August 21, 2017

The Non-American Guide to the American Election

On the 8th of November 2016 America will elect a new president. We have, as yet, no idea who or what that president will be. I’m still holding out hope for the reincarnated corpse of William McKinley to take the presidential time that was tragically stolen from him. Alas, I think that would count as a third term. And also he’d technically be a zombie.

William-McKinley
Zombie McKinley for president!

My credulity watching any American election quickly transforms to incredulity as throngs of Yankee doodles chant enthusiastically for their chosen messiah who will inevitably screw their voter base over as soon as they take office. Part of me wishes the Americans would attend the voting booth with the same grim futility as I myself do.

It’s not that I blame the candidates either, I understand that being a contemptible villain is necessary for the position. If I don’t get angry with sewage workers for shovelling shit then why should I get angry with a politician?

The question on every non-American’s lips is, “How does this bollocks even work?” and “Which one of these lunatics is least likely to cause world war 3?”

Each of the main parties begins with their primaries. In the primaries the Republicans and Democrats decide who will be their nominee for president. All the states will have their say but the first two (Iowa and New Hampshire) often set the tone for the coming months. Iowa and New Hampshire will be completed over the next week so we shall soon have a good understanding of what is coming up.

iowa and new hampshire

The American Democrats are not similar to the British airy fairy Democrats. No, the American Democrats stink of stock market cash and broken dreams. The American republicans tend to be jingoistic buffoons and not ex-IRA members.

Now I’m not going to deal with all the candidates for election (otherwise this blog will become a twenty page leviathan) so I’ll stick to the top few candidates. So we start off with the challengers to the demo-throne the Republicans:

Republicans

The Republicans have been falling over themselves to talk about how much they hate Obama and Hillary. This has failed to make them look edgy, rather they come across like dogs chasing their own tails in an embarrassing attempt to get a pat on the head from a disenfranchised populous. The party itself is split between the religious right, populist newbies and the republican old guard, all vying for greater control. Bring on the candidates!

 

Rubio

Rubio is the middle ground man of the Republican Party. Possibly the most dangerous candidate the Republicans could push forward. He knows when to talk and when to keep his mouth shut. This candidate can and will pick up uncertain left wingers as well as swing voters. He is very capable when it comes to live debates managing to put Trump onto the back foot multiple times. Rubio is a fan of deregulation in the banking sector, making him the most Clinton like of all the candidates. He also wants to cut corporation tax. The only places where he takes a tough stance is military policy. He has abhorred decisions made by the current administration and would prefer larger scale operations over pin prick attacks.

Positives for Marco Rubio:

  • His push for more vocational education is a solid policy.
  • His knowledge of the military and intelligence agencies is making him a formidable opponent in debates.
  • Has a real rags to riches account which helps him during economic discussions.
  • Sound self-assured and is well spoken like an evil Matt Damon.
  • May collect the scrap votes from the failing establishment candidates (Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich).
  • Polls well amongst Hispanic voters.

Negatives for Marco Rubio:

  • He believes that the free market can save the environment and trying to stop global warming would immediately cause the American economy to spontaneously combust. This looks delusional at best.
  • Doesn’t believe the internet is a utility and stands against internet neutrality. These stances don’t go down well with younger, more tech savvy voters.
  • Will probably increase America’s already wasteful military and intelligence spending.
  • Must have an oral fixation as he can’t stop saying the phrase, “rams down our throat”, over and over again during debates.
  • At times looks like Hillary Clinton light.

My Prediction: Collects the money and votes of the establishment knockouts. Sticks around till the end of the primaries coming second place for the republicans.

 

cruz

Enter Ted Cruz the evangelical rights doughy dish. He follows the same basic stances as Rick Santorum in the previous election. Whilst Santorum lacked a commanding presence, Cruz comes off as charismatic and folksy when in charge of a debate. It gives him the ability to be forceful with his beliefs without putting people’s backs up.

When suggesting things like only giving Christian refugees asylum he somehow manages to avoid accusations of theocratic governance. That policy is awful from the ground up as it doesn’t take an acting master-class to pretend to be a Christian.

When Teddy keeps to the script he comes across as another sound, thoughtful republican but is prone to manic moments. He has made bizarre statements like,

I recognise that Barack Obama is not interested in defending our country.

He also shrieked that Donald Trump once supported Amnesty International, the evil bastard.

Cruz opposes restraints on the private sector and stands against net neutrality. He exemplifies the evangelical right by standing against government intervention economically whilst calling for it to ban social events he finds unsuitable like gay pride parades. It seems under Cruz, freedom of assembly would only count if you agree with his government.

