- Rachel Ray, Washington
1 November 2016 • 10:38pm
It is the biggest unpopularity contest in America’s recent history with sixty percent of voters now viewing Hillary Clinton unfavorably while opponent Donald Trump offends fifty-eight.
But not to be forgotten on November 8 is the election of some 450 Congressmen to the US House of Representatives.
For first-time Republican candidate Charles Hernick running in northern Virginia’s heavily Democratic District 8, November 8 will be “a sad day for American voters because they have been let down by the system".
"They will be voting against Donald Trump or against Hillary Clinton, not for someone. Whoever gets into the White House will have a diminished mandate to govern,” the 35-year-old explains.
According to conventional campaign wisdom, Mr Hernick’s standard bearer should be Mr Trump. But for the environmental consultant and would-be Congressman a President Trump would be like having Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi in the White House.
“The President is supposed to be a role model for the country. But Donald Trump has brought the bar so low that he’s making Hillary Clinton look like a shining star. When, in fact, a Hillary Clinton presidency is already damaged goods,” he said.
And the goods were even more damaged on Friday by the FBI’s bombshell decision to reopen the Clinton home-brew server investigation.
For Mr Hernick, it is “super concerning”. “If Hillary wins, her Presidency will be immediately hobbled by these ongoing investigations and email leaks. Both candidates are stumbling and struggling to get to the finish line. It's bad for America to have a president assume office having nearly exhausted the American people's bandwidth for scandal. Hillary already had a trust problem. And with the new inquiries... it's is all bad news for her campaign,” he said
But despite the presidential “race to the bottom”, Mr Hernick’s campaign spirit seems undaunted. And why shouldn’t it be when his true role model is Republican President Theodore Roosevelt.
An environmental consultant with an international practice, Mr Hernick has special concern about climate change and noted that his Democratic opponent did not show up at the public forum to debate him on this issue.
Last week he received an endorsement from former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, now a resident of Virginia, who said: "Charles' background and experiences around the world make him the type of candidate we need to represent Virginia's 8th Congressional District."
Mr Hernick says Mrs Fiorina’s support is important because “I view her as one of the top tier people offering leadership in the Republican Party. She accepts the science on climate change and is willing to discuss how to solve the problem.”
Mr Hernick does have fears about Mr Trump having access to America’s nuclear code or Mrs Clinton being asleep at the time of another Benghazi-type attack, but he takes heart in the fact that he is running for a different branch of government, noting “the (US) Constitution says that Congress authorises military interventions and decides who America’s enemies are”.
The race has had its inspiring moments such as a campaign fundraiser, held by a gay married couple in their Virginia home. European Union Ambassador David O’Sullivan requested to attend as an observer only. “It was a great feel good moment,” says Mr Hernick. “We discussed real issues not personalities and the Ambassador seemed impressed by the people from different ethnic groups, the LGBTQ community, men and women, young and old who attended the fundraiser.”.......