American Presidential Election 2016

I can’t say I was that surprised at Donald Trump winning, though I was rooting for Hillary as I sat up watching the results come in. However if I’d had a vote in this election I really don’t think I could have voted for either candidate. I still think Bernie Sanders would have had a better chance of beating Trump, and I’d have certainly voted for him. Hillary was too associated with previous administrations, the war in Iraq and the Establishment. I felt she was positively dangerous with the real prospect of her authorizing the shooting down of Russian planes in Syria. She would also have continued the demonization and isolation of Russia, which I consider disastrous. I would have had to vote for the Green candidate.

The only positive thing I can say about Trump is that he seeks a dialog with Russia and is cool on NATO. CND has been against NATO from the start, including me of course, and at the very least we think it should have been wound up at the same time as the Warsaw Pact at the end of the Cold War. Russia should have been brought in from the cold once the Soviet Union collapsed. The worst thing is that Gorbachev was promised NATO would not expand eastwards, and it has crept right up to the Russian border and now includes former Socialist states and Soviet republics. The arms build up on both sides of the Russian border is alarming, as is the presence of nuclear weapons. Remember the Cuba Missile Crisis in 1962 which brought the world to the brink of a nuclear holocaust was caused by Soviet nuclear weapons being shipped to Cuba a few miles off the Florida coast, and American nukes being just over the Soviet border in Turkey. Thank goodness there was then dialog between President Kennedy and Krushchev which resulted in an agreement not to place nuclear missiles in Cuba, and for the ones in Turkey to be removed. There is no such dialog in the present Cold War situation between Russia and the West.

Therefore I consider the most important international issue at the moment is dialog with Russia and a joint effort to defeat ISIS/ISIL, Al-Quaida, etc. which have risen up due to Western interventions in places like Iraq and Libya.

Trump is a bigot and a billionaire, and his racism and misogyny during the election campaign were deplorable. In the aftermath of his election there have been riots on the streets and at the same time, as in the post-Brexit vote, racism and homophobia are rampant.

This election is a disaster for America, which is divided more than ever before. Clinton got more of the popular vote, but under the first-past-the-post Electoral College system Trump was pronounced the winner.

I am extremely uneasy about Trump having access to the nuclear codes. He is so unpredictable he could decide to launch nukes against, if not Russia, possibly ISIS in the Middle East. Hopefully he will be contained and controlled, as no President has absolute power. Even with a Republican House and Senate, many fellow Republicans oppose Trump’s more extreme policies. I do hope, however, he is allowed to meet Putin and re-establish a relationship with Russia.

His policy of tariffs on goods imported from places like China, his threat to deport immigrants, to ban Muslims from entering the US, to abolish Obamacare, etc. are silly and abhorrent and will hopefully be dropped.

However Trump’s election victory is a symptom of the worldwide rejection of neo-liberalism and against the Establishment which has impoverished the lower classes. While Trump’s policies are not the solution, at this time any anti-Establishment candidate is liable to gain great popularity. We see this in the crowds who attended Trump rallies and similar scenes at rallies of leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn. Bernie Sanders also attracted big enthusiastic crowds. At times like these it is scary because the electorate can go for either extreme rightwing policies or leftwing ones. If it was not to be Sanders, it would probably be Trump. If it is not to be Corbyn as the Brexit result showed it could be an extreme rightwinger. UKIP claimed credit for the Brexit vote.

It is all very depressing, but my hope is that Labour will unite and manage to win the next General Election, and that the USA will now resume dialog and relations with Russia. Also that Trump’s racist and misogynist traits will be contained and he will not be able to implement policies based on these. Whether he replaces the fence with a wall on the USA’s southern border with Mexico is really immaterial, but deportation of immigrants would be a grave mistake, especially considering most of the USA population are the descendants of immigrants. The Native Americans being the first settlers of that country.

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