Sucky and suckier

Kevin Binversie confirms what discerning voters should already know:

The two major party choices the American people face this November flat out suck.

That’s not just my opinion, that’s the opinion of a focus group conducted in Brookfield by professional pollster Peter Hart (famous for doing the NBC News / Wall Street Poll). According to the Washington Post , “fear” and “loathing” aren’t just reserved for the likes of Hunter S. Thompson ; they’re how the average American voter is feeling as Election Day ticks closer and closer.

For a small group of undecided voters here, the presidential choices this year are bleak: Hillary Clinton is a “liar” with a lifetime of political skullduggery and a ruthless agenda for power, while Donald Trump is your “drunk uncle” who can’t be trusted to listen even to the good advice he’s paying for.

Describing the election as a cesspool, 12 swing voters participating in a focus group Thursday in this battleground state were deeply negative about both candidates, starkly describing their choice this year as one between a candidate they loathe (Clinton) and one they fear (Trump).

Clinton was described as untrustworthy even by people who are leaning toward voting for her . Although 11 of the 12 predicted she will win, the ambivalence or outright distaste for the Democratic candidate was a dominant and recurring theme in a two-hour discussion in this Milwaukee suburb.

Trump was described as a bully, an egomaniac, a lion in the zoo, proud of his luxuriant mane. Even among those leaning toward voting for him, more than one participant criticized his lack of a filter — and more than one questioned the value of his board room experience.

This isn’t new. We mentioned similar feelings in our“Quick Takes” regarding the June Marquette Law poll.

Marquette Law Poll director Charles Franklin said it best during his presentation, “These are the two most unpopular presidential candidates on record. I had to go all the way back to former President Jimmy Carter to find numbers even remotely close.”

“Remotely close” is negatives in the 50s and 60s. Donald Trump has an unfavorable rating of 64%. Hillary Clinton is right there behind him with an unfavorable rating of 58%. Numbers like this all but guarantee a contest between the two of them where issues will take a back seat and the world’s greatest unpopularity contest will take its place.

All of that and then some came out in spades in this focus group. Here’s how some of the focus group described Hillary Clinton:

The group returned several times to the issue of Clinton’s use of a private email server for her government work as secretary of state, and to the general issue of whether she can be trusted.

“Liar” was the most common word selected by participants asked to give a one-word assessment.

“She’s a smart woman with a lot of experience,” but there are too many questions about Clinton’s priorities, said Beth Gramling, 50, a payroll analyst whose recent voting history matched Jones’s. “You can’t trust her. The trust to know between right and wrong, and integrity. I don’t think that she has that, and it’s a shame.”

Here’s how others in the focus group described Trump:

Steve Watson, a 35-year-old retail operations manager who was among the firmest Trump supporters, still described himself as “apprehensive.”

“We know Donald Trump has good intentions, that he can fix the country,” said Watson. “But he has to understand that this isn’t a boardroom. Everything he says as a candidate for the American presidency is taken and it can be construed a thousand different ways.”

Participants called the Republican businessman reckless, inexperienced and mouthy, a potential threat to U.S. stature and influence abroad. Nearly all condemned statements Trump has made about a Mexican-American judge and a Muslim mother whose U.S. soldier son died in Iraq.

Not surprisingly with attitudes like that, many are looking at third-party candidates.

Asked to rate how things are going for the country on a scale of minus 10 to plus 10, the lowest rating was a minus six and the highest was plus five. Eight of the 12 people predicted that conditions for the country will worsen.

Four of the group said they are seriously considering voting for a third-party candidate.

The choice is very, very bleak America. We only have ourselves to blame for it.

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