2016 presidential candidates Wikimedia Commons

America’s Why Not Election

Those having trouble making sense of the US presidential election campaign needn't worry: it doesn’t make any sense. The 2016 race is shaping up as the weirdest in memory, owing not just to the number of candidates – currently 14, with more expected to announce soon – but also to their character.

WASHINGTON, DC – Those having trouble making sense of the American presidential election campaign need not worry. It doesn’t make sense. The 2016 race is shaping up as the weirdest in modern times, owing not just to the number of candidates – currently 14, with two or three more expected to announce soon – but also to the unusual nature of many of them.

The usual question posed about presidential aspirants is: Why is he running? This year, the answer seems to be: Why not? As long as one is not too attached to one’s dignity, there is little to lose and a lot to be gained from running. A failed presidential campaign, even a disastrous one, can lead to higher speaking fees, richer book contracts, or a television gig. Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee both failed to win the Republican nomination, but secured seats on cable talk shows.

On the Democratic side, the question asked in political circles these days is not whether Hillary Clinton can win the nomination, but whether she can lose it. The answer is yes – in the sense that anything is possible. Nobody I know thinks she is likely to stumble so badly; still, the Clintons are known to be accident-prone, and they have been full of surprises – scandals and scandalettes – since they first appeared on the national scene a quarter-century ago. This is why many Democrats back her without enthusiasm.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/PVrAMZJ;
  1. An employee works at a chemical fiber weaving company VCG/Getty Images

    China in the Lead?

    For four decades, China has achieved unprecedented economic growth under a centralized, authoritarian political system, far outpacing growth in the Western liberal democracies. So, is Chinese President Xi Jinping right to double down on authoritarianism, and is the “China model” truly a viable rival to Western-style democratic capitalism?

  2. The assembly line at Ford Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    Whither the Multilateral Trading System?

    The global economy today is dominated by three major players – China, the EU, and the US – with roughly equal trading volumes and limited incentive to fight for the rules-based global trading system. With cooperation unlikely, the world should prepare itself for the erosion of the World Trade Organization.

  3. Donald Trump Saul Loeb/Getty Images

    The Globalization of Our Discontent

    Globalization, which was supposed to benefit developed and developing countries alike, is now reviled almost everywhere, as the political backlash in Europe and the US has shown. The challenge is to minimize the risk that the backlash will intensify, and that starts by understanding – and avoiding – past mistakes.

  4. A general view of the Corn Market in the City of Manchester Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

    A Better British Story

    Despite all of the doom and gloom over the United Kingdom's impending withdrawal from the European Union, key manufacturing indicators are at their highest levels in four years, and the mood for investment may be improving. While parts of the UK are certainly weakening economically, others may finally be overcoming longstanding challenges.

  5. UK supermarket Waring Abbott/Getty Images

    The UK’s Multilateral Trade Future

    With Brexit looming, the UK has no choice but to redesign its future trading relationships. As a major producer of sophisticated components, its long-term trade strategy should focus on gaining deep and unfettered access to integrated cross-border supply chains – and that means adopting a multilateral approach.

  6. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now