For the last few months, since the American presidential elections process started, it was a bit awkward for a non-American to favour a certain candidate or any of the two parties. Of course, American presidential elections matter for everyone in the world due to the status of the United States in today’s world, not only in foreign policy issues, but because its economic and monetary policies impact the global markets.


Donald Trump


As the whole world has to do business, political and otherwise, with the occupier of the White House, everybody has a certain interest in who the American people are going to choose for a president.


As Republicans and Democrats seem to have decided on their candidate, even before the parties’ conventions next month, it looks likely the choice for the American public will be between a former United States secretary of state and first lady, senator Hillary Clinton, and real estate tycoon Donald Trump. The latter is the last man standing for the Republican Party, and Hillary has essentially clinched the Democratic presidential nomination following her victory in the California primary on Tuesday. Yet, from the very beginning of this American presidential election campaign, one could have easily anticipated that it would end up to be a competition between the only woman in the race and the main surprise: A controversial businessman who has never been elected to any public office.


Primaries, caucuses and conventions are where party members and delegates nominate a party candidate. But for the general electorate, it’s always a choice between two characters regardless of partisan politics. For the ordinary American, both Hillary and Trump are the best contrast following two terms of President Barack Obama, who many — especially outside the US — accuse of ruling within a safe zone and not doing much to avoid committing mistakes.


Though Hillary, as a Democrat and a long-serving legislator and bureaucrat, may look like a continuation of the Obama legacy, the fact that she’s a person who can make mistakes is evident from her career. On the contrary, Trump looks like a loose cannon, not caring much about political correctness. Maybe that’s the reason why both the potential candidates are neck-and-neck in opinion polls, with some surveys showing disapproval ratings for both equally high. Yet, one of them will be in the White House in a few months from now.


Hillary benefits from traditional advantages of being a senator, a first lady who lived in the White House and knows its corridors, and a civil servant who knows how the government works. But all this is not enough for the ordinary American, who mainly sees her as potentially the “first female president of the United States of America”. That’s important in itself, baring in mind her main rival’s spats with women and their rights.


Hillary may be a liberal feminist, yet she’s a mother and wife — this guarantees many votes across America. As for the non-elitist majority of the electorate “The First” always plays a role in their choice.


But Trump will also be a “First” non-politician president — even the late Ronald Reagan was a governor. Yet, Trump has a lot more appeal to the younger generation in America. He’s a billionaire who made his money from the casino business, along with property development. That’s what’s remaining of the ‘American dream’ in the minds of millennials. He’s also not a timid politician or, as young people would see him — “Speaks his mind, regardless …”, his knowledge of world affairs is a sort of Wikipedia info — or is just from social media. His reactions are not guarded, which means he’s honest with himself. Even what his opponents accuse him of, including financial wrongdoings, is seen as “cleverness in utilising the inept system”.


One may not agree with all of the above, but if you want somebody to bluntly represent 21st century America, Donald Trump will fit into the role more than the others. Even in foreign policy, Trump clearly represents how the Americans see the world — regardless of whether that’s good or bad for the US or the world.


Once in the White House, the bureaucratic machine will galvanise the president; be it Trump, Hillary or even ‘progressive leftist’ Sanders. Still, character matters, and Donald Trump is the best character to show America today; both to the Americans and to the world. If I’m to vote in November, I’ll vote Trump.


Dr Ahmad Mustafa




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