British politics seems to be really divisive at the minute, but we are in good company. To distract you all from the hundredth Meaningful Vote, I have a little something on US politics. As you know I wrote about US politics before: The US Presidential Elections, The Battle for Liberty, Why America Needs One Nation Conservatism. Today I will look at the issues that I think will be the most decisive in the next election, from observation of the conversations that I see happening around me on Twitter. Believe it or not, I don’t just fangirl around Beto O’Rourke. You may think that’s a bit of an echo chamber and not representative of the wider population, but I still think that what people from all sides say, and what articles they share has a lot to suggest.
The first thing that is under everybody’s eyes is that the Democratic nomination doesn’t seem to be quite as determined as it was the last time around, when a lot of the momentum around Hillary Clinton came from the hopes of seeing a Madam President for the first time. As Michelle Obama enjoys her time as a former first Lady giving talks around her memoir, which I aim to pick up after the Catholic Literary Challenge, and denies ever wanting to try for president herself, the hopes of all women who want their daughters to grow up seeing that their sex doesn’t stop them from being President are revived by the record number of women running for it this time around. With 5 women contending for one nomination, the spectrum of the policies that fall within the Democratic umbrella is pretty wide. With Donald Trump’s approval among women hitting an all-time low, I would not be surprised if the nomination is won by one of them, despite the number of women not voting on identity politics like Susan Sarandon who was a known Bernie Sanders supporter, and probably a chunk that will back the charming young Texan. Whoever wins the nomination, it seems clear that the policy platform will make a difference in who gets the votes in the key places that are not automatically blue, and also the key votes of Republicans who are not happy with Trump.
Stumble upon any thread about the NHS and among the usual suspects you will always find at least one American who wishes they had state healthcare. You will also stumble upon people adamant that if you had such socialist policy the state will control your body and the body of your children, in a great misunderstanding of the law surrounding cases like the late Alfie Evans’. Most people, however, realise that there is a halfway through between the state controlling your life, and people dying because they can’t afford medication.
Parallel to London’s biggest issue at the moment being knife crime, the problem of gun violence in the US is as pressing as it is controversial. There are a lot of different arguments about gun control and it can be hard to get to grips with exactly who believes what when it comes to guns, but this article from USC Price has been helpful to me in wrapping my head around the issue, as well as a friendly chat about the way Chicago tackles it in the Subsidiarity episode of the Good Conversation Podcast. There are sensible arguments (as well as less sensible ones) on both sides, but I tend to err in favour of controls, although I don’t think it will be the only thing needed to fix the broken situation.
As controversial as the previous two issues, one policy that seems to be gaining strength is the idea of taxing the rich. I believe it’s a misguided policy, but there needs to be some work around making society fairer, and getting the right tax system is a part of that. I favour taxation of goods over taxations of earnings and think the luxury tax that was tried and failed to achieve its objectives in the 90s was on the correct trajectory, if not the greatest policy in the way it was formulated.
Not a day goes by without a polarisation around gender issues, in which many Catholics find themselves in a bit of an awkward position that doesn’t fit with either political programme in full. On the Republican side, most seem to not have major issues with the platform, and many people can be (to an extent) sympathetic to the fear that progressivism for the sake of it can go too far even if they’d never touch the Republican platform with a barge pole. Bringing the Democratic platform away from the concerns of progressive Academia, and focusing more on the day to day concerns of working people (especially at the lower end of the income spectrum) is likely to swing some of the progress made by Trump.
Trump’s money-sucking wall project, and tougher immigration, are one of the reasons why he won in 2016. Many people have been shocked by the excessive harshness of situations at the border, even if they are ideologically in favour of reducing illegal immigration. A compassionate solution to the problem, as well as making sure that the issues perceived as the fault of immigration, but which are bigger than that, get their solutions too. In a strange twist of events I agree with Ocasio-Cortez in a point she made on Twitter recently about international development and the role it plays on immigration numbers.
I’d be interested in hearing from those of you in the US what you think are the issues, how they will evolve in the next year and a half, but also if you are supporting someone in particular and what in their platform excites you. I didn’t have much scope to look at independents and what will those who did not support the biggest opponent but are unhappy with the President do this time. My emails are open for guest posts if that applies to you and you want to share it, or link me your favourite posts by yourself or others. I realise I never write on continental politics (I don’t have much of an audience there), so if you want to see more of that let me know and I will oblige.