Donald Trump Versus Hillary Clinton: Who wins? Who is better?

The Daily Journalist community opinion.

A year ago, during one of our discussions here, I predicted that Donald Trump would face Hillary Clinton in the final phase of the elections. It came as a surprise to many experts when Trump officially snatched the nomination, but it’s because they overlooked social media and the impact it has on elections. Jeb Bush was doomed from the start of his campaign; he had no chance to win the Republican nomination.  

Two years ago, I also predicted on a radio show, that the American progressive youth seemed completely opposed to capitalism and the free market, opting for an all-out democratic socialism reform ‘Made in America’ to control and regulate the financial elites that run Wall Street. Hillary defeated Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, but it wasn’t the blowout analyst expected in late 2015; it was a hard contested battle that showed what the future holds for America’s political landscape as changes take place in both parties. It’s the end of the Republican Party as we know it, and it will soon the end of the Democratic Party, as its shifts toward socialism.

The dark side of both parties also shows disturbing signs of new political adherents that have battled since western governments exist; the rise of anarchism, communism, Marxism is rapidly growing in America, and the hopes of the reemerge of a Francisco Franco/Augusto Pinochet type leader, that will battle against the extreme left has also started to show among the right –but even though both movements grow undetected by mainstream media, it won’t be a threat that will appear for at least one more decade. (I said it first)      

Hillary and Trump will battle till November and only one will become President of The United States. They both are controversial candidates and present sides that disgust well informed voters from both parties. 

1)      Who you think will win?

2)      Which candidate is more trustworthy and capable?

3)      Who will deal better with Putin and Xi Jinping?

4)      Who will help the economy and create more jobs?

5)      Who will deal with ISIS and the Middle East more effectively?

6)      What is your greatest concern about either one?

7)      Anything else you want to add?

 

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Dr. John Joseph RAY.

(He taught sociology at the University of New South Wales. His major research interests lays in psychological authoritarianism, conservatism, racism and achievement motivation)

“Question 1-5, all for Trump

6)      What is your greatest concern about either one?

Trump does not always think things through

7)      Anything else you want to add?

The Fascist Hillary would be a horror”

 

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Jack Goldstone. 

(He has worked extensively on forecasting global conflict and terrorism, and with the US Agency for International Development and the World Bank on providing democracy assistance to fragile states)

“My answer to all of 1-5 is “Hilary Clinton” as only she has the experience and temperament to be a capable, effective president.  My greatest concern would be if Trump won, which would be a disaster for the US and the world.”

 

Jaime Ortega-Simo.

(The Daily Journalist president and founder) 

Well over a month ago, I predicted that Donald Trump would beat Hillary Clinton despite the odds presented in Foxnews and CNN that clearly had Hillary outpointing Trump by 10 digits. Now, the enlighten media are rethinking his chances, especially networks that claimed he didn’t hold a candle against Hillary. I called Hillary, Americas Angela Merkel, and guess what? Trump not soon after called her “the new Angela Merkel.” Social media will doom Hillary, her scandals are everywhere in the web; no matter the donations she receives, she will lose and possibly by blowout via Youtube –mark my words! Bellow my prediction, I covered other points:  http://thedailyjournalist.com/the-editors-point/despite-the-odds-donald-trump-will-beat-hillary-clinton-in-november/

One thing is my prediction, and another my political conviction. I think both candidates are unreliable, not very bright and present different social stigmas. Trump is highly volatile and an opportunist; Hillary is money hungry and a sneaky individual who has steadily tainted her reputation over the years with separate scandals.  Hillary Clinton will be the last politician to represent the values of liberal Democrats, the future for democrats will shift to democratic socialism as I also predicted more than a year ago here: http://thedailyjournalist.com/elcafe/does-the-us-need-a-third-party-to-end-the-bipartisanship/”

It doesn’t matter who wins, the United States at this point won’t interfere with China and Russia — If those two countries decided to invade the Philippines or Ukraine, the US will abandon its allies — Its that simple. The question is how trade will play under three military powers on the near future”

 

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Sebastian Sarbu.

(He is a military analyst and vice-president of National Academy of Security and Defense Planning. Member of American Diplomatic Mission for International Relations)

“There is little doubt that Donald Trump will be the next President of United States of America. Trump’s trip to Mexico, confirms that he will be the winner.

The whole  international community is ready for change. The “global challenge”, presented by Donald Trump is very popular outside of the US. Donald Trump may not have theoretical skills like her arch-rival Hillary Clinton, but he has something better: the vocation of leadership.

The republican political party is now built around the central value of leadership. Donald Trump is a charismatic leader who speculated skillfully the American ideal of renaissance. Trump is the only one that promises to achieve everything needed by the global elites, but it is also a competition between different groups, elites and factions. Trump has the advantage to let people know that he can provide more, than what his opponent promise.

It is clear that Donald Trump will make an agreement with Russia and maybe China conditionally, but his actions will change the whole foreign policy of USA, with new risks and challenges for international order and global security.

Hillary Clinton is very radically against the current policies promoted by Russia. Hillary is better with human rights, culture and educational policies. Also the dialogue and partnerships with civil society are her major strengths, but it’s not enough.

People want a change and new determination because 2020 is a year for great initiative designed to have a wide projection in global affairs. With Hillary Clinton in command, the North Korean threat will become catastrophic. The political line of the US will change under Donald Trump, but at least, US policy is bipartisan and will continue to be — that wont change.”

 

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Paul Pillar.

(He is a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies of Georgetown University and the Brookings Institution and an Associate Fellow of the Geneva Center for Security Policy. He retired in 2005 from a 28-year career in the U.S. intelligence community)

“1.  Polls, and the unsurprising repugnance over so much of what Trump says and does, point to a likely Clinton victory.  But one can never rule out the effects of some sort of October surprise.

2.  The huge gap in relevant experience between Clinton and Trump–who, if elected, would be the first U.S. president with absolutely no prior public service of any sort–speaks most directly to the issue of capability.  Both candidates have problems on the trustworthiness scale, but on the related dimension of truthfulness, Trump is the one who is off the charts in the negative direction regarding shameless and serial telling of falsehoods.

3.  The non-narcissistic former secretary of state would do the better job of that.

4.  Neither candidate has gotten fully behind a much-needed boost in demand-generating spending on infrastructure.  Clinton’s economic policies are likely to come closer to that than Trump’s, but a President Clinton may be stymied by a Republican majority in at least one house of Congress.

5.  Same as the answer for #3, which applies to foreign policy in general.

6.  With Trump, the greatest concern is with a personality and temperament that are woefully unsuited to the presidency.  With Clinton, the concern is with over-reliance on military means to address overseas problems.”

 

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John D. Vernon Sr.

(He has proudly served the United States of America for over 37 years as a Military Officer, retiring at the rank of Colonel,later serving as a Department of Defense civilian, and finally as a Township Supervisor.In 2012, John ran as a Conservative candidate for the U.S. Senate in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He is the CEO, American Warrior Press)

“The Presidential 2016 race here in the United States was first poised to be billed as the next clash of the Titans, but is shaping up to be more of a clash of two gasbags. In a time when the U.S. economy has not had a single quarter GDP growth of over 1% in the last decade and ISIS is growing and expanding its territory every day, we need a strong leader in the White House. History will show that at a minimum, we are four years away from that individual.

Everywhere I go today, people ask me who I’m voting for and who I think will win. When I tell them I’m not voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, most people give me the crazy eyes look. You see, I’m not tied to any political party and either way you go, in my opinion, you lose; therefore, there cannot be a winner in this election. What stands out regardless of whether you vote for Trump or Clinton, is the fact that America comes out as the clear loser.

America as a nation is going through a difficult period and we have been for some time now. How long it will last depends on who we elect to Congress and what leader we elect to the White House. What most of us know now is that our election process is greatly flawed. Just taking a look at the democrat primary and what has come out of that process, is that it was rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton. The release of DNC emails causing the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Shultz proves that point.

Now having said that, we’re still faced with two candidates who should not be running for the highest office in the free world. In my opinion, a candidate who lacks experience can be trained by the people he or she surrounds themselves with. However, a candidate who lies and cannot be trusted can never be trained or become seen as capable because they come into the office with an agenda. The best example to such a person in Hillary Clinton and the highly publicized email scandal. Ask yourself this question: how does someone go from “dead broke” to a net worth of over $300M on a government salary? At least with Trump, it seems like he genuinely cares for the country. Hillary on the other hand, as Dinesh D’Souza says, is about stealing.

Now who among these two misfits would best deal with Russia’s Putin and China’s Xi Jinping is anyone’s guess. The worlds has become a very unstable place and it’s not “black and white” (no pun intended) as to what the world will be like come post January 16, 2017. What we know is that both foreign leaders will test whomever is elected and our nation will has to deal with yet another crisis overseas; it’s coming and there is nothing we can do but hang on.

So after the election, just when we thought we could exhale, our thoughts will return or perhaps remain focused on the economy and job creation. Here’s what we know. Hillary Clinton has said she will continue the policies of Barack Obama who has created dismal economic growth and allowed American wages to stagnate. Donald Trump on the other hand knows business and is best suited to get the economy moving in the right direction. I really like his concept of involving all 50 States in getting our military rebuilt.

Now, speaking of our military, over the past seven and a half years, our military has been degraded and embarrassed time and time again. Today, we are in big trouble. No country respects our military strength and we have been routinely tested by countries like North Korea, China, and Russia, by the demonstration of fly-bys, missile launches, and the building of artificial military bases.

Without question, Donald Trump will be the best candidate to defeat ISIS and manage the Middle East to a peaceful conclusion. Now, looking at Hillary Clinton to be fair, she has a decade of experience in voting for and working directly in the Obama administration for Middle East intervention. In every case, Hillary Clinton has been the individual who set Iraq, Libya and Syria on fire. She simply cannot be trusted because she routinely lies and misstates the facts to suite herself.

In sum, I am greatly concerned for America and her survival. Both candidates are unpredictable and we are headed into unchartered territory. No matter who gets elected, America loses and we will learn new lessons. One fact remains clear. Once this election is over, we won’t be going through this process again and hopefully, we will be a better nation because of it. However, the questions we have to ask ourselves is, how many people have to die before we realize that we were wrong about electing our candidates in 2016?”

 

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Allen Schmertzler.

(He is an award winning and published political artist specializing in figurative, narrative and caricatured interpretations of current events)

“This is a wonderful question for academics and the rest of us who have a passion for politics. We love “what if” scenarios, the mental exercise without limits, that come with hypotheticals of how history and the future might be different, if only! But at the base level, this is a silly question that works best as a parlor game for those who want to sound-bite a political agenda, not as an exercise for reality.

Donald Trump is a reality TV personality-business mogul. Hillary Clinton has been, and is, wired, trained, schooled, experienced and a tribal member of an inner circle of professional politicians and world leaders. Her entire universe is embedded in and consumed by moving in this global network. Even how she and Bill Clinton have managed to become extremely rich is fashioned according to this world.

