One week from today, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will face-off in the first of three presidential debates. It will be the next data point for millions of Americans who are trying to decide which way to vote in one of the most contentious presidential elections ever.
The political divisiveness in the U.S. is reflected in many places: the immigration debate, the “Occupy” movement, Black Lives Matter, gun rights vs. gun control, a media that has splintered into philosophical orbits.
Now, it has produced candidates from the two major parties who are historically disliked, leaving many voters deciding who to vote against rather than who to vote for. And its
How did this happen?
Donald Trump Does Have Ideas – and We’d Better Pay Attention to Them
Joshua Mitchell – Politico
If you listen closely to Trump, you’ll hear a direct repudiation of the system of globalization and identity politics that has defined the world order since the Cold War. There are, in fact, six specific ideas that he has either blurted out or thinly buried in his rhetoric: (1) borders matter; (2) immigration policy matters; (3) national interests, not so-called universal interests, matter; (4) entrepreneurship matters; (5) decentralization matters; (6) PC speech—without which identity politics is inconceivable—must be repudiated….
[T]he Trump-as-one-off argument begins to fall apart when we think about what else happened in politics this year. First of all, Trump is not alone. If he alone had emerged—if there were no Bernie Sanders, no Brexit, no crisis in the EU—it would be justifiable to pay attention only to his peculiarities and to the oddities of the moment. But with these other uprisings occurring this year, it’s harder to dismiss Trump as a historical quirk.
Can the Democrats Win Back White Working-Class Voters?
Joan Walsh – The Nation
The truth is, Republicans have relied on a nationwide “Southern strategy” to reach the white working class, demonizing Democrats as the party that coddles minorities, taking jobs and tax dollars from whites and giving them to people of color. Donald Trump didn’t invent this nativist, racist, paranoid appeal; he just dialed it to 11….
Did white working-class economic anxiety spur the group’s turn to the Republicans, as well as to racism and resentment? Or did racism and resentment lure those voters away from the Democrats and over to a party that pushes policies that actually worsen their economic standing?
Clinton and Trump 2016: A Battle to Win Over Ambivalent Voters
Judd Thornton – The Conversation
Ambivalence exists when an individual holds conflicting beliefs and feelings toward an object — such as a political candidate. For example, a Democrat might have positive feelings toward Hillary Clinton’s economic policies, but might be wary of her email scandal or tendency to be more hawkish on foreign affairs than President Obama. Likewise, a Republican might approve of Donald Trump’s positions on tax cuts while simultaneously experiencing concern about his tendency to engage in incendiary rhetoric.
In terms of voting, ambivalent voters tend to take longer to make up their mind, and often vote with less enthusiasm. They may also, in some cases, be more willing to vote against the party they usually support. This means campaigns will have to spend more effort convincing an ambivalent voter to cast a ballot for his or her party.
Local Government Control: The Ignored Campaign Issue
Joel Kotkin – Real Clear Politics
Neither candidate for president has much feel for the old American notion of dispersed power. Instead each has his or her own plans for ever greater centralization:Trump by the force of his enormous narcissistic self-regard; Hillary Clinton through the expansion of the powers increasingly invested in the federal regulatory apparatus.
The federal government, a source of pride in the days of the New Deal, the Second World War, the Cold War and the civil rights struggle, is now regarded by half of all Americans, according to Gallup, as “an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.” In 2003 only 30 percent of Americans felt that way. A recent survey conducted by Chapman University found that more Americans now have a greater fear of their own government than they do of outside threats.