If you think that much of anything related to politics will be settled by Tuesday’s election, here’s some bad news for you: Nothing that matters is really over.
There are at least three major issues facing the country when either President Clinton or President Trump gets sworn in next January.
What about economic growth?
You may not realize it, but the U.S. has been out of recession for seven years, one of the longest economic expansions in American history. But the average rate of growth since 2009 has been around 2 percent, making this the weakest economic recovery since 1949. Economic growth is essential to improving wealth and standards of living—and it helps to defuse all sorts of explosive political issues, from trade to immigration to welfare. But for all of the 21st century–under George Bush and Barack Obama–economic growth has been much lower than average.
Neither Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump has articulated a plan that will actually grow the economy. Clinton will jack up taxes and spending on everything, a sure-fire way to keep the economy puttering along. Trump will punch add five-trillion dollars to the national debt, which will also dampen growth.
And if the American economy doesn’t improve, don’t expect anything else too.
Who will we bomb next?
Hillary Clinton is a hawk’s hawk who has voted for, lobbied for, or taken credit for all of our military interventions in the 21st century. Despite such actions—of more accurately, BECAUSE of such actions—the world is a bigger mess than ever. At times Donald Trump sounds like he would be a relative dove and at others, he sounds like a crazy man; at the very least, like Hillary Clinton, he said that he would increase military spending.
Neither of them has articulated a foreign policy that will help stabilize the U.S. economy, reduce international terrorism, or bring order to hot spots in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, or Asia any time soon.
What do you believe in?
Trust in most major American institutions are at or near historic lows—the media, religious organizations, labor, business—you name it. That’s especially when it comes to the two major political parties and government in general. Even worse, millennials—Americans between about 18 and 35 years old—aren’t just the biggest generation, they are the most skeptical.
Who can blame them—or us? The Iraq War was sold on bad information and prosecuted poorly; President Obama’s claims that his health care reform would let you keep your doctor was the Lie of the Year, and we’ve learned that neither Democrats or Republicans give a rat’s ass about the government spying on us. Wikileaks and others have exposed Hillary Clinton as two-faced and Donald Trump’s is a serial scam artist and bully
Neither will address the massive and ongoing evacuation of trust and confidence in government and politics. If anything, they will likely pour gas on the dumpster fire.
America is moving rapidly from a high-trust society to a low-trust one and that’s really bad news, especially for those of us who want a government that spends less and does less. Paradoxically, people in low-trust countries turn to government in ever-higher numbers. In a cruel and unpredictable world, they want a protector, no matter how untrustworthy.
Until the major parties start governing in the light of day and stop nominating candidates who are distrusted by majorities of Americans, don’t expect much to change. Except for things to get even nastier, at least until 2020.
Written by Nick Gillespie. Video by Meredith Bragg.
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