Clinton and Trump to face divided electorate

November 2016 print issue.

Toby Byfield and Luke Lavender speak about the 2016 US presidential candidates before the elections.

Edited by Isabel Aruna.

“Clinton vs Trump” Illustration by Cat Price

With the presidential election just round the corner, the gloves are off as the most controversial election cycle in living memory comes to a close on the 8th of November. The embittered battle between former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and business magnate Donald Trump has alarmed the world to an impending crisis of a heavily divided America.

 Businessman Donald Trump’s campaign has been under intense scrutiny from the very beginning. Ever since he first introduced his tough stance on immigration, through to the present day, where he is stealing headlines for his 3am Twitter war with a former Miss Universe and being caught on tape making offensive comments about women. Despite starting on a platform of vague policy to ‘Make America Great Again’, Trump’s campaign has spiralled into hyperbole and a rhetoric that has reduced a normally formal and serious election into an apparent mudslinging contest. Despite this crude form of electioneering employed by Trump, his policies appear to resonate with a sizable proportion of the American electorate, who hold major discontent with the status quo encapsulated by Clinton.

 Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has not been able to shake off her own fair share of controversy that has erupted during her fight for the Democratic nomination.  She was drawn into a long nomination process against socialist Bernie Sanders, where Clinton found herself at odds with the younger generations.  They decried her Wall Street connections and lacklustre support for socialist policies on healthcare and big pharma. Criticised for her actions as Secretary of State, including her mishandling of thousands of confidential e-mails on an unsecured private server, Clinton has faced constant pressure to hand over transcripts from her paid Wall Street speeches. Allegations of corruption have prevented her from being able to close down the presidential campaign, with Trump’s bombastic style proving too much for a shrewd, politically savvy discussion.

 I was able to catch up with a Falmouth University student from Texas, who wishes to remain anonymous. ‘I’m voting Hillary,’ he sighed, ‘she is the lesser of two evils’. He showed large apathy for both candidates, despairing at his view that Trump and Clinton were ‘equally unqualified’.

 Also, Josh, a Trump supporter I met in a coffee shop in Falmouth, was quick to dismiss the controversial statements that have poisoned this year’s presidential discourse. ‘If you were to look past the rhetoric, the gaffes and the blunders’ he argued, ‘some of his policies actually start to make sense. He just finds it hard to get his point across, he’s not a seasoned politician’. When asked whether he could stomach a Clinton presidency, he just shrugged. ‘I might, I mean, I’d welcome America’s first women president’ he smiled, looking down at his ‘Make America Great Again’ hat. ‘But would most Trump supporters? Unfortunately, not a chance’. His smile faded.