Dr Trevor McCrisken Associate Professor of US Politics and International Studies, Dr Alexander Smith Assistant Professor in Sociology, Dr Ben Margulies Research Fellow in the Politics and International Studies and Dr Georg Lofflmann, Teaching Fellow in the Politics and International Studies give their expert insights into the marathon presidential campaigns culminating in today's vote.
Dr Trevor McCrisken Associate Professor of US Politics and International Studies comments on the imminent US presidential election between candidates Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump,
“This year's US presidential campaign has been one of the most acrimonious in recent memory and will leave both political parties somewhat scarred by the process, whatever the outcome. A Clinton victory appears very likely but other recent elections and referenda have gone against pundit, expert and polling opinion so it would be unwise to completely write off the Trump campaign just yet. It is not only the Presidency at stake, of course, and which party dominates Congress as a result of House and Senate elections will have a major impact on how effectively the new President can govern. We are on the cusp of an historical moment, as the US could be about to elect its first female President - a deeply significant development not least because gender plays an increasingly important role in electoral politics in the US and also because questions of misogyny have been so prominent in the campaign.
“The most important issues in this election have often been overshadowed by the personal sparring between the two main candidates. Trade relations, consolidating economic recovery, protecting the US from terrorist attack, managing immigration, confronting the civil war in Syria and the related threat of the so-called Islamic State militant group, and dealing with the problems of race relations in the US are among the most significant issues being debated. Democrats hope that Hillary Clinton can win and provide some continuity on the more liberal agenda domestically provided by eight years of the Obama presidency.
“Republicans, especially on the Right of the party, will look to Trump to roll back that agenda as much as possible especially in terms of health care provision, international trade agreements, and toughening up on immigration. Who will fill vacancies on the Supreme Court and therefore lead it in either a more liberal or more conservative direction is also a major issue. In foreign affairs, both candidates are promising tougher action to resolve the Syrian conflict and defeat Islamic State, although Clinton projects a more seasoned and diplomatic temperament than Trump who it is feared could alienate allies and adversaries alike with his staunchly pro-American attitudes. Even if Trump does lose, however, the highly partisan and polarised political discourse will continue beyond the election season, and the Republican Party will emerge licking its wounds, trying desperately to restore unity, and fighting hard to undermine the agenda of a forthcoming Clinton administration.”
Dr Alexander Smith, Assistant Professor in Sociology provides his expert insights ahead of the imminent US Presidential Election,
“This year's Presidential election has been unlike any other in recent memory. The Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton has opened up a massive lead over the unpredictable Republican nominee, Donald J Trump, who has alienated many voters, including supporters of his own party, following an erratic and unconventional campaign in which he has insulted minorities and lashed out against his accusers in historic allegations of sexual assault.
“The question now is not so much whether Clinton will win but whether her campaign can penetrate traditional Republican bastions, in Utah, Georgia and Texas. If so, Clinton and the Democratic National Committee may succeed in turning this victory into a rout of Republican candidates further down the ballot, many of whom have equivocated in their support of Trump, whose behaviour has now imperilled his party's majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Furthermore, the fallout of a Trump defeat will have far-reaching consequences for the Republicans for years to come. This election could dramatically reshape US politics for a generation.”
Dr Ben Margulies, Research Fellow in the Politics and International Studies Department at the University of Warwick comments on the imminent conclusion of the US presidential election,
“Right now, many statisticians give Hillary a 90+ percent chance of winning the election. Trump’s misogyny and racism and Islamophobia (and the list goes on) have cost him more votes than he has won from the white working class. Democrats are increasingly optimistic about regaining a majority in the Senate, and hold out fainter hopes of retaking the House of Representatives.
“The big questions are a) Will Trump and his supporters accept the result? and b) Can Hillary Clinton govern if she doesn’t have control of both houses of Congress? The Republicans will have to figure out how to reconcile their fractured coalition, with Trump’s ranks of older, white, working-class and lower-middle class voters clashing with the High Tory elite.”
Dr Georg Lofflmann, Teaching Fellow in the Politics and International Studies Department,
"The 2016 presidential election is already one of the most contentious and, at the same time, most unpopular presidential elections in recent memory. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are highly polarizing and deeply unpopular figures, whose trustworthiness, transparency, and, in the case of Trump, even basic qualification for the job of President of the United States are seriously in doubt. Furthermore, we have presidential elections that take place among a new high-water mark of partisan division and a polarised electorate, where the political opponent is openly disdained and the level of political discourse has reached new lows. In particular Trump's aggressive anti-Muslim and anti-immigration rhetoric, his propagation of half-truths, obvious falsehoods and outright lies, and shocking sexism and indicated abusive behaviour towards women indicates a worrying deterioration in the political process the United States. The open question is, how lasting this surge of populism in the US will be.
“The FBI’s announcement on the renewed investigation into Clinton’s e-mails, so short before the presidential election has left the FBI director Comey, a Republican, open to criticism of partisanship. While the new investigation will probably not erode Clinton’s lead in the polls, or produces significant new findings, it might prove detrimental to voter mobilisation, in particular in a couple of tight Senate races the Democrats hope to win in order to secure a majority in the Senate. The FBI episode is another proof for an incredibly ugly election campaign and highlights again the toxic political climate in the United States.”
Experts are available for broadcast comment on Globelynx or ISDN line.
Alex Buxton: Media Relations Manager, University of Warwick
Tel: 02476 150423
Mob: 07876 218166