George Herbert Walker Bush and Hillary Rodham Clinton were each heralded as “most qualified ever” while lacking the most typical qualification (governor), are centrists both relative to their respective parties and any broader political spectrum, and supporters of U.S. supremacy. Bush was given a tremendous gift (the collapse of the Soviet Union), but he and each subsequent temporary dictator utterly failed to secure lasting peace. Clinton starts with a tremendous burden (increasing tensions with Russia and China).
Donald Trump behaves like a petulant child. This is unacceptable and fortunately there’s very little chance he’ll become temporary dictator. But recognize that we expect national leaders to make nations behave like Trump: never wrong, prestige is paramount, never constructive engagement, always construe narrow self-interest as justice, emphasize deals over more important self-reform, peace is an outcome of winning, not the primary goal.
Will Clinton steer towards peace or calamity? Surely the latter, as she will do the expected as a national leader: make her nation, the most dangerous in the world, behave like Trump.
There will be no huge protests when Clinton commands mass murder, just as there have been none when Obama has. That’s OK, because anti-war protests are reactionary and ineffective. Peace is a very long game. My feeling is that shifting the basis of knowledge policy and production from property (i.e., subject of conflict over control) to cooperation is one worthwhile and maybe necessary long intervention. But I’m embarrassed for not having any systematic characterization of the probable magnitude or even direction of the impact of this or other interventions toward peace.
I’m also embarrassed for not having found (nor put much effort into looking) for predicted outcomes conditioned on Clinton or Trump winning. Seem my very weak 2004 and 2008 attempts. The best I can do this year is point out What do financial markets think of the 2016 election? (summary; pdf).
A few subnational initiatives I wish to point out:
- Washington Carbon Emission Tax and Sales Tax Reduction, Initiative 732 (2016). A small step toward optimal taxation. Should be utterly non-controversial, but instead is the opposite. Hopefully voters in the northwest state named for a slaveholder will pass it anyway.
- Oakland, California, Civilian Police Commission, Measure LL. Apparently watered down, but still a useful step toward quality.
- California Proposition 64, Marijuana Legalization and similar in several other U.S. states. Again, stop throwing people in prison over this. Full stop.
- South Dakota Revision of State Campaign Finance and Lobbying Laws, Initiated Measure 22 and Washington State-Provided Campaign Financing Funded by a Non-Resident Sales Tax, Initiative 1464 to de-concentrate funding of political campaigns.