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Wednesday 09 November 2016

Tantrums in America

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 25th October 2016

As the third US presidential candidates debate took place, some commentators fretted about the toxic US presidential landscape that Donald Trump has left in his vitriolic populist, conspiracy wake.

For example, the Economist(15.10.2016) referred to the 'debasing of American politics' in an editorial on the subject. It slammed his comments on Muslims and Mexicans and his incivility to Hillary Clinton and his suggestion that she was out to 'steal' the election from Trump. The incivility and populist rancor that Trump has stirred up may result in a series of impossible demands on the Republicans if the Trump campaign succeeds- economic protectionism and the reconciliation of tax cuts with government spending increases, isolationism and xenophobia will spread in its wake. The best outcome would be if Clinton's probable presidential victory is accompanied by Democrat capture of both the Senate and House of Representatives, which will give her a mandate to undertake immigration reform, increase infrastructural spending and re-balance the US Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by the death of right-wing Justice Antonin Scalia in 2015. And mercifully, it seems that she may be on course to do so, with some polls placing her at a double digit remove from her flailing, mediocre opponent. She's ahead in practically all of the marginal 'swing states' and is making overtures in North Carolina and Arizona, despite the venom disgorged in her direction from right-wing US talkback radio hosts and conspiracy theorists, which have propelled Trump's cohorts of volunteers and activists. Meanwhile, in the strategy room, it is possible that Clinton will end with at least the Senate, although the House of Representatives is a longer shot. However, given the rancor between Trump and House of Representatives Majority Leader Paul Ryan, it may be within reach. There seems to be a large gender, ethnicity and sexuality gap in Clinton's favour, and working class and lower middle class white men without higher education aren't a demographic majority in the United States. Trump has alienated ethnic minority voters, LGBTI voters and particularly, female voters.

That said, Trump did clearly improve during his debating performance in Nevada (October 19). There were multiple clashes between the candidates over foreign policy, support for the Bush Iraqi War fiasco, abortion rights, gun control and Trump's scabrous comments about Mexicans, Muslims, women and the disabled. Clinton also scored some obvious hits when it came to issues like Trump's undeclared tax returns, her role in the downfall of Osama Bin Laden (the al Qaeda architect of 9/11) and Trump's overly close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The question must be, was it too late and too little when it came to making up voters minds about which way to vote on November 9?

What does the LGBT community think about this? Good question.The Advocatecovered the debate, but without editorial comment. And at no stage was marriage equality or transgender child health and safety at school discussed by either candidate during any of the debates. No-one is doing in depth poll tracking of US LGBT voter intentions to date.


Craig Young - 25th October 2016

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