I apologise profusely because this week’s episode of Fiskal Policy is a difficult read. It’s the one where I explain why I think Donald Trump will win the American presidential election on November 3rd.
It’s not an easy thing to write but I’m hoping if I write it down I’ll be proved wrong on December 14th.
Firstly I need to start by explaining what gives me – a British citizen living in a flat in Croydon, south London – and my views any credibility in this matter.
You could say they don’t have credibility, but bear with me . . .
In my favour:
- I’ve had sex with more American women than British women
- I was an intern at The Washington Monthly during the time of George W. Bush, and the magazine was run by Bill Clinton’s chief speechwriter and was founded by one of JFK’s advisers.
- I was one of the only British journalists to extensively cover the Republican candidate race from the very beginning – including Ted Cruz using a machine gun to cook bacon (no word of a lie – the video is below).
- I got sunburnt while listening to Al Gore speak at the University of Maryland, on the campaign trail in 2000.
- Also in 2000, I suggested to my roommate Brad that I be the temporary president while the Supreme Court sorted out Florida and the hanging chads (remember those?).
People are used to politicians making bold promises in their manifesto but then flailing wildly, and lying, once they have got elected – leading to mistrust in the political classes.
Donald Trump has always pitched himself as being outside the political elite and instead seen himself as the voice of business, big and small. This has seen him lie a lot but also delivered on a lot of the promises that he made to Americans in 2016.
With the Make America Great Again (MAGA) slogan he has always been about America First principles, promising to bring jobs and manufacturing back to the States.
Back in 2016 he promised tax cuts for businesses and hardworking Americans, and to favour US business over that of foreign companies.
Tax cuts have come as promised (and he’s especially helped billionaires like himself to keep more of their income) and the manufacturing industry was growing slowly before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also on the America First priniciples he has imposed tariffs on China, the European Union, and did briefly on aluminium from Canada and has made threats to do something similar to Brazil and Argentina.
Conducting diplomacy by Twitter hasn’t really helped relations with historically close allies like the UK. But he also hasn’t started any new wars, and the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr-al Baghdadi happened on his watch.
In a country where everyone is mostly proud to be from somewhere else (even though they may never have actually been to the other country) – whether that be an Italian-American, a Hispanic-American or something else entirely – stopping more people from coming to live in the States was a popular policy amongst his supporters.
People laughed at him (well, I did) when he declared he was going to build a wall on the US-Mexico border – yes, the border that is around 2,000 miles long and includes rivers and mountainous areas.
It’s been a lot more of a difficult project than the New Yorker would have thought but he is able to promote this an ongoing project for the next four years.
And because many Americans don’t seem to see the benefit of helping other people by all pitching in and having anything even vaguely resembling a national health service that is free to all at the point of use (just why would they want to pay more tax just so other people don’t die?), he is working to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
He’s also done a lot to screw up the environment, just as he promised when he was on the campaign trail in 2016 (he might not have used those exact words, but it is what he’s done).
He’s also proved he is a big fan of oil companies as he has approved oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
When it was big news last year, following mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, Trump looked to be supportive of gun control reforms. But, when the media coverage died down, he soon went back to defending the Republican interpretation of the US constitution’s Second Amendment and pandering to the National Rifle Association.
Importantly for the times in which we are living in, the Second Amendment was originally the right to bear arms as part of a ‘well-regulated militia’, “being necessary to the security of the free state”.
Worringly, there is growing evidence of alt-right militias who have traded their MAGA hats for flak jackets and may take action if Joe Biden is declared the winner of the presidential contest on December 14.
(Yes, I’m aware that election day is November 3 but the American people are actually choosing presidential electors, known as the electoral college, and those are the officials who choose the President and Vice President of the United States – and they don’t meet until the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.)
At the time of writing Joe Biden is ahead in the polls but I think we are at a point in time where no one trusts the polls. (Hands up who remembers when Nigel Farage went to bed early because the polls indicated we had voted to stay in the EU.)
If it isn’t clear already, my message to any Americans reading this is to vote for Joe Biden instead of Donald Trump.
Don’t be taken in my Trump’s rhetoric when he says all the things that have gone wrong in the States have been due to external factors like Covid-19. (Any world leader – apart from Boris Johnson – could have managed the crisis better than him.)
And yes, as I’ve outlined above, he has delivered on a lot of his pledges.
But wouldn’t you prefer to live in a world where you know your grandchildren can grow up – instead of it being decimated by Trump’s anti-environmental laws so people cannot breathe properly and die before they are 30?
Low taxes sound great and they are definitely a vote winner, but if you paid a bit more and had a national health service people you would no longer have people pulling their own teeth out because they either don’t have insurance or cannot afford the co-pay.
Joe Biden is definitely not a perfect candidate by any stretch of the imagination and there is still the lingering thorny issue of his son’s laptop and some voters may not like him because he is associated with Barack Obama’s war record.
But with pledges including raising the minimum wage, to invest in green energy, and to bring in ‘Buy American’ laws, to name just a few, he seems to be the best of a sadly uninspiring bunch.
There’s nothing in his campaign that’s as catchy as Trump’s Make America Great Again or Obama’s Yes, We Can, but ‘We Can Make America A Little Bit Better Than It Has Been For The Past Four Years While Ensuring We Don’t Destroy The Environment’ is the best way forward. I’m not sure it will fit on a hat though.
Stay safe for another week!