The US election is upon us and it promises to be a huge night for the American people and of course for financial markets as well.
I do not live in America and I do not know much about the political process there but it has been impossible to not get drawn into the debate.
What I do find interesting is that a lot of financial bloggers have avoided the issue completely.
A blog is supposed to be a place for freedom of speech and voicing opinion – away from the tyranny of corporate media. Yet it seems many bloggers would rather skirt the issue completely than, heaven forbid, lose a follower.
But it is impossible to dismiss the issues of this election, which, as always, could have tremendous ramifications for all of us.
Claims that the election doesn’t matter or that the president is just a puppet to the political elite are off the mark when you consider just how much power the President is bestowed.
The power, for example, to launch a nuclear missile at any time.
Only the most hardened nihilist could say that the US election is a meaningless event and anyone who has the chance to vote must do so, particularly given the backgrounds of this year’s candidates. You only have to look into history to understand how significant such events can be.
We don’t like to believe it but we in the West live in privileged times. Most of us have access to clean water, electricity and education. Most of us live without the threat of daily violence or severe poverty. Americans are better off than most.
(As Warren Buffett has said, the upper middle-class families in his neighbourhood enjoy a significantly better standard of living than the richest man in America (John D Rockefeller) did 80 or so years ago.)
Yet, according to one candidate in particular, America is not a great place to be. According to Trump, America is a mess. And he’s the one (the only one) who’s going to change it.
But Trump’s success has come from preying on people’s most powerful emotion – fear.
His campaign has been full of venom and cruel insults.
He has accused of Hilary Clinton of unleashing ISIS, he has been accused of sexual harassment, he has undermined military heroes and admitted to not paying taxes.
When I saw him mocking a reporter with disabilities I could not believe my eyes. I’m sure if you or I did that publicly we’d be liable for arrest.
After all, a woman just got arrested for body-shaming an older woman on snapchat.
Of course, the list of stupidity goes on. His policies are the stuff of fantasy too.
He wants to build a wall along the border and make Mexico pay for it. He wants to round up and deport millions of undocumented workers. He wants to ban muslims from entering the country and he wants to start a trade war with the world’s second-largest economy.
Or does he? He changes his mind so often that you don’t know what he is thinking.
Trump is an egomaniac. A compulsive liar without shame. He is a fantasist who is capable of fooling millions of people.
He reminds me of Jimmy Saville, Boris Johnson or Adolf Hitler.
Saville fooled the British public for years. He was a national treasure until we found out after his death that he’d sexually abused hundreds of women and children in hospitals up and down the country.
Trump may not be like Saville but he has a similar air of arrogance. How can you trust him?
Clinton on the other hand personifies the establishment, the status quo. Her presidency is not an enticing prospect either since it represents ‘more of the same’. She has worked in public office for most of her adult life and it is hard to imagine real change under her watch.
And here we have the problem of modern politics. Once again, we have two options to choose from and neither look very appealing.
Widespread apathy towards politicians in general has caused polarisation.
One half the population wants to maintain order while the other wants to reject the establishment completely.
One half believes in science and experts. The other half calls experts the elite.
But why are people so against the elite? If you were having heart surgery I’m sure you would prefer to have the best surgeon in the country.
If people are against the so called ‘elite’ is it not also an issue of envy?
When people refer to the elite in a bad light they do so because they are envious of those people, their position and their wealth. And the funny thing about wealth is that you only criticise it when you don’t have it.
People often say that the economy is struggling. They say that there are no jobs.
My answer is firstly that there are jobs. And second, if you can’t find a job, create a job.
We are living in a new age. There is the internet, there is the whole world out there and it’s possible for anyone to make their own way if they wish.
Don’t bring back coal, don’t start a newspaper, look to the future. It’s not the industrial revolution anymore, adapt or die. That’s my opinion.
When Brexit occurred earlier this year, people rushed to Google to find out what it actually meant. Thousands of people voted for it and later regretted it when they realised just what they had done.
One man said that the reason he voted for Brexit was just so he could say later on that he voted against the establishment – he thought his vote wouldn’t actually have any effect on the result.
But once the vote is done it’s done. We in the west live in wealthy societies and we shouldn’t get complacent about the freedoms and liberties we have come to enjoy. Political events like these can change history for better and worse.
In the case of the US election, Donald Trump is the candidate most likely to cause regret. He’s a man to be feared not trusted. He causes widespread hate and negativity and I can only hope he will soon be a distant blip on the history books.
The fact that politics is in such dire state clearly indicates that modern democracy is broken and needs to be fixed.