“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”
– Donald John Trump Sr
Ladies and gentleman this could be the next President of United States of America. And you thought Tony Abbott was bad.
Yes, I am talking about the former owner of the Miss USA Pageant and infamous business mogul: Donald Trump. As most people know, the US Presidential race is in full swing and as I watch the circus unfold from afar many people I meet are confused as to what the hell is really going on across the pond.
Currently the presidential race is in an early stage called the Primaries. This is the process of choosing which candidate will be the representative for the Republican and Democratic parties in the final Presidential Election. Citizens vote in two different ways, by either privately selecting a name in an enclosed booth (primary voting) or publicly in large meeting areas (caucus voting).
Following this process the number of delegates for each representative is chosen. These delegates then cast their vote for who they think should be the representative of the party. So, just like in the presidential election with the Electoral College, the number of citizen votes does not necessarily determine the winner of the election.
“Trump understands that press, whether good or bad, means popularity and exposure.”
So, what does each party represent and who are their frontrunners? In general, the Democratic Party is the equivalent to Australia’s Labor Party, and the Republican Party is more similar to the Liberal Party.
Currently, the Democratic Party has two frontrunners: Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sander. The Republican Party has three representatives competing for the nomination, including Ted Cruze, John Kasitsch and controversial Donald Trump, who leads the votes.
Many people ask me, “Is it really possible that Trump could win the race? And how?” Unfortunately, yes, and for the same reason you probably didn’t recognise that I spelled every candidate’s name incorrectly except Trump’s in the previous paragraph. Media exposure
We have come to a point in history where internet and television influences almost everything in every day of our lives. Most people can’t imagine a day without their phone and cringe at the sight of a low battery, or heaven forbid no 4G. Trump knows this and uses this to his advantage. He understands that press, whether good or bad, means popularity and exposure. He goes out of his way to make comments that will stir people and make headlines. Take the following quote, for example:
“Look at those hands—are they small hands? And, he referred to my hands, ‘If they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you, there’s no problem… I guarantee you.”
That was said on national television at one of the most watched debates of the year. As most Australians know, Americans love to be cocky. Just watching the sports of AFL here and NFL in America, you can see the difference in showboating and how celebrations are more individualised rather than team-based. Culturally, Americans are very competitive and when they are successful they are excessively outspoken about their achievements.
Now, what scares me more than anything about being a citizen of a nation at risk of electing a completely unqualified president with absolutely no political experience is the fact that people are buying into this. People are showing up to his rallies just to witness his radical behavior and unusual campaign tactics firsthand, and I will admit sometimes it is hysterical, as you can see in this recent clip:
Donald Trump is not a politician and has no political experience. He is, and always has been, an entertainer, but is the most well-known candidate. Not for his political platform, but for saying things like “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
Who says that? I mean all I keep picturing is the photo of this man yelling “AMERICA.”
On the other side of the spectrum are the Democratic representatives Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
The name Clinton also represents a symbol of success and controversy, but mostly because of her husband, the former US president Bill Clinton. As a candidate she has raised about $190 million, around seven times the amount of money that Trump has, but still falls short when it comes to party dominance. This is in part because there are two heads to the Democratic snake with Sanders being the other.
Hillary has served as the United States Secretary of State and as a US Senator, giving her a total of eight years of personal experience at the top level. With this experience people attribute a certain amount of respect for her career and this is her driving force in the presidential race. She seems good from afar, but one scandal may make her far from the ideal president.
In March 2015, one month before her campaigning began, an investigation began involving her time as the Secretary of State. She had used a personal email account, besides a government-issued account. Similar to using your old Hotmail account firstname.lastname@example.org at your new job.
Now in most jobs that would not be advised, but not detrimental to the position. As the fourth in line to the presidential throne that email might need to be secure and monitored as the handling of top secret information is sure to run by her at some point. Unfortunately she did not know or simply ignored the fact that the government might need to keep tabs and document her interactions with foreign countries and politicians.
From that email account there were 62,320 sent and received emails during her time in office and 30,490 were handed over to the government as work-related. That leaves over half of those emails personal and not shared. There is no evidence that she broke any laws in using her own email address, but the worry is she may have shared classified information over an unsecure network. Either way this has left a many voters questioning if she can be trusted as the “leader of the free world”,
“CLINTON HAS LEFT A MANY VOTERS QUESTIONING IF SHE CAN BE TRUSTED AS THE HIGHEST ELECTED OFFICIAL.”
The final candidate is Sanders. He is the biggest threat to Clinton becoming the future Democratic Representative. Sanders has not been at the centre of a major scandal like his main opponent, but he has scared many people with his use of the word “socialism”.
The reason this scares people is because it has previously been linked to one of America’s greatest enemies, the Soviet Union. The way Sanders is using the term, though, is in a completely different context. He calls it “Democratic Socialism” and explains how even today we are already using it in instances like minimum wage, Social Security, the 40-hour work week and unemployment insurance.
His idea is to tax the rich at a higher rate and using this money to allocate funds to things like free tuition at public universities and guaranteed healthcare as a right of citizenship. One of the major problems in the United States is that the top one tenth of one percent (0.1%) owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of Americans.
Democrats tend to find this frustrating and want to find a way to take more money from these powerhouses and spread the wealth among the lower and middle class, evening out the distribution of wealth. As you can tell, I haven’t highlighted too many political flaws about Sanders, but there is plenty more time until the presidential election. One thing I will say though is that he is 74 years old and for some reason reminds me of this guy.
As an American I don’t know what to say about this election, but simply I am embarrassed to be linked to such a debacle. Ever since I moved to Australia and started to see media topics differently I have realised how ignorant I and some Americans can be to the outside world, but as former Prime Minister Tony Abbott says, “Sh*t Happens.” Don’t get me wrong, Australian politics is not much better with all the bickering in Canberra, but electing a Prime Minister who can do this:
well, it makes me feel like you really do have respect for your fellow countrymen.
All in all I am very interested to see what this US election will hold. I can guarantee that it will definitely be the most watched and criticised. At least until Kanye West runs in 2020.