Will the US Election result affect us Brits?
Tomorrow on the 8th November the most powerful nation on earth; the United States will finally vote for a new president. The whole campaign has been surrounded by controversy and the vote tomorrow sometimes feels more like a referendum on the two candidate’s personalities.
The Democrat Hilary Clinton has been hovering over the White House for decades, having served as Secretary of State during Obama’s first term, and First Lady before that when her husband Bill Clinton was President. If Hilary wins she will become the first ever female President of the United States.
Republican nominee Donald Trump is a billionaire business tycoon who has never been elected to public office.
With the vote between the two most unpopular candidates in Modern American History it has been an eventful campaign to say the least.
Donald Trump’s candidacy has rarely gone a few weeks without sparking some uproar; from being accused of sexual assault on 12 women, being labelled a racist, to defending his refusal to release his tax returns with the suggestion he hasn’t paid any federal income tax for 18 years.
Hilary has also had her share of anxious moments too. The damage to her reputation brought on by her private email arrangement is thought to be significant, though the FBI have now closed the investigation against her.
But what has all this got to do with us, thousands of miles away across the Atlantic Ocean?
After the huge decision for the UK to leave the EU back in June, it is easy for us to feel that no other political event is as momentous as Brexit, especially those happening in other countries. However, with the US being the biggest power in the modern world, major events in the US impact everyone!
If Article 50 is invoked and we do leave the EU, Britain may find itself leaning hard on that ‘special relationship’ we have with America.
Culturally too, we are hugely affected by what happens in the US. American TV shows, movies, fashion and music are displayed across the world but in the UK, with our shared history and language means the drip feed is incessant. It follows that any major change over there is likely to trigger social change here too.
So, what candidate would be better for us?
According to Professor Scott Lucas, who teaches American Studies at the University of Birmingham, the prognosis for Britain is bleak, whoever wins. If Article 50 is invoked, he says, it will probably “take us to the back of the queue in terms of trading and investments.”
Having said that, Brexit does not make the U.S. election result insignificant to the UK economy. In fact, as Britain is probably going to become more vulnerable, having a predictable, stable and supportive U.S. president is really important.
“If Trump gets in, it compounds the uncertainty of Brexit,” Lucas continues, explaining that Trump has next to no coherent foreign policy. “Clinton gives you at least a bit more to hang on to in terms of the way she approaches foreign policy and the way she works with institutions.”
Professor Iwan Morgan, Head of U.S. Programmes at the Institute of the Americas at University College London, agrees. “A Trump presidency, I think, would compound Britain’s own political problems,” he says, adding that if Trump wins it could send shockwaves around the world.
Part of the problem, Lucas and Morgan say, is that nobody really knows what Trump would do if he were in charge. It is quite possible, even, that Trump himself does not know, judging by his convoluted and incomplete answers to the most basic questions about foreign policy.
So overall, who is the safest bet for the UK?
According to experts, it is undeniably and on all counts: Mrs Clinton.
Hilary would help to maintain some stability in international trade and foreign policy, thereby, easing the burden of economic uncertainty caused by Brexit. Whereas, nobody knows what Trump would do.
Hilary is also more likely to maintain the existing relationships the US has with other countries, including the UK. At least Hilary likes us whereas Trump would probably favour Russia as their ‘special friend’ than the UK.
Even if it does not trigger World War III, it is likely that if Trump becomes president it would send violent shockwaves around the US, that could ultimately seep into our mainstream culture.
To sum it up, a Donald Trump victory would probably be a disaster for the UK, along with the rest of the world.
As the race ends, the majority of voter polls are predicting a Clinton win but it’s very close, with her showing ahead by only 4 or 5%, which is within the margin error.
Given the false sense of security a lot of us felt before Brexit, I think it’s best not to make any assumptions until all the votes have been counted.
Well, we haven’t got long to wait until we find out!