot was never associated with Donald Trump. Early on during the presidential primaries, I thought, there is no way the Democrats were going to be able to label this man as a typical Republican (i.e., racist, sexist, bigot, etc.). But sure enough, they did. Once an adored member of the inner, social and financial elites, Donald Trump has now become a socio-political pariah.

As far as Hillary Clinton is concerned, according to polls, she seems to have garnered the support of every identity group that one can think of — except white men. She has amassed over a billion dollars in campaign donations, not to mention multiplied millions in super PACS. She has the open support of most newspapers and news media personalities on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and several at Fox News.

Behind closed doors, she seems to have the support of most corporations and large banks, most entertainers, and I cannot think of even one Democrat elected official who has spoken out against her candidacy.

For me, this begs two questions. First, why is virtually every influential industry backing Hillary Clinton? Second, with this tsunami of support behind her, why is this presidential campaign even close?

In terms of the former question, I think the answer is two-fold. In the first place, everyone knows that Hillary Clinton represents a continuation of the status quo. Those who are in positions of power and influence enjoy their status and therefore do not wish for it to change. With Donald Trump not being part of the establishment, he is liable to disrupt things, and they cannot run that risk.

Second, there is a belief by many Hillary supporters that, as head of the Democrat party, she will continue with the socialist shift of America. This socio-political transformation of our nation involves, but is not limited to ignoring traditional values — including any reference to a Creator in public life, for these supporters believe the government should be the arbiter of an “enlightened global morality” and social justice.

With such establishment support, why then is Hillary Clinton not running away with this election? Is it because of the trail of lies regarding emails, her unprotected server, Benghazi, Libya, Russia, Iran deal, etc.? Is it because of what appears to be “pay-to-play” deals that enabled her and Bill Clinton to go from “dead-broke” after leaving the White House to garnering a net worth of over $250 million and their Clinton Foundation worth over $1 billion all while being a “public servant”?

Perhaps it is because she often seems to be inauthentic and scripted during debates and interviews. For example, she says one thing at private fundraisers with wealthy corporations funding her campaign but then vilifies them publicly and says she’s going to make them pay; or when her accent changes when she speaks to black audiences and tells us on a radio show that she keeps hot sauce in her purse because she likes spicy food … really?!

The simple truth as to why this election is even this close is that the Democrat Party has so successfully demonized the Republican Party to the extent that nearly 40 percent of Americans will vote for the “D” no matter how corrupt, deceitful, and manipulative their Democrat candidate is.

Still, I do think Donald Trump is a different kind of Republican candidate. Undoubtedly, his past and aspects of his character are rife with flaws and he challenges the political establishment and his political opponents in “unconventional (and often times personal) ways.”

Honestly, one of the reasons I have not written an opinion in so long is because of issues I have had regarding his candidacy. Nevertheless, there are a few things I do appreciate about Donald Trump.

He is unscripted; he is a fighter; and he challenges the political establishment, who, to many of us, seem to look out for their own self-interests rather than those of the American people.

As an American, I think Donald Trump is simply tired of America being portrayed as “losers” on the global stage, and out of a sense of nationalistic pride wants to make America as successful and great as his own businesses.

Therefore, I hope all my Democrat, Republican, and Independent friends first do a gut-check before voting this Tuesday and then pull the lever for Donald Trump.

[Bonnie B. Willis is co-founder of The Willis Group, LLC, a Learning, Development, and Life Coaching company here in Fayette County and lives in Fayetteville along with her husband and their five children.]