American citizens are faced with a grim task on 8th November, as either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be elected into the Whitehouse to take over from the Obama administration.
This Presidential race has been like no other. In June 2015, Donald Trump startled everyone when he announced that he would be running for the 2016 election. Bernie Sanders, the US version of our own Jeremy Corbyn , took the fight to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Clinton, the eventual Democratic nominee, fell ill with pneumonia, prompting speculation over her health and her ability to lead the country. Trump, the Republican nominee, has used his rallies to issue threats to the rest of the world, specifically the Muslims and the country of Mexico. To top it all off, a nightclub in Orlando was the location of the deadliest terror attack since 9/11 in June this year.
If this were a wrestling match, the result would be a no-contest. Election campaigns full of political point scoring, racial hatred, scandals and low blows have ultimately led the rest of the world to stand in shock as the brutal slugfest continues between Clinton and Trump. The US media haven’t helped matters either. Just like the British media did with the EU referendum, media outlets in the US have diverted the public’s attention to immigrants being the problem for their perceived failures. Syrian refugees have been subject to cruel humiliation from the Trump campaign, with Donald Trump Jr recently comparing Syrian refugees to Skittles.
Neither candidate is electable. Trump is just stupid whilst Clinton cannot get out of her own way. However, I think it goes without saying that Clinton, as bad as she may be, is the better choice to lead America for the next four years. Trump is 70 years old and looking at his only shot to take the most powerful job in the world; Clinton is 68 and is staring at her last chance to become President. Both candidates are looking at last chance saloon. Desperation ekes out of these two candidates, as they have both clawed and scratched their way through a very tiring campaign. They both know that they won’t get another shot at this, so both Trump and Clinton have resorted to underhand, dirty methods to try and achieve their goals.
The Trump Card
The threat of Trump is very real. He is neck and neck with Clinton in the opinion polls, and with the lives debates , he could edge in front of the former secretary of state. Trump’s whining rhetoric about how America is “going down fast” has built up a lot of anger amongst his supporters, with them directing it towards the current administration. Trump also claims that the polls are “rigged” against him and that the media is conspiring against him. This sense of injustice that he creates through constant complaining keeps his supporters fired up and angry at the American Establishment and the illegal immigrants. His assault on immigrants from Mexico brought out the hatred and underlying racism that exists in American society. Trump uses this bitterness from his supporters to attract attention from the media, who are drawn in by his bold statements.
Trump is the perfect candidate to build up grassroots support, which is what he has focused on during his campaign. His main support comes from the uneducated, middle aged, white Americans. The reason why he appeals to these groups is mainly because of his promise to “Make America Great Again”. This slogan is roughly based on the American Dream, which so many of Trump’s supporters find appealing.
As long as Trump keeps his supporters fired up and angry at the “conspiracy” against them from “Crooked Hillary” and the Establishment, then he will continue to get their support. He paints himself as the leader of these people who have been unfairly treated by the Government (this is a prime example of his big ego- which is probably bigger than the bill for his fake tan). He paints himself as the person who will fix all the wrongs, who will bring back prosperity and yes, you guessed it- Make America Great Again.
However, the problem for Trump isn’t winning the election, it’s keeping all his supporters onside once he takes office. The promises Trump has made are quite farfetched, to say the least. The outgoing President, Barack Obama, called Trump’s promise to build a wall on the border of Mexico a “fantasy.” Obama is right. The logistics of the operation are near impossible; so building it, let alone getting Mexico to pay for it, has about a 1% chance of success. When you ask a Trump voter why they are voting for him, they will probably mention something about Syrian refugees or the wall on Mexico’s border. So, when this promise doesn’t materialise, what do you think the average, white American who voted Trump in will think of him? Trump will get a taste of his own medicine, with some anger that was directed at the Obama administration being redirected towards himself.
If Trump can keep his supporters angry and fired up against a rigged Establishment, he should be in with a shout of taking the Whitehouse. However, if he starts to stumble, which is very likely, he could face a backlash the people that elected him.
