It looks like this election is going to have to be settled by the voters. That’s the note from the editor of the Sun. This is not the first election in which he’s made that point to those who pull the editorial oars in this galley, but it never seemed more apt. It certainly came through loud and clear in the debate last night. Hillary Clinton was smooth, but Donald Trump – in a performance that was all the more remarkable for the ditch he’s in – made it clear that the election isn’t over yet.
That has got to be infuriating to the press and the political elites. They have been trying, since the day Mr. Trump declared, to write off his candidacy as a folly. The airing of the recording of the future Republican nominee speaking of women in the most inappropriate terms would be, the press has been assuring us, the end of it. The Times declared him without hope. Yet in the wake of the showdown in St. Louis, it looks like that won’t be decided until the voters deal with it themselves.
This difficulty arises from the central circumstance of this election. Mrs. Clinton keeps declaring for what she calls the “high road.” In her best moments, she is wonderfully warm and articulate. The ideology of the Democratic Party, however, has given us eight years of economic stagnation and veered us onto the road to socialism. The Democrats’ signature program, Obamacare, is in disarray, as is its foreign policy. Mrs. Clinton shares responsibility for both of these failures.
Mr. Trump keeps to what Mrs. Clinton calls the “low road,” but he is running on a more substantive – and more humane – platform of law and order, military strength, tax cuts, deregulation, and economic growth. The irony is that growth is better for minorities than the dole and subsidies that Mrs. Clinton promises. By creating jobs, economic growth is the only strategy that offers a solution to the immigration “problem.” It would create a climate in which we would need immigrants of all sorts.
The high road is not high enough to detour around the issues Donald Trump is raising. We don’t yet know where it will lead in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Coal Country, Colorado, Wisconsin, Florida, and the other swing states. It is exactly the sort of problem that requires millions of minds to decide. Mrs. Clinton might win, but the idea that she and the press could untangle this knot by declaring Mr. Trump simply unfit and without resort to the voters looks this morning to be hubristic.