Presidential elections in the US
As many people worldwide are now talking about the upcoming presidential elections in the US (the american people will vote a president and a vicepresident for the next four years), our three main authors here on „L for Liberty“ will give their own stance on the topic and explain which candidate they’d personally vote for and why.
Trump is a phenomenon, not a political one, but a social one. He will only be the first of other wanna-be-leaders who will (and are already) copying his style – with similar success. But why? That’s why he and his followers are interesting. The tensions between groups, their antagonism on each other and everything what seems to be „pc“, the uproar against openness and everything different – we face the same problems here in Europe and parties like AfD & FN are on the rise. Trump is not a presidential candidate like everyone else, he is a symptom. And as every symptom he is just a visual marker for an authoritarian trend, a cultural ideology which is about to gain weight in the western world.
The next president of the US will have to face that and has to try to reunite the different groups, races and ideologies. Trump will only support his peers and the tensions will grow to a point where unheard legitimate criticism will change into terrorism and so the vicious circle closes. Clinton knows all that, hopefully she will listen, but I doubt it. Clinton will continue Obama’s line with all the good (a liberal dominated SCOTUS has at least brought a bit of progress the last years) and the bad (drone attacks, wars, surveillance, TTIP) and more. Nonetheless I hope that Trump is stopped, because at least Clinton will give space to progress. The blue states with a sure democratic majority may go for Dr. Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, just to show tribute for their work. They seem to have a better understanding of the problems we will face tomorrow and that we cannot solve them with the instruments of yesterday. The swing states hopefully run for Hillary Clinton, every lost vote strengthens Trump. And the red states may ask themselves the question if Trump really represents the basic ideals of the Grand Old Party.
I actually think what we are living is the end of the hegemony of the United States on the international stage, that has had a serious legitimacy problem (including internally) since the war in Iraq in 2003. This makes it all a bit scary, because of the uncertainty and the growing unpredictability of politics. It’s practically general consensus that this is about the worst electoral campaign in the US ever, and certainly there appears to be a degradation of the quality of political discourse. It is true that Trump’s expressed affection for authoritarian methods and rulers (Putin, Erdogan, the CPC’s crackdown on the Tiananmen protests…) are quite worrying. On the other hand, Clinton’s track record, particularly as foreign secretary, is quite bad too; may I only remind our readers of the disastrous and superfluous war in Libya. Both candidates moreover seem to change their positions quite often, which makes it rather hard to predict what is actually going to happen. Both could be considered to be pathological liars, but well, I suppose that comes with the job. Nevertheless, I do believe that the institutions in the US are quite strong and that an Idi Amin-style strong man rule would be blocked anyway by the Congress, the Senate, the individual states, the Supreme court etc., not to mention the antiauthoritarian streak in the american culture that is still not entirely gone. There is thankfully a rather large division of power in the US (actually the individual states and even city councils have a more lot more regulatory power than you might think), and the President is actually not as all powerful as people believe, or as the candidates actually want people to believe. Just look at what Obama did actually realize from his program and what he couldn’t…
I think that Donald Trump is the most unqualified candidate ever (has he even read the Constitution?) and his rude, vulgar behaviour towards political opponents is disgusting. He has not even a real program, he just says whatever comes up his narcisstic mind (including racist and misogynist remarks), he is a whim-whorshipper and his economic messages even contradict those of his co-runner Mike Pence. Many of his self-proclaimed „politically incorrect“ followers write abominable, hateful things on social media and I don’t want to see those people winning. So, I understand the #nevertrump people very good and I get it, when someone casts a strategical vote for the „lesser evil“.
Nevertheless, for many reasons, I couldn’t vote for Hillary myself. She’s a pathological liar, a crony and I completely disagree with her on economic issues. I couldn’t vote for Jill Stein either, because of my general problems with the Greens.
Before 2004, I was rather neutral and not very interested in american politics. In 2004, I endorsed Kerry, mainly because of my opposition to the Iraq war and the Religious Right, but he lost to Bush jr. In 2008, I endorsed Barack Obama, but he split the country more than to unite it and his concrete policies and his rhetoric often were at odds with mine. In 2012 I would have voted for Gary Johnson. I agree with most of his positions. So, as he is running again this time, together with his running mate William Weld, I proudly go for Johnson/Weld 2016.