Positives for Ted Cruz:

  • A good public speaker who can hold his own in debates.
  • Scores highly with the Hispanic population.
  • Performed well with the Trayvon Martin case when that bomb was dropped on his lap.
  • The evangelical right are one of the most reliable voting blocks.
  • His victory in Iowa makes him look like the man to beat.

Negatives for Ted Cruz:

  • Not liked by Washington conservatives. This may leave him lacking resources later on in the race.
  • Hardcore religious stances are poison when trying to claim swing states.
  • His philosophical approach to governance can be picked apart.
  • Rumours that his staff lied in Iowa, telling voters that Carson had stepped down may cause serious embarrassment.

My Prediction: Will gain the support of some of Trump’s voters by taking the flailing Trump as his running mate. Cruz will win the Primary in a bruising race with Rubio.

 

trump

Trump is the name on everyone’s lips and he wouldn’t have it any other way. The supposed self made man (let’s forget all the money and contacts daddy helped him with) has left political pundits choking on their own spittle as he has charged to the top of Republican polls.

Trump likes to appear as an aspirational figure for poor white people. Proof that entrepreneurial spirit (and buying real estate during a depression whilst being bankrolled) will succeed as long as big government keeps its nose away.

Trump continues to gather support from politically uniformed Americans using his simplistic narrative, catchy slogans and impossible promises.

trumpy

One of Trump’s big promises was to build a wall along the border with Mexico and get Mexico to pay for it. He was incapable of building a golf resort in Scotland, I don’t know how he thinks he will persuade Mexican politicians to pay for something that negatively impacts on their country. More so, I’ve got to question how likely a wall is to stop anyone. If there’s two things the earth has an excess of, it’s human ingenuity and human stupidity. It wouldn’t be surprising for Trump to change his mind on the wall. He has a track record of flip flopping given that he was once a democrat.

Positives for Donald Trump:

  • Has the best looking hair of any of the candidates. A glorious golden sunrise adorns his head making Alexander the Great’s crown look like a tea cosy.
  • The media may be underestimating how many non-voters could be tempted to the polls by the Trump effect.
  • People think a silly movie/tv star with a grin can’t win an election but Reagan proved that wrong.
  • Would probably get on well with Vladimir Putin. It may strengthen the American-Russian relationship.

Negatives for Donald Trump:

  • Would probably get on well with Vladimir Putin. I seriously have no idea what crazy shenanigans they could get up to together.
  • In politics bullish and angry means weak and easily manipulated. If Trump ever reaches Washington, he wouldn’t be a bull in a China shop, he’d be a bull in a maze.
  • More experienced foreign politicians will have him for breakfast.
  • His barrage of early, eye catching lies will come back to haunt him in one on one debates with the democrats.
  • His loss in Iowa was catastrophic. Voters may no longer feel he has a chance.
  • Despised by minority voters making certain states a no-go area.
  • He cannot win the swing states and so will never be president.

My Prediction: Trump hasn’t even begun to splash out on advertising yet whilst the other candidates are burning through their coffers. This won’t matter if he fails to notch up victories. I expect him to be absorbed into the Cruz camp.

 

Carson

Right honourable Ben Carson is quietly failing in this presidential primary. I’m honestly surprised he has gone as far as he has with next to no political presence. Alike Trump, Carson was quick to join in on the politics hatred bandwagon,

I detest politics, to be honest with you. It’s a cesspool.

Unfortunately he lacks Trump’s bombastic style, coming across as limp lipped and snore inducing in interviews.

I’m just alarmed that a man who spent his career operating in an environment with constantly evolving viruses doesn’t believe in evolution. The cognitive dissonance is strong with this one.

Positives for Ben Carson:

  • Is backed mostly by small donations meaning he has less favours to make if he ever reaches the office of president.

Negatives for Ben Carson:

  • Struggles with modern sound bite media.
  • One of the worst public speakers in presidential campaigning history.
  • Looks stoned 24/7.

My Prediction: A presidential no hoper. He will go on as long as he has money to fund it. Will lose votes rather than gain them.

 

The Democrats

It all should have been so simple for Hillary to strut in and take control but Bernie had other things in mind. Their race has become a battle between pragmatism and idealism but American democrats tend to be cold as ice. Bring on the candidates!

 

hillary

After a close call in Iowa the Clinton bandwagon looks to be stalling but if anyone knows how to turn things around then it’s Hillary. She has been a government stalwart since the eighties, exuding influence beyond her station.

She’s come into the election pushing for new gun controls which will fly in the southern states like a lead balloon.

Boundary pushing voters will want to see the first women president shortly following the first non-white president. Clinton has failed to garner as much public support as she has wanted. Probably because she has all the charisma of a rotting whale carcass.

