Election Day 2016 is only 15 days away. Donald Trump is currently expected to lose to Hillary Clinton in a massive landslide. Libertarians have plenty of qualms with each candidate. Clinton is likely the most dishonest and corrupt presidential candidate in recent memory. In spite of her having almost no chance of victory against any other Republican, she is poised for victory against the wildly unpopular Trump.
As most students of political science will explain, the President has very little actual power. Indeed, he or she may “set the tone” for his or her administration through the use of the appointment power and the “bully pulpit.” However, the ability to alter policy remains vested largely in the Congress.
With this in mind, we are brought to the actual significance of presidential election victories. These quadrennial contests tell what the American public is thinking or feeling. On a basic level, they explain whether the “in-party” has done a good job in the eyes of voters.
However, this year’s election symbolizes something even larger. Eight years after electing the first black President of the United States, Donald Trump has run likely the most racist, xenophobic, and overall ignorant campaign in recent American history. Moreover, given his ever-changing positions, this is the essential extent of his platform. His rhetoric has been so toxic that comparing him to segregationist George Wallace has become commonplace.
If Hillary Clinton wins, it would be extremely bad news for the country. As stated above, she is hopelessly corrupt and disingenuous. However, it would not be as if it would be shocking that voters would elect someone like her. Most skeptics of government see nearly all elected representatives as willing to do anything to get reelected.
The difference is that with Trump, we would see a marked (and unwelcome) shift in what is seen as acceptable and not in American discourse. By voting for Trump, voters would signal that either they are supportive of the hatred he espouses; or that they are willing to turn a blind eye to this hatred and vote for him nonetheless. Either explanation is troubling to say the least. Any other explanation (as in “choosing the lesser of two evils”) has been thoroughly debunked.
As explained above, a Hillary Clinton victory and subsequent presidency will do serious damage to the United States. However, the sickening meaning behind a Trump victory (on its face) is worth serious examination. This is even without mentioning that there is no guarantee that Trump, having no principles whatsoever, will not advance a policy agenda similar to Clinton’s once elected.