The POTUS elections reach out to Basel
The USA are gearing up to vote for their next president, the 44th person to hold office since 1789. There have been three heated and divisive TV debates, weeks of mudslinging and endless media coverage. There is no certain outcome to one of the most controversial election runoffs in American history.
By Lya Pfäffli
With 26,672 US-Americans registered as living in Switzerland in 2013, the US expats in Basel are no less involved in the presidential election despite being thousands of kilometres from their homeland. After all, no matter how long they have been away, they are still entitled to cast their vote. “These election campaigns have been a disgrace to the political system of the US. You don’t need to be in another country to see that,” says Kathleen Moriarty from Basel. Expat Americans aren’t the only ones concerned though, says Lisa S, a former network (IT) administrator from Baselland. “I have spoken with many other expats (British, Australian and American) on their views and concerns. They understand the importance of American politics and how it affects the world at large”.
When asked why Hillary gains her vote, Kathleen asserts “because she is knowledgeable about the complexities of the presidency, she has experience making difficult decisions and she is committed to public service.” However, she does feel that “she is too scripted and so I don’t think any of us feel like we really know who she is.” She admits that her support is partly for “the very obvious reason, there isn’t anyone better on the ballot.” She is critical of Hillary’s handling of the email issue and feels that “when someone doesn’t come clean immediately and questions arise, trust is lost. Most of her situations would have turned out much better if she would’ve just come forward from the beginning.” Lisa maintains that “although she is not well liked and not trusted 100% she is a far better choice for economic stability and the holder of the nuclear codes.”
One anonymous Trump supporter does not feel that Hillary should have been let off so lightly, stating that she “has committed several felonies and (has) not been prosecuted because in America, the Executive Branch (President Obama) controls the Department of Justice and they decide whether or not to prosecute someone.”
Andy Boller, on the other hand, feels the accusations against Hillary are “a non-stop smear campaign dating back to her days as First Lady.” While he agrees that “the woman is tough,” he maintains that she ”has been under a microscope for 25 + years” and that her unpopularity is down to “sexism or in the case of women, an almost jealous sense of her being valedictorian.”
Trump, meanwhile, has suffered blows to his popularity following the release of footage where he openly degrades women. Lisa believes this past month has been “political suicide” for Trump and that Hillary will now win “because she is a career politician who hasn’t insulted more than half of the voting public.” Trump’s anonymous supporter maintains that “all the accusations of him being racist, misogynist, sexist, anti-immigration are false and a distraction.”
When questioned how Trump, a candidate with no previous political experience, has garnered so much support, Lisa feels that “the two main political parties have not been listening to the middle class.” She believes the government has ignored “how their lives have been affected by the recession, the trade policies, the rising costs of living, the unfair corporate policies… the rising income inequality.” Andy, on the other hand, thinks that ”Trump was inevitable.” He maintains that “people like him because he makes it ok to hate.” He feels that “there has always been a sexist, racist and homophobic highway running through the heart of the US” as well as “an undercurrent of pure selfish greed – everyone wants to be a millionaire. They want a savior, a Mr Fix-It. He articulates their anger, frustration, sense of loss etc.”
Election Day is looming – then the US-American people decide their fate. The tension between the Democrat and Republican supporters is palpable, not least emphasised by half of the contributors of this article wanting to remain partially, if not completely anonymous.
“If voters vote for Hillary they’re voting to stay on the same path with no real change,” says our anonymous Trump supporter, “Trump is pro-America. Hillary is a Globalist – if voters want change, they should vote for Trump.” While he expects Hillary to win, he would not be surprised if Trump celebrates a victory not dissimilar to Brexit. “I am sure there are MILLIONS of Americans (who) will not speak out (for fear of) ridicule from the self-righteous arrogant people that hate Americans who are not Democrats – and these people will also (like me) vote for Trump.”
Caricature by DonkeyHotey