At this critical juncture, how much do we know about the mood of the American electorate and how much do we know about where America is going on key issues of concern to people all over the world?
When the two major political parties hold such wildly disparate views, it is difficult today to predict where American policy will be on certain key issues when a new President is sworn in on January 20, 2017. For example, one party bases its environmental policy on skepticism about the role of humans in causing climate change, while the other believes human actions are a primary cause of climate change and significant changes to human behavior are called for to address it. One party believes in advancing towards government supervised universal health insurance coverage, while the other wants to scrap the current “Obamacare” structure and replace it with a system more reliant on the marketplace to provide insurance options. On issues such as these, we won’t be able to project what American policies will be in 2017 until we see the results of the November election.
However, there are some issues on which the parties appear to be converging. The convergence flows from a strong strain of economic populism that has found its way into the rhetoric of all the leading candidates. When one listens to the campaign speeches being given by the leading candidates one hears common themes about the middle class being left behind, the U.S. education system failing and high quality jobs disappearing. How are these common themes likely to translate into policy? Here are some educated guesses:
Trade Policy – Trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership are likely to run into heavy sledding in the future. All the major candidates have expressed their opposition to the TPP as not being tough enough on America’s trading partners. Negotiating additional relaxation of trade barriers will be difficult no matter who gets elected in November.
International Tax Policy – Major candidates from both parties are speaking out against the practice of “inversion” – American companies merging with other companies to shed their American identity in favor of another country’s more favorable corporate tax structure. In addition, the reform of American corporate tax policy to incentivize, if not require, American companies to repatriate profits they currently hold in overseas subsidiaries is also emerging as a consensus item.
Infrastructure Investment – There is broad agreement that one way to create quality jobs is to invest more in America’s infrastructure. This issue has been brought into sharper focus because of the serious health issues posed to the citizens of Flint, Michigan by its aging water supply system.
Education Policy – The trend toward more federal government influence over the nation’s public schools which began under President George W. Bush has reached its end. There is an emerging consensus expressed on the campaign trail that federally developed curricula and testing regimes are not improving the American education system as hoped. A return to more local control appears to be the new trend.
In addition to reading the mood of the electorate and the positions of candidates on certain issues of substance, our readers may also be looking for predictions of the outcomes of the nomination battles in both parties. While this site is not intended to be an election prediction site, it would not be unreasonable to predict that after the next major day of voting on March 15, it is likely there will be much more clarity about the direction both parties are heading.
Stay in touch with our site for more information.