Donald Trump is a no-body of political experience and completely lacks any basis to be considered on the same level of “what if capabilities” to Hillary Clinton. I am not saying he will lose the election, most likely, but worlds can change in 70 days in ways no person can predict. The tea leaves only allow a prediction, they do not lie, and by every measurement we have available, Trump will lose. Losing or winning, is a different issue to measuring one’s qualifications. If a person is incapable of speaking fluid in policy issues then they have no knowledge of facts, and in the case of Mr. Trump, their qualifications end with overtures of “trust me because I only have the power of personality.”

So for the question to stand as “serious”  there need to exist a foundation of credibility. Hands down, Hillary Clinton holds the credentials, without debate, Donald Trump has zero qualifications to be considered on this level. Hillary Clinton has the best team working with her, which is not to say that Trump could not assemble a world class team even though so many have already abandoned his traveling circus show.  Hillary is a world class team alone, without the army of surrogates. She will assemble the best experienced team possible to orchestrate domestic and foreign affairs for this country. It is possible for Donald Trump to collect enough credible players to support his role as “President-In-chief-of Images,” but that is not the same as a comparison between two candidates. Donald Trump is incapable of spending 5-6 hours each night reading the briefings required of the job to secure a seamless production level from the White House to the country every 24 hour cycle.  It is questionable if he has even read a serious book lately.

Say whatever you want to regarding Clinton’s “controversies and faults” because that would be fair, but never confuse human dimensions with the overwhelming evidence of experience, public record, and ambition-driven perseverance. There is no crime in wanting to make history or to be history in of itself. The road there can be slippery and poorly negotiated.  There are few ‘others” such as Hillary Clinton who could sit for 11 hours getting drilled by a hostile “Select Congressional Committee,” survive it with their story unimpeachable, and in the process make her adversaries out to appear foolish and trite. That alone makes for Presidential qualifications. Donald Trump could not pay attention long enough to complete the 11 hour marathon. He could not stay ‘on message” because he is bankrupted and overdrawn from the Fact Bank. How the heck could he manage the world as President. We have already seen enough evidence so as to render this hypothetical moot. There very well exists other candidates, even in the Republican ranks that can do the job. None have survived the interview with the public or stepped up to audition. That leaves only Hillary Clinton as the answer to this clever writer’s prompt.”

 

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Ron Aledo. 

(He is a retired U.S Army officer, former senior analyst for the CIA (ctr), former senior analyst for the DIA (ctr), operations and intelligence officer for the Joint Staff- The Pentagon, advisor to the Chief of Analysis of the Afghan National Police in Kabul and former International Business Developer for L3 Communications)

“1)      Who you think will win?

Trump about 60% chances. He is winning the blue collar vote in the swing/purple states. That blue collar vote is key on those states and those states are the ones that decide the general elections in the U.S. This is a phenomenon we did not see since Reagan. White workers from Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania , etc. are abandoning their natural house in the Democratic Party and joining the Republican Party just to vote for Trump. That will be decisive in November. Additionally there are several wild card variables that can help Trump if they occur: A) Leaks on Hillary’s email. They might come from Wikileaks or other sources. They can demonstrate corruption to a criminal level or at least seriously damage her image with voters. B) New criminal investigation to Hillary. There might be new evidence and the FBI or a special prosecutor might come with a new investigation.  C) Trump uses all his muscle. Trump might donate $ 400 or 500 million  to his campaign, buy the US National TV  and inflict a knock out by the power of brute money. With or without the 2 potential wild card I still give Trump about 60% chances over Hillary.

2)      Which candidate is more trustworthy and capable?

Trump. He has a ferocious personality and is a natural fighter. Hillary is manipulative, smart, and demagogically goes with the public opinion (against homosexual “marriage” when it was not popular, for it when it is popular). In a who is more capable to accomplish the mission, Trump wins. After all he already did the impossible already: defeated the Republican Party Establishment, the Bush Dynasty, the Marco Rubio “savior” status, and the extremely smart self promoting Cruz.

3)      Who will deal better with Putin and Xi Jinping?

Trump. He will renegotiate US economic and trade deals with China which will bring high tension or pseudo conflict for a while but he will also ease the tension with China with his foreign policy. For example Trump most likely will also be a lot less interventionist in the Pacific/China Sea, and most likely remove the high altitude missile interceptors (THAAD system) from South Korea something that will make the relationship a lot easier. The new trade deals will begin to benefit the US a lot more and China will not be happy, but the less interventionist and less Hawkish foreign policy will compensate. The large US corporations that moved their production to China will have to adapt and bring back jobs to the US.

As per Putin, the relationship with Trump should be excellent as they have similar world views. Leaders with similar world view tend to have better relationship that those with opposite worldviews and personalities ( just look at the terrible relationship  between the left wing secularist law professor Obama and the strong man spy master judo master Putin). Putin and Trump will most likely understand each other very well and Trump’s America First policy will suit well with Russia. Trump will stop the “real power behind the scene” policy towards Ukraine, stop NATO expansionism in Russia’s backyard and be far more cooperative with Russia in Syria. That and a policy based on pragmatism and not ideology and expansionism ( color revolutions and coup sponsorships) will be the base for a good relationship between Putin and Trump in addition to their similar personalities and worldviews.

4)      Who will help the economy and create more jobs?

Trump will. His renegotiations of terms in trade with China will benefit the US economy. His potential efforts to bring back jobs will benefit blue collar workers (perhaps his strongest support base). Corporative revenue will somewhat shift from top earners and executives back to the workers. Trump will most likely keep union’s demands under control something that might make possible to bring back manufacturing jobs back to US soil. The America First foreign policy would help to keep spending and deficit under control. Trump will shift priority to the middle class and blue collar workers: manufacturing, coal miners, oil industry workers, automobile industry, etc. Free traders fundamentalists will sound the alarm and 2d nd 3d world trade partners will be uncomfortable but at the end it will benefit the US Main street workers and they will have to tolerate and adapt to it.

5)      Who will deal with ISIS and the Middle East more effectively?

Trump as he will really coordinate with Russia to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq and he will not be guided by ideology but by pragmatism. Trump will not follow the current confusing and contradictory policies in Syria (a classic trademark of Obama) but will work together with Russia for the simple and concrete objective to defeat the Sunni  extremist in the area. I also expect Trump to be an honest broker in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and to follow a similar policy than the European Union in this regard. Economic policies would also help to negotiate from a better position with the Middle East  oil providers as Trump might very well invest in local US oil production.  I expect the Neocons and War Hawks a  la K street lobbyists, McCains and Grahams, and New York country clubs to have a lot less influence and power over Trump than perhaps any other President in the US recent history.

6)      What is your greatest concern about either one?

Hillary will continue ideological expansion as per the Cultural Marxism playbook and democratic fundamentalism in the world. She would be an interventionist and continue some of the nonsense policies in Syria and other countries. She might continue to poke the Russian bear in its backyard and will continue the color revolutions and “democratic coup” policies. She will not and cannot be an honest broker in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and will be at the mercy of the Neocons, Hawks, lobbyists and interest groups. I see a renewed Cold War II with Hillary and endless intervention in the foreign policy arena and free trade that will continue to sink the US manufacturing industry in the economic one. She will act out of ideology and expand policies contrary to many countries Moral and religious practices: she will target Hungary because of its Christian constitution,  several African countries because of their traditional views in marriage and soon or later even Muslim countries. Hillary’s Frankfurt School ideology will bring contradictions in policies that would make harder to engage terrorism effectively.

As for Trump I worried about global and internal sabotage. Trump is despised by Neocons and Hawks of Establishment of the Republican Party and universally by leftists and secularists. As for the US and international Press, Trump is something like an Antichrist/new Hitler/apocalyptic monster that must be attacked and defeated at all cost 24/7 in supreme effort. European Union elitists see Trump as their declared enemy. Therefore I worry about how much the global, economic, political and total sabotage from all these groups might restrain a Trump Presidency. From CNN, MSNBC, ABC to the K Street Lobbyists and interest groups, to democratic fundamentalists in the European Union to Black Lives Matters and La Raza, etc., etc., etc., I worried about global and total sabotage against the results of American Democracy.

7)      Anything else you want to add?

I think this is one of the most, if not the most,  decisive election on US history. The Republican Party of the Neocons and Bush Dynasty is forever gone. The mythical “Silent Majority” and the Deep America finally, after more than 50 years of continuous indoctrination in Cultural Marxism and politically correctness, found a representative and voice in Trump (an extraordinary political and social phenomenon by itself). A Hillary victory will be the end of the Judeo-Christian America and the complete and irreversible triumph of the Frankfurt School inspired by Gramsci and propelled by Adorno, Marcuse, Benjamin, Habermas and Horkheimer. Not only the US Supreme Court will be completely shaped and controlled by the New Left  with Scalia and the soon to retire Clarence Thomas replaced by Frankfurt School alumni but also the political correctness victory will become irreversible.  The “old” America will be forever gone and the Cultural War will be completely lost to the Traditionalists with a Hillary’s victory not to mention a new Cold War that might, if the pragmatic heads don’t act, become a hot war. November 2016 means for the American Democracy a decisive point that will mark the next generations to come and the definitive path of the country.”

 

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Michael Smith. 

(He is a professor of political science at Emporia State Univeristy.  Teaches local politics, campaigns and elections, political philosophy, legislative politics, and nonprofit management)

“1)      Who you think will win?

I predict Hillary Clinton will win with an electoral total similar to Barack Obama’s in either 2008 or 2012.  A few new states, such as Missouri and Georgia, may be in play this year.

2)      Which candidate is more trustworthy and capable?

Hillary is widely perceived as having trust issues because of the way she and former President Clinton profit from their political contacts, and because of the issues with e-mail, which do not appear to have compromised national security but do show a certain sense of privilege.  That said, one study had her being the most honest of all the candidates on the stump, and she is one of the most experienced people to ever seek the presidency.  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/28/hillary-clinton-honest-transparency-jill-abramson

3)      Who will deal better with Putin and Xi Jinping?  

Hillary she has plenty of foreign policy experience as Senator and Secretary of State—and even as First Lady—and I think she will be an effective, if cautious president

4)      Who will help the economy and create more jobs?

Trump’s personality will likely alienate a lot of trade partners and other financial actors, so it’s Hillary, hands down.  Her economic policies are likely to be similar to Bill Clinton’s, basically moderate Republican if moderate Republicans still existed.

5)      Who will deal with ISIS and the Middle East more effectively?

Hillary may actually be a bit more hawkish than Obama, particularly on Syria  http://thehill.com/policy/defense/287479-debate-rages-in-clinton-camp-over-syria-policy

6)      What is your greatest concern about either one?

Hillary has the potential to be a very fine president but her refusal to renounce profiting from her personal contacts, and her fears about openness are her two greatest liabilities.  Trump would simply be a mess, possibly delegating heavily to his cabinet and staff.”

 

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Peter D. Rosenstein.

(He is a non-profit executive, journalist and Democratic and community activist. His background includes teaching; serving as Coordinator of Local Government for the City of New York; working in the Carter Administration; and Vice-chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia)

“1)      Who you think will win?

