US Election, Brexit — Year of the Outliers
Four years ago, U.S. election polls were identical to this year’s campaign as the two opponents — Romney and Obama — were in a dead heat nationally at 48 per cent apiece. A few days later, Obama won 51.5 per cent to 47.2 per cent.
And Obama won because his rival, Hillary Clinton, threw her support behind him, giving the young Senate outlier an establishment endorsement.
Now it is déjà vu. Clinton and Trump are tied, but she has the edge due to the endorsement of her revolutionary outlier rival, Bernie Sanders.
His role and political importance is being overlooked, as headlines and attention remain focused on the main slugfest.
But Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan has noticed.
“Do you know who becomes chair of the Senate Budget Committee if Hillary Clinton wins?” Ryan asked during a campaign appearance. “Someone you may have heard of: Bernie Sanders.”
After this was publicized, Sanders immediately tweeted “sounds like a good idea.”
Ironically, Ryan is energizing the Bernie base and so is the fact that two-thirds of Clinton’s platform is directly out of Sander’s playbook. Worse to people like Ryan is the fact that if she wins, Bernie will become America’s fourth most powerful politician, too, because it will result in four more Democratic Senators.
Sanders is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee and will become its chair, giving him enormous leverage and influence fiscally. And, to put this in perspective, Senate Budget Committee Chair is just behind the President, House Speaker and Senate Majority leader in importance.
Such a spectre is why Ryan frantically campaigns to shore up vulnerable or losing Senate candidates in several key swing states.
These “down ticket” Senate races are where the real action is because of the fragmentation, and checks and balances, of the U.S. federal system. The President governs at the pleasure of Congress to a great extent.
The hottest Senatorial contests are in Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Missouri and New Hampshire; but there are others. That’s is where the big guns, surrogates and big bucks on the Democratic side aim. It’s also why Ryan won’t endorse Trump in contests where he’s hurting the local Republican candidates, but strongly urges support for Republican candidates in general.
This election is more complicated than the TV anchors and pundits discuss or understand.
There is also another “inside baseball” phenomenon — the polls ignore — is that more Americans are “splitting” their ballots rather than voting for one party down the line. Republicans are voting for Hillary but not the Democrats. Democrats are voting for independents but not Republicans. Still others are writing in Presidential choices or leaving the top line blank, even though in many states this spoils their ballot.
The result of these developments is that markets in both countries resemble the cardiograms of un-medicated heart patients
At the same time as the circus to the south winds down, Britain and the European Union are roiling politically after last week’s British High Court ruling that Parliament must approve the Brexit referendum by passing legislation.
This development, initiated by a business woman, throws a spanner into the works and creates instability. The controversy could take months to resolve and result in another nasty campaign and the real possibility of a reversal. Facts are two-thirds of Members of Parliament were against leaving the EU as was the House of Lords, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the current Prime Minister.
So, like the U.S., with a constitution that divides and complicates power, Britain enters a new era of complex checks and balances.
The result of these developments is that markets in both countries resemble the cardiograms of un-medicated heart patients, and voters simply want an end to the controversies.
But it’s clear that it won’t be business as usual.
Britain may still leave the EU, but in the U.S., either the Sanders or Trump revolutions will occur.
Trump would make the rich richer through tax cuts at the top, turn NAFTA and NATO upside down and create social unrest due to greater income disparity. His obscene tax cuts for the top tier will hurt the economy by reducing economic velocity as the rich simply sock more trillions away.
Bernie, while not the nominee, has policies now adopted by Clinton that will help create an economic boom and more growth in the United States. His Progressive agenda would provide more disposable income to middle and low income Americans who would spend it, generating growth and creating jobs.
By the way, the U.S. has enjoyed 74 months of job growth — a record among developed nations. Even so, change is in the air.
Besides, Americans must go to the polls and, once again, their choice will be to elect an outlier such as Trump or an outlier once removed such as Sanders within the Clinton team.