Clinton, Trump, Sanders & Carson – not really spoilt for choice

So Biden is not running.

This leaves the US electorate now with the less than enviable prospect of having to vote in one of the motley group of Trump, Clinton, Carson or Sanders as their next President. Not the most inspiring group of names. If leadership is the criterion then Donald Trump is the only one who qualifies. If “politicking” and manipulating the political establishment is what is required then Hillary Clinton is best suited. Ben Carson will come into his own when lobotomising sections of the government or in excising unwanted parts of the bureaucracy. Bernie Sanders could count as the “intellectual” in this group but he is best at opposing and blocking others rather than taking his own initiatives.

The choice is one of firsts. Either the first non-politician, or the first woman, or the first (real) black, or the first socialist as President. It could be the dullest election ever. The only glint of some entertainment in the process is provided by Trump. Of course the criteria for winning the election are different to the qualities needed for being President for 4 years. Of the four I don’t see that Carson or Sanders have what it takes to be even a reasonably successful President.

So I would expect Carson to lose handily to Clinton and Sanders to Trump. But a Carson versus Sanders election could be a bizarre battle to see who was worse. It could be difficult to forecast the contest to lose. Paradoxically it is the bizarreness of such a contest which could inject some interest. The prospect of having an incompetent incumbent in the White House will bring some despair to friendly countries.

That leaves a Clinton versus Trump contest which could actually be a close and fascinating fight. It would pit stability versus volatility and political manipulation against a leader charging in where angels fear to tread. It would be Big government set against Small. Both would be extremely pragmatic though Clinton may be swayed by ideology a little more. Trump will protect the bottom line while Clinton will tend to protect the spending level. Trump’s foreign policy will be openly focused on short-term advantages to the US whereas Clinton’s will be all about long-term geopolitical machinations.

The more I consider a Trump versus Clinton battle, the more difficult I find it to predict how the American voters may decide. But Trump has a real chance of winning even if he does start as the underdog.

That Trump could be the GOP candidate was unthinkable just 3 months ago. It seems the most likely outcome now. That Trump could win the election still seems a little far-fetched, but it has now to be considered more than just a theoretical possibility.

If a not very good actor could become a State Governor and one of the more successful US Presidents, I suppose there is no reason why a real estate mogul could not also make it. 2016 could be the year of the clowns. And the US and the world may just need a clown in the flagging global play.

But with just these 4 names in the hat, the US electorate is not really spoilt for choice.

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