Hillary Clinton will win-  Americans are not ready to take our country down the Rabbit Hole of a Trump Presidency or to accept his racism, sexism, homophobia or bullying that are serving only to divide our country more. I have faith that the American voter will do the right thing in the long run even though the American Press seems to be willing to give Trump a pass on nearly everything. It would be interesting to see his tax returns which most likely show how indebted he is to Russian banks and Oligarchs.

2)      Which candidate is more trustworthy and capable?

Easily the answer to both is Clinton. She is the most experienced and capable person to run for the Presidency in the United States maybe ever. Certainly in the last decades.  She is totally trustworthy. Anyone who believes she isn’t is buying into over twenty-five years and a billion dollars of Republican attacks on her.  

3)      Who will deal better with Putin and Xi Jinping?  

It is a question of how you want to deal with them. Trump would most likely have a better relationship with Putin as he spouts policy options allowing Putin to expand Russia’s orbit of control. But that isn’t good for the United States or the world. Clinton will have a realistic relationship with Russia and work to control Putin’s aggressiveness. Clinton will have the better and more productive relationship with Xi Jinping. She understands China and knows the United States needs to have a productive relationship with them. The kind of saber-rattling Trump does about China is totally unproductive. About the only thing he understands about China is that he has his shirts or ties made there.

4)      Who will help the economy and create more jobs?

Clinton will easily be better for the economy and jobs. Historically in the United States Democrats create more jobs and end up with a better economy. Trump will simply be good for the rich. He doesn’t understand if the poor and middle-class have more money and higher wages it is good for the economy. If Clinton can get her infrastructure plan passed it will be great for the American economy.

5)      Who will deal with ISIS and the Middle East more effectively?

Clinton will as she at least has a better understanding of the problems and better understands that to deal effectively with ISIS we need to work with the Muslim countries in the world and not continually insult them. Dealing with ISIS will not be easy in any case and it will take the entire civilized world working together to deal with them and eventually defeat them.  Clinton has experience working in the Middle East and will continue to work to find solutions which seem so far out of reach. It may be wise to use Bill Clinton, who tried until the last day of his presidency to reach a deal in the middle east, to work on the issues of the Middle East.

6)      What is your greatest concern about either one?

My greatest concern with Trump is that he will act more like a dictator than a President. He has zero understanding of what it will mean to work with the global community or even the US Congress. He has shown he doesn’t understand the Constitution or even freedom of the Press. He would be a total disaster for the United States and if he is serious about the idea of withdrawing from NATO then Europe will surely suffer as well. Clinton will have an easier time if Democrats can take back the Congress. It looks like Democrats will take back the Senate but not the House. Her biggest problem will be that the Republicans in Congress will continue to do what they did to Obama and try to obstruct every piece of Democratic proposed legislation.  

7)      Anything else you want to add? 

The world needs to understand how dangerous a Donald Trump presidency would  be to everyone.”

 

 

Claude Forthomme.

(Senior Editor of Impakter Magazine. Passionate traveller (80 countries+) 25 years experience in United Nations: project evaluation specialist; FAO Director for Europe/Central Asia)

“I think Hillary Clinton will win; she is by far more trustworthy and capable. Actually to say she is more trustworthy than Trump who is a serial liar isn’t saying much; and to say she is more capable is simply stating the obvious: there is nothing that Trump,as a businessman, has brought to fruition, he has lost most of the money he inherited from his father, he is only good at surviving bankruptcy and failure.

True, Clinton is an “old-type” politician and that doesn’t make her very exciting. But she knows politics inside out, she knows what she will face as President of the United States and she is clearly better able to deal with Putin and Xi Jinping, with the Middle East crisis and ISIS, indeed, with any new challenge that might arise in future.

Which of the two can best help create jobs and lift the economy?

There’s not question that Clinton is better placed: she has solid economic advice from experts and she listens to it, she has taken on board much of Sander’s  social-leaning policies, she says she will use her husband’s job-building capacities.

What does Trump say he will do? Forcefully deport 11 million immigrants? Build a wall against Mexico and get them to pay for it( fat chance)? Lower taxes on the super-rich to jump-start the economy (but that has historically and demonstrably failed to work)? He has no economic plan; basically, he’s nothing more than a con artist, a TV reality show star and an aging playboy on his last stand.

Surely not presidential material.

The question is: why is anyone taking him seriously? Historically, he is the least serious candidate the world has seen in the past 50 or 100 years. That’s a record of sorts. The meme you keep hearing in the media is that he appeals to the middle class white man who’s been bypassed/downgraded/pushed aside by globalization and lives off racist hatred and fear of the future – and it seems that there are plenty such unhappy individuals across the United States, maybe some 30 million of them (though I do see women among his followers, maybe the wives, the sisters?).

30 million is both a lot and not enough to win. A lot in terms of social media: he’s a star on Twitter and people no longer read serious papers, I hear that most Americans get their news on Facebook. Why is that bad? Because Facebook is an echo chamber and echo chambers are bad for independent thinking: You only read the news you want to hear. Facebook with its algorithms makes sure that you do, that you never get to hear the opposition. You live in a nice comfortable bubble where everyone thinks the way you do.

But this comes with a price: When you listen to only one side of the story, you lose sight of what is information and what is disinformation. The truth eludes you.

Can social media win the Presidency for Trump?

That’s my biggest fear, let me explain. Trump is riding a negative wave of hatred and fears, just as Farage did when he got Britain to vote for Brexit back in June. And Farage (along with his friend Boris Johnson) created a maelstrom of disinformation, spreading lies about the EU, making short shrift of what the UK really got out of its EU membership (a lot more than it gave). And, against all logic, he won. But that was a narrow vote: 17 million to exit the EU vs. 16 million to stay in. Plus the fact that many people who had registered to vote did not bother to go (some 12 million).

But the UK is a small country compared to the US. Are the 30 million supporters of Trump enough to bring him into the White House? I doubt it…Unless people stay home, like they did in Britain, figuring that it wasn’t worth the hassle to vote. And look at where Britain is today, with a falling pound and rising inflation…

I sincerely hope the same won’t happen to America.”

 

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Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi.

(His research interests focus on the international relations, particularly with reference to the EU’s affairs, the United Nations affairs, the US foreign policy and prevention of conflict-studies. He contributed to the publications to the Daily Dawn (a leading English newspaper) and the Pakistan Observer (an Islamabad-based English daily)

“A-1 As for winning the election 2016, the seemingly indicators suggest that both the candidates would have to go through an acid test of people choice. The Democrat Hillary albeit having some positive points of consideration as compared to the Republican presidential candidate Ronald Trump. And yet it appreciates to be a high task to predict the victory, If Hillary loses the trust in the eye of the majority of the Americans because of her Emails scandal, there appears a rich probability that Trump will emerge as the victor.

A-2 So far as the question regarding the capability and trustworthiness is concerned, in my humble opinion both candidates do lack the faculty of trust to win the heart and minds of the American public. But as far as the matter regarding the capability is concerned, I positively endorse Hillary Clinton as more articulate, mature, astute, resourceful and poised than Trump. Hillary does have all that aplomb and assiduity required to become the president of the United States of America.

A-3 As for dealing the Russian president Putin, it logically appears much palatable that Trump would deal better since during his election campaign, he has enormously demonstrated his cliché to deal with Putin. Mr. Trump has floated the idea of creating a new alliance with Russia, saying a reset of relations is necessary to help ease tensions in Syria and elsewhere. President Putin has said complimentary things about Mr. Trump, which the GOP candidate has said expresses good faith. The perceived warmth between the two men, as well as the close ties between Moscow and some of Mr. Trump’s top advisers, have led some in the U.S. to posit that a Trump presidency would be a boon to Mr. Putin.

Mrs. Clinton has called Mr. Putin a “bully,” and has described the relationship between the U.S. and Russia as complicated. During the 2008 presidential election, she said Mr. Putin “was a KGB agent, by definition he doesn’t have a soul.” Mr. Putin later responded by saying, “I think at a minimum it’s important for a government leader to have a brain.” As secretary of state, she worked to broker more cooperation between the two countries. In 2009, she posed with Mr. Putin for a photo-op in which they pushed a big, red “reset” button.

But as regard to dealing Mr Xi Jinping, Hillary Clinton seems to have more profound and tactful art of diplomacy to handle him. Whereas, Mr. Trump has bashed China persistently from his opening speech as a candidate, describing it as one of the U.S.’s top adversaries, particularly when it comes to economic policy. Mr. Trump says he would label China a currency manipulator, crack down on hacking, and threaten the Chinese government with steep tariffs if it doesn’t agree to rewrite trade agreements.

The socio-politico dynamics reflect that despite the fact that Trump has manifold anomalies and shortcomings as compared to his counterpart, Hillary Clinton holds much better gravity to attract the US public because of his political jugglery.

A-4 So far as the question with regard to the US economy is concerned, it fairly and pertinently appears that both the candidates, Democratic or Republican have no clear cut agenda. Clinton has laid out a comprehensive proposal for capital gains tax reform, in order to discourage the short-term speculation mentality she terms “quarterly capitalism” and encourage long-term investments. Trump supports raising taxes on the very wealthy – arguing that the current tax code requires them to pay very little if anything at all – and lowering taxes on the middle class.

A-5 And of course, on this issue of dealing with the IS is concerned, Hillary Clinton has a better edge over Trump as she has had an enriched experience regarding the foreign affairs. Mr. Trump has said he won’t give a fully detailed plan to defeat Islamic State because it would take away the element of surprise. But he has said he would “bomb the shit” out of the group’s oil operations. He said it could take 30,000 U.S. troops to defeat ISIS in the Middle East, but he hasn’t committed to deploying a force of that size.

Mrs. Clinton has said Sunni Muslims and Kurdish forces should play a bigger role in combating ISIS, and has also called for expanding U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria to defeat the terror network. She has also called for combating Islamic State’s ability to use social media to recruit, train, and plan attacks, urging more cooperation from technology companies. She also has said the U.S. should play a bigger role in helping resolve the humanitarian crisis caused by a huge wave of migrants fleeing Syria.

A-6 My greatest concern regarding Donald Trump is that he seems to have preserved prejudicial thinking about Islam and the Muslims. He must appreciate the principle of unity in diversity. And for Hillary, she has to be more articulate whiling dealing both the foreign relations and domestic policies.

A-7 While juxtaposing Trump’s policies with those of Hillary’s one may reasonably find that Hillary represents an academic approach towards US’s foreign relations; whereas, the policy nurtured and advocated by Ronald Trump does reflect a sleepwalking approach.

http://2016.candidate-comparison.org/?compare=Clinton&vs=Trump&on=taxes

http://graphics.wsj.com/elections/2016/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-on-foreign-policy/

 

Halyna Mokrushyna.

