I’ve never cared much for the US political system, though lately I have been reading The Economist more, and found myself in the US at a critical (probably one of many) time in the race to the presidency. I bought an Economist magazine prior to leaving Australia which meant I was ‘up to date’ once I arrived, and slotted straight into CNN’s Republican debate Thursday week ago. (sorry, I tried to queue this up unsuccessfully)
As a mildly engaged person in this electorial race, here’s my thoughts
- Trump is definitely charismatic – he speaks to the Everyman and that’s proving to be VERY powerful
- Trump gets ‘attacked’ by Rubio and Cruz for being a supporter of left policies – socialist health care, pro choice etc. I can see this being part of his appeal, as he puts himself as the fence sitting candidate, or the more moderate right voters.
- I feel all the Republicans are woefully lacking in understanding the threat that North Korea is (maybe I am – but the place seems so poor that it’s ability to threaten the US seem unlikely)
- I bemoan the families in politics. The Bush family. The Clinton family.
- I do appreciate the overall diversity of three of five of the strongest candidates – a woman, and two candidates with Latino names. And then there’s Dr Carson (an AFRICAN AMERICAN) in the Republicans! I commend that!
- So much time and energy is spent on selecting a leader and all the rhetoric, but in reality everything will need to be approved by Congress or similar. Compromise is what government is about – so no matter what pledges they make, it’ll be diluted over time.
- I hate fear mongering: the dole bludgers, the illegal migrants ‘stealing’ jobs. The whole argument is as bad the name calling. So rarely is it based on facts, but instead on emotion. And what annoys me about emotion? That only ‘certain’ emotions are acceptable.
- It seems that money drives how many candidates stay in the race. This just seems ridiculous to me – the endless fundraising! And honestly, no matter the policies, I have every assumption that there’s ‘no such thing as a free lunch’.
I took the time to do a quiz on which candidate I would back. It didn’t surprise me that I was 94% for Sanders – the Socialist candidate. I was surprised to see myself making qualifications for some of my more generous or open minded ideas. I’m not sure if that’s due to three years with the BF who is a strong business advocate, or my role in ‘management’. I may not like the idea of the nepotism, but I can’t be sad to see a left learning candidate that is a female leading the US. And if I was asked to vote to the right, my thoughts would probably go towards Kasich – from the tiny amount I’ve read about him! He seems compassionate, experienced and reasonable. But in the CNN debate, he hardly had a moment to shine – it’s was a Trump show, and when others were speaking, it was often to attack Trump.
Overall, I don’t feel like the USA is the strongest nation. It can’t be strong when it has such an under paid and under supported working class in fast food restaurants, or cleaning hotels. I worry about a country whose allowed companies far too much power, how can it be ok to list ‘artificial and natural flavours’ and leave it at that? How can companies opt out of Workplace Health and Safety? How can states NOT have income tax? I even rile up that the price of something isn’t what’s marked – tax is added later, and then if it’s service based, then there’s tipping – it feels like businesses opt out of structuring their business in a way that can pay their staff a wage. I do agree it can improve service (but it’s still not always as good as it could be), but it’s like bumping the livelihood of someone onto the whim of peer pressure to tip!?
On the other hand of all my negative thoughts, I am heartened by start ups and new technologies. We used uber and lyft countless times – it was simple, it didn’t feel any less safe, and I feel like it allows disruption the status quo.
Seeing more of my readers are not Americans, what are your thoughts out there, fellow Aussies, Canadians and other readers?