Until some time back if one were to ask that if there was any possibility of nail-biting finish to the US elections, the answer would have been met with a chuckle and an obvious no. However, the trends have begun to change at least at the time when this article is being written and how will Americans vote on November 8th will be curious thing to watch out for.
With the United States Presidential elections polling date less than a week away, the world’s oldest democracy is all set to take to the polls and obviously decide the fate of not just its own people but million others it affects through its plans and policies. Much had we heard about the cautions and repercussions if Donald Trump were to get elected, however, the trend cannot be ignored that his popularity has shot up in the recent times. A recent survey shows that though Ms. Clinton remains well ahead, her popularity and support has suffered and has seen a declining trend, while that of Mr. Trump has seen a slight upward trend. Though the gap bar between the two remains significantly high, it would be insincere to ignore the rise in popularity of Mr. Trump and no doubt, most importantly, the reason behind such trends. Going back to 1987, when it can be said that Mr. Trump made his first political move, he made a call for protectionist regime in a TV interview, where he emphasized on high costs of entering in the US markets. Through the debates it becomes clear when he presses for a case of high tax regime for countries like Mexico, who take away the jobs of the Americans. So he tends to suggest that more restrictive regime has to be put in place for the other countries because Americans are suffering at the gain of other countries like Mexico (Mexico prominently figures in his examples and given his call for construction of a wall to prevent immigration). He talks of slashing down the corporate tax rates, while his counterpart focuses more on the welfare of the middle-class, small businesses, which could be seen as a base phrase in her speeches. The image which is sought to be formed by Ms. Clinton’s campaign team of Mr. Trump is of someone who is pro-wealthy class and a preacher of trickle-down economics, who is barely concerned with the impacts and perspectives pertaining to the middle-class Americans. Ms. Clinton through her speeches has tried to invoke her deep concerns for the welfare of the middle-class and her stand becomes clearer when through the lens of the alleged pro-wealthy stance of Mr. Trump she repeatedly asks him to disclose his income, in turn accountability of the people, trying to portray how the wealthy class has always tried to suppress the aspirations of the middle-class Americans. To this, the Mr. Trump comes up with the email controversy which has resurfaced again with less than a week to go to the polls, at the time when this article is being written.
The recent email spat could be said to be one of the reasons contributing to the fall in the lead which Ms. Clinton had. She has tended to admit that she did make a ‘mistake’, however the announcement by FBI Director regarding opening up of inquiries against Ms. Clinton has dealt a blow to the lead which she had maintained till now and for the first time Mr. Trump has been seen taking a lead. According to James Comey, the FBI Director, the move comes amidst the discovery of some correspondence relating to Ms. Clinton in the computer of Anthony Weiner, husband of Ms. Clinton’s close aide Huma Abedin. Now this is a curious phenomenon to watch out for. Mr. Trump’s image had taken no less battering after a series of allegations of sexual assault against him surfaced up and his remarks against women.
Mr. Trump however retains some of his typical stands which do not go much in line with the US policy which has been met with some success at least in those respects and he fails to provide why the contrary would be better for the Americans. One of this is his stand on the climate change, where he attributes the climate change outcomes and positions to the countries such as China who according to him seek to stall the progress which the US has made over the years and after making its own progress now the China is seeking to stop the US’ growth prospects and all such moves are a part of its deep down policies. Here, he misses a broader perspective where one of the major takeaways of the climate change conferences has been that at least the US involvement has been able to bring high emitter countries like China to a talking position from where a soft pressure has resulted in creation of some obligations and how benefits have come and will come if things go right. His other stands include the literal construction of a wall to prevent crossing of borders by the Mexicans, his views pertaining to women, to which he has not been able to provide much of explanations. To most of the allegations made out against him, he has tried to meet the same by leveling allegations against Ms. Clinton mainly through bringing up the issue of deletion of thirty thousand emails sent from her private server, besides sometimes invoking and questioning her role as the Secretary of the State and the US’s war in the Middle-East, Afghanistan and other regions.
Mr. Trump has even went on to question the working of the NATO and has cautioned it to toe to the US line and reform its working if he were to get elected.