(Holds a doctorate in linguistics and MA degree in communication. She publishes in Counterpunch, Truthout, and  New Cold War on Ukrainian politics, history, and culture. She is also a contributing editor to the New Cold War: Ukraine and beyond and a founder of the Civic group for democracy in Ukraine)

“My favorite candidate was Bernie Sanders, although it was clear from the beginning  that he did not have a chance. Out of the two main candidates I prefer Donald Trump because he is an anti-establishment candidate who is more honest than a versed in politics Hillary, the mouthpiece of Wall Street, corporations of the military industrial complex, and of the elite of American bureaucracy in Pentagon, CIA, and ANS. Trump is not afraid of saying what he thinks, providing American mainstream media endless opportunities to ridicule him and present him as a buffoon. However, this vendetta by neo-liberal press is not very successful: the most recent CNN/ORC poll shows that 50% of Americans see Trump as more honest and trustworthy versus just 35% for Clinton and as the stronger leader, 50% to 42%.

Trump speaks for and to millions of Americans, tired of official neoliberal ideology of political correctness. This hypocritical ideology does not reflect conservative, Christian values of WASP America. Trump is a voice of that America. He is also a voice for white working class without college education – 68% would vote for him as compared to 24% for Clinton, according to the same poll. Trump as an example of successful, hard-working billionaire appeals to men (54% versus 32% for Hillary Clinton), and less to women (38% versus 53% for Hillary). Clinton appeals more to younger voters (under age of 45) – 54% to Trump’s 29%, while the older ones (age 45 or older) are more apt to back Trump (54% to 39% for Clinton). American electorate is clearly divided along white/non-white lines: Hillary Clinton is a clear favorite of non-whites (71%), while Trump is only supported by 18%.

This is not surprising, given Trump’s controversial statements about building a wall on the American-Mexican border or deporting all illegal immigrants from the U.S. Such candid statements shock Americans, used to well-rounded, polished speeches of Hillary Clinton, who mastered the art of political correctness during many years in American high politics, eight years as a Senator (2001-2009), and four years as the Secretary of State (2009-2013).

Trump is an outsider to high politics, and as such he inevitably makes half-baked statements. He is also a media personality and is not afraid of expressing controversial, even scandalous opinions. This ‘red-haired devil’ (as Russian writer Eduard Limonov aptly baptized Trump) is a stream of fresh air in corridors of power, filled with dead air of hypocrisy and impasse of political correctness. Trump appeals to those who desire change, and I think, Trump will win out of his sheer novelty in American political establishment. He did not discredit himself with disastrous decisions and actions in foreign policy, like Hillary Clinton did. I think traditional, conservative WASP America will give Trump a chance.

Hillary Clinton is a decommissioned material, so to speak, in all senses. Reports of her worsening mental health made it even to the mainstream media. She has been in politics too long. She had her finest hour in 2009-2013 as the Secretary of State, and this ‘finest hour’ was tainted by spectacular failures, such as the U.S.-sponsored toppling of Kaddafi government in Libya and an on-going reckless attempt to overthrow Bashar all-Assad in Syria.

Tens of thousands of civilians dead, millions of refugees, a never-ending civil war. This is American exceptionalism, embraced and practiced by Hillary Clinton. The U.S. must lead in the expansion of neoliberal democracy, otherwise there will be a vacuum. A unipolar world, which exists only in Clinton’s imagination. Pax Americana, spread around the world through finances of moguls from Wall Street and weapons produced by the U.S. gigantic military—industrial complex. Hillary Clinton-president means more bellicose foreign policy of the U.S, more political correctness hypocrisy which masks an epic failure of neoliberal elites to make world more just and equal.

Clinton as a mouthpiece of this elite represents a yesterday, while Trump holds a promise of a different future. The true candidate for change, who would bring more equality and justice, was Bernie Sanders. Unfortunately, he stood no chance in the political system, based on money and profit. ‘Crazy’ Trump, jest of neoliberal American elites and media, has a sounder, realpolitik approach to foreign policy. He can deal with Russia much better than Hillary Clinton who is blinded by faith in America’s mission to democratize the world at the cost of hundreds of thousands of human lives.

The world has changed in the last ten years. Russia made a comeback in strength and reasserts itself on international arena. Putin stands up to the hegemony of Western democracy, aptly building relationships with powerful allies (BRICS) and creating an alternative to dollar-based international economy. Russia will not bind anymore to the dictate of the West. And China, with its ever-growing economy, will in ten years or so depose the U.S. as the biggest economy in the world. Trump as a self-made billionaire is better equipped to handle economic challenges and has more common sense and willingness to negotiate, compared to Clinton.

At least, he does not fall into anti-Russian paranoia, as Hillary Clinton does, with ungrounded, unproven allegations that Russia is trying to influence the U.S. elections – I refer to the Democrats statement that it was Russian hackers who broke the server of the DNC and leaked emails, exposing the DNC as an undemocratic operation. Clinton also believes that Putin is the ‘godfather’ of European right-wing anti-migrant parties, indeed, a truly ridiculous proposition, as Gary Leupp noticed.  

This obsession with Putin all-mighty prevents Clinton and her clan from seeing reality. The Soviet Union is long gone. But Clinton’s America in its mission to save the world desperately needs an evil Other, and always finds one. This is what worries me the most if she gets elected. As for Trump, I think he will moderate a lot his speech and actions if he gets elected. He does not have a choice –he needs the support of high ranking bureaucrats to smoothly run the political and economic machinery and the support of political and economic elites to formulate and carry out an en efficient domestic and foreign policy, based on consensus.

To me Trump is an incarnation of America, built on hard work, unwavering faith in God and traditional Christian values. Trump is right-in-your face incarnation of earnest capitalism; he is genuine, what you see is what you get type of personality, while Hillary Clinton, being a mouthpiece of transnational corporations, cloaks herself into deceiving discourse of ‘blue-sky globalism’, democracy and equality, which transnational capital will never realize. For that simple reason I think Trump would be a better President of the U.S. than Clinton and I will not be surprised if he wins.”

 

rsz_kama

Nake M. Kamrany.

(He  is an eminent Afghan-American development economist with superior experience in economic development who is held in high esteem by the international development community, Afghan leaders, scholars, the private sector and intellectuals. He has more than 20 publications on the political economy of Afghanistan)

“Let me be succinct and to the point and identify 15 criteria for comparison.

  1. Duration in public life – Clinton served  8 years as first lady influencing Mr. Clinton policies, 4 years as N.Y. senator, 4 years as secretary of State plus several years as first lady in Arkansas.  Mr. Trump never held public office before and therefore is being vindicated and exonerated from socialand economic  ills (domestic and international).
  2. Under Clinton watch the federal government caused fire to a religious compound in WACO, Texas causing death of children and worshipers.  Under the Constitution citizens ae granted total freedom of religious belief. The government was in breach of the Constitution under Clinton watch.  Although Janet Reno, attorney general, assumed full responsibility but we all know that the buck stops at the desk of the President.
  3. During Clinton presidency tribal wars caused wide scale massacre of tribes in Africa, the U.S. as superpower could have prevented the massacre but failed to act.
  4. During Clinton watch, Osama bin Laden bombed two U.S. embassy in Africa and attach U.S. warship Cole, Clinton did not retaliate effectively, shot one missile which missed the target, instead landed in a wedding party.  An effective retaliation could have prevented the tragedy of 9/11.
  5.  U.S. citizens are encountered with lower earnings, higher rates of poverty, higher rates of real unemployment, underemployment and withdrawal from the employment market due to lack of jobs.
  6. The infrastructure throughout the economy has detreated and has fallen below European countries.
  7. Student loans have caused many American families in debt while such education is free in European

Countries.

  1. Black Life has suffered long term determination while the Clintons were in power for several decades.  
  2. While Ms. Clinton served as U.S. senior, not a single bill passed the U.S. Senate named after Clinton.
  3.  The use of the office of secretary of state to take contribution from foreign heads of states for a private charity under the Clinton name was immoral, illegal, and dishonor to the prestige of the U.S. government.
  4.  Medical cost, especially medicine is the highest in the U.S. hurting senior citizens and he poor   – an outcome of Clinton’s failed policies.
  5.  Collection of very high fees for speeches was another example of the wicket promotion of private wealth under the shadow of public title and influence.
  6. The killing of black people on the streets of the cities of the U.S. under a democratic administration is crime against humanity and the government of the U.S. has failed to stop it.
  7.  Finally he radicalization of U.S. government policy in war and peace is un-American, sad and regretful, the incessant bombing of villages and villagers in Afghanistan for 15 years, and he broader Middle East and some African countries equate the U.S. actions with those of insurgents.

In all of the above criteria Clinton bear some responsibility and /Trump none.

  1. Ostensibly the hallmark or seal of Mr. Barack Obama’s (a precursor of Clinton) presidency is blemished with   radicalization of his administration in foreign policy.  Radicalization is not limited to insurgent groups or “lone wolf,” it is widespread and contagious.  Radicalization is usually a response to inequity and leads to retaliation or an expression of disapproval to a harm.  It is not necessarily instigated by religious belief, ethnicity and the like.   According to a study at George Washington University, “no clues were found to explain the recent surge in American recruits to Jihadism.”  The report added, “In the end, we found no clear profile.  The path to radicalization wasn’t linear or predictable.  Islamic State recruits were old and young, rich and poor, college graduates and high school dropouts.    Some had deep knowledge of Islam while others had only a superficial understanding of the faith.  While they shared an affinity for the jihadists ideology they manifested that support in a variety of ways—from joining the so-called caliphate to raising money to send to Syria or Iraq,” (3) it is conducted by individuals, group of individuals, organizations, nation states including weak and powerful nations.   McVey, a former U.S.     soldier blew up a federal building in Oklahoma causing death to innocent children and worshipers who were killed.  The government’s action was a violation of the church group’s constitutional right prohibiting government’s interfere in religious belief.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

 Superpower governments’ leaders have succumbed to radicalization such as Valdemar Putin who feel nostalgic to recreate the former Soviet Union empire and has invaded a couple of former  Soviet colonies and  Barack Obama who has engaged in wars with seven states in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The U.S. and Russian Republic’s bombings in the Middle East and Eastern Europe are acts of radicalization.   Instead of employing diplomacy the threat system has been employed.   The U.S. has been engaged in wars in 7 third world countries during the presidency of President Obama by his own admission.  It follows that his legacy will be a radicalized war president and historian will label him as such.  Recent trends of U.S. war policy further cement the continuation of broader war.  For instance, the fifteen year occupation of Afghanistan has been extended for five additional years despite the fact that it is already the longest war in all of U.S. history. (4) The Afghans have a saying, “Riding a donkey is one shame, getting off the donkey’s back is another shame.”  Obama does not know how to get off the donkeys back.

Print a cartoon here (GET OFF DONKEY’S BACK MR. PRESIDENT.’)

It is deplorable that both of the 2016 U.S.  Political campaigns and the world at large is silent about Afghanistan’s dreadful quandary.   The U.S./NATO use of force for 15 years has shown to be failing in terms of eliminating the security threat or installing a stable political order and liberal values. This situation is largely due to conception by Afghan population that the U.S./NATO military assault had no legitimacy. (5)  It was rendered ineffective despite one trillion dollars of cost and over 3000 loss of G.I bloods.

Rationality dictates that peace be given a chance through negotiation and diplomacy?  The Taliban has shown willingness to participate in a peace accord.

