The one candidate that can save both Democrats and Republicans
2016 has presented the world with an unexpected reactionary political direction. In Europe, the rise of right winged nationalism, as a reaction to the EU’s mismanagement of the “Refugee crisis”, has culminated in the shock vote of the UK to leave the European Union, effective by March 2017.
In the US, this phenomenon has been paralleled by the rise of the current Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump. Who through his rhetoric of division and fear has been able to secure a springboard into mainstream political discourse building on a disenfranchised population still reeling from the last economic meltdown which, ironically, proponents of the school of deregulation he so closely covets has caused.
This is not to reduce Trump’s political appeal to his race baiting and bigotry. Trump’s political appeal has its foundation in policies that, although would not create the outcomes he speaks off, provide a strong alternative to the policies of internationalism that has left conservatives and liberals alike in disarray.
Facing him, in this year’s presidential contest, is a candidate who has extensive political experience in both domestic and international arenas, Hilary Clinton. Her nomination, however, has been marred by several elements. First, the behaviour of the Democratic Party in the Primary elimination process which saw her come out as a victor against her progressively liberal and non-conventional adversary, Bernie Sanders. Second, through her complicit behaviour against national security policy in using a private server to communicate confidential information; a charge which resulted in a contested verdict as many have claimed could only result due to her status. Third, and perhaps most important, is her recorded interventionist approach to foreign policy, especially in the Middle East.
These three items have left Hilary Clinton lacking when it comes to representing progressive liberal policies, and have reinforced her as an “Institutional” and centrist candidate who will do little to change the current state of affairs if elected, and worse off, seems will receive complete impunity in the event that she diverges from rule of law.
This has not only sought to affirm Trump supporters but has also alienated Democratic voters who are now turning to independent candidates—a foolish move for anyone seeking change.
Irrespective of the above, the political geography of these elections leave one, and only one, rational course of actions for voters that, in a strange hap stance, serves both the liberal and conservative agenda.
Trump’s political approach is in no way consistent with classical Republican discourse. His rise within the ranks has baffled even the leaders of his party, although later acquiescing to “unify” the party. Unfortunately, his appeal is not inconsistent with outrage towards globalisation, internationalism, and general failures of liberalism in providing a strong sense of national direction away from divisive identity politics, not to excuse Trump of practicing divisive politics himself. This, combined with a lack of strong competitors during the Republican primary left a clear path to victory for the Trump campaign.
However, it is not only a lack of qualified competitors and liberal weakness that have propelled Trump. Both his policies and populist language strongly appeal to those who are feeling a loss of nationalistic identity. His promise to reinvigorate lost American manufacturing jobs, fight unfair international trade practices, and lower taxes speak directly to a long lost nationalistic pride and have their roots in conservative protectionist ideals that are, on the surface, rationalistic and relatable to all.
Unfortunately, the reason that America has fallen victim of a loss of manufacturing and skilled labour jobs, among others, is not an exclusive national phenomenon. It’s a result of automation and the rise of the service industry, with skilled labour suffering as a result of both the failures of the US education system, any re-skilling efforts, and the slow recovery from the last financial crisis. As such, Trump’s protectionist policies will fail at reviving something that has been long dead, and his promises to remove regulations, fight against “unfair” trade deals, and boost manufacturing; policies which provide him with the greatest appeal and presents voters with an attractive incentive to overlook his rash ways, will do nothing but isolate the US from the international community it has so earnestly built.
A failure in providing any real policy solutions, combined with Trump’s rash communication methods, socially divisive rhetoric, and appreciation of autocratic foreign leaders, make him a suicide candidate for, what Republicans like to keep reminding us, the party of Lincoln. His nationalistic appeal extends no longer than his deep misunderstanding of basic economics, and the US constitution.
With all of this, Trump has taken the Republican Party away from anything recognizable, although not strange to the path of Republican exceptionalism, and it would be best for traditional Republican voters to jump ship and do something radical, vote Democrat.
A landslide victory for Hilary Clinton will help ensure that the rhetoric propagated by the likes of Trump remains buried deep underground and provide ample ground for a classical Republican revival that would not only save the party, as compared with a Trump win, but will also provide a fighting chance for a Republican candidate within 4 years. Odds that ring much better than a four year Trump presidency coming head to head with a future Democratic nominee.
On the Democrat side of the equation, Hilary Clinton’s centrism has alienated many Bernie Sanders supporters who were eager to throw their support behind a true liberal transformation of both the party and the country. Their response to Clinton’s nomination has ranged from switching to Republican, supporting Third party candidates, to hesitantly endorsing Hilary.
What these voters fail to recognize is the strength available to them in the democratic process, which they seem to forget extends well beyond every 4-year presidential election.
The nomination of Hilary Clinton as opposed to Bernie Sanders may have been a blow to progressive politics, but in the aftermath, Hilary has proven her plasticity in adopting increasingly liberal policies, most notably on college tuition. Continuous pressure on her from Democrat voters will help not only progress liberal ideals but rejuvenate the entire political and democratic process, ensuring that the voice of voters may be loudest during elections, but continues to resonate as citizens throughout an elected officials term.
The strength of this statement has been recognized by Bernie Sanders as he continues to push voters to stick with the party, promising to keep his revolution alive and well after securing a win for Hilary. The key for its success, however, is no less than a resounding victory and mandate for Hilary Clinton, so as to not hinder future elections at other levels of government and to ensure that she is empowered as president to push for the liberal ideals sought after.
A rock and a hard place
The metaphorical coin toss of the US presidential elections has become a defining moment for a world eagerly seeking to find either affirmation on the degradation of global political discourse, through the election of Donald Trump, or a sign of an impending worldwide recovery of the ideals that the US has historically sought to uphold and propagate, through the election of Hilary Clinton.
With this balance at stake, liberals in the US should, and must, rally around Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States of America. Voting for obscure independent candidates will do nothing but dis-empower a Democratic, and indeed a liberal mandate that has shown signs of plasticity should the same voters who seem adamant in having their voice heard every four years engage in active citizenship.
For Republicans, Trump’s policies will do little to deliver on the recovery so eagerly promised, and his rhetoric can easily be described as unconstitutional. Rallying around a Democratic nominee may seem counter intuitive, but will push for an absolute rejection of Trump’s take on Republicanism and push the revival of classical Republican rhetoric away from exceptionalism.
This election contest has clearly pointed out voters discontent with the current state of political affairs in the country, and rightfully so, and it is only through the election of Hilary Clinton as President that the rejuvenation of democratic involvement as a whole, within the US’s system of governance, can be achieved.
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