While many supporters of the Sanders campaign have voiced their opposition to Clinton’s policies, the confirmation that Hillary will be the Democrats’ presidential nominee signals in many ways that the United States can now be seen as champions of the liberal movement. Although Hillary’s foreign policy record, combined with her opposition to universal healthcare, represents a step backwards for the U.S, the continued celebration of the liberal ideology across much of the states’ is worth appreciating.
This celebration, however, is currently subdued and on the backburner because of the ever-persistent threat of Donald Trump. Sections of the media are currently trying to persuade us that Trump does not have a chance of winning. Unfortunately, they are wrong.
Currently, America is scared. The threat of financial insecurity and global terrorism looms over the States, and Trump is incredibly skilled at thriving off that. Of course, it is a given that the average American will be worried by the threat of global terrorism. The worry, however, is that this fear is becoming linked to attitudes surrounding immigration.
Immigration is by far the issue where Trump shows himself to be most out of his depth and completely incoherent, yet it’s where is most successful. Trump’s pledge to build a wall on the America/Mexico border is a gift to metaphorical imagery as his campaign continues to divide a great nation in half. The far-right using fear mongering over immigration is hardly new – where would the Brexit campaign be without it?
But there is something deeply troubling about the success Trump is having in denigrating the Mexican people. Mexicans have become such a strong part of American culture, making up almost 11% of the United States’ population. This is by no means the same as Nigel Farage telling us Brits to fear Bulgarian’s and Romanian’s coming to the United Kingdom. Farage is undoubtedly wrong and out-of-touch on these issues, but for want of a better word, Trump has trumped Farage on anti-immigration propaganda. While Farage spreads doom about our European neighbours, Trump is playing a leading role in making a significant part of his own nation’s population being made to feel as if their friends and family across the border deserve to be treated like caged animals
I have already mentioned that Hillary’s foreign policy record is troubling; whether one focuses on her disregard for the national stability of Libya post-Gaddafi, along with her close ties with Israel’s Benyamin Netanyahu. These are issues that deserve close scrutiny because they pose a threat to peace and humanity. But Hillary’s stances are still preferable to those belonging to Donald J. Trump, a man who suggested that the best way of stopping Daesh recruitment was by “closing that internet up.”
“I don’t want them using our Internet”, he said, like a greedy toddler who doesn’t want to share his toys. There is a fine line between ignorance and plain stupidity, but Trump has his feet on both sides. But when this man is able to get away with such gross incompetence and absent mindedness, you know that reasoned thought and argument might not necessarily prevail.
On the flip side, however, the Republican party has been in utter chaos since Barack Obama became president in 2008. John McCain’s defeat was followed up by continued listless displays by Mitt Romney, who failed to capture any sort of widespread adulation, and suddenly America was (almost) unanimously in favour of having a black man in charge of deciding their freedom, their laws, and their liberties. In many ways, it has been eight years worthy of cherishing.
And the strength of Obama’s leadership is illustrated by the comparative successes of both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. When a political party in the US is able to field a candidate to lead a campaign that successfully de-toxifies the name of socialism, while the “establishment” candidate eventually wins her party’s nomination; one can consider that party to be in a strong position.
There are of course many ideological differences which separate these now political heavyweights, but they are brought together by an uncanny ability to lead sophisticated campaigns. In the United Kingdom, a politician who shares Clinton’s ideology would not receive such passionate grassroots support. Her pro-big business policies, regardless of whether or not they make sense, do not contain the types of slogans you would typically see on billboard posters in Brighton or Hackney. But the American public is wise enough to know that their two party system is flawed, and that every opportunity for political and electoral success has to be seized upon to make any difference. This is why Clinton can rest assured that those who voted Sanders will surely lend their support to the Democratic party.
The American left can continue to campaign for the issues that Sanders has effectively shed light on. From 2016 and up to the 2020 election, the only way of making any change possible will be to harness sophisticated grassroots campaigning, and I have no reservations in declaring that it is my personal hope that Bernie is given the platform to continue leading America’s socialists on the defining political and social issues. Until then, however, a vote for Hillary – America’s first woman president in-waiting – is the next step of forcing through social change.