Indeed throughout the campaign Ms. Clinton through her promising smile and stature has demonstrated the notions of true statesmanship and has maintained her composure. She has indeed left no opportunity of taking full advantage of the anti-women image of Mr. Trump which has emerged and further build-up on the same through projecting herself as pro-women rights, pro-middle class and pro-poor, while dismissing Mr. Trump for being pro-wealthy. However, the recent decision of the FBI Director to conduct inquiries has raised questions over her trustworthiness if she takes over as the President. She has been candid in accepting her ‘mistake’, but the issue now has provided a lead to Mr. Trump which is no doubt a matter of concern for her. However, it is still being projected that she would still succeed in gaining the 270 seats majority which is required when the US goes to the polls on November 8th, it becomes important that such issues do not end up impacting the image which she has built up in comparison to Mr. Trump. It might not be wrong to say that there could be a nail-biting contest between the two.
The American Dream
It becomes essential to see which of the two candidates seem to look out for the aspirations of the Americans and how closely the two seem to connect with the people at large. At the beginning, Mr. Trump seemed to face a outright rejection given the rhetorical he invoked and the stances he took. But there is something which needs to be seen very carefully. The appeal which he makes to the Americans is based on no empty rhetoric and does hold some substance for which at least he cannot be ignored. He talks about immigration, he talks about terrorism and from where it emerges, he speaks about how economy has suffered under the Democrats’ rule, et al. For what he seems to be have earned his notorious image are actually the point which are a cause of concern for a modern day American, where even a little of invocation of such rhetoric gives a good ground to respond to the popular beliefs of the so-called ‘nationalism’ or ‘regionalism’. His conservative beliefs certainly try to find a sense of solidarity among the Americans and by resorting to the popular beliefs he has all the attention and eyes turned towards him and for the problems which he show, even if he doesn’t have a panacea, he at least has an ideology to ascribe to, to show a straight finger towards some factors, rather than broadly trying to introspect or scrutinize into the deeper factors. A present day American aspirations are concerned with the immediate problems of terrorism, law and order situation, criminal justice system, job creation (to be which he largely has Mexicans to be blamed for). Mr. Trump therefore with his seemingly narrow, hard-line perspective has certainly taken to some popularity levels and no doubt the narratives he invoked cannot at any cost be dismissed as nonsensical or irrational in nature. Though the notion of American dream is wider than how it is projected to be, it is to be kept in mind what an American looks for his immediate concerns, broader perspectives aside. Though he provides for blanket solutions, he could be said to be successful in attracting some if not all the masses towards the narratives he puts forth, which cannot be afforded to be ignored. These narratives are further to be seen in the light of the email controversy of Ms. Clinton which has surfaced again and undoubtedly Mr. Trump has been able to gain some ground in the backdrop of it.
To the criminal justice system, while Ms. Clinton has recognized ‘guns’ as one of the important factors behind the escalation of the violence and she says that the guns be taken out of the “wrong hands”, Mr. Trump yet tries to bring in the immigration phenomenon and does state about taking the guns out of the hands of the “bad people”. When it comes to the regulation of guns, both of them, more or less, seem to stand on the same pedestal. Ms. Clinton has further focused on reforms in the criminal justice system, where Mr. Trump focused on the failure of the Obama administration to tackle the law and especially “order” situation, where there has only been escalation of violence, especially against the African-American community.
The question before Ms. Clinton which Mr. Trump poses is pertaining to the dollars which the US has spent so far in its “wars against terrorism”, in the Middle-East, in Afghanistan and other places. He puts forth that the same money could have built the US three times and has only affected the US economy to a high magnitude. This becomes a crucial remark when already Ms. Clinton has served as a Secretary of State and how would she tend to tackle such situations would become an important thing to watch out for.
Certain crucial things are also needed to be taken into account as we look for the stands taken up by the two candidates. Though Ms. Clinton alleges Mr. Trump for being pro-wealthy, a large chunk of the narrow view of the American dream has built up on the idea of flourishing industries which in turn would create jobs and that’s how prosperity would be achieved. Several contradictions appear in the speeches of the two when it comes to the regulations which would be put on the industrial sector, where Mr. Trump alleges Ms. Clinton of restricting the ease of doing business while he himself seeks to put restrictions on certain countries who he thinks owe to the US for their existence and prosperity.
How and who will the Americans choose as their new President will be a thing to watch out for, for as we move closer things get more and more misty and it would be unfair at this juncture to project one candidate’s complete prospects of victory over the other as it will not be wrong to say that the contest would be a nail-biting one, where both Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton have their own arenas and Mr. Trump is surely not the person you would like to take lightly as new trends have already begun to emerge. How the American dream will flourish thereafter is another question, at least for the moment.