Super Tuesday & the US elections

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)

One of the presidential candidates businesses....
One of the presidential candidates businesses….

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?

4 Replies to “Super Tuesday & the US elections”

  1. I haven’t really been following the US elections as much as I’d like, so I liked reading your summary. I get so irritated by Trump that I’ve kind of opted out of even reading or watching the coverage!

    I’ve never been to the US but I relate to how jarring it as an Australia (from basically a socialist-leaning country) to look at the tip system, lack of state taxation, non-socialised medicine, gun laws etc. At the same time, it’s the country I’d most like to visit next. It’s hard not to love the entrepreneurship and the impression of the general outgoingness and positivity in the US.

  2. Yes, I agree with a lot of what you have written. I also don’t think they give time, or the people will allow time for, reasoned argument. It is all slogan and dumbing down. Very scary!

  3. As an American, it’s interesting to read an outsider’s perspective on our country!

    In general I’m a pretty liberal American, and I definitely agree that we as a nation have a lot to improve on when it comes to raising wages and social policy.

    One thing to note about the US is that many structures, policies, and wealth accumulation dynamics are regional. So when you say “How can states NOT have income tax” you should know that only applies to some states. For instance, both Illinois and California do have income tax. There are only a handful of states that do not. Minimum wage also varies from state to state and sometimes even from town to town.

    Regarding how taxes + tips are represented on bills, it’s just customary here to mark those as separate from quoted price (as it’s customary in Europe to include tax in the bill). For tip, there are socially accepted standards (15-20%) that you just add on mentally into the bill. There are some high-end restaurants (particularly a movement in NYC) that are no-tip and instead include living wage salaries and taxes, etc in the cost of the meal. I think in general that’s the direction folks are moving, but it’s just different than what culture has been.

    It’s interesting to hear that you’re a big fan of start-up technologies given the labor rights issues highlighted earlier in your post. Here in the US, start-ups like Uber and Lyft are subject to a LOT of controversy. Basically Uber and Lyft drivers are hired as “freelancers”, meaning they do not receive health care, retirement, any benefits at all and are not guaranteed minimum payments if they cannot secure rides, but are required to both provide their own vehicles (which must meet certain minimum requirements) and maintain particular service standards in order to continue use by the service. This causes a lot of risk to be shifted from the companies themselves onto the freelancer/ride-providers.

    1. Thanks for teaching me stuff! I did know CA had some great income taxation laws, and higher minimum wages and great health cover. In that case, when I know the law is improving conditions, it does make me more confused about tipping! In Australia, we tip for exceptional, above and beyond, as we know they have a living wage.

      I’m definitely inconsistent in my views – something I grapple with a lot (I’m very left leaning which usually means ‘pro union’ but I’m less and less pro union as a current manager). I suppose I’m aware unions have strong holds on industries, such as the one I’m in, and it makes things SO much less competitive, and TRULY not for the customer, which probably goes some of the way to explaining my thoughts on Lyft and Uber.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.