In a mad year for world politics, the American presidential election has to be up there with some of the maddest elections of all time. With two candidates from two parties, both of whom have very different problems going into the final two months of this election, one will end up as the president of one of the most powerful countries in the world.
Barack Obama has served his two terms in office, so the Democrat party has had to plump for a new candidate. After a tough primary system, Hilary Clinton narrowly beat Bernie Sanders to become the first woman ever to be nominated by a major party. Clinton has a lot of political experience, she was secretary of state under Obama from 2009-2013, Senator of New York from 2001-2009 and First Lady, beside husband Bill Clinton, from 1993-2001. The amount of time she has spent in various political positions has led to her being viewed critically by some of the electorate as another part of the political establishment but this potentially means that her policies are realistic and somewhat recognizable from those of her party’s previous nominees.
Clinton has embraced being the first female presidential nominee, her acceptance speech began with a glass ceiling shattering on the screen above her. She has said she will completely shut down the wage gap that exists in America.
Taxes has been one of the big issues of this campaign, Clinton says she will only raise taxes for the wealthiest group of people in America, those who earn 5 million dollars or over and she won’t raise the taxes of the poorest or middle class of America. Along with not raising taxes, she plans to raise the minimum wage from $7.50 to $12 an hour.
Clinton’s campaign has been blighted by a controversy surrounding her email use while serving as secretary of state. She had been using a private server to send government emails, rather than using government mandated email accounts. The emails have been marked as classified for the moment, but the FBI have said Clinton had been careless but recommended that no charges be made against her.
The Republican primary system to decide their nominee was brutal, shot after shot was taken by various candidates, but the most noteworthy throughout was the eventual nominee, businessman Donald Trump. He has been causing controversy since he announced his candidacy for the nomination in June 2015, when he announced plans to build a 40-foot wall on the US-Mexico border. During the speech, he said that Mexicans who came to America were bringing drugs and crime and also labelled them rapists. He implied that journalist Megyn Kelly was asking him awkward questions because she was menstruating, named Obama and rival Clinton as the founders of the so called Islamic State, didn’t condemn a former leader of the KKK supporting his campaign and his wife Melania Trump’s speech at the acceptance of his nomination for the Republican candidacy was plagiarised from a speech by Michelle Obama.
All of this means that his actual campaign promises have taken a back seat but he does actually have some nonetheless. The wall between Mexico and America is one of his immigration policies, along with setting up special ‘deportation squads’ which would require companies to hire an American ahead of someone not from America. He plans to reduce taxes for everyone, most of this reduction coming from dropping income tax. One of the areas he has concentrated on is America’s relationship with China. He will place a 45% import tax on all Chinese products after declaring China a currency manipulator, claiming that they have been selling foreign currency for their own, influencing the exchange rate in their favour. He believes this will force China to make an economic bargain with America.
Trump’s campaign has had so much controversy, it almost seems to help his campaign at this point. He himself said that he could walk out into the street and shoot someone and his campaign wouldn’t be harmed. He is a love or hate person, but he does have a large following, despite having offended everyone almost everyone at this point. Trump represents something other than the current political establishment – that appeals to a lot of Americans.
Clinton leads Trump by three percentage points, but her lead has been 8 points at certain points of this campaign. Part of my brain says that Clinton should win, she’s lead almost every poll and estimate up until this point. However there is something called a ‘silent vote’ in America, which some Republicans claim will give Trump the lead overall. The silent vote is supposed to represent the people outside the polls, the majority of whom would supposedly vote for Trump. Whether this comes to fruition is anyone’s guess at this point, but with two months of the campaign to go, this election really could go either way.