American Presidential race heating up – why New Zealand should pay attention

Anyone who knows anything about American politics knows that once every four years comes around a 12-18 month long burst of compulsory viewing in the form of the U.S. Presidential Election. It is tussle that is renown for bringing out the best and the worst of American politics, politicians and policies. It is a tussle with world wide implications, and it is a tussle New Zealand would do well to pay attention to.

On the first Tuesday of November 2016, after a long campaign that will have seen candidates visit all corners of the United States from Florida to Seattle, from San Diego to Vermont, America will decide who shall be the person to lead them for the next four years. That person will need 269 Electoral College seats to govern. They will take office on 20 January 2017. They will be in command of the worlds most powerful armed forces and be responsible for the worlds biggest economy. They will also for better or for worse be a lightning rod for both criticism and praise alike, deserving or not.

This will affect you. The next U.S. President – assuming it is not Senator for Vermont Bernie Sanders or Senator for Masschusetts Elizabeth Warren, whose dissent is well known – will be under real pressure to sign off the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement with the other 11 nations in this sovereignty selling exercise. This will affect you because as taxpayers we might have to chip in for New Zealand troops to go overseas at Uncle Sam’s behest to fight a war most New Zealanders agree is not one we should be in (I know even National party supporters who think we should stay out of the Middle East wars).

This will affect you because America is a global power and very powerful, moneyed interests in America want to wield that power, or have someone wield it for them in ways that might not be altogether good for New Zealand. As Kentucky Senator Rand Paul – one of the few Republicans in the race I have time for at all – is trying to say across the discourse, just because a nation has global power, does not mean it should always use it. America is at the moment arguing with itself over whether or not to tighten immigration controls, and I heard last year that that might include tightening the rules for getting green cards.

This will affect you because for better or for worse, New Zealand politicians instead of having the gonads to formulate policy specific to New Zealand, tend to look overseas towards including but not limited to, America, for inspiration. It is not that having inspiration is necessarily a bad thing, but we are a grown nation that punches beyond its weight in many aspects of life – we should have politicians growing New Zealand oriented policy. At least that is what this nationalist thinks.

The American Presidential nominee race for 2016 is heating up and you would do well to pay attention, because at some point it will affect you.


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