This week President Obama ordered bombing in Libya in retaliation to ISIS operations.  The order was not ratified by the U.S.  Congress.  Aside from this digression of authority, the Middle East wars, in addition to Iraq, Syria, Libya and other locations is a manifestation of radicalization by a sole super power of the world. (2) It is abdicating its leadership role – using the threat system instead of propagating peace, economic development, education and liberal values.  If the military assault is to continue thus. Congress would have to authorize it and place limits on its extent and an exit strategy.  Nevertheless, the victims in the Libyan city of Surt will sustain incessant bombing cause damages to villagers who are women, children and civilian population, not ISIS fighters.      

There are several million followers of ISIS in the broader Middle East countries, how many million people do the U.S.  Intend to kill and for how long?  There is no doubt that the population of ISIS are radicalized in response to their loss of relatives, homes, villages and living conditions.  Yes, it is in response to incessant bombing of their villages and homes that they have become radicalized.  What other choices do they have but to retaliate in any form that they see fit.  

The nature of war has shifted drastically over time due to advent of modern technologies, shift and movement of population.  The arrival of modern technology has created new environment for individuals to respond to inequities and launch “lone wolf” attacks.  These new and assisting technologies include such development as the internet, computers, migration, transportation and communication plus refugee-migration.  The old traditional wars produced victors and defeaters in relatively short periods of time who then would negotiate and arrange armament.  Modernly it is the “lone wolf” approach and other radicalized methods largely guerrilla type of hit and run.  This form of resistance is very complex to defend whose perpetrator  are willing to commit suicide in exchange for inflicting damages upon innocent population in Western cafes and other soft targets. While drones and aerial bombing inflict enormous damages they are not effective to produce surrender and defeat the indigenous population.   Because the radicalized “lone wolves” do not have a nucleus of command and control.   In most cases they represent decisions by a single individual or a few people and their aim is retaliation to a perceived unjustifiable harm.  It follows that the Western nations could be engulfed in an “endless war” and sustain damages that are hard to protect or defend. The Western nations should be cognizant of damages that their own population will sustain due to the inequities that their own governments inflict upon the third world nations as has been the case currently in Afghanistan and the broader Middle East and Parts of Africa in the last several years.

From the 1800s to the present, Great Britain quit four Anglo-Afghan wars because they were determined to be very costly.  The Soviet Union quit Afghanistan when it was determined very costly after 10 years of occupation.   The current U.S./NATO war in Afghanistan is in its 16th years.

The war with ISIS in several Middle East countries is and continues to be very costly and could be continuous.   The objectives of these wars are not defined, no exist strategy is devised, foot soldier will be at great risk and their engagement will be prohibitive.  Aerial bombing while devastating villages are not effective beyond killing children, women and civilians and destroying homes.

In the final analysis it should be noted that peoples of all walks of life have a preference for life and living than death.  The preference applies to insurgent groups such as ISIS and our own GIs. Their lives are not free.  Therefore, negotiating peace through diplomacy with any and all kind of advisories is a fertile ground to end these senseless wars and establish world peace.  Super powers and Western powers should not get involved in sectarian, religious, tribal, ethnic and associated local disputes in the third world.  Instead they should be the instrumentality of peace, resolving local disputes and promoting liberal ideals throughout the world for betterment of humanity. “

 

John Mariotti.

(He as spoken to thousands of people in the business, professional and university audiences in the US and Europe; he hosted a one-hour talk-radio show on the North American Broadcasting Network, (The Life of Business & the Business of Life); founded & moderated, The Reunion Conference, an annual roundtable/think-tank for 16 years)

“1)      Who you think will win?

At this point, it seems that Clinton will win, (Because of the electoral map is heavily influenced by populous Democratic, and heavily minority concentrations in states on both coasts. It will take a monumental upset for Trump to win.) I pray that she doesn’t for the sake of America’s next generations.

2)      Which candidate is more trustworthy and capable?

Trump. He may say alarming things, but when the chips are down, he moderates his positions. He is clearly the more experienced and capable executive (In spite of his narcissism—a trait he shares with Barack Obama). Clinton has accomplished nothing except to hold a series of high profile positions in which she was exalted—but was badly flawed, scandal ridden and full of lies.)

3)      Who will deal better with Putin and Xi Jinping?

Trump. Clinton will continue to let them “run over” the USA just as Obama has. Clinton is basically Obama’s fourth term. His first three have been failures in every aspect except spending the USA into enormous deficits and debt and making articulate speeches, then never taking decisive actions—except his attempts to circumvent Congress and the Constitution, and use his government agencies to punish Americans and his opposition (IRS, EPA, Justice Department, etc, etc.).

4)      Who will help the economy and create more jobs?

Trump. Clinton never created a job, except for her several illicit cronies. She has no idea how to, either, except to throw taxpayer money at making jobs. Neither she nor Barack Obama understand that the government doesn’t create jobs. The government cannot increase the wealth of the USA. It can only retard it. The government has no income, and creates no wealth on its own. It only takes money from the people and businesses in the USA that do create wealth and then spend it, wastefully. (e.g., Obama’s stimulus package: each job created cost the US taxpayers $275,000)

5)      Who will deal with ISIS and the Middle East more effectively?

Trump. Clinton views them similarly to how Obama did (albeit she is less Muslim-biased), as “somebody else’s problems.” Soft on Syria, Iran, Egypt, et. al., is a policy that simply asks for more Middle East trouble.  “Leading from behind” is NOT leading at all.  Until an ISIS attack hits the Obama (or Clinton) White House, neither will understand how their passive, complicit diplomacy is a joke to ISIS’ brutal leaders, and to most of the Middle East. Nobody trusts Clinton (any more than they trust Obama)—to do anything she says, let alone what she might promise.

6)      What is your greatest concern about either one?

Hillary Clinton simply cannot be believed or trusted for anything—except to lie as needed and aim for more of the status quo—four more years of Barack Obama’s tax and spend liberal/socialist agenda—and stagnant US growth.  Clinton lies so often that she loses track of which lies she told, when. (Then she goes into her “I must have been confused mode.”) Her irresponsible handling of national security information, started with her attempt to hide the Clinton Foundation’s illicit operations (using the servers Bill already had in the basement).

In setting up her private servers, she inadvertently ran afoul of government regulations, which she knowingly agreed/signed to comply with—and thus was able to stall, hide, obfuscate and outright lie—about what she actually did that was wrong. A list of her career-long scandals fills pages. In recent years, lies about Benghazi (a video?), about turning over all of her emails (a joke), of not losing control of classified information (fuzzy definitions, aided and abetted by Obama, “there’s classified and then there’s Classified” on the Fox News interview).

We have seen 8 years of a president who lies with such ease that it almost goes unnoticed, and is repeated so often it becomes familiar as the truth. (“You can keep your Doctor”…over and over).

I do not want eight more years of the status quo—Little or no growth, the poorest Americans suffering worst, in spite of record spending, rising taxes to pay for it and even higher borrowing, and then lie and shift the blame when things go wrong. (Bush’s fault, Congress’s fault, “the American people just didn’t understand me,”—always someone else’s fault

Trump is competitive and his response to a personal attack is to lash out—usually with words that are ill-advised. Trump is meteoric, speaks his mind, (often without filtering what he says), and misstates facts that he recalls to support his positions. The lies that Trump stumbles into are those of “puffery” and reliance of recall and impressions instead of hard data. Those are fixable, as he has proven, walking back from the most egregious. He has already begun to show regrets for some extreme things he said in the heat of campaigning. Given the staff and the responsibility of the biggest job in the world will further sober Donald Trump.  Even his ebullient nature has become more muted as the election nears.

The USA has problems so large and diverse, made worse in the last 12 years, that only a revolution and restructuring of US government and institutions will even have a chance to fix anything. Even that kind of revolution can only make things incrementally better in the near term. Clinton cannot even imagine such a revolution. Trump might be able to lead one, and to break the bad habits of entrenched power structures inside the Beltway.

7)      Anything else you want to add?

Yes, Here’s a piece I’ve been developing on the magnitude of the problem created by the combination of Bush’s second term fiasco, aided and abetted by a terrible GOP Congress, and Obama’s worse performance, doubling the national debt in 8 yearsand sending the deficit on a path to impossible levels, while doing nothing to help the growth of the US economy other than allowing the Fed to pump imaginary money into the economy at near zero interest rates.  If Trump could win—a long shot, and retain GOP control of both Houses of Congress—progress could be made. Nothing fixes the US economic picture like growth. Going for Obama’s 1.5% growth to a 3.5-4% growth economy would reverse many of the bad trends, but if, and only if, the Congress can restrain spending and giving money away wastefully.

Here is that piece in draft format. I will share it here, even though the final version is a month or two away.

The Debt Bomb:

Why “it really doesn’t matter” who wins in November—until—It Does.

A famous line of Hillary Clinton’s after she was proven to have lied and misled the American people about Benghazi was “it really doesn’t matter?” The same line fits the coming presidential election. In the long term, 30, 40, or 50 years, it probably only matters a little. However, in the next 15-20 years, then it matters a lot who wins.

What does that mean? In the long term, the USA has dug an economic hole so deep that there is no reasonable chance to dig out of it. I call it the Debt Bomb, waiting to go off. The Gross Domestic Product GDP, the sum of all economic activity in the US economy is about $20 Trillion/year (Note: A trillion is a million-million—a very big number).

The US Debt is quickly approaching $20 Trillion too. Thanks to Barack Obama’s past 7+ years, that worse by about 1/3 from when Obama took office. (Of course he’d like to blame George W. Bush for that, but the nameplate on the desk in the White House says “Barack Hussein Obama.”)

The lack of any meaningful economic recovery has kept revenue growth very low (1-2%/year growth), while Obama, like president Bush before him—has continued to spent and spend and spend. “Tax the rich” has been Obama’s mantra, but as celebrity consultant Tony Robbins aptly showed in 2012, the rich simply don’t have enough money to pay the bills that Obama has run up. (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jboTeS9Okak —for the facts circa 2012 when the deficit was only $15 trillion.)

Now, IF the US could grow at rates more like 5% (Reagan era growth), for a long, long time—say 20-25 years, (which has never been done), the extra tax revenue coming in might actually cut that $20 trillion debt in half.  Unless, of course, successive presidents and Congresses go on spending sprees and run it back up. The government’s idea of cutting spending is not to decrease the amount spent compared to the prior year. It is just to reduce the amount of the increase from what they had planned on. Really? (Do not try this with your household budget.)

Even if the successive presidents and Congresses reined in spending, (and there is an enormous amount of wasted spending in the US government), it’s unlikely they could cut enough to wipe out the deficit. Why? Because there would be a huge recession, which would slow or stop the growth needed. We forget that all or most of the government’s spending goes to pay people (government employees) who are also consumers, and to pay government contractors, (which are private companies that also employ people), both of which are consumers that spend money in the economy, in one way or another. Cut them and the jobless rolls explode.

Every billion dollars slashed from government spending is a billion dollars of someone’s spendable income—either personal or corporate—but then corporations are just a bunch of people in offices, aren’t they? (Remember: A trillion dollars is a thousand billion, which in turn is a thousand million.)