Rather than pushing for a more left wing health system Hillary wants to defend the ground they took with the Affordable Care Act. She hopes that clamping down on corporate tax loopholes will garner more income streams for the government but getting the rich to pay tax is like trying to suck blood from a stone with chapped lips and no stone.

There’s a reason Republicans fear Hillary and not Sanders. Hillary’s willingness to barter and call in favours means she will be more effective at passing new policies. Make no mistake, Hillary is the candidate to beat.

Positives for Hillary Clinton:

  • One of the most experienced candidates in the race.
  • She is as ruthless and efficient as you get.
  • It is very tempting to vote in the first lady president.
  • Voters may see her as a smooth politician to transition to due to her work with the Obama administration.

Negatives for Hillary Clinton:

  • Probably the most corrupt candidate. Questions about her e-mail scandal and Benghazi will not go away.
  • Iowa was a lot closer than it should have been.
  • If she was willing to lie just to bring harmful legislation against video games manufacturing, what else will she lie about? (hint: everything)
  • Struggles in one-on-one debates.
  • Being a political juggernaut didn’t save her from being destroyed by Obama during her last push for president.

My Prediction: With the inevitability of death itself, Hillary will win the election. Step by painful step.

 

sanders

Around 7 months ago polling averages suggested Sanders would get around 13% in Iowa. Instead he took 49.5% after a few unlucky coin tosses (no, really).

Sanders is an old hand in American politics. He has run as an independent candidate for 36 years and is now attempting to usurp the standard democratic leadership.

By keeping his message simple and using social media platforms Sanders has given himself a very strong online presence. Multiple times Sanders has questioned why hard working families find themselves in poverty. He believes there are systemic problems with America’s tax and healthcare systems:

something is fundamentally wrong

Sanders also wants public funded elections to replace the corporate sponsored shit-show that American elections have become.

The golden oldie is extremely popular amongst the youth demographic who are notoriously unreliable voters. The youths’ willingness to go to the primaries will make or break his bid.

Positives for Bernie Sanders:

  • Wants to cut wasteful military spending and take a second look at America’s drift towards a surveillance state. This message appeals greatly to younger voters.
  • Balances fear and inspiration when showing his policies. A potent combination.
  • Consistent on his positions throughout his career (doesn’t fall foul of populism).
  • He is experienced in both debates and the political process.
  • His popularity is surging rather than waning.

Negatives for Bernie Sanders:

  • Wants to throw money at an education system that is fundamentally flawed.
  • The best way to get policies through is by making compromises. Sanders is too much of a stickler for this and if he is elected, he may become a stagnant president.
  • Obama crushed Hillary Clinton in Iowa. What does it say about Sanders when he has failed?
  • After winning New Hampshire, Bernie will face an uphill battle in states less welcoming to his message.

My Prediction: Will crumble in the later states as he fails to overcome the Clinton march.

 

Conclusion

The republican race has certainly been the most entertaining thing about the upcoming election. It started out with seventeen candidates and we are only now seeing them wind down. Jeb Bush was such a disappointment from the get go that I didn’t even bother putting him on my list. At this point only 3 candidates can realistically win; Trump, Cruz and Rubio.

Donald Trump might just be the minesweeper that clears the primary minefield for the Republican hopefuls allowing them to target the undecided voters without the baggage of their own comments from their early attempts to court the party’s extremes. Alternatively Trump might actually become the republican candidate and all but guarantee a democratic victory. Most business men love a sure thing and Trump has that with this election. If he wins, he is the president of the United States of America. If he loses, his brand is worth more than it ever has been.

An accurant representation of Donald Trump?
An accurate representation of Trump?

Cruz is in an inconvenient position where the voters like him but everyone else does not. Can he really lead a party that so abhors him? After Trump, Rubio has been the most surprising candidate. He was never seen as a likely contender but looks, composure and good speaking skills go far. He really is the only candidate the republican old guard seem to like so he will probably find the party easier to control than the other two.

For the Democrats I think Hillary will lose New Hampshire badly, but will come back swinging strong and seize the presidency. Sanders’ hopeful campaign will crumble after a few major defeats.

America’s politicians continue to rely mostly on fear to garner support. Politicians struggling to inspire change has been the way of the 21st century. Even though fear is a potent weapon, voters are left feeling their politicians have been cut adrift from reality.

The theme of this election may be the battle between pragmatism and idealism. Voters are unsure if they want policy tweeks or risky wholesale changes to the the fabric of American society. Sanders and Trump offer hopeful dreams whilst striking viciously at the Country’s status quo.

Those throngs of Yankee doodles chanting make up a minority a of American voters which is why Trump and Sanders will lose. Most don’t believe in dreams anymore and they certainly don’t believe in politicians.

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