Misogyny, leaked emails and the unrealistic erection of border walls aside, the upcoming election in the States has garnered more global interest than memory would serve – reading as a tabloid if nothing else.
On one side, we have a former Secretary of State with over three decades of political experience and on the other, a loose-lipped reality TV and property mogul billionaire (self-proclaimed according to some) that has earned both villain and superstar status at once – depending where you one sits on the all-important polls.
US Election 2016: An overview
The US hails from a relatively (ordinarily) split two-party majority, with the incumbent Democrats (through Obama) enjoying the last eight years in power.
Donald Trump shocked many to win the Republican nominee in a country besotted by a large growing group of unsatisfied citizens – all wanting change. Fast.
This gives the highly controversial and sometimes irrelevant Republican a fighting chance with his “Make America Great Again” tagline gaining much momentum from many disgruntled voters. It’s the whole “time for a change” attitude.
On the other side, we have Hillary Clinton who next to Trump comes across as calculated and almost statesmanlike (if that’s possible) with the troves of pertinent experience in senate and her measured temperament.
She herself is not void of controversy but such is politics with the several media agencies governing elections in this day and age. CNN after all has been touted to stand for the Clinton News Network, a title that goes back to her husband’s time in office.
Let’s take a look at the possible ramifications for our region if either winner is announced.
A Clinton win
Known for her inclusive approach to multi-lateralism with the rest of the world (generally a Democrat thing), Clinton’s victory on polling day will signify the better of the two outcomes for Singapore.
Familiar with our country, her open stance on America’s presence around the world ties in with our desire for their presence in the region to provide balance.
According to thediplomat.com, under Hillary’s reign, America will pivot towards the Asia-Pacific, engaging in a kind of forward-moving democracy that will see both regions work collaboratively towards mutually beneficial agreements. This will somewhat balance power in terms of the current controversy in the South China Sea, amongst other issues where China seems to maintain considerable prominence in the region.
A Trump triumph
If Trump takes the metaphorical crown on the 8th of November in Washington, it would seem that his reign would be riddled with issues for which the rest of the world would feel for some time.
For instance, he is exclusive in his foreign and immigration policies and this will have a trickle-down effect on other regions – the world is used to America’s presence through a heavily involved Democratic party.
Although Republicans are notoriously pro-business advocates, Trump has signified that he is more into an insular America. This would affect the region (that includes Singapore – a country heavy on imports) in an adverse way for several reasons.
From this, we can safely say that the Republicans would come into office with the unknown – a president who is more of a source for entertainment than a veteran in politics.
Bloomberg cites an investor survey on overall sentiment in an event of a Trump win. According to the reports lead author, Rob Subbaraman:
“A Trump presidency would no doubt hurt Asia’s gross domestic product growth and could ultimately drive cost-push inflation, impart smaller trade surpluses and looser macroeconomic policies”.
Regardless of whether we see the Democrats retain their presidency or the Republican’s unexpected entrance into office, the country will definitely need to pivot to new bilateral ties being fostered with a country – as with any change of government.
It would seem, however, that a Clinton win would be much more in-line with what would be preferable moving forward in terms of our strong relationship with America. For now, we will have to wait for the 8th of November.