But even if, by some amazing feat of global economic growth, America could balance its annual budget and reduce its debt, that’s not the biggest problem.

(By the way, President Clinton’s claim to fame: a balanced budget with a surplus was also an illusion. The budget was balanced because of huge taxable profits on revenue increases from the dot-com bubble.  It turns out that those tax payments and the big profits on which they were based were illicit—and illusion—and tax returns had to be restated. In the following few years. Pres. George H. W. Bush’s term) billions of dollars of losses were incurred, and used as tax write-offs, because the early profits didn’t really happen in the first place.  So much for Hillary’s claim to have Bill lead the economy out of the doldrums.)

The Debt Bomb is made up of two parts. One part, we’ve been talking about is the combination of the US National debt created by profligate US government spending/borrowing combined with misguided policies that inhibit economic growth, income and revenue, The second part is actually a much bigger problem. Really.

This part of the Debt Bomb can only be undone by a lot of painful, unpleasant and downright disastrous undoing. In a word, “entitlements,” must be slashed, bashed and trashed. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Pension plans (not just at the Federal government level, but at the state and local level) make up the far larger and longer lasting piece of the Debt Bomb.

Even worse, is that most public pension plans have been allowed to use totally unrealistic (optimistic) estimates for actuarial growth rates of their funds (7%+/-) instead of the more realistic true levels (3-4%). That lets them misstate how badly underfunded these plans are.

When all of the promises made for various kinds of benefits owed (remember, some 75 million American Baby-Boomers are still halfway through retiring at the rate of 10,000 per day) are totaled, the unfunded liability (an accounting term for money due) is (are you ready for this?) over ONE HUNDRED TRILLION DOLLARS. You read that right: $100,000,000,000. That is FIVE TIMES AS MUCH AS THE US NATIONAL DEBT, and it is also FIVE times the US annual GDP. That doesn’t even include any projection for increasing life expectancy or inflation in costs.

How do you defuse that “debt bomb?” You don’t. The only choices are to cut it down to a reasonable size by reneging on the promises made to Americans over the past 50-75 years. Tell the retirees and near-retirees that the pension/benefit safety net their employer (including the government) promised them, simply isn’t there. As company pension plans began to fail, because they don’t have enough money to cover their unfunded liabilities, the government tried to come to the rescue.

The government formed and funded the PBGC (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation) to take over those plans and make the pension payments. The PBGC was a hoped for remedy to prevent companies and governments from dumping insolvent/underfunded plans, leaving retirees with nothing. There’s only one small problem. PBGC is running out of money too, and won’t have nearly enough—not even close—to fund some of the insane public employee union pension plans promised by unwitting state officials.  For a quick recap of just one aspect of this problem, read this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jboTeS9Okak .

Ugly, right? So what’s the bottom line behind the subtitle of this piece: “It really doesn’t matter.”

It doesn’t matter which person is elected president in November 2016, because the Debt Boom will still be looming. This economic “Grand Canyon” sized gap, is simply too big to fill.

But, it does matter a lot who gets elected if you are considering the next 15-30 years. The financial cataclysm—the Debt Bomb may not explode for more than 30 years. It’s called “kicking the can down the road.”

In that instance, then the choice for 2016 for president is NOT HILLARY CLINTON. Her policies and plans and those of her Democratic cohort will make the problems worse, faster. She (or worse yet would have been Bernie Sanders) will move up the date when the Debt Bomb explodes.

Donald Trump is no prize, but his policies will actually be more focused on private sector growth, which adds real wealth and income to the economy. That pushes out the date when the Debt Bomb blows up the US economy and sends everything into an unknown and unpredictable chaos. (Think Puerto Rico or Greece but many times larger and impossibly worse.)

Strangely, some of the Democrats, who are intelligent folks, still haven’t figured out that the Federal government actually creates no wealth at all. (Think Paul Krugman, et. al., for one example.) All the government can do is take a share of the money that passes through the US economy, levying taxes, duties, and fees out and confiscating the wealth created by the private sector—in a word, businesses and the American people.

Now, for those readers who want a glimmer of hope, here it is. Nobody can forecast much of anything 30-50 years into the future. Demographics, absent war or pestilence can project population growth, but even that is subject to assumptions about mortality rate and life expectancy.  Economic forecasts, (like Climate-Change Models) are seldom right. Change a parameter or assumption of two and the outcome changes (often to whatever the forecaster wants it to be—remember Al Gore?)

The biggest events or breakthroughs that can defuse or overcome the Debt Bomb are almost unimaginable—but that they will be out there—is imaginable. The California Gold Rush, the Moon flights, the Great Depression, and the post WW-II economic boom each changed America’s economy and society enormously.

The good news: technology can change everything. Quite recently the decoding of the Human Genome was predicted to take years or decades, but now it is a rapid reality, opening entire new medical fields to gene manipulation.  Nano-technology holds either immense potential or huge risk—or both. Climate change scientists have spent countless months arguing about whose models and conclusions are established science, but all become moot when a Mount St. Helens erupts, or Sunspots go wild. Moore’s law about the growing power of computing still endures.

Harnessing solar energy, like fracking, could totally alter the global economic landscape. So could desalination. Water, that ubiquitous substance, which makes up most of the Earth’s surface, and of which 75% is still underground within the Earth rocky core—is necessary for human life. But California is dying of drought.

What else can you think of that could cause tectonic changes in global economics, wealth creation and what if something that grows as fast as the Internet, portable cell phones, Facebook/Twitter use and the next embodiment of Moore’s Law comes along.

The Debt Bomb defies a solution using old (know) n approaches, but deciding which US President will take revolutionary new steps and  “buy us a few more years” for that unknown event, technology or breakthrough to occur—that matters a lot.

So, you see, “It really doesn’t matter—until it does.” That’s why we cannot entrust the White House to Hillary Clinton who will push us further, faster toward the time when the Debt Bomb explodes. No matter how risky Donald Trump seems, he is America’s better choice to defuse the Debt Bomb.”

 

rsz_jon

Jon Kofas.

(Retired Indiana University university professor. Academic Writing. International Political Economy – Fiction.)

“Will Americans Be Better off in 2020 than they were in 2016?

The Media Defines Election Issues

Will the majority of Americans be better off in 2020 than they were in 2016, and will they live in a more democratic society less oriented toward police-state methods at home and military solutions to political crises abroad? These are key questions that go beyond the obfuscation of distraction issues which the corporate media inculcates into peoples’ heads on a daily basis regarding what matters in elections.  Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, by 2020 the small percentage of millionaires and billionaires will have amassed more wealth under a fiscal policy that transfers income from the bottom up. The mainstream media rarely addresses this issue because it identifies the ‘national interest’ with the wealthy elites.

For a large percentage of the working class and middle class, everything from housing to college education is not affordable amid a widening gap between the few billionaires who buy influence through campaign contributions and the masses whose living standards have been declining in the last four decades. Presidential/congressional elections have made no difference in improving living standards. On the contrary history of nearly half a century shows just the opposite, a key issue that the media ignores because its role is to co-opt the masses into the two major political parties.

The media has been working feverishly to convince citizens that democracy is equated with elections when in reality this is an illusion as Mark Twain pointed out during the Gilded Age. When George W. Bush was president, VIACOM, parent company of CBS, wanted more tax breaks and it made sure that its news coverage reflected favorably on the Republican administration, with only minor deviations. VIACOM realized like all other corporate media companies that unless it refrained from criticizing Bush’s foreign policy, it would not secure the tax breaks. Therefore, CBS news coverage was shaped not by the manner that the US conducted Middle East policy and the facts on the ground ranging from sweetheart contracts to corporations linked to the Vice President and defense contractors, but in accordance with VIACOM’s desire to reduce its tax bill.

Besides covering scandals and controversy of personal lives of the candidates and their top advisors, the media focuses on cultural and social issues that are important but have nothing to do with living standards. Largely because the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has openly employed racist, xenophobic and misogynist rhetoric, media focus on ethnicity, race and gender became core campaign issues to the deliberate neglect of larger all-inclusive social justice issues that concern all working class and middle class voters. Because the mainstream media identifies first and foremost with Wall Street of which it is a part as much as the presidential contenders and candidates on the ‘down ballot’ on both parties, it rarely covers socioeconomic inequality that has been growing since the Reagan presidency.

This is not to say that there are no differences between the Republican and Democrat candidates simply because the media chooses to focus on certain issues. However, the vast majority of the people know that the Democrat Party is not that of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Keynesian New Deal reformist who modified the political economy during the Great Depression to accommodate the declining middle class and withering working class. The Democratic Party of Bill Clinton is neoliberal responsible for the massive concentration of capital and continued downward socioeconomic mobility in America.

People know that their lives and those of their children are not likely to experience upward social mobility regardless of the election outcome in November 2016. Although both political parties promise the moon, people know the American Dream is a remote possibility. For this reason a segment of the voters is angry and lined behind the self-proclaimed political Messiah Trump while others see salvation by the first woman president who represents Obama-style continuity if nothing else. Deep down, they know neither will do anything to change the prospect for the majority to achieve the elusive dream. Despite election enthusiasm for about half of the voters and apathy for the other half, according to public opinion polls, many know that the election will not result in any institutional change as was the case during the New Deal. The election outcome will make little difference if any in terms of slowing down the continued decline of the American middle class, as it will make little difference in the aggressive military-solution-oriented foreign policy that only adds hundreds of billions to the public debt. Nevertheless, there are those who are moved by political or religious ideology who see the election in terms of choice between good and evil.

Populist Republicans – social/cultural conservatives with an anti-globalism tendency – want Trump whose religious and spiritual orientation may not be any stronger than that of his secular humanist Democrat opponent, but who promises to deliver America into greatness away from the social/cultural evils of the Obama era; an era characterized by a perception that there has been greater support for gays, women, illegal immigrants, and minorities at the expense of angry white males mostly without a college education. There are those on the liberal camp who believe that a commitment to the superficialities of political correctness and advocating transgender bathroom use is somehow equated with the broader core issue of social justice that impacts the material lives of the vast majority. 

The US will face major challenges not just in the next four years, but in the next decade largely because its public debt at $19 trillion in 2016 will likely increase much faster than GDP at just under $18 trillion, especially if Trump wins and carries out the massive tax cut to the wealthy and corporations.  If the dollar was not a reserve currency and used as a means exchange in many commodities including global energy trade, its value would not be at current levels and Americans would not be enjoying living standards at current levels. Now that the Chinese currency is part of the reserve currency basket with the blessing of the IMF, the dollar’s decline is inevitable in the next growth cycle of the Chinese economy.

While many political, economic and social scientists are concerned about the impact of the global power shifts in the status of the US and its middle class living standards, they generally relegate blame for the inevitable downturn to:

1. China’s unfair competitive advantage in the world;

2.  Russia’s Tsarist imperial designs on the regional balance of power;

3. The war on terror;

4. The entitlement programs and the cost of labor and its destabilizing impact on airlines, tourism, etc.;

5. The absence of a fiscal structure that transfers even greater income from the bottom 90% of the population and shifts it to the top 10% and within that group mostly to the top 1%.

Neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton is addressing the challenges facing the American middle class and workers with viable policy solutions because they are both committed to the ruinous neoliberal model of economic development. They both know that the global power shift will not change no matter which of them wins the election, living standards will not improve, and American decline is inevitable because both will pursue neoliberal policies combined with costly defense buildup that only adds to the public debt burden. While rhetoric about safeguarding the interests of the “nation” as top priority is at the core of the political campaigns, social justice is totally absent because America’s elites are not interested in it, as Senator Bernie Sanders repeatedly noted.

Well paid pundits with allegiance to one side or the other and the corporate media have helped to define the election agenda that centers around keeping the exact same global military structure and the domestic fiscal, mo and labor policies that account for what these same pundits label the “resentment election of 2016”.  In short, there is no choice for the voters other than to cast a ballot to maintain the institutional structure that has been accountable for the decline of the American middle class since the early 1980s. One reason both candidates have unfavorable ratings around 60% and one reason that voters are looking to smaller parties or simply refusing to participate is because they know that elections do not make any difference in improving their lives or their children.

Symbolism of the Presidency and Party Platforms

Mark Twain’s quote “If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it,” may sound like a clever one-liner from the Gilded Age, but it goes to the heart of the appearance of democracy as a system of popular sovereignty – will of the people and the social contract – behind which rests a small socioeconomic elite determining policy designed to maintain its privileged position in society. The ceremonial exercise of voting for candidates that the two political parties have nominated and which are committed to perpetuate an institutional structure serving the elites affords the illusion of freedom of choice when in fact the result is predetermined.

Contrary to liberal arguments that the great assault on democracy emanates solely from conservatives, corporate cash is and has been bipartisan when we follow the money trail. It is hardly a secret that the political economy shaping the social structure obviates voting as an effective means to secure a government responsive to the welfare of all people. Election results matter only on socio-cultural issues rather than socioeconomic ones. Symbolically, however, the occupant of the White House makes a difference because historically Americans view the person as ‘the leader of the Free World’.

Clinton Symbolism: There is no denying that the Clinton candidacy carries symbolism because she could become the first female president, just as there was great symbolism with Obama as the first black president. A closer look at the standard of living and unemployment among blacks combined with institutionalized racism as manifested in the criminal justice system and police shootings of black youth reveals that the Obama presidency made no difference except as a symbol of pride and precedent.  Obama was just as neoliberal in his policies as his predecessor. Obama’s record of interventionism and military operations in the Middle East and North Africa was not as reckless as that of George W. Bush, but American covert and overt militarism in the Middle East and North Africa with continued operations in Iraq, Afghanistan/Pakistan are hardly the promise of a pacifist president the world expected in 2008. Why would Clinton be much better in that respect, considering she was part of that administration?

Have women heads of state around the world made much institutional difference for women, minorities, and workers?  There are those who feel that merely the symbolism is enough and they ask for nothing more. Trump makes the symbolism even more striking considering his chauvinist, xenophobic, misogynist and neo-Fascist tendencies both in rhetoric and style. Trump as a right-wing populist reflecting a segment of the American public from blue-collar white men to billionaires makes Clinton appear progressive when in fact she is far from it, as the primary season against Bernie Sanders and her record clearly prove. In essence, policy differences between the symbolic woman president and Trump the “would be political Messiah” will not be significant because the elites have common interests and always prevail. Besides, no matter the symbolism of the person in the Oval Office, the US has divided government with Congress exercising immense power over key issues.

 Trump symbolism: This flamboyant egocentric billionaire with some underlying psychotic tendencies fits the theory of the political Messiah coming to the rescue of the masses. Reflecting a segment of society beyond the anti-political correctness angry white working class male, Trump is the carrier of the Republican Party’s populist wing that includes angry white men suffering downward pressure in living standards, evangelicals, Tea Party remnants, gun advocates, abortion opponents, economic nationalists, isolationists opposed to globalization, and above all who aspire to be billionaires like him and vote their aspirations instead of their interests.

This would be political Messiah promising to make America great again, going back to the right wing era of Reagan, the president who delivered the savings and loan crisis and Iran-Contra scandal, is ready to take power and lead like a fearless Barbarian warrior prepared for confrontation, instead of a politically-correct Democrat or Rockefeller Republican seeking consensus.  How does he plan to do this considering Congress has such broad powers and the US is so thoroughly integrated into the world economy is a mystery. This is one reason that the symbolism he would bring to the White House sufficiently scares a number of banks and corporations that they argue his mere presence would precipitate instability that markets fear.

The symbolism of a Trump victory would encourage various white hate groups like White Lives Matter, Alt-Right, and many others that include prominent think tanks providing financing for some of these groups. This would mean that police forces across the country would be emboldened to shoot first at unarmed black youth and ask questions later, thus the police-state methods immersed in racism will intensify because the Justice Department would not be investigating as it has in some case under Obama. More broadly, the symbolism of a Trump presidency would be a triumph for chauvinism, xenophobia and a return to the good old days before the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

Trump Platform

1. Right wing populism – Ideologically, Trump allied himself with the populist wing of the Republican Party that has elements of racism, xenophobia, sexism, chauvinism and anti-pluralistic tendencies antithetical to a modern diverse and open society. This is as much a reflection of the ideological orientation guided by think tanks and media outlets funded by right wing billionaires as it is of the religious right continuing to assert itself as it has since the Reagan era. The popular base rejected Rockefeller Republicans like Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and many others. Trump realized that the popular base had moved to the right, embracing social conservatism with elements of militarism, economic nationalism and isolationism combined with unilateral militarism. The symbolism of a bully billionaire riding like a cowboy ready to take on hostile Indians appeals to a segment of citizens who believe that projection of strength is a valuable trait in a president rather than intelligence articulated in polite political correctness.

2. Economic Nationalism – Build a wall along the US-Mexico border and force the Mexicans to pay for it has been the populist slogan that encapsulates Trump’s panacea for solving America’s economic and social problems. Even if the US could build a thousand walls along the border with Mexico and Canada, the inevitability of its economic decline is a certainty, along with the downward socioeconomic mobility of the waning middle class. A thousand border walls do not change the reality that Trump adamantly opposes raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in the next five years, and revising the fiscal structure that has multinational corporations like General Electric paying no taxes and also receiving federal subsidies through the Export-Import Bank. Because Trump has to distract the Republican popular base from the real causes for their economic misery, he resorts to xenophobia that has deep roots in American history and it is currently a trend throughout the Western World.

While retaining a commitment to neoliberal policies and huge tax reductions for the wealthiest Americans and corporations, Trump would be willing to challenge companies interested in relocating abroad to remain at home or face punitive taxes – at least this was the rhetoric intended to secure more working class votes. Whereas Clinton is more open to globalization under neoliberal policies, he views integration as an impediment to national sovereignty and national capitalism. 

The fiscal policy announcement he made officially intended to keep companies at home, but it would entail a massive rise in the US public debt, and at the same time it would transfer income from the bottom tiers of the taxpayer to the top five percent. Furthermore, it would then have serious implications in social programs, including public education and health care that would have to be cut to fund tax breaks to the rich and the defense budget and devoted to more corporate subsidies.

3. Militarism and Unilateralism – The proposals to strengthen defense, while pursuing greater unilateralism in foreign affairs and asking allies to pay more for their own defense is hardly new in the American political arena. Trump simply took advantage of the unpopular wars in Iraq and Pakistan/Afghanistan, which cost the US perhaps as much as $4.5 trillion once the Homeland Security component is added, to argue that America will not be paying for the defense of NATO and ASEAN allies that have the means to pay for their own defense. At the same time, his campaign has recklessly argued in favor of mass military campaigns to smash terrorism, as though it is a concentrated conventional force, ignoring that previous presidents made the same promises and delivered no results.

Regardless of the rhetoric, he would be highly unlikely to touch the military alliances of the US if elected to office because his advisors would convince him of the implications that includes losing the dominant voice in such alliances. Moreover, the US enjoys the privilege of recommending defense budget allocations for alliance members, although they do not always abide by Washington’s recommendations. Like Reagan administration Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger who argued in favor of the ‘nuclear option’ only to find himself castigated by NATO allies in 1982, Trump is deemed sufficiently arrogant and reckless to consider seriously the nuclear option. While he is not so psychotic as to be running around the White House asking people for the nuclear code, he could conceivably see the need for small tactical nuclear weapons against a rogue state like North Korea, which could in fact mean total war. This is an unlikely scenario, but who can afford to take that chance with an egomaniac?    

Clinton Platform

1.      Liberal on Social Issues/Conservative on economic and foreign policy  –

The ideological orientation of modern day Democrats combines neoliberal policies in the domain of economics and elements of neo-conservatism in foreign affairs. Although there are those who have criticized Clinton for veering to the right on foreign policy, defense, and fiscal issues, she is within the mainstream of the Cold War-minded Democrat Party. Based on her platform, which had to be modified because of pressure from the Bernie Sanders wing of the party, Clinton is as mainstream neoliberal as her husband and Obama, both of whom employed liberal Democrat rhetoric but governed from the right, reflecting the interests of their powerful Wall Street donors.

Ideologically, Clinton will be a policy consensus builder in order to be effective but that is hardly a stretch because ‘Rockefeller Republicans’ may only differ with her on gun control, woman’s right to choose, immigration policy, race politics, modest judicial reform to address institutionalized racism in the criminal justice system, and privacy issues. While she is far less ideological in 2016 than she was in 1992 when she was first lady, she remains within Democrat Party perimeters of paying lip service to everything one would expect of a middle-of-the road liberal since the Kennedy administration. The diverse popular base of the party is pulling her to the left, but the hundreds of millions she has received from the elites are pulling her to the right from where she will govern if elected.

2.      Neoliberalism and Globalization –

Clinton has not rejected globalization any more than neoliberalism that has accounted for the decline of the American middle class, and she does not go out of her way to sing its praises. To address the problem of globalization and neoliberal policies, she has proposed a policy mix that includes:

1. Spending $275 billion for infrastructural development over the next five years;

2. Eliminating college tuition for families making less than $125,000 a year for in-state students only;  

3. Keeping Obamacare with some modifications;

4. Equal pay for women;

5. No new middle class income tax, but said nothing about indirect taxes and raise gradually the federal minimum wage that Republicans oppose as ‘too costly’ for businesses. She and Trump agree that ‘bad trade deals’ must not go through, but she is an advocate of globalization under neoliberal policies.

3. Militarism and Multilateralism –

There have been many analysts arguing that Clinton’s voting record as a senator and her policies as Secretary of State suggest she is as hawkish as many in the Republican camp. During the primary season, the New York Times ran an article about how she became hawkish. However, she was always a Cold War Democrat, but liberal on social issues – very typical of Johnson era Democrats. Unlike Trump who is a unilateralist militarist, she embraces multilateralism because she sees the benefits of alliance especially NATO, and understands that the US is hardly in a position to go at it alone in the age of Asian ascendancy. She also appreciates that multilateralism goes hand in hand with globalization. Neither Clinton nor Trump would do things very differently with the defense budget, and she is much more likely to be a military interventionist as her record indicates than he is, although he would be far less cautious in making foreign policy and defense policy decisions.       

