By: Ben Thrussell
This could be the closest presidential election since Bush v Gore in 2000. Most polls predict a majority for either Trump or Hillary as being between 2% and 5%. Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, is a lunatic. There are very few other words in the English language that describe him as adequately. The Democrat, Hillary Clinton, wife of former president Bill, is equally as bad a choice. It seems odd that the leader of a nation as great as the USA has come down to a rivalry of two of the worst qualified candidates in the history of the office. Whoever wins, you must feel sorry for. How on earth can somebody be expected to govern a country who seem to have decided that facts and statistics are the work of Satan? I count myself lucky, as a British citizen, that I don’t get a vote in all this.
Let’s begin with Mr Insanity himself, Donald Trump, and one of his less-loony policies. His economic policy actually makes a lot of sense. The USA currently has seven rates of income tax, which is far more than is necessary. Trump wants to simplify this to just three bands, at 12%, 25% and 33%. This could even increase tax revenues, as a less complex tax system may result in more people paying the correct amount of tax. This is a similar stance to that of Ronald Reagan, who sought to cut taxes to increase economic activity. However, it is worth noting that Reagan’s budget deficit increased from about $70bn to around $250bn, though this was mainly due to overspending on the military. We still haven’t heard what Trump plans to do in terms of reducing the deficit, but it is likely that tax cuts will be paired with spending cuts. He also calls on the rich to pay their “fair share” of income tax, and is planning to crack down on multi-nationals.
Trump is very anti-establishment; so much so that he got Nigel Farage to speak at one of his major rallies in August 2016, and this is all brilliant. Big banks and corporations must pay their share of corporate tax. He also wants to raise the minimum wage to at least $10 per hour, a significant rise from the current $7.25 that people are entitled to. Unfortunately, this is where the sanity ends. Firstly, Trump has openly advocated retention of the Second Amendment, meaning that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. This means that guns will not be banned, and this is where my opinion on Mr Trump declines sharply. The use and possession of weapons in America has caused huge problems. In 2015, nearly 40,000 people were either killed or injured in America. In 2012, the number of gun murders per capita was 2.9 per 100,000 people. In the UK, it was just 0.1 per 100,000; nearly 30 times less.
Trump’s controversial remarks also do him no favours. He has repeatedly told us that he wants to build a wall along the US-Mexico border to stop illegal immigration. It is understandable that illegal immigration from Mexico is a concern, as an estimated 5.6 million unauthorised immigrants from Mexico lived in America in 2014. However, building a wall which he insists the Mexican government will pay for seems a little extreme. The final thing is his idea to ban all Muslims from entering the temporarily. This is a measure far too excessive, and will only fuel yet more anger and hate from within the bowels of Daesh. As I mentioned earlier, I count myself lucky that I don’t have a vote but, even if I did, I wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump. And now we move on to Hillary Clinton. Where do I start? Beginning with economic policy seems reasonable. Clinton supposedly opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but has openly expressed her support for it in the past. Clinton has different tax plans to Trump. She wishes to retain the current system of seven tax bands, with a top rate of 43.6%, 10.6% higher than Trump’s top rate. This all seems fine, even though the tax system is more complex. However, there are severe questions which need to be answered about whether Mrs Clinton is physically fit to hold the office of President. There have been many claims, including by Donald Trump, that her health is not up to the required standard. Indeed, President Obama’s former doctor has said that Clinton “needs to undergo a neurological examination”. Neurologist Dr Daniel Kassicieh describes her as having “latent post-concussion syndrome”, and Clinton’s closest advisor, Huma Abedin, states that Clinton is “often confused”. She has often had coughing fits in rallies and speeches, and Donald Trump has continuously made a point of her not having given a press conference in 272 days at the time of writing. Is this something to do with her health? She has been advised to travel with a physician at all times, and Donald Trump has constantly attacked her health records. Her records say that she is prone to recurrent blood clots, which can lead to strokes or heart attacks, and the medication she takes to combat this makes her prone to internal bleeding, some research has told me. This makes me question whether I could vote for Hillary, as she may not be capable of running the country and, for a country as big and important as the United States, a Clinton presidency would worry me deeply.
It would therefore make sense if I didn’t vote for either and that is probably what I would do. However, I don’t know enough about Gary Johnson or Jill Stein to vote for either of them. With a gun against my head I would probably vote for Johnson, but only on the basis that I couldn’t bring myself to vote for either of the main candidates.
Trump v Clinton: Race to the White House Reviewed by Student Voices on 09:55 Rating: