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As much as some may wish it wasn’t so, the person — nay man as it has been and looks set to be for at least another four years — calling the shots in the White House exerts global significance.
So while there will be those outside the USA, and even a small number inside, who will plead indifference to this year’s presidential election, the winner is sure to have some sort of influence on their and all of our lives, whether we like it or not.
‘Trump hasn’t started World War III. Not yet anyway.’
Now at the risk of being a bit premature here considering events of the past week and the fact there’s the best part of a year still to run on the incumbent’s term, we can say, thankfully and as predicted before he was elected, that Donald J. Trump hasn’t started World War III nor turned his country into a Fascist dictatorship.
Making America heard again
What he has done is brought back that US bravado, or cockiness if you will, making it seen and heard again both at home and abroad. This isn’t to say it’s been all gung-ho, trigger-happy stuff in a classical American Wild West style. No. He’s used the carrot-and-stick approach in dealing with his nation’s most threatening challenger to world supremacy, China. Ditto with North Korea, more or less.
The stick has been used more so with Iran of late as we’ve seen to deadly effect, although it can be argued with some justification (how much the assassination of Qasem Soleimani will impact things domestically in the US in November is difficult to say at this remove). What he has failed to do is come good on his promise to reduce US troop numbers in the Middle East.
That latter negative notwithstanding, with an economy in fairly rude health by all accounts, coupled with low employment, a good number of his fellow citizens feel he has done enough to warrant those coveted four more years. ‘Far worse presidents were re-elected’ is what his supporters will tell you. ‘Just look at the previous commander-in-chief, Barack Obama.’
For liberal Europeans, that’s a hard one to stomach. Obama was their darling, the old-world style president that had been long overdue for the New World.
‘The Democrats have left the country.’
The US under Obama for Europe was like seeing your old friend going out with someone who seemed a really decent, salt-of-the-earth type chap after having a few roguish partners. He wasn’t the stereotypical loud, in-your-face guy we’d seen before. Alas, she reverted to type and then some when Trump won her over. ‘We’ll just never understand that young and reckless, yet alluring, US, will we?’
‘Do something, Democrats’
A big reason why Trump looks set for re-election, putting to one side a highly unlikely impeachment, is to do with the opposition.
As Ronald Reagan reputedly once put it, ‘the Democrats have gone so far left they’ve left the country.’ And just like it has been in Colombia, being associated with anything close to the far left in the United States of America is pretty much toxic at election time.
OK, numbers-wise, thanks to the population concentrations on the east and west coast, whoever finally appears on the Democratic ticket might actually, just as in 2016, win the popular vote. (One must also take into account the anti-Trump echo chambers reverberating around these more liberal sides to America. Their words tend to find more favour with non-Americans than those living in the 50 states.)
Lies of the land
This isn’t, however, how the system works to get the keys to the White House. The electoral college vote should once again get Trump over the line.
I must say that if I ever got the chance to meet the current president, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to stomach him for any length. I certainly wouldn’t be at ease in his company in any case. He is, after all, a serial liar. The man who gave us #FakeNews regularly says things that are clearly untrue.
The thing is, those who are doing their damnedest to get him out of office are also blurring the lines between fact and fiction. Truth being the first casualty of ‘war’ and all that.
In one sense, November’s presidential election is similar to what the UK electorate faced in December 2019: What’s the least-worst option? The devil you know or the one you don’t? With an opposition that raises more questions beforehand than answers, Trump is looking like the ‘safest’ bet for US voters, as abhorrent as that is for many on the outside looking in.
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