Trump or Clinton? Will it really matter to the vast majority by 2020?

If we follow the polling numbers throughout the summer of 2016, Clinton should win in November 2016. About two years ago, I wrote an article that Clinton could not win, but I was assuming she would be facing a conventional Republican not a populist TV personality. The best educated guess is that the race will be very close with Clinton winning by a slight margin. This assumes things remain more or less the same as they are currently with the entire corporate media behind Clinton, except for FOX, Breitbart and a few other extreme right wing outlets especially on radio.

Democrat party organization – machine politics – that she has behind her is about as corrupt as that of the Republicans, given how it conducted itself during the primary season against Sanders in a number of states. The combination of hundreds of millions of dollars from large donors and control of the party machinery is the key to winning elections, rather than popular sovereignty that afford citizens the illusion that they decide. This does not mean that a Trump win is out of reach. The segment of voters who dislike both candidates is rather substantial. They represent the frustration with the bankrupt American political economy that does not serve for the workers and middle class and the reality of the fading American Dream for their children.

Which candidate is more trustworthy and capable?

Clinton’s private email scandal especially involving the dreadful Benghazi affair but also the ‘pay for play’ Clinton Foundation donors while in the State Department ought to give sufficient pause to all citizens about her level of trustworthiness. When the pro-Clinton New York Times called for the Clinton Foundation to stop its activities of raising money from domestic and foreign sources, it was obvious that Clinton had a trustworthiness deficit even with a partisan news corporation. Political corruption is so layered with legal covers that she can never be indicted and because the Foundation is indeed involved in charitable work there is sufficient coverage for her to excuse her behavior. Not so when it comes to sensitive information while she was in the State Department using a private email account.

Trump is hardly free of corruption, considering clothing carrying his label is made in Asia that he criticizes for unfair trade practices and his companies have relied on undocumented workers as well as models without work visas which is against the law. Considering that the immigration issue has many facets, from fear of criminals and terrorists entering the country to cheap labor undermining the labor market, from xenophobia to seeking a scapegoat amid structural economic problems, Trump has been vehement about undocumented immigrants, an issue which raises the question of hypocrisy on his part given his practices.  Yet, his ideologue followers are willing to overlook all of it and he was right that he would have to kill someone in broad daylight to lose support from the party base.

According to a public opinion polls, about 60% of people consider both Trump and Clinton untrustworthy. Only 11% consider Clinton trustworthy, while 16% feel the same about Trump. These are hardly inspiring figures and indicative that people are able to discern the difference between what these candidates preach and what they practice. Even so, if we consider that Jimmy Carter was an honest man and trustworthy even by his enemies’ estimation, experts relegate him to the category of a failed president because of Iran and the simultaneous energy crisis that impacted the US economy amid the Vietnam syndrome. Trustworthiness is a good trait but people expect politicians to break campaign promises and blatantly lie to secure and retain power by any means necessary within the law. What value does trustworthiness have for a politician who never promised to address the core issues of social justice in society, much less so for one who contributes to the absence of social justice as do Clinton and Trump?

Capability of a president comes down to the people appointed in various cabinets as well as policy advisors. If a president chooses ideologues whose goal is to serve the narrowest possible constituency within the defense establishment at a great cost to society then history will judge the president as less than capable. Clinton has the experience as first lady and secretary of state, but this does not mean that she will surround herself with people interested in the welfare of the majority of the people. After all, the people she has chosen to help elect her is made up of lobbyists beholden to corporations. Judged on the merits of advancing the neoliberal and Pax Americana agenda, Clinton would be capable because she will pay back the donors with policies that advance their interests. Judged on the criteria of social justice, she is hardly qualified for the position.

Clearly, Trump has no political experience because he never held political office, something that appeals to many in the Republican base who have accepted the corporate media propaganda that politicians are the sole cause of society’s problems while corporate America is the panacea. Trump’s concept of government as a corporation, a concept that became popular with neoliberals since Reagan, plays well with Wall Street and the media. A much more egocentric individual who publicly claims to know more about everything from foreign affairs to fiscal policy than mere mortals, Trump will most likely surround himself with Republican billionaires and ideologues on social, economic, and foreign policy issues. He will cultivate a cult of personality even more when he is in office and conduct himself as an imperial figure more than any president since Andrew Jackson. In this respect, his capabilities will manifest their limits when he runs into a brick wall in Congress, the UN, and dealing with international organizations like the IMF and foreign governments.  On the other hand, he has admitted that he worked with the mob because he needed his construction projects completed, thus proving he can work with just about anyone from Putin to Xi Jinping.  

Who will deal better with Putin and Xi Jinping?  

In the post-Cold War era, the two dynamics in US policy toward Russia and China are not ideological but geopolitical and economic. Because there are so many US companies in China and because China is a major exporter to the US and buyer of US bonds to finance its balance of payments deficit, the relationship is determined by mutual interests. At the same time, China’s insistence on dominating the South China Sea despite opposition from the US and its Asian partners including Japan is a likely source of continued friction. Although US policy so far is that there is no military solution to China’s claims in the South China Sea, this could change with either Clinton or Trump in the White House. China’s ascendancy in the global power structure will force the US regardless of who is sitting in the Oval Office into strategic and trade alliances with as many Asian countries as possible to minimize the influence of Beijing in Asia.

China and Russia expect continuity in US foreign policy if Clinton wins the presidency, but they know she will be more hawkish than her predecessor especially toward Russia. This means continuity of the strategic containment policy by strengthening NATO and ASEAN while pursuing economic engagement with China and squeezing Russia as hard as possible with sanctions over the Ukraine and Syrian conflicts that represent balance of power issues. Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping know Clinton and they know what to expect from this conventional political leader, yet, they prefer Trump. 

It is hardly a secret that both Beijing and Moscow want Trump in the White House because they assume it would be easier to deal with a businessman than a professional hawkish politician immersed in Cold War ideological assumptions about the contemporary world balance of power. Historically under Communist regimes, both the Russians and the Chinese believed that foreign relations ought to be conducted in a ‘business-like’ manner, something that Herbert Hoover popularized back in the 1920s. Moreover, the Chinese and Russian political leadership like the idea of Trump’s neo-isolationist foreign policy flirtations and his proposal regional conflicts.

Trump has decried China’s unfair competitiveness and both he and Clinton are against Obama’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP). However, Trump is more like Putin and Xi Jinping than Clinton. She would press harder on human rights issues for example and domestic reforms that they regard as intervention in their domestic affairs and violation of their national sovereignty.

Who will help the economy and create more jobs?

Assuming Clinton pursues a campaign promise for infrastructural development that ought to provide some job stimulation along with her other promise for a federal minimum wage law intended to raise living standards for the poorest Americans. I would not look to her to do more in the area of jobs stimulus because she has taken hundreds of millions from Wall Street and her policies will not run counter to what corporations and banks demand. Besides, as soon as the stock market slumps a bit, the media immediately blames the White House and I doubt she will want four years of a war declared against her by the media.

Advocates of neoliberal policies believe that the private sector left to its own devices with considerable fiscal and subsidy incentives from the corporate welfare state creates jobs. They also believe in least possible regulation for the environment and worker safety. Above all, neoliberals want the least possible government protection of labor in every category from collective bargaining to impede their profit margins. The corporate welfare state will strengthen under either one while the social welfare state will remain about the same under Clinton and diminished under Trump.

 Who will deal with ISIS and the Middle East more effectively?

Clinton will continue the Obama foreign policy of combining military solutions with diplomacy but only as a last resort. I expect no changes in the status quo with Iraq and Afghanistan, but some kind of resolution on Syria simply because Russia, backed by China and Iran will not yield on this piece of real estate. ISIS will be hunted down as it creates more enemies, but the policies of either Clinton or Trump are likely to further alienate Muslims and jihadist fanaticism will continue. Neither will try to solve the Israeli apartheid status quo in the Palestinian Territories, neither will pursue a balanced policy toward Israel and its neighbors, although Clinton is as beholden to the Gulf State billionaires as George W. Bush. Status quo of Obama will be Clinton’s policy, although new developments will determine possible policy changes.

Trump has employed bold militarist rhetoric to convince voters he will defeat ISIS through military campaigns, but also by partnering with Russia in a more collaborative fashion than Obama.  On the other hand, Trump has alienated Muslims by proposing a values test and insultingly dismissing Muslims as undesirable immigrants. This is exactly the sort of rhetoric that encourages militant Muslims who assume that the US has a crusading foreign policy. His insulting language toward Muslims is as likely to alienate congressional Democrats and even Republicans as rapprochement with Russia to resolve some regional issues, including Ukraine and Syria.

Regardless of who wins the race for the White House, it is up to the US, EU and Middle East allies to consider if they want to preserve or weaken ISIS which they helped into regional prominence in the first place because of regime change policies in Syria.  It is also up to them collectively to pursue policies that lessen jihadist activities among young people especially. Neither Clinton nor Trump alone can do much to reverse the broader policy of the US under the umbrella of ‘war on terror’ which strikes many Muslims as an indiscriminate war on 1.7 billion Muslims in the world.

Conclusions

The promise of politicians that they will restore the vanishing American Dream is in itself an acknowledgment that it is fading at the very least if not totally gone for most people as socioeconomic statistics indicate in any country whose middle class has been weakening since the late 1970s. Regardless of who is the new president and composition of congress, will the American Dream for all people be realized or are the politicians blatantly and knowingly lying to the voters and distracting them with issues ranging from terrorism to transgender bathroom facilities? There are millions who have accepted Republican Party nominee Donald Trump’s slogan “make America great again”, acknowledging that the country is not great in terms of middle class and working class living standards. Although this is a nebulous slogan as vacuous as much of the candidate’s inane and divisive political rhetoric, presumably it refers to America in the early Cold War when it enjoyed unrivaled global economic, political and military hegemony and the dollar was if only it spends more on defense and pursues economic nationalism. This utterly naïve slogan runs into the reality of a weak national economy thoroughly integrated into the global economy in which Asia is the new power center.

 For the hard core backers of either candidate it is important to demonize the other and argue that instability at home and abroad is imminent with the election of ‘the wrong’ president. However, in a system of checks and balances and one where Wall Street prevails, it is highly doubtful that regardless of which one sits in the Oval Office immediate catastrophe would follow. In fact, even if we were to go back right before the 1890s when the US economy suffered a depression after 1892, or during the 1920s right before the 1929 crash and ask the business and political elites if they would change anything to avert a national crisis not one of them would opt for change that would undermine the profits and power of their privileged position. The situation is no different in the early 21st century when all signs point to a slow decline and eventual fall of America. Regardless of who sits in the White House and who is elected to Congress in 2016, all indications are that the US will be a much weaker country in 2020 largely because of its much larger public debt, weaker middle class and increased balance of payments deficit that would signal more problems ahead.”

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