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America After the Election

NEW YORK – The ongoing presidential campaign in the United States stands out for its lack of civility and the vast differences between the candidates: the anti-establishment businessman Donald Trump on the Republican side and the polished politician Hillary Clinton representing the Democrats. The contest has exposed deep fault lines within American society and damaged the country’s global reputation. No surprise, then, that one of the few things Americans seem to agree on is that the campaign has gone on for too long. But soon it will be over. The question is: what comes next?

Polls suggest that Clinton, a former senator and secretary of state, will defeat the controversial Trump. But polls are not to be confused with reality. After all, going into June’s Brexit referendum, most observers believed that a victory for “Remain” was a sure thing. More recently, Colombian voters rejected a peace accord that was widely expected to receive popular approval.

All of this is to say that, while a Clinton victory may be likely, it is no certainty. The only poll that counts is the one on November 8. Until then, all we can do is speculate.

Yet some predictions can be made with greater confidence. There is little doubt that the US will emerge from this election a divided country with a divided government, regardless of who is president or which party has a majority in either chamber of Congress. Neither Democrats nor Republicans will be able to realize their objectives without at least some support from the other.