Observations of an Expat: What if We Voted on the Issues?

November 4, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Reuters photo



Tom Arms

Sitting on the Eastern side of the Atlantic, the Trump/Clinton battle seems more like a race to the Senate dock than to the door of the White House.

Who will win? Alleged sexual predator Donald Trump or alleged peddler of classified materials Hillary Clinton.

It seems increasingly likely that whichever way the electoral coin lands, the winner will face impeachment proceedings before completing their first 100 days in office.

That being the case, we should look beyond the mud-slinging personalities to the actual policies which would have to be implemented by the vice presidential candidates—Pence or Kaine—one of whom may find themselves catapulted into the Oval Office.

So here is a look at the political plans of the Republican and Democratic nominees for the presidency of the United States. And, because this is supposed to be a column, I will express my opinion. I stress that they are the opinions of an American expat and not those of this publication.



Trump wants to lower taxes for the wealthy in the belief that they will invest and spend more in the economy. Clinton wants to raise taxes on the wealthy to spend tax dollars on infrastructure.

Most economists plump for Hillary as Trump’s plan would reduce government revenues by $9.5 trillion over the next 15 years and he has failed to balance that with any significant cost cutting.


Free Trade

Trump wants to scrap NAFTA, the Asia-Pacific deal, end talks for an EU-US trade deal and start a trade war with China. Clinton prevaricates on the deals but is definitely more free trade-oriented than Trump.

This is a toughie. Free trade deals are unpopular because there is a benefit time lag between the export of manufacturing jobs overseas and the creation of new industry jobs. I go for Hillary– if more money is invested in retraining. As for China, with their massive domestic market, they would win a trade war.



Trump wants to restrict Muslim immigration, build a wall on the US-Mexican border, and start the process of deporting illegal immigrants to their homeland. Clinton wants to start the process of granting citizenship to illegal immigrants.

No doubt here. If you want a growing economy you need immigrants. On top of that, I reckon that any religiously-based restriction on immigration would fall foul of the First Amendment. The wall and mass deportations would be a major blow to America’s standing of the land of the free and home of the brave. And like it or not, what the rest of the world thinks of America is important to America. 



Trump wants to repeal it. Clinton wants to improve it.

Years of benefitting from the British National Health Service has left me convinced that a system that guarantees healthcare for all its citizens is a mark of a civilised society.


The Supreme Court

Trump wants to pack it with conservatives. Clinton wants to pack it with liberals.

A Trump court means the end of abortion and continuing lax gun laws. I am ambivalent on abortion. I love children and babies but can understand support for the woman’s right to choose. On gun laws, America’s astronomical homicide statistics speak for themselves. Why does the average person need a semi-automatic weapon?


ISIS, terrorism and the Middle East

The two candidates’ policies on this are almost as clear as the Byzantine machinations of the region.

Careful analysis reveals that there is s not that much difference between the two candidates, other than that Trump blames Hillary for the current mess. This carries some weight, but the last few weeks have seen a possible turning of the tide for the West. I don’t see The Donald giving Clinton any credit for that.


Defense and foreign policy

Trump wants to work with Russia in the Middle East and Eastern Europe and draw back from global defence commitments. Clinton is distrustful of Russian intentions and wants to maintain American commitments

Trump’s policy is truly frightening. Russia’s corporatist dictatorship is the antithesis of American democracy. Offering to work with Putin gives it legitimacy. As for NATO and other alliances. These have been the cornerstone of unprecedented global peace for 70 years. Please, please don’t throw them out.









Tom Arms is a broadcaster and columnist focused on world affairs. His regular wold affairs podcast can be heard at www.lookaheadnews.com. He is also available for lectures and speaking engagements.



LookAhead Radio World Report for week commencing 7 November:







Tom Arms

I am a journalist, entrepreneur and historian with extensive experience in print, web and broadcast journalism. I started as a diplomatic correspondent, wrote several books (The Falklands Crisis, World Elections On File and the Encyclopedia of the Cold War), and then in 1987 started my own business (Future Events News Service, www.fensinformation.com) which over 25 years established itself as the world and UK media’s diary. Our strapline was: “We set the world’s news agenda.” I sold FENS in December 2012 but retained the exclusive broadcast rights to all of FENS data. To exploit these rights I set up LookAhead TV which produces unique programmes which “Broadcasts Tomorrow Today” so that viewers can “Plan to Participate.” LookAhead has appeared regularly on Vox Africa, Radio Tatras International, The Conversation and Voice of Africa Radio.

In addition to being a syndicated broadcaster and columnist on global affairs, Tom is also available for speaking engagements and can be contacted on TwitterLinkedin and email: [email protected]


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