Trump loves publicity. He loves the attention so much that his policies are designed to make a splash on Fox News, they are designed fit onto a newspaper’s headline. They remind me of Tony Blair’s catchy phrases that had more style than substance. Trump promises to bring back jobs from China and Mexico, but there is no plan on how to do this. Research has found that some manufacturing jobs, located in Asia, will never return back to the US. The title is so appealing, yet the policy threatens to fall at the first hurdle. Trump’s most infamous promise, the policy to build a wall on Mexico’s border, has been looked into, and appears extremely costly. He also wants to deport all the illegal immigrants back to where they came from, but the sheer difficulty of this task means that it would take years to complete. Obamacare has been a success; it has provided healthcare to people across the country who might not have been able to afford it before. Trump’s promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act would take away vital healthcare from those who need it the most, and it would be very costly. Where would Trump get all this money to fund his expensive policies? From the tax cut he promises? In last night’s debate, Trump boasted that he was proposing a tax cut of 20% (from 35% to 15%) on the wealthy and big businesses. He claims that this would bring businesses back into America, but the solution is not that simple. Trump’s policies are very simplistic and do not have a lot of though put into them, so it is very evident that they are destined to fail.
Downfalls of The Donald
Last night’s debate was a classic Trump session. Constant whining about the mess that the USA is supposedly in, followed by personal attacks on his Presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton. Trump started off the debate by painting a picture of a nation in hell, and at times, Clinton struggled to respond effectively. But, as the 96 minute-long debate ran its course, Trump’s mental strength diminished, with him often whinging about the same topic over and over. He failed to intervene and capitalise on Clinton’s lack of confidence early on, and essentially handed her a victory in the debate in the latter stages, with her dismantling his brash statements. Trump failed to keep himself in check as the night wore on, with Clinton using his aggressiveness and negative answers against him.
Trump’s temperament is one of his biggest flaws. we have constantly seen him lose his rag and get baited into traps that expose his lack of ability and political knowhow. Last night’s debate showcased The Donald’s inability to control himself. Late on in the debate, we saw him launch an attack on Clinton over her temperament, only to be dealt a knockout blow from Hillary. Clinton’s knockout blow cleverly reversed the temperament issue onto Trump by saying “A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes as far as I think anyone with any sense about this should be concerned.”
The Donald is disconnected from the majority of the American public. It is quite ironic that the majority of Trump’s supporters- the lower class members of society- are the ones who are most financially disconnected from Trump. This is evidenced by the multiple times that he claims to have received a “small loan” of $1 million from his father to start a business. The claim that $1 million is a small amount of money is ludicrous; many of Trump’s voters, and the majority of the nation, would do anything for that kind of money.
Trump lies. A LOT. Whilst Clinton has the bigger reputation for lying, Trump’s little white lies and backtracking have gotten him into some sticky situations over the course of his campaign. His biggest lie, the lie where he claims to have opposed the Iraq War from the start are false. Records do show that Trump did support the Iraq War, as brought up in last night’s debate by Lester Holt.
Donald’s words don’t do him any favours either. He regularly came out with brash statements at his rallies, such as the time when he threatened “to punch a man in the face.” He had no opposition at his rallies so could easily get away with it, but in the first Presidential debate he came unstuck. I have already stated his biggest mistake from last night- calling out Clinton’s temperament- was political suicide (not that he’d know much about that), as it left Clinton with the opportunity to strike back at him. Trump has a rough edge to him that has regularly shone during this election. He doesn’t speak correctly or in a way that convinces you, he cannot structure an argument and he cannot play the political game. He fell into many traps last night due to his unexperienced past in politics. Whilst he uses his lack of an experience as an advantage, it could eventually be his undoing come 8th November.
30 years and counting
Hillary Clinton has been in the political game for a lonnnngggg time. She knows all the ins and outs of the Whitehouse and she has a profound understanding of American politics. However, she is struggling to overcome Donald Trump, a man who has no experience in politics whatsoever. Hillary’s vast experience is being used against her by her opponent, with Trump claiming that her time in politics has been a “bad experience.”
Clinton’s main support comes from college-educated people, non-whites, the younger generation and women. It’s no surprise that women prefer Clinton over Trump, considering he said that “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” Clinton is adopting most of Obama’s voters, the people you’d typically associate with the Democrats. Clinton has to make sure that she appeals to these voters, and get a high turnout on voting day. She can do this by coming out from behind her political mask , instead of hiding behind it and spewing out politically correct answers. The Obama voters need a reason to believe in her, and her being honest and connecting with the voters would be a great thing for her and the Democrats; it would increase the voter turnout amongst non-whites, a key group that Clinton has to target.
