America is in decline.
Any serious person already knows this. Even the serious people who opine in the hallowed pages of the NYT or the Washington Post know they're talking shit when they talk about “American exceptionalism” etc. They know the jig is up but they're committed to maintaining the illusion.
Rodrigo Duterte, recently elected president of the Philippines, knows the jig is up too. That's why he's A-OK telling Obama to go to hell.
And he's only the most recent example of former vassal states giving the finger to Uncle Sam. NATO ally Turkey has gone rogue. The Saudis are no longer reliable allies. Israel has long been laughing off American scolding about their egregious land theft and ethnic-cleansing strategy. And why not? After forty years of American finger wagging about their settlement policy, they were just rewarded with the biggest “aid” package in US history; 38 billions in American military aid over ten years. (The fact that this is in reality a 38 billion dollar gift to the US military-industrial complex is another story.)
So the truth is, more and more former allies no longer take America seriously.
The US electorate is poised to elect a caretaker to oversee the next four years of America's decline. Due to the deliberately engineered slovenliness of America's education system, the vast majority of eligible voters are convinced that they have but two choices; Trump or Clinton. Yes, it's a forgone conclusion that one of those will be the next POTUS.
Trump claims he wants to “make America great again.” Nobody knows what he means when he says that. Looking at his record, I'd guess he's hoping to make Trump even greater. He'd like to see more Trump Towers in more places. However crass and narcissistic you may find the man, there's nothing about the guy's track record that suggests he'd take any pleasure in setting entire nations aflame. No, he'd much rather see a Trump Tower in Damascus than nuke the place. Or Moscow. Or Manilla. Or anywhere.
Clinton is another story. She has a long record of setting entire nations aflame. If you saw General John Allen's flame-thrower of a speech at the DNC you can bet there'll be lots more to come.
America is indeed exceptional. Homeless vets live in the streets by the thousands. Twenty military veterans chose to end their own lives every day. America remains the only developed nation without a national single-payer health care program. America's schools continue their inexorable plunge in international rankings.
That's exceptional alright.
If you want a president who will grab the naysayers like Putin and Erdogan and Duterte by the neck and shake some sense into them, vote Hillary.
If you'd rather have a president who wants to get along with Putin and Erdogan and Duterte, and will settle for a few more buildings with his name on them, vote Trump.
Electing Trump might result in a few more Trump Towers in the short term. In the long term it might result in more people realising that the USA desperately needs serious electoral reform.
Electing Clinton would more likely result in serious conflict on any number of fronts, to the point where the entire world will be in flames… at which time it will probably be too late for those election reforms.