Whatever the result of the upcoming US elections, it will be remembered for being a particularly nasty campaign and for raising the shadow of far-right politics in parallel with Europe. The likely, and predicted, winner is Hillary Clinton — although more for being the lesser of two evils rather than a preferable option. The sheer lunacy of Donald Trump’s policies should have Clinton leading by a country mile but this is not the case. So what has happened and what does the future hold for US, and global, politics?
On the Democratic side, things seemed simple enough. Hillary Clinton, practically White House alumni, and Bernie Sanders, the scruffy, lovable, somewhat of a socialist, Senator providing a bit of opposition but not really thought to be the likely Democratic nominee.
So what has happened and what does the future hold for US, and global, politics?
On the Republican side, a line-up of political misfits. Ted Cruz, so dislikeable that even George Bush couldn’t stand him; Chris ‘I can walk and chew gum at the same time’ Christie; Marco Rubio, trying to get to grips with climate change and Ben Carson, whose grip on reality seemed to be fading (see pyramids were grain stores, not tombs). And then there was him. It started out as what many thought to be a thinly-veiled ego trip for the Trump. Descending escalators, oozing confidence and with, no doubt, grandiose ideas of leadership and visions of leading the US from the desert like some kind of prophet, Trump has gone on to tear the system apart. Literally.
Every aspect of party policy, political etiquette (if there is such a thing), even just simple manners, have fallen by the wayside, condemning this upcoming election as a desperately inadequate, woeful and vicious campaign to the annals of history. Unfortunately, it won’t stay there. US politics has come out the other side more like a kitsch, grotesque contest for the most likeable, wretched person rather than focus on those things that matter. Bit like an episode of the Apprentice.
The collusion between Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to undermine the Bernie Sanders campaign has left the Democratic Party splintered. The DNC funnelled money meant for a number of other campaigns to the Clinton campaign and denied Sanders’ people access to the vital DNC voter database. The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), which looks to protect election integrity, has filed a complaint over alleged violation of campaign finance laws.
Hillary Clinton is a friend of Wall Street and the Clinton Foundation itself is the subject of many rumours, such as big donors being granted favours by the US State Department as well as donations from countries that commit human right abuses. Uranium One and UBS are just some of the companies to have benefitted from Clinton’s time in the State Department while making large donations to the foundation. The scandal surrounding the private server used for sending classified emails has never really be satisfactorily put to rest, an inexcusable blunder. Rumours on the internet allude to a long list of people connected to the Clintons having met untimely ends, but the numbers involved would practically make them some sort of Mafia dynasty.
Uranium One and UBS are just some of the companies to have benefitted from Clinton’s time in the State Department
Trump, meanwhile, is attempting to bully his way into the White House. His hate-baiting and wild accusations are catering to a demographic more inclined to find someone to blame for their hardships than look for a way towards improvement. His policies are in many ways Republican, cutting taxes which will ultimately benefit the wealthy more than lower-income families, attacking Islam and an economic drive that may well drive the US back into isolationism. The ‘deplorables’ are getting their chance to voice their thoughts but largely come off as racist and xenophobic while Trump’s claims that no one respects women more than he does sound pathetic.
Trump’s claims that no one respects women more than he does sound pathetic
And for the future? Politics runs the risk of becoming more like a celebrity contest than a serious selection process for the leader of one of the world’s most powerful countries. This isn’t to say that personality hasn’t always played a role in US politics (think Reagan, JFK) or corruption hasn’t helped in some way (Nixon) but at the forefront there has always remained an element of efficiency — to ensure that the President can at least be taught to behave in a certain manner, that the President knows who not to offend outright and can at least indicate that he (up until now) has the nation’s best interests at heart (even if this is unlikely). Trump would blow all of that out of the water. But what he has done is ensure that the Republican Party will never let a candidate like him represent the party again.
As suggested before, Hillary Clinton will likely be the winner but this victory won’t come easily. In Sanders, many people have seen what could be and next time round will be looking for a similar candidate. The same goes for Trump, disappointing though it is, as he too represents a part of society that longs for a straight-shooter.
What matters also is that this, and future elections, aren’t paraded around like some form of entertainment. The media has spent too much time focusing on the negative and letting candidates do the same thing. This election will be won on personality. It has neglected to tackle some of the real issues that are affecting American society. When the time comes and the new president enters the Oval Office, most US citizens will barely have an idea what to expect. Americans will be worse off because of it.
Featured image via Newsweek