Clinton has churned her way through this election by using a very experienced press team- quite a few members of Clinton’s team were on Obama’s staff. Clinton eventually ground down the challenge of The Bern through her experienced team sending out the right message to the right people, at the right time. Bernie’s message didn’t reach enough people, which is a reason why Clinton, who sent out a clear and precise message to a larger audience, won the Democratic nomination. Clinton says what the polls want; not because she believes it, but because she knows it will win her votes. That tactic doesn’t work anymore, though. Voters want honesty, transparency and integrity. If she is to succeed, Clinton HAS to become more transparent and honest.
Hillary Clinton looks set to continue on the Obama path in terms of policies, but also has a few of her own ideas. Clinton wants to increases taxes for businesses and the rich, to provide a platform for the poorer and small businesses. This policy is right up her voters street, and it looks to provide a fair business for everyone, but as Donald Trump pointed out in the First Presidential Debate, big businesses are taking their jobs elsewhere. It is hard to find the right balance when it comes to taxes. I think that a slight increase would keep things down the Obama path, and maybe the right path. I wouldn’t increase taxes drastically, but Clinton has promised to crack down on multi-million dollar companies in regards to tax. We will have to wait and see whether this is a genuine promise or another public pleaser. Clinton wants to continue with Obamacare, which I think is a very smart move. She also wants to expand the Affordable Care Act, but based on how hard it was for Obama to pass this act, I am unsure whether a rapid expansion of the act will be possible. One of Clinton’s big selling points her policy of introducing paid family and medical leave. This policy is once again the kind of thing her supporters want to hear, but I suspect it will be a rather costly addition onto the already expensive health bill America owns. Clinton also promises to aggressively pursue climate change, but I don’t see this as a high priority for her. Carrying on the work that Obama has started would be a smart move for her, but I see this as more of a people pleaser and vote-getter.
Clinton carries her own hefty suitcase of baggage, just like her opponent. Clinton needs to change the way she goes about her business if she is to succeed. The e-mail scandal had, and still has, the potential to derail her Presidential bid. Clinton’s shiftiness during the whole ordeal raised questions about her transparency and honesty, with Trump taking full advantage of the situation. Clinton has the selling point of being responsible, experienced and competent to run the country. This scandal called into question those characteristics.
30 years in office has provided Clinton with a lot of valuable experience- with Clinton herself claiming she’s the most overqualified President. Anthony Eden was our most overqualified PM; remember him?! Probably not best to mention his tenure to anyone from across the pond. Eden aside, Trump has called into question her decision making on key issues over the last 30 years, in particular the Iraq War. This has led to some voters questioning Clinton’s decision making and legitimacy, something that she must put right.
People don’t trust Hillary. It’s as simple as that. Members of the public feel she is robotic and untrustworthy. She says what the polls what, not necessarily what the public really want. People want to see a more open, honest and connected person, rather than the Establishment politician. Her apology about the e-mail scandal was refreshing to see, but the only way to really convince people is through actions- something that can only be achieved once, and if, she reaches the Oval Office.
The Final Round
I said this before, and I will say it again- neither of the two candidates running for President blows you out the water. Both are bad, with the whining rhetoric from Trump and the constant lies from Clinton. There is a different way to look at things, though. Who would you hate the most to see in the Oval Office come 8th November? My answer to that is Donald Trump. Therefore, I think it would be beneficial to the USA and the world, if Hillary Clinton was to become the next President. I believe that the US are on the right track thanks to Obama (he has neglected some key issues but lets save that for another time), so I would rather see Clinton continue down that path.
I believe that Clinton will take the Presidency by the narrowest of margins, with there being more anti-Trump votes than anti- Clinton votes. Trump has already reshaped the Republican party, with his radicalism prompting a future candidate in a similar form to Ted Cruz to step up and challenge Clinton in 2020.
As we approach the final stretch of this election campaign, there is no clear winner in sight. The questions American voters must ask themselves are these: do they want to see a continuation of Obama’s legacy? Or do they want to see segregation politics and a return to the Ronald Reagan era?
Pleasing the public: Will Clinton take enough votes to emerge